Andrew Parisi

Andrew Parisi, you’ve been around since the early 90’s and accomplished some extraordinary things from managing or representing Pete Murray, The Living End,  Automatic, 1200 Techniques. The morning after girls, Rail, Mark ‘Chopper’ Read of course and many more. You booked the Evelyn hotel the HiFi Bar and Ballroom and the Croxton Hotel at one time was a chief editor at Inpress Magazine and headed up a couple of Australia’s top film distro companies.

You also have a black belt in karate. You’re extremely modest and understated about your achievements. What attracted you to being a manager and what has changed from the 1990s?

You’ve just described me. I feel like a cockroach, a cockroach you can’t kill. 

Ha ha. Well, what’s different from the 1990’s? What got you started in the first place because you were a player. I know you were a keyboard player. 

What got me what got me into it? The love of music really. I mean I’ve always been passionate about music and really. I kind of fell into the behind the scenes stuff like everybody else. Most people that get into it they usually just the thing that kind of happens. I never intended on managing bands, I never intended on booking rooms, I wanted to just play and I had no idea where it was going to go. It’s just all I wanted to do and that’s just the way the kind of cards fell. 

You must realise at some point you were pretty good at it though? 

I don’t know about that, I mean I’ve certainly kind of had my moments. But there’s also been lots of kind of bleak times as well and so I think you know those moments where you kind of think, I’m okay at this you also have those moments where you think, god I’m bloody terrible at this and what am I doing and I’ve made a really big mistake and I should really just go back to school and just start again. 

Understandable. you know and you’ve been in the industry many times and you and I have worked shoulder to shoulder at Shock Records packing boxes when things got tough. What made you bounce back time and time again back into the music industry. 

Good question. I think ultimately my love of music as kind of brought me back every time.

Why not as a player though why back into this?

Because as a player, I’m an old man now. I’m happy to play for fun. I’m happy to do it because I enjoyed it because I still enjoy it and that’s kind of really the you know, I’ve kind of got boundaries with that stuff I just don’t think I’m particularly marketable or anything like that. So that’s kind of not even a consideration anymore.

But I can see in a lot of different acts regardless of their musical styles you know the kind of passion in those bands and the kind of connection and that sort of magic that that is really rare and when I see it I wanna be able to help them and help them kind of achieve the things they want to achieve. So that really is kind of the catalyst for everything you know?

It’s just that seeing that drive that I had as a kid and a just yeah just want to make sure that that these acts kind of move in the right direction and get caught up in a lot of the nonsense that exists. 

You seem very happy in that role in that sort of behind the scenes role you do it really well. I mean it’s something that’s more comfortable with you?

I guess I like the fact of not being centre of attention and just being behind the scenes. But I’d like to be able to contribute I like to be part of the story and it’s incredibly rewarding when there are when these acts are having these amazing achievements. But I’m happy for them to be front and center and I don’t really want to do press. I don’t really want to do podcasts… John.

I’ve never met someone with more resilience and composure under pressure. I remember getting a call when I was in Queensland once on holidays. When you are wrongfully under attack or arguably one of the biggest film distributors in Australia it was a really bad experience for you. You dusted it off and kept rolling. How important is having resilience in this game?

I think it’s everything. I think if you are unable to, I mean look, there is no question in any industry particularly in entertainment it is brutal. It is full of idiot cowboys some really great people in the industry as well and I think it is par for course that you’re going to get rolled at some point. That you’re going to fall over whether you’re going to make mistakes they’re all completely normal things and if you think that’s not going to happen to you kidding yourself.

You also need to know that that’s just part of the game then you just need to pick yourself up and kind of go okay, well that’s just part of the deal and I need to keep moving on and I think some people are not very good at coping with that stuff and that’s totally cool because we need all types of people to make up the world we’re in. But I think to be a survivor in this industry you just have to be able. You have to be relentless and you know without contacting anyone over or anything like that but you just need to.

You need to have you know you need to have a decent amount of self belief. But you don’t want to get into, there’s a syndrome and there’s a name for it and I can’t think of it right now. It’s not Dunder Mifflin because that’s the TV show, but there’s a there’s a particular effect and it’s when you have some itself belief and you’re actually really terrible at something.

No matter what anyone thinks you just keep keep going because you’re just full of self belief and I think it’s important to have that balance and understand that yes you know having ideals and having self belief is really important but you also have got to balance that with making sure you’re doing the right thing with the people you’re working with, with your family, it’s got to be a balance and there’s got to be some sort of sign that it’s actually working or else maybe consider that you should do something else. 

You told me just last week how you internalize a lot of this is a bad thing?

I think internalising anything is ultimately a bad thing because it’s got to come out somewhere. And you know, I’ve had a lifetime of suffering anxiety and all sorts of minor issues like that which are probably just a direct result of internalising things and obviously I’m much much better at kind of managing all that stuff these days.

It’s important to just kind of have perspective sometimes have a break. Go unpack boxes go and do some other stuff. So you kind of realise what’s important to you and sometimes you know you can pack boxes and go you know what, I just don’t want to do anything in that industry. I hate it and other times it gives you perspective.

Perspective is really important and the thing that gives you perspective is time away and breaks because you know often you just get caught up in this cycle and then you’re kind of five years in and you’ve got no idea what you’re doing why you’re doing it you hate it and you hate everyone around you.

So it’s kind of a game of balance and there’s no right or wrong and you just need to kind of trust your gut instincts and if you feel good about it. I guess my ultimate driver has been if I wake up in the morning if I spring out of bed in the morning and go you know what I really love what I do and I’m really looking forward to the day to day which is 99 percent of the time, then I know I’m doing the right thing.

If I get up and I just go, I just want to go to work today or you know then there’s you know other than the kind of having a bad day or whatever then there’s something wrong with that and you need to fix it because it’s a rebirth because most people don’t feel that way do they. It’s sort of like a shadow.

But you’re right there in there answering and loving it. I just think you get one go at life you can’t you can’t have another go. You never 20 again never 30 again you never any those things again. So I just think you got to just try and do what you can and sometimes you’ve got to balance it and you’ve got to sometimes take a job delivering pizza or whatever it is you need do to kind of make keep your passion alive because that’s what drives us as humans.

Just kind of doing things we love and if you can balance that with other things great. Not every day is great and not every year is great. And so in the scheme of things I think you just kind of can’t lose perspective and you just got to go well what’s important to me what do I want to do. How can I contribute to the world? What do I contribute? What do I contribute and what do I not want to be involved in? It’s not a great answer but. 

I’ve been around the game like you, for 30 years. I’ve always seen it as some kind of wild west, sort of unregulated and always seems to attract crooks where the tough survive and the weak get crushed in some ways. Is this the way you see it or has it changed over the years.

Yes, it is completely unregulated. It’s not for the faint hearted. But there are also some really great people in the industry and people who I have who are very ethical and stand by their morals. What was your question?  

The wild west, do you think the industry has always attracted crooks and you think it’s changed or are those kind of people gravitating towards this industry?

I think it’s still. I think there is still a lot of crooks. I think it’s harder now I think crooks come undone much faster now just because of the nature of the way we communicate with social media and whatever. Particularly in Melbourne, there’s a very strong call out culture. So if you do the wrong thing too many times people won’t touch you.

You can make mistakes and it’s totally cool. But yeah I think there’s kind of a finite period of that and there’s been you know lots of examples of without naming names but you know there’s been kind of good examples of festival promoters or whatever who have just not paid bands or whatever and they might go for two years three years and then that’s it. No one will touch them and no want to give them a band and they’re done and their name is mud.

So, yes it is the Wild West. But at the same time if you can find some decent people and they are absolutely out there you know you’ll find they’ll kind of guide you from that stuff and only because they’ve been around or whatever.

It’s been said that Napster was the turning point in the beginning the end of the music industry but we’re also hearing recently there’s been a bit of an upturn in what effect his technology had on the business. Is it all about the online metrics now?

It’s a big part of it. I don’t know, I mean like I run a couple of venues and I’m involved in a touring band and all of the income is from Live. So that is definitely now the leading form of income and it’s interesting because initially when Napster came along and when there was kind of all the pirating and all the rest of it and then Spotify come along and they’ve legalised pirating essentially.

Hello to the Spotify lawyers! For a long time people were just in the wilderness because they didn’t know how to make it work and what it was going to mean and all the rest of it. But now I think you know all the labels are all making money again.

Streaming is a really easy form for people access now. If you have a look at the patterns you know you’ll still find older people will still want to go into their retail outlet and buy off the shelf because that’s what they know and that’s what they feel safe with.

But for the majority and for the kind of new crop that’s coming through, it’s the norm to kind of just download whatever you want. And so bands are now kind of making money again and labels and making money again. And even though the bands aren’t making as much as they used to in the 90’s where like an average band would sell 30,000 records and that’s unheard of now.

It just means that labels can invest in bands again or whatever. So it’s not all it’s not all bad you know, labels do all kind of advances again. You know it’s turned. 

It’s not quite back to the heady 90’s but is this upturn got something to do with those three existing major labels infiltrating streaming services? Have they got their claws in there, in a way that now they’re able to pull revenue from them?

Partly, but it’s also just but it’s also just the people being educated and people being really initially being really fearful of or even for myself like I just didn’t want to stream of Spotify because I felt like I wasn’t paying bands properly and I’d rather just go and buy vinyl or or whatever and felt like that they would actually just kind of get a higher thing.

But the fact is that there is so much momentum now and it’s you know you can’t and in a time the tide has happened you can’t you can’t turn it it’s done and then go away we kind of that that that’s the mechanics of the way the industry works now.

So really it’s a matter of kind of going well, if that’s our income and and recordings are really a marketing tool now for live shows for finding opportunities for synchronisation and publishing all that kind of thing for all those other merchandise sales all those sort of things.

So really where the focus is to be on records and you know a band could just basically live in a studio and spend five years recording an album like Def Leppard or whatever and that’s all they do and hardly ever tour. Now bands have to go out and actually tour and that’s where the money comes and that’s where the money is anyway. 

I read the other day that Drake has the US number one album and shifting only 29,000 copies a week! 

That’s right.

Compare that to what would have been 10, 15 years ago. 

Well you know a gold record 15 years ago in America was 500,000 gold records actually you know and you know forget that this is never going to happen those numbers. But so you know this is different. So there’s just different kind of measurements on what is a gold record now and whatever and it’s all based on a number of streams or whatever and it’s okay we just have to adapt but it’s it’s far from broken. I mean it’s a thriving thriving scene everywhere. 

Well that’s good to hear that. That’s what I want to get at here what is actually going on now compared to what it was cause you know we came from the 90’s and there was always innovative people around who were prepared to spend money and develop bands. 

It’s a different era but it’s also in the same way it’s an incredibly productive time. Particularly with Melbourne, there are so many great bands that come out of Melbourne there’s a thriving scene. The punk scene is you know just exploding here. There’s kind of really great electronic artists stuff going on here, you can go out seven nights a week and there’s always stuff on.

So it’s far from broken and you kind of find people who are older who just go ah they don’t make music the way they used to or whatever and it’s because fashion has changed in their tastes being rewarded so they think that the system is broken but honestly you can go out on a Tuesday night to seven different venues and this stuff on everywhere.

To answer your question how’s it changed. It’s changing in that the revenue streams come from different sources but it’s still as lucrative as always. And I think that there’s one really interesting thing.

Once upon a time up until the 90’s I guess record companies were the tastemakers whatever they signed if they signed in the 70’s they signed led zeppelin then and then all of a sudden all the kids would be into Led Zeppelin everyone would try and kind of create that kind of Zeppelin sound just as an example. Now people will discover what they want to discover. The record companies cannot control what’s cool and what’s not anymore.

They’re not tastemakers anymore so you can be completely independent and if you’re good and there’s some sort of magic that’s going on people will find you and it will just kind of find its own legs and then the record companies will come along and say can we be part of this 

So terrestrial radio has got something to do with that, in terms of Kingsmill (Triple J). I read the other day he’s seen as the number one tastemaker in Australia. Is that a fair call or do you think? Or do they hold the cards that they use to?

I’m the wrong person to ask and the reason why I say that is because the band I look after [Amyl and the Sniffers] are selling out shows all over the world. But they don’t play them here, so I’m not sure how relevant they are and by me saying that they’ll probably just never play them because of that. But you know they certainly haven’t needed them to get to where they are because they’ve created their own fan base and they’re all legitimate fans.

The other issue with something like a national broadcaster is if they play you then you’re selling out a thousand capacity rooms in a heartbeat. The minute they stop playing you’re just not doing that and it’s really over and it’s kind of sad for a lot of those bands where they’re super hot for two years and then they’re done.

But you have bands like King Gizzard who just break all the rules and it’s irrelevant whether it would go play them or not because they’re selling out to five to seven thousand people in every city around the world they play.

You’ve had King Gizzard down here a number of times haven’t you?

I have. I have. And what do we normally say we get a full house here. Terrible they’re terrible people. 

I would love to get into the numbers because a lot of the readers here will want to know what this is all about because like you just said, it’s about their live revenue and they do pull big numbers?

Every show they’ve done here they’ve sold out in minutes. I mean they’re they’re a phenomenon unto themselves. But all of the acts here sell out and 95 percent of our shows are SOLD OUT. It’s huge revenue for those acts. 

So can we talk we talk numbers? You don’t have to use names just give me some ballpark figures because I think that what we’re saying is, if the revenue an alive and well, I encourage readers to get into that side of things. It’s nice for them to know what kind of money is out there. 

Well, I’m probably not in a place to tell you the exact numbers but let’s just say if you have a thousand people in a room and they sell their tickets for an average of 50 dollars a ticket selling for then you can grab your calculator on your iPhone. 

What kind of cut does the venue take?

So most of the Melbourne venues will take something like three to four dollars a ticket and then the rest goes to the band. So they have to take their production or whatever. So that’s generally kind of the rule of thumb. So it’s incredibly lucrative. So then you need to multiply that by the number of shows you do around the country.

You need to deduct flights need to deduct accommodation any kind of touring personnel. And so on and so forth. But you know that’s where all the money is and you can make a lot of money and I guess if you have that if your objective is to kind of play internationally then you kind of save all that money here and you kind of stick it into flights and stick it into everything else and you try and replicate that in other in other cities.

Can you get a kind of an audience here without Triple J. 

Yep, totally and I think again YouTube’s a really interesting example too you know where there’s lots of we don’t really do that stuff here but there’s lots of kind of YouTube artists that will literally come out and they’re completely unknown to people of our vintage.

But you know they will come in and they’ll go and do three Palais and they like YouTube sensations or whatever. So the idea that you have to record a song Take it to radio hopefully they kind of play the track then you release another single and then you do an album all that kind of tradition stuff’s gone was just gone. 

My band Alcotomic in 1997 got offered a very good deal by Polygram Records based on word of mouth and a cassette demo. What do bands do now?

No but it’s the same thing.

Because it’s using different channels? 

Yes. It was just the same thing you know band records you know Amyl recorded an LP really quickly at home after work one night, they put it on Spotify they put it on all they kind of socials through their friends everyone loved it. They started getting lots of likes they put a show together, all their mates come along and it’s the same groundswell.

It’s the same thing except this time the band actually have the control instead of a record company coming in and going, well we need the aggregator here to kind of make it work. The bands could control it and then it’s up to them, whether you have bands like you know Cable Ties or King Gizzard it or whatever who are completely independent in every way and they control everything themselves.

Or you have other acts who kind of go okay well this is great but we’re just going to bring in some people to help us with this because we’re not very good at it or we don’t want to do it or we want to spend our time being complete creative or whatever.

So, you can still kind of employ all those things but I guess what I’m saying is bands have much more control now which is great. But they still need managers John! 

You I used to own a scooter shop called Scooterama in Fitzroy. I’m not sure if you remember the Honda model mantra and you obviously cut that deal with them as you always do, and their mantra was the privilege of you selling our supreme products, you’ll make no money. I mean we’d sell a seven thousand dollars Honda scooter, we make 50 bucks. Your profits will be built into the add ons. Is that what’s happened to music? Is the music your promotional tool and then all your profits are from the add ons?

Essentially. You still get some revenue out of it but it’s slim pickings compared to what you would have. You know like Something for Kate would have made out of one of their albums back in the 90’s you know. But but yeah absolutely. But all those other tangibles are like serious. 

I mean like, I watch the merchandise the t shirt sales at the venue on any given show and it is phenomenal. It’s just hand over fist because every kid where once upon a time you know we’d go up and buy vinyl and you’d be poring over that record for hours and looking at every single whatever that doesn’t exist now.

So kids will want a T-shirt they want the cap and they want the turntable of the vinyl slip and they want all the kind of things they can get. So it’s just it’s the same income it’s just in different spots. So you know this idea that the industry is broken it’s not, it’s just changed is changed. 

I think readers need to know this because it can be a little bit overwhelming sometimes but to think that there is that a different way to approach it now is what it’s got to be about yeah?

Yeah. And you know and the thing is like as I say you know we can’t control we can’t go out and go, this is the greatest thing ever and people the kids are just going to love it. I mean the kids all decide the kids or just decide what’s cool and what’s not. You can’t control that.

That’s why there’s musicians who are really, really good and they just go nowhere because it just doesn’t connect. And the thing is if there’s no traction there then there’s no traction and you can’t can’t force it.

And you kind of see it with labels try and, maybe there’s sort of TV shows are good examples those music TV shows where that kind of sign something and put it out and like compared to the when it was a novelty where it worked whereas now we’re we’re kind of seven seasons in or whatever.

I mean can you tell me who the last person was who won The Voice?

No Idea.

Same. But we all know Guy Sebastian cause he was first right?

It used to be the industry mantra right. It was all about song. If you got a great song it was said that’s all that mattered. Is the song is important now as it used to be or is it more than that? And you know you’re the man to talk to. 

Why, because because I’m such an incredible songwriter?

Because you manage the new brought new up punk rockers Amyl and The Sniffers who as we’ve said before are in Europe and USA doing a tour at the moment, do they have the songs? Or is it more than that?

It’s the same thing. Yes it’s yes of course it’s about the songs but it’s about the energy and how that makes people feel so you know this idea that you have to have a verse chorus go to the CODA back to whatever solo whatever it is you know the kind of traditional formulas or whatever it doesn’t matter if you’re 14 and that act that you hear on whatever format or if is your mate has played it to you or whatever you think it’s the best thing ever. 

As long as it moves you but it’s that’s the same principle. It’s about kind of connecting with what that band have kind of written and you kind of go… 

You’ve always been drawn towards bands that have had this street vibe where it was 1200 Techniques, The Morning After Girls they all had something going on whether it was a Sacha with his on stage shilloutte or NFA in his underwear or Amyl doing her crowd surfing. You know, to me it’s almost more than the song, it’s more about this thing that’s going on as a vibe that’s happening to people are really connecting with don’t you think?

Yeah yeah totally and I think that’s why you know if you go back in time and that’s why you you know if you look at the kind of traditional models that’s why you had Frank Sinatra who was the very kind of sellable crooner and then you’d have the songwriters.

That’s why you had Elvis Presley who would play the guitar and he swung his hips and you know and now acts write their own stuff and perform their own stuff. But you know there’s got to be that magic onstage that connects this there’s to be that you know you’ve got to kind of have that person.

It resonates for people because yes there are loads you know publishing companies are full of great songwriters but if they’re not presented, you know not everyone wants to do that not everyone out in the world wants to do the hard work and kind of listen to a song and go yeah it’s really great but you know it needs to be delivered to them and make you know and they’ve got to feel something.

There’s lots of visual going on here isn’t there? 

Lots of everything. It’s the way it sounds the way it’s recorded you know and it can be recorded badly. But if it kind of gets the effect you know I mean think about Nirvana bleach and how raw that was Jaggard that was but it was just this pure anger that was coming out. 

I was just talking about that in my previous production episodes about how it can be the sound of the room, it can be the kind of mic you use, it can be the general feeling of the band whatever they’re able to capture and the nuances between everything and the band happening is what creates the magic.

Yeah, and it can be none of it. I mean, Amyl literally recorded their first day in a bedroom after they all worked at Wooley’s that day. 

On a laptop. 

That’s it, Laptop.

So what happened to the producers and the recording studios?

Well they’re still relevant because that’s kind of an entry level thing where there’s this real energy and whatever but as a band develops if they are going to maintain kind of international path then the record has to kind of work on multiple levels or whatever and it starts to get complicated.

The flipside of that is you can ignore all of that and you can just do your own thing. And it’s hit and miss. It could totally work and it could not work. Not to say that you pay some flashy producer and it’s still the whole project still falls over because there’s tons of examples of that. 

But it was the laptop initially wasn’t it? It still works shouldn’t they continue down that road?

It still is. But sometimes you just you know sometimes it’s useful to have someone who’s not in the band to just kind of help draw that band out and just kind of go you know what their take wasn’t good enough or you know it can be angry or it can be kind of sweet or it can be we know whatever you’re trying to achieve.

Sometimes a band can just start to relax and kind of rest on our laurels because they’ve had a bit of success or whatever so some sometimes you just need someone that can push the right buttons so they get that magic again they got the first time.  It’s a real kind of nuance thing there’s no there’s no formula for this stuff it’s just it’s a real trial and error thing. 

You know you’ve got some incredible moments in your career and your fair share of disappointments as we all do. What do you think in series some or one of your greatest moments in your career?

Talking to you. 

Well,  that’s always number one.

Look, I mean I know if there’s any one particular thing I mean watching a young band like Amyl and the Sniffers sell out all their London shows, it’s incredible stuff for a band it’s got to eat and you know in their 22 year old kids and it’s kind of just an incredible feeling to watch that happen. You know I guess getting the recognition of award ceremonies or whatever ARIA’s or whatever. You know I don’t think there’s any one particular thing I think.

I think they’re all kind of you know I mean I’ve had you know like watching a sold out room you know putting a show on you and also kind of you know managing young band and hearing this song on the radio for the first time is an incredible feeling you know.

And watching that kind of joy out of a band watching them hearing themselves for the first time or seeing themselves on TV or being or being contacted by someone you know famous or whatever that wants to meet them or you know all of those kind of things when they’re really small things but they’re all just symbols of things connecting and kind of heading in the right direction.

It can be complicated wearing so many hats as you do. Do you feel is a conflict of interest in your work do you feel that your obligation is to the artist or the venue to manage you to booking agent, yourself. Is it a difficult thing?

I think, I don’t know if it’s a hard thing I think. I mean like it’s very it’s all encompassing and it’s incredibly busy particularly in you know working with a band that’s touring internationally a lot. So you know I’m kind of working really kind of crazy time zones constantly and that can kind of wear you down a bit.

But no I kind of feel like as long as the communication is there and everyone feels like they can reach out to you if there’s an issue whatever but, I think the key is kind of having good systems in place and having good people and Simone, who is my kind of you know my partner in life and she manages the venue and manages the band and all the rest of it.

She’s a really big part of making everything work and I think you know again we’ve got really good staff at the venue.

You know they kind of run everything so you absolutely if you’re going to kind of take a lot on, you need to kind of have a good crew or people that can help you facilitate that and yes you know you can kind of be the big wanker and have the vision all the rest of it. If you don’t have great people that can execute it.

It’s delegation?

Don’t know if it’s delegation, I think it’s about trusting people and let them leave. So rather than just giving people tasks it’s rather them having ownership in it and them kind of making good decisions and kind of knowing what the overall objective is and once they understand that you know most people are really great and they can’t and they are they you know they can learn the nuances of this stuff after a while and they run with it. So yeah.

I don’t think you know the kind of idea of having the boss and then having all the things I think that’s kind of an old model I think you know you need to kind of it’s about kind of having partnerships with people and you know a room doesn’t work if it’s not cleaned properly and the band gets there and they’re dealing with last night’s beer cans, you know.

The cleaner is just as important as the person on the front or the security person being polite to everyone so it’s the whole thing. There is no one person that is the boss because you’re screwed. 

I just spent the last two hours with you walking around the venue here and you got everything going on from from phones calls to managing security to the whole lot. It looks kind of tricky and stressful to me, but not for you though cause you are as cool as a cucumber.

But I’m just making it up as I go. 

Oh good. Good because you look very impressive.

It must be the smoking jacket I’m wearing! No I think it’s just again and just like you know like it’s just common sense isn’t it? It’s just kind of listening to people and hearing what their issues are and then just trying to find a solution that’s going to work for everyone.

I don’t think there’s any one kind of particular thing you know. Bands have particular desires and needs and a venue has an artist who’s playing at your venue has and everyone’s got their own you know there’s a lot of stakeholders you know but that’s the reality, you know?

But you’re a problem solver through and through you always have been. So it is really about isn’t it solving problems on an ongoing basis. 

But I think any good manager that’s what they do they’re problem solvers aren’t they? They just to try and kind of facilitate what their work wants to do and you know if they think their act is not on the right path or whatever it’s about kind of discussing that with them and finding what’s going to work and trying to resolve those issues and yeah it doesn’t matter what you do and it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in you know it’s about kind of finding a solution that’s going to keep the momentum going.

If that’s what your objective is and you know and if you don’t want to be part of any of that and you just want to play guitar in your bedroom and that’s what makes you happy then just do that that’s totally cool too. And you have to listen to anyone and have to listen to idiots like me. 

You managed the infamous Mark Chopper Read for the last few years of his life was you misunderstood. It was really just a killer who got lucky?

Probably a bit of both. He was a great guy. I think he would have had a very different path. I mean, he went through life with kind of a very large amount of mental health issues that in this day and age would be recognised quite early on and managed.

But the solution back in the 60’s and 70’s was to just to if someone was too hard just to stick him in jail and in jail just teaches you to be a better a better crook and it was this downward spiral so you know not for a second do I condone any kind of crazy stuff he did. 

But but ultimately, you know he’s you know his biggest achievement was learning the craft of storytelling and kind of absorbing other people’s stories and turning them into his own. And people can think whatever they want of him and that’s understandable, but I mean really he had the last laugh on everyone because he just kind of worked the system and he became a star.

You know he became he became this kind of person that people just either crossed the road and avoided or want to shake his hand and tell him how much they loved him.

And you know because he was a super smart guy that knew how the media worked and kind of knew exactly and you know quite frankly if it was another time and he was medicated earlier on it would not have surprised me if he was know like a politician or anything like that because he had an incredible brain on him. 

That’s really sad. 

Yes it is sad you know. It is sad and you know and it was just kind of poor decisions and poor guidance. Again it’s just like you know his father was a you know an ex-digger who who was not debriefed back into the community properly so he had kind of all sorts of post traumatic stress probably drank and all that kind of stuff and that sort of ended up on Mark and it’s just this classic sort of pattern that we all know now and we recognise and we know when people have kind of disorders of sorts. 

You know really recognisable. But back then I was just like let’s just lock them up yeah. So for me I never had a crossword with him in all the years I worked with him. He was a lovely guy he was very funny. He was very loyal and charming and I think you know the world’s kind of sad a place for him not being here. 

Did you ever feel threatened? 

Never ever, once, not once. Not once did I ever feel threatened by him. He was if anything he was just like a loyal soldier. He was really and this is the thing you know like people said you know people would say how on earth could you work with someone like that wasn’t it scary. And the reality is if we had a flight or anything you’d be ready to go showered shaved. You know he was just kind of so switched on.

People didn’t see that did they? 

Do they know when he just kind of thought the media were buffoons and you know and as a result that’s how he made his money by just taking. As for myself he was completely taking about right up until the 60 Minutes interview.

Which you orchestrated once again, he was having a bit of a joke with that too isn’t he?

All of it was made up. It was just complete garbage, because they just were not prepared to actually hear his proper story and all they wanted was all the war stories because that’s what sells ratings and tickets and all the rest of it. And they weren’t interested in anything else so he was kind of caught in his own brand. That’s all he could be.

His focus was supporting his family and so that’s what he was going to do if they wanted. So if the crowd wants to hear Khe Sanh, Jimmy Barnes is going to play a Khe Sanh and that’s what Chopper did. Chopper just rolled out chopper for everybody because that’s what paid the bills. That’s why he outsmarted everyone.

Do you miss him?

Absolutely, an absolute of yeah with his weight in gold guy yeah. Good problem solver too!

A blowtorch wasn’t it?

 You know when bands step out of line!

What will Andrew Parisi be doing in 10 years?

God knows. Honestly he knows I’ve 

You’ve been doing this for last 30 years. Is that gonna change?

I don’t know. I don’t know if I wake up in the morning and I don’t feel like it’s what I want to do I’m not going to do it. 

So are you still enjoying doing this stick with it. 

Yeah, for now I’m really enjoying it. I think it’s a really good time, really great things happening. It makes me feel alive and I think we’re just kind of really lucky and I feel, it sounds so corny, but I am truly kind of blessed that I’m able to do this for a living and we live in a country that we’re able to do this and we’re able to travel and you kind of think of all the kind of people who just end up being born in the wrong part of the world and they’re just in a war torn place or whatever.

I just think you know let’s all just be grateful for what we have here or whatever. 

And finally, if you could speak to the 18 year old Andrew Parisi what would be the one thing you would tell him?

Hmmm. Maintain your weight now son because it’s going to be a really hard time in your 40’s!

I would say, don’t be too upset by the downturns because you know for every downturn it just it it will just swing back around. You just got to hang in there.

Hard to see that when young? 

Hard to say it anytime. Rowdy crowd outside. 

They just want to see you again Andrew!

Andrew Parisi thanks for being on the show. 

My pleasure.


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