Midnight Oil: Where are they now?

Midnight Oil

Midnight Oil in 2009 — l-r: Bones Hillman, Peter Garrett, Martin Rotsey, Jim Moginie, Rob Hirst

[Updated November 2017] Where are they now, you ask? Are you living under a rock? In Yuendemu? I jest. As we all know by now, Midnight Oil are wrapping up a world reunion tour, although I am sure they will be back for more if you missed them. I was lucky to see them at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in August, when they played about half the songs from 10, 9, 8 … What an amazing night. Jesus.

I did have grand plans to follow Midnight Oil around North America, but the band’s devotion to the welfare of Aborigines and the environment did not extend to its fans. Scalpers swooped in and grabbed most of the tickets as they soon as they went on sale at many venues. It’s easy when you can buy up to seven tickets per order. Does anyone legitimately need to buy seven tickets? Someone posted this message on Facebook as the password-protected L.A. presale for the Wiltern Theatre was underway on Feb. 23:

Just looked at StubHub as of 1:30pm PST for the Los Angeles show at The Wiltern…There are 232 floor tickets, 91 loge tickets, and 96 Mezzanine tickets available from $76-$200 per ticket. That is 419 tickets just from the allocated presale tickets. This scalping is getting so ridiculous. There really needs to be a fix of the whole system.

After the public on-sale for the Wiltern the following day (Feb. 24), someone wrote on the Steve Hoffman music forum:

I just checked StubHub for the LA show. The Wiltern holds 1,850 and StubHub has over 500 of them. That’s just ridiculous.

Someone added: I had another browser tab opened on StubHub and magically at 10:13 when Ticketmaster was sold out, a plethora of tickets suddenly appeared there.

Well, this is the inevitable result when you get into bed with crooks like Live Nation and Ticketmaster, so shame on Midnight Oil for being such hypocrites. They know the system by now, and chose to ignore the practical reality faced by fans.


[Archival info on the band members’ activities, for the record:]

In mid-2016, I was thrilled to update this page with news that Midnight Oil is reuniting, and its members have plenty of individual projects in the works. Among them, Peter Garrett will tour Australia in July/August 2016 to promote a new solo album. His band will include Oils bandmate Martin Rotsey. Read about it here.

And here is the Where Are They Now? summary that was current in January 2016, and is still pretty useful (and if you get to the end, you will be rewarded with a hot bikini photo):

Peter Garrett (1975-2002) – If he wasn’t quite the Sonny Bono of Australian politics, Peter Garrett endured a rather underwhelming stint in Canberra. Maybe it was the federal capital’s lack of beaches. If I had been his opponent, my attack line would have been: “Peter Garrett: Too Smart to be a Politician.”

Garrett quietly left the national political stage in September 2013, six weeks after resigning as a marginalized federal cabinet minister in a hopelessly fractured center-left government.

Big Blue SkyIn 2015 he wrote a memoir, Big Blue Sky, which seems to be available on Amazon only as an audiobook.

Here is an article about the book launch, with a rather silly angle. Do you seriously think he has “regrets” about some of the content?

And of course, as part of his promo, he is threatening vaguely holding out the possibility of an Oils reunion.

Garrett does some official promo for the book here via Youtube, talking about LAPD brutality and working in a women’s shoe store (like Al Bundy?):

And, in case you missed it, he and his media-shy, German-born wife Doris sold one of their homes in May 2015 for A$1.3 million. I assume the décor is not theirs.

I came across fascinating references to Garrett’s born-again Christianity and Midnight Oil’s hypocritical tyranny in articles written by Australian journalist David Leser. Click here and type “Peter Garrett” into the search box to read the PDFs. The second article, from 1990, is published in Leser’s celebrity memoir, The Whites of Their Eyes, which is a bit like my own brilliant memoir, Strange Days, which has a great chapter on another legendary Aussie band, INXS.

Martin Rotsey (1976-2002) – Joined forces with fellow Oils alumni Rob Hirst and Jim Moginie (and former Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie) to form the surf-rock band The Break. They released their second album, Space Farm, in 2013.

Jim Moginie (1972-2002)- See my interview. Also his web site for his prolific music-making.

Rob Hirst (1972-2002)– Wrote a Herculean memoir, Willie’s Bar and Grill, about life on the road in North America immediately after the 9/11 attacks. Among his many musical collaborations – many with Moginie and Rotsey – was Ghostwriters (link is to their album Political Animal). Great song below:

Bones Hillman (1987-2002) – The New Zealander lives in Nashville, a touring and session musician. He was selling bass lessons via his web site, but apparently no more. I had been thinking of signing up because my initial attempts to learn bass were not encouraging.

Former Members:

Andrew “Bear” James (1972-1979) – Not sure, but he did show up when Midnight Oil was inducted into the Australian music industry hall of fame in 2006.

Peter Gifford (1980-1987)– After quitting Midnight Oil, he became a micro-bikini tycoon. His Wicked Weasel company sells tiny pieces of fabric for a huge markup. As a businessman burdened by red tape, he was a fierce critic of center-left Prime Minister Julia Gillard – in whose government Garrett was a minister.

A see-through "microminimus" bottom for just USD 82.76

A see-through “microminimus” bottom for just USD 82.76


NOTE: Unrelated to the above story, my gossipy rock bio Strange Days: The Adventures of a Grumpy Rock ‘n’ Roll Journalist in Los Angeles is available here. For more info, go to strangedaysbook.com

Copyright © 2013-2016 by Dean Goodman. PLEASE DO NOT CUT AND PASTE THE WHOLE THING