“I’m not going to put on a Nina Simone record and think ‘man, I kick ass!’ I’d be a real jerk if I did that! Or I’d be very deluded!” Jeff joked when asked about his secret to success. “I try to maintain a perspective on why I do what I do in the first place, and the simple answer is I fall in love with music and I just felt compelled to give it a go, you know?”
The humble multi-ARIA winner is back on the road this winter to promote his latest, and in my humble opinion, greatest release yet, I Live in My Head a Lot These Days (out now through ABC/Universal). “This tour so far has been fantastic. I’ve done the first few shows off in Adelaide, Fremantle and Ravenswood in WA. It’s been great, I’ve loved it. Over the next month and a half I’ll be everywhere!”
As he zigzags the country this month Jeff concedes he’s no stranger to the gypsy lifestyle that goes hand in hand with being a touring muso, but he freely admits these days he relishes the simple pleasures of family life. “I certainly look forward to playing shows, seeing new places and meeting new people, but having a family now I really enjoy being home. I wanna see my kids grow up. So these days when the time to tour comes up there’s always the feeling of ‘oh, I’m going to miss everyone,’” he said with a sigh, “but it’s all about balance. In my twenties, life on the road was very different. I was away all the time.”
Every bit the travelling troubadour, Jeff has called many places home before settling in Melbourne. “Geelong is my old hometown, but I was in Sydney for a while and in Brisbane for a bit – although I lived in my van for longer!” he chuckled.
Loved at home and away, Jeff Lang is arguably one of Australia’s finest singer-songwriters. He has toured the globe, received critical acclaim and won numerous awards, but when asked about some of his most memorable moments, one springs to mind immediately: “I opened for Bob Dylan! He’s a hero of mine and sets an immeasurably high standard. It’s a shame I’ll be away when he tours in August. You can never write Bob off!
“But I’ve found it doesn’t help to compare yourself to other artists, and I learnt long ago not to hang my sense of self-worth around whether I get an award or not because you’re setting yourself up for disappointment usually. Though please don’t get me wrong, it’s not like awards mean nothing. I take them as someone saying ‘good onya son, we think you’re doing good work!’ And that’s lovely to hear,” Jeff smiled.
Those who know him will tell you he is somewhat of a loveable larrikin, a title he embraces wholeheartedly. “I never take myself too seriously. Like my new album title suggests, I hear all my thoughts all the time! And if you heard some of the shit that goes on in my head…,” Jeff replied cheekily. “Seriously though, I’m looking forward to getting back and playing in my old stomping ground with my band and new songs. It’ll be really good fun!”
When&Where: Old Hepburn Hotel, Hepburn Springs – July 6
Written by Natalie Rogers