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Interviews
Jim Yarns with John Elliot
(Founding editor: The Australian Country Music Magazine)

John
What do you prefer, music or poetry?
Jim
Shakespeare said music is the food of love - and I reckon poetry is the after dinner mint of life - full of flavour and its sweetness lingers - but you can live without it. Depends on my mood but mostly music.
John
Who was the better writer - Paterson or Lawson?
Jim
Lawson was consistently a better writer than Paterson when it came to human nature - but no one captured the Aussie spirit like Paterson. Paterson was a more accomplished, saner and nicer human being - so he gets my vote.
John
Is it hard work being funny?
Jim
Coming up with fresh material is a killer! Most comics are neurotic and paranoid as a result of trying to be funny and never knowing if their material will work. I'm not paranoid though .... people really do talk about me behind my back!! (God John ... I'm really worried ... do you think this is funny enough????)
John
Favourite gig?
Jim
Big Bush Brekky at West Tamworth Leagues Club during Tamworth Festival - or any theatre gig with a receptive audience and my mate Rustling Russell on the piano.
John
Favourite Festival?
Jim
Love 'em all - but probably the 'Weelabarabak CWA Pumpkin Pickin' Time Talent Quest, Truck Show and Big Scone Bake Off Festival' ..... and Tamworth.
John
Where is Weelabarabak?
Jim
It's not far from Cooper's Junction and about two hour's drive from Kikkatinalong. Ted Egan reckons the best way to get there is via Bringamugalong and Greg Champion reckons Weelabarabak is an Aboriginal word meaning 'really hard place to find'.
John
How did you get started in the entertainment business?
Jim
A good question ... most people ask,"Why did you get started in the entertainment business ...???? Especially when I'm playing the ukulele! (Proper answer - always acted and sang as a kid. Made Sydney stage debut at 12 years old playing a choir boy in "The Man Who Came To Dinner". Formed first bad band at Teachers' College and, many bad bands later, 'Bandy Bill & Co' achieved notoriety through 'Australia All Over'.)
John
How did you get into country music?
Jim
By being sent to the bush as a young teacher and having blokes in the pub say, "If you sing one more folk song you're dead - sing Slim Dusty or else!!
John
Who is/was your inspiration?
Jim

Slim Dusty....  along with Spike Jones, Geoff Mack, Tom Lehrer, John Williamson and my accountant.

John
What's the song you most like to perform?
Jim
The new one I've just written that's getting the laughs ....... any new one that's getting laughs!!!
John
What's your favourite song by another artist and why?
Jim

Any that I helped write - because the royalty cheques provide so much amusement for my accountant ("Six dollars fifty cents ...... and it took you all day to write!!! That's hilarious!" - I like to see him happy.)

Actually, it varies with my mood but my favourite track in the world is 'The Brazos River Song' performed by the late Buck Ramsey with Lanny Fiel on guitar and Joe Stephenson on fiddle - because it is the most haunting melody, the most wistful lyric, and the best interpretation of a cowboy song I've ever heard - and it touches me somewhere really deep, where only music can go.

John
What's the funniest thing that ever happened to you?
Jim
Phil Matthews told me in 1988 that I could make it as a solo entertainer.
John
Your greatest triumph?
Jim
Making it as a solo entertainer.
John
Your biggest challenge?
Jim
Making it as a solo entertainer.
John
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Jim
Making it as a solo entertainer.
John
If you could change one thing about you?
Jim
I'd do away with my modesty - it's been a big drawback to my career - otherwise I'm perfect.
John
Where do you think Australian country music is headed in the future?
Jim
I don't know - I wish I did because I'd take a short cut and get there before it arrived. I hope it's somewhere very Australian.
John
Do you think country music in Australia gets the recognition it deserves?
Jim
No - I think rock music gets the recognition country music deserves - and country music, on commercial radio, gets the recognition rap music deserves ... ie none!!
John
Do you think country performers are treated as well by record companies, etc, in Australia as other types of musicians are?
Jim
Probably not but , let's face it, most country artists are house-trained and almost human, unlike rock and roll musicians who can't be trusted out on their own and need special handlers and lots of attention, like someone to tie their shoe laces, sign their autographs for them and apologise for their behaviour when they've gone.
John
Earliest musical memory?
Jim
The hymns in church when I was about two - I remember thinking they could be funnier.
John
Favourite country artist?
Jim
Randy Travis
John
and Favourite non-country artist?
Jim
Dean Martin
John
recording company?
Jim
Compass Bros and Singabout Australia
John
Latest release ??
Jim
"The Best of Jim Haynes Live"
John
What do you think about country fans?
Jim
I think they're great in the summer - especially if the motel isn't air-conditioned.
John
Why do you think country fans are so loyal?
Jim
Because intelligence actually increases west of the Great Divide and country people know when someone is being genuine and they respond to artists who know about their life and relate to them rather than copying whatever the current musical fad might be.
John
What was your first live show like?
Jim
Dead.
John
First Release?
Jim
'Mow Ya Lawn' for Festival Records (not counting Bandy Bill & Co)
John
AWARDS?
Jim

Comedy Song of the year - 4 times
Bush Laureate Book of the year - 3 times
Album of the year 1998

John
BORN?
Jim
No - accident in a science lab.
John
eDUCATED?
Jim
Not yet - still working on it.
John
MARRIED?
Jim
Once too often
John
KIDS?
Jim
Not yet, haven't figured out how.
John
STAR SIGN?
Jim
Don't believe in astrology - it's a load of Taurus.
John
HOBBIES?
Jim
Writing books and drinking too much red wine with my editor, or anyone else.
John
FOOTBALL TEAM?
Jim
Weelabarabak Wagtails - Sydney Swans - South Sydney Rabbitohs - NSW Waratahs and London Soccer team QPR.
John
CAR?
Jim
Subaru Liberty station wagon (Robyn won't let me drive the Audi 'cos all the knobs are back to front and I put the windscreen wipers on to turn corners).
John
FAVOURITE FOOD?
Jim
Anything not prepared by Pete Denahy on tour.
John
FAVOURITE DRINK?
Jim
Really expensive red wine paid for by Graeme Connors.
John
Person You'd most like to meet?
Jim
The mongrel who stole my wallet in 1979.
John
three people you'd like to have to dinner?
Jim
Jeff Fenech, Killer Kowalski and the mongrel who stole my wallet in 1979 - we'd soon sort him out!
John
What's the best thing to happen to you that wouldn't have happened if you weren't involved with country music?
Jim
It's a dead-heat between the following:
Singing 'Lights On The Hill' with Slim and Joy every night on tour.
Opening the 1998 Mullumbimby Show.
Singing 'Royal Telephone' on stage with Jimmy Little.
Getting the Wagga Wagga Tourism Award in 1998.
Singing 'Ramblin' Boy' on stage with Tom Paxton.
Not having to teach another Year Nine History Class ... ever!!!
Singing 'Home On The Range' on stage in America with Riders In The Sky.
Smoking good cigars with Graeme Connors.
Performing with Ian Tyson at the Cowboy Gathering in Nevada.
Having a number one hit with 'Cheryl went Feral'.
Seeing Peter Denahy's motel room on tour and realizing how neat I am.
Recording songs with Ted Egan, Mary & Rita Schnieder, Beccy Cole, Felicity, Dobe Newton and Greg Champion.
Being rich enough to never have to eat another choko.
John
Worst Career Move?
Jim
Appearing as 'Hawaiian Elvis' in Gina Jeffries Video Clip. There was only one Elvis wig left when I arrived on the set (late as usual) and I think it was left over from 'Planet of the Apes' - luckily I looked so bad that nobody recognised me!!
John
Do you prefer the oldies or the modern sound of country music?
Jim
I think a mixture is good. In Australia I enjoy all the oldies, especially Tex Morton and Slim, but the musical skill of the players used by artists like Lee Kernaghan, Graeme Connors, Adam Brand and Gina Jeffries is better now than ever before and makes the 'new' country music very exciting. In the U.S.A. I love the old cowboy songs but my favourite band is The Mavericks.
John
Dream Holiday?
Jim

Actually I recently dreamed I was stuck on a desert island with Dianna Corcoran, Melinda Schneider and Amber Lawrence !!! It was awful - the worst nightmare I've ever had .... because in the dream .... I was Tania Kernaghan!!!!

The truth is - I tour so much that, when I get home, I never want to go anywhere!!! So, wherever Robyn wants to go - that's usually France.)

John
GOAL FOR THE FUTURE?
Jim
To be the best Jim Haynes impersonator in the business.
John
motto for life?
Jim
It's not a dress rehearsal - burn brightly.

Check out Stone the Crows Festival - held at Wagga Wagga - Every Easter

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