While interviewing Australian musicians for Talking Smack throughout 2013, I decided to bring my tiny Canon camera along and film short interviews immediately after we’d just finished talking about drug use.

Almost all of my 14 interviewees agreed to appear on camera, and the results were usually funny, interesting, or somewhere in between. I asked the same three questions of each person, and their responses to these questions were varied and fascinating.

I hope you enjoy these guerilla-style clips, which were filmed by me and edited by Hans van Vliet, the creative genius behind the book trailer. (That’s his music in these videos, too: the song is called ‘I Miss You’, by his band Hunz.)

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly: “I’m still unsure about the arguments for and against the legalisation of drugs such as heroin and cocaine. I didn’t think my thoughts were very clear on that, so I didn’t really know if I was qualified to speak [about it].”

Tina Arena

Tina Arena: “Hopefully [the book] can access a generation, break some myths, and educate people in the ways that they need to be educated about the subject matter. I think it’s courageous.”

Gotye (Wally de Backer)

Wally de Backer: “Don’t do drugs, kids. I’m going to, at some stage. Until then, don’t do drugs. Afterwards, I’ll let you know.”

Steve Kilbey (The Church)

Steve Kilbey: “I’m a trustworthy, good guy, and I happen to take drugs. I just don’t want people to believe the hype, that if you take drugs, you’re necessarily an evil villain. You might be a silly person, or a weak person, but you’re not a bad person.”

Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon)

Phil Jamieson: “As far as the chat goes, I think I made a bit of sense. I think my experiences will sit well amongst the collective you already have, and the collective you’ll end up having.”

Tim Levinson (Urthboy)

Tim Levinson: “I’m interested in the chat, but as far as answering a bunch of questions on the culture of alcohol and drugs in music, I’ll have to say that the jury will be out until I read the book.”

Mick Harvey (ex Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds)

Mick Harvey: “I felt it sounded like a worthwhile subject for someone to be investigating, or doing interviews about, or looking into. So I felt that if I could find the time, then it might be a worthwhile thing to do.”

Jon Toogood (Shihad)

Jon Toogood: “[The interview] made me think about things I hadn’t thought about for a long time. It’s quite timely for me, reflecting on my life with drugs from a perspective of not having [used] drugs for a long time.”

Bertie Blackman

Bertie Blackman: “I feel like I’ve had an upbringing that was around drug-taking – my parents both being visual artists – and then me ending up as an artist as well, the way I saw them dealing with alcohol and drugs… I felt like what I had to offer was a relevant part of the conversation.”

Lindy Morrison (The Go-Betweens)

Lindy Morrison: “I think it’s important that there’s an honest conversation about drugs, because there are so many layers of issues associated with that sort of conversation, and we only really began to unravel a few of them. It’s important to keep on having all the discussions around the issues.”

Spencer P. Jones (Beasts Of Bourbon)

Spencer P. Jones: “My advice would be to not treat people with the affliction of addiction as ‘junkie scum’, because everyone is different. Every single case is different. Not everyone’s a criminal. Many, many people have character flaws, not just junkies.”

Ian Haug (Powderfinger / The Church)

Ian Haug: “I think that it’s important that people can talk frankly about it, which I understand is what your aim is. Drugs are something that have always existed, and will always exist.”


Creative Direction: Hans van Vliet, IV Motion (http://ivmotion.com.au/)
Animation: Hans van Vliet, Zac Bavas and Ryan Grzesiak
Music: ‘I Miss You’ by Hunz (http://hunz.com.au)
Editing: Hans van Vliet
Director: Andrew McMillen