Jimmy Barnes opens up on new ‘vices’

23rd October 2017 10:00 AM
Jimmy Barnes’ Working Class Man memoir has been released. Picture: Supplied Jimmy Barnes’ Working Class Man memoir has been released. Picture: Supplied

JIMMY Barnes now measures his vices by a nip rather than a bottle.

To lubricate his gravelled tonsils before a show, he will sip a shot of single malt whiskey as he runs through a series of wall-shaking warm-up screams backstage.

After decades of a hedonistic rock'n'roll lifestyle, abusing his body with alcohol and drugs to escape the mental anguish of the harrowing childhood he shared in his first memoir Working Class Boy.

As its sequel Working Class Man is released today, Barnes said his new vice is pilates and recently he tried surfing.

And his grandfather babysitting duties keep him way too busy to risk lapsing into old habits.

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Barnes recently learned how to surf while on holiday in the Maldives. Picture: Instagram/Jimmy Barnes
Barnes recently learned how to surf while on holiday in the Maldives. Picture: Instagram/Jimmy Barnes

"I will sometimes have a drink of whiskey at night if I am putting my feet up and watching some TV. I'll have a nice single malt whisky," he said.

"I don't drink to get smashed anymore. I'm not destructive anymore. I can have a glass of wine, I'm not a big wine drinker, but if it's a really nice wine, I'll have a taste.

"I never drank in my life for the taste, I drank to get hammered. Not anymore. I just want the taste. I'm not taking drugs. My vice at the moment is pilates. I'm getting pretty good and I'm starting to get strength.

"I'm just doing normal s*** I'm writing songs again, I've been recording. I don't have time to waste. If I had a big night now it would f*** up my schedule for so long, I don't have time to be out of commission. I don't know how I did it before."

Doting grandparents Jane and Jimmy Barnes are always up for babysitting duties. Picture: Instagram/Jimmy Barnes.
Doting grandparents Jane and Jimmy Barnes are always up for babysitting duties. Picture: Instagram/Jimmy Barnes.

In the Working Class Man memoir, Barnes reveals time and time again how he tried to conquer his addictions and get sober.

He tried everything, taking sessions with wellness guru Deepak Chopra, meditating with monks, going to spas and rehab clinics.

After decades of falling off the wagon, he finally found a therapist he could work with to deal with the bigger issues of childhood trauma which came flooding back into his memory after watching the Snowtown movie in his hotel room while on tour.

"I think one of the things that was really important was around 2012 I started going to see therapist. I tried to see a few before but as soon as they said something I didn't like, I wanted to smash them in the face and leave," he said.

"I knew I had to see someone and finally I found this one person Peter who seemed to work for me. I still didn't like what he said and I was an uncomfortable as s ... sitting down and talking about myself, especially about the mistakes I made.

"But we persevered and for a while, I was going twice a week. Peter would have wanted me to go seven days a week because I was like a case study.

"Eventually the rapport happened and he started helping. That, with the help of my family, and me helping myself, taking responsibility for myself, I took my own power back with a bit of help from friends."

Jimmy and Jane Barnes love to hit the beach for a morning swim. But not in stage gear. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
Jimmy and Jane Barnes love to hit the beach for a morning swim. But not in stage gear. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Next year Barnes will again take to the stage to share the ups and downs of his life on the road with Cold Chisel and then as a solo artist, falling in love with his wife Jane and starting their family and his mental health struggles.

The Working Class Man: An Evening of Stories and Songs tour goes on sale and will follow the record-breaking run of shows he did in late 2016 and earlier this year in support of his first book.

Those shows often had the audience and himself in tears as he bravely opened up about the damage wrought by family violence and poverty.

"I'm a little nervous. It's delicate stuff to talk about but it's stuff that has to be spoken about. And it's not unique to me," he said.

"And it's not all doom or gloom, there's some funny s*** in there."

Having added best-selling author to his long list of achievements as one of Australia's most successful and beloved musical heroes, would Barnes contemplate writing another book?

"I'm going to write horror fiction next. I think it would be easier. I'm losing sleep with this s*** Who would be the monster? Probably me again," he said laughing.

Working Class Man by Jimmy Barnes is out today. The Working Class Man: Stories and Songs tour is on sale from 10am.