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The Cold Chisel legend on 30 years in a rock band, their never-say-never attitude, and touring Cornwall

During the recording of new album No Plans, founding member Steve Prestwich passed away – how did this affect the band?
It meant that we had to reinvent ourselves last year, with Charlie Draper helping out on drums. It had been the five of us playing together from the mid-Seventies on. You put another person in there in place of Steve, there are adjustments to be made. We did the hard work last year, though, so we are match fit.

Is the album especially poignant?
Steve only appears on three songs, and he wrote the last song, I Got Things To Do. We demoed it with him, and when it was being mixed, we found out he’d recorded a vocal on it. It was so good, that’s the version we released – the first time we have included a song on a studio album with someone other than Jim [Barnes – singer] or Ian [Moss – guitarist] singing.

What inspired the album’s writing?
It’s written from life and what’s going on around me. These songs are drawn from a long writing period – one is 15 years old. What binds them together is that I’ll have a bunch of the songs on the kitchen table – the Chisel ones
are just the ones the other guys like.

You’d turned down reunion offers before – so why now?
We weren’t interested for a long time because we’d been doing other things. We felt we did things when we were young and didn’t need to return. We did it in ‘98 as enough time had gone past and curiosity got the better of us. We made a very good record then and what prompted this reunion, 15 years later, was a one-off show in Sydney in 2009. That was so enjoyable and the band played so well we thought: “Why not do some recording together again?”

Has it felt like a new era for the band?
We have always been present on the radio and in record sales, but as a working band we broke up in 1983. And we haven’t been around at all for a long time right now.

Has the band dynamic changed much?
We always managed to find some way of screwing it up or making it unenjoyable for us. When we were young, we used to ride each other and demand things in a musical sense. We don’t do that quite so much anymore, there’s the assumption we all know what we’re doing.

Have you all mellowed with age, then?
Mellow is the right word. The live show is still ferocious, and we’ve made a rock ‘n’ roll album, but our feelings with each other are a lot more adult. Issues never get resolved, though, you just become more forceful in dealing with each other.


Chatroom: Cold Chisel's Don Walker, on 30 years in the legendary Oz rock band
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