The Good Die Young


I grew up in a haze of rock and roll. The eighties were my time to kick butt and if I am honest, part of me is still trapped in that decade. My gaudy fashion sense and big hair still linger much to the consternation of my adult sons. I never really got 'grunge' or the boy band thing that pumped and pounced through the nineties and since then I don't know what's going on. Bieber and One Direction? I fear we've done a back-flip and landed in the late seventies of Leif Garrett and Sean Cassidy! God help us!

Ageing happens to us all and we all hear from the elderly that they really begin to feel their age when their peers start dropping like flies. Well, having spent my most formative adult years in the Australian pub rock scene, I am beginning to feel that tap on the shoulder that says.....closer, nearer....sooner.

Yesterday we said good-bye to Chrissy Amphlett, a rock goddess who sprang up in the eighties and shone right till the end. She was only fifty-three and was felled by breast cancer and ravaged by MS. To be honest, like the words of her band's iconic song - 'The Good Die Young,' it's a rock and roll curse to leave this world prematurely. Just like professional boxers tend to become punch drunk and check out early, musicians and those living the rock life-style tend to live faster than others and run out of time sooner. Same amount of life but packed into a smaller span of years.

If I'd been sensible and become a school teacher, I doubt I would have buried so many of my peers by the age of forty-seven. Over the years I've seen some roadie friends killed on the road, casualties of touring, fareweled Guy McDonough and Brad Robinson from Australian Crawl. Twenty-nine and thirty-eight years respectively; Steve Gilpin from Mi-Sex, aged forty-two; Marc Hunter, Dragon, forty-four; Shirley Straughn, Skyhooks, forty-nine; Michael Hutchence, INXS, thirty-seven; Harvey James, Sherbert,  fifty-eight, Paul Hester, Crowded House, forty-six; James Freud, The Models, fifty-one; Steve Prestwich, Cold Chisel, fifty-six. Chris Bailey, The Angels, sixty-two.

Then there were those whose paths I never crossed - Elvis Presley, forty-two, Bon Scott, AC/DC, thirty-four; Jeff Buckley, thirty and all those in the 27 Club, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones and many more.

A rock and roll life is a life of power and passion, pleasure and pain. It's glows incandescently but burns so bright all too briefly.

See you later, Chrissy Amphlett. You were a hell of a girl and I was honoured to have stomped beside you, ever so briefly.

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