Jim Moginie & The Family Dog

Jim Moginie and The Family Dog are off the Leash

Jim Moginie is a man with a lot going on and no plans to slow down.

With his band, The Family Dog, Moginie will be hitting the Tanks Arts Centre this Saturday 3rd of August, off the back of late 2018’s album “Bark Overtures”

A a founding member of iconic Midnight Oil, Moginie has his hands full these days with a myriad of other musical projects including owning Oceanic Studios, where he has recorded and produced with the likes of Sarah Blasko, Kasey Chambers, and The Sleepy Jackson. Touring as a guest player with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and recording two albums with The Break.

He has also recorded with his folk outfits Shameless Seamus, The Tullamore Dews, The Tinkers and avant-garde ensemble, The Electric Guitar Orchestra, not to mention his penchant for collecting tea pots.

Formed in 2006, The Family dog comprises Moginie, Kent Steedman and Paul Loughhead of Aussie punk rock legends The Celibate Rifles, along with multi instrumentalist Tim Kevin (Youth Group, Exiles, La Huva)

Moginie is looking forward to getting back to the Far North and performing on stage at The Tanks again.

I love the sound in there, its a bit sort of Agricultural. Its a lovely place to play and right there in the middle of rainforest, its just extraordinary, a juxtaposition of progress and conservation”

The Family Dog, which Moginie describes as a “party band”, came together in 2006 at a friends 50th birthday party.

“We’ve been described as a cross between The Beatles and the MC5, pretty ‘guitary’. We’ve got Ken and Paul from the Celibate Rifles in the bad. Aus Rock royalty in there I think”

“It doesn’t take many prisoners, it rocks along really well”

Moginie describes the onstage feeling as improvisational, and you get the sense he’s looking forward to a good time.

“We will do a few Oils songs and maybe some Rifles songs. Come along and dance”

Bark Overtures, which was recorded at Moginie’s Oceanic Studios in Sydneys northern beaches, howls happily at the moon with a jam session like quality. Each track is unexpected and surprising, varying from fuzzy psychedelic rock opener, Blind Devotion, to eerie and atmospheric on instrumental Samadhi Dog, while never taking itself too seriously on tracks like Rock and Arseholes.

“Theres a freedom in The Family Dog that isn’t totally constrained by making three minute pop songs, its the ability to do a dumb song like Rock, and it’s supposed to be dumb you know. I think if I did that in Midnight Oil I probably wouldn’t be able to get away with it”

Moginie finds inspiration from wildly varying places from MC5 and Australia’s The Masters Apprentices to the New York new wave of the late 70s with inflections of the shoe gazing of 90’s Sonic Youth and Pavement.

Moginie describes Bark Overtures as “unguarded, not particularly slick, we didn’t want to clean it up to much, its a warts and all performance”

On being compared to John Lennon vocally, Moginie is delighted, “I idolise every utterance that came out of the mans mouth”

With a 25 year career with Midnight Oil already under his belt, Moginie hasn’t wasted a minute since the band called time in 2002.

“Ive done a lot of things with music in my life since the Oils split up, I went into playing with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and producing and being side man on sessions, you know. to make a living really”

“I was also putting out solo records and playing Irish music and surf music”

“Im a keen studier of Irish music and traditional Irish music especially, so I go over to Ireland and play over there”

Having a multitude of side projects keeps things interesting for Moginie.

“I think when you come back to your main game, you’re fresh again”

Moginie, who has never been one to shy away from politics in his song writing, most explosively with Midnight Oil, remains philosophical yet hopeful in the current political climate.

“Being a leftist 70s hippy, Im sad to see a lot of the progress going backwards.”

Though disappointed about “a flagrant disregard for and laughing in the face of environmental issues”, which was a key focus of Midnight Oils biggest hits, Moginie sees the potential in the younger generation carrying the torch he helped to light.

“Theres a lot of young people doing things. There’s a lot of hope there”

However he remains humble about his contribution to the political zeitgeist of Australia in the 70s and 80s.

“I don’t think we caused any political changes, I think we were there and echoing that, and trying to have a conversation with our audience as a political “band”. I think we succeeded in someways with that. Its interesting to use music as a Trojan Horse for ideas, putting ideas into songs. If its about something, music can really stand the test of time”

For the diehard ‘Oils fans hoping for a crumb, here’s the good news..

“Im going to the studio with the Oils later in the year. We’ve got a few numbers up our sleeve I think. Hopefully we will have something for next year at some point and maybe tour”

As for down time outside music projects, apart from an aforementioned bourgeoning tea pot collection and a love of swimming; “Music’s my whole thing, that’s why I’m here”

“The older I get the more I realise thats what its all about. Doing the things that you have in your imagination and your mind as an artist”

Stacey Brown

Jim Moginie and the Family Dog
Saturday 3rd August
Tanks Arts Centre
Doors open 6:30pm | Show starts 7:30pm

Tickets available through Ticketlink

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