Rose Tattoo Vocalist Shows No Signs Of Slowing Down At Age 60


May 20, 2008

Rod Bennett of the Express Advocate conducted the following interview with Rose Tattoo vocalist Angry Anderson.

For Rose Tattoo frontman Angry Anderson the rigours of touring can be tough on family life but enjoyable all the same.

“I’m in a bus with a bunch of smelly guys, playing in a rock band five or six nights a week,” he said. “Do we enjoy it? Yes, probably more than ever.”

Anderson turned 60 last year and shows no signs of entering a nice genteel retirement.

“I think the time a bloke starts thinking about it (turning 60) is when he goes through a mid-life crisis,” the father of four adult children said.

“Men might think, ‘Oh, what have I done, what can I do, what have I missed?’ We all know the cliche: they break out and buy a Harley Davidson

“I did all that when I was 20.”

Anderson did a lot of things in his 20s, much of it was fuelled by a troubled childhood that involved domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse.

He was born Gary Anderson in Coburg, Melbourne, and grew up in a home with a domineering and violent father.

As a result of that he got into alcohol and drugs and began singing in a rock ‘n’ roll band.

“I had an uncle who was a drummer and he influenced me musically and allowed me to express myself this way,” he said.

“I think it’s important for people to understand the motivation for why they do things.

“A supportive mum and dad builds your view of family but in my case one person was negative, destructive, violent.

“But my mum was a strong woman, who went about life in a quiet way. In my teenage years, I grew up looking for strong male influences.

“My stepfather was a huge influence, by giving mum peace and security, and by showing me the unconditional love that I knew men could have. He showed me what a decent man could be.”

In the same year Anderson moved to Sydney, former Infamous Buffalo bass player Pete Wells was looking for musos for a new band.

He had three conditions: all members had to have tattoos, short hair and an aggressive street cred look.

So, when Anderson met with Wells, all boxes were ticked and the pair hit it off straight away.

In the 30-odd years since, the band has experienced the ups and downs of a rock band with a passport stamped by its longevity, including the death of Wells, from cancer, and death of Ian Rilen.

“I used to think, do I really want to do this,” Anderson said.

“But nowadays when I look across the audience during a gig I see people who weren’t even alive when we started,” he said.

“I have a feeling we all end up where we’re meant to be anyway.”

Rose Tattoo, featuring Anderson, guitarist Mick Cocks, bass player Steve King, drummer Paul De Marco and guitarist, the Central Coast’s own Dai Pritchard will play Key Largo, in Crowne Plaza Terrigal, on Friday, May 23.

Doors open at 8pm and tickets are $25 from Florida Beach Bar, or $30 at the door on the night.

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