“I long for the simplicity of just playing in front of a live audience.”
Perkins has managed a bit of such old-fashioned entertainment this month. He went over the Queensland border on July 11, the day it re-opened, to play a solo acoustic show in Brisbane that night. Gigs in Newcastle and Sydney have followed.
All have been reduced-capacity affairs, but the predictable income they’ve earned has been enough to remind Perkins of the brutal online musical economy in which The Show is attempting to wash its face.
The first episode, featuring psychedelic-surf group Headland and Murray Paterson, co-writer of Perkins’ much-loved Whenever It Snows, was put up on YouTube after premiering in April and has been watched nearly 9000 times there.
The June episode, featuring Byron Shire neighbour Christian Pyle, was only accessible after buying a $10 ‘ticket’. Just over 400 people stumped up.
“I think the ship has long sailed on most people being prepared to pay for music, unless its Spotify or if it’s live in front of you,” Perkins sighs.
However he is pressing on, with this weekend’s edition featuring Tasmanian songstress Lucie Thorne.
“I’ve never found another voice that fits better with my music,” Perkins enthuses about Thorne, a big call from a guy who harmonises with Cold Chisel’s Don Walker in occasional supergroup Tex Don & Charlie.
Perkins would love a sponsor to defray some of what The Show has cost him financially. However he says producing it was never really about the money, but keeping a sense of community in a desperate time for the performing arts.
“I’ve loved seeing my close friends, neighbours and family transform themselves into a multi-faceted creative unit,” he says, mentioning that The Show has given a neighbour’s son with an audio engineering degree his first paid work, and allowed the Perkins’ live-in maintenance man to show off video editing skills.
“I ain’t doing this alone, believe me.”
Episode 4 of Tex Perkins’ The Show premieres at 6pm AEST on Sunday, July 26. Tickets are available at OzTix, and holders can access a Q&A with Perkins after the program concludes.
Michael Bailey writes on entrepreneurship and the arts. He is also responsible for the Financial Review’s Rich Lists. He is based in Sydney.