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Rob Hirst: Wikis


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Rob Hirst (born in 1955 Camden, New South Wales as Robert Hirst) is an Australian musician. He is a founding member of rock band Midnight Oil with whom he played drums from the 1970s until the band's break up in 2002. He also wrote a book, "Willie's Bar & Grill", recounting the experiences on the tour Midnight Oil undertook shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.


The Midnight Oil Years (1976–2002)

In the early 1970’s schoolboys Rob Hirst and Jim Moginie along with original bass player Andrew ‘Bear’ James played their first public performance in a school hall in Sydney’s leafy northern suburbs under the name ‘Schwampy Moose’ playing mainly Beatles covers. By 1976 the band had changed their name to Farm and Hirst, still a student at Sydney University (BA/LLB), placed an advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald for a singer to join the trio. The new lineup of Peter Garrett (lead vox), Rob Hirst (drums and vox), Jim Moginie (guitar, keyboards, b/vox), and Andrew ‘Bear’ James (bass) was joined soon after by Martin Rotsey on guitar and manager and 6th member Gary Morris. The band changed their name to Midnight Oil. With a blistering intensity to their live performances, the band’s early music was a unique brand of surf/punk. However by the early 80’s the key songwriters in the band, Hirst/Moginie/Garrett had become increasingly interested in the political issues of the day. This hugely influenced their songwriting and soon spilled over into their live performances as the dynamic and outspoken Garrett used the stage as a platform for the band’s views on issues including Aboriginal rights, nuclear disarmament and social justice. In 1979 Andrew James left to be replaced by Peter Gifford. In 1987 after touring the outback and recording the band’s best known album ‘Diesel and Dust’, Gifford suffered ill health and he too resigned. New bass player Bones Hillman (formerly of NZ band The Swingers) brought a new vocal dimension to the band. The Oils continued to record and tour internationally for a further 15 years, chalking up a final tally of 14 albums and 2 eps before lead singer Garrett quit the group in December 2002, taking up a career in politics soon after.

Side projects & post-Midnight Oil



See main article Ghostwriters

In the mid-1990s, while Midnight Oil were taking a break, Hirst joined up with guitarist Andrew Dickson and Hoodoo Gurus bassist Rick Grossman to form a side project called Ghostwriters. So far, the band has released four albums, Ghostwriters (Virgin Records, 1991), Second Skin (Mercury Records, 1996), Fibromoon (self-released, 2000), and Political Animal (SonyBMG Australia, 2007).

Other Musical Projects

In 2000, Hirst joined The Backsliders, an Australian Blues group formed in 1986 whose members included long time friend and founding member Dom Turner. The line-up with Hirst have so far released three albums, "Hanoi" (2002), "Live" (2005) and "Left Field Holler" (2007) as well as a DVD, "Live at the Basement" (2003).

Turner and Hirst formed another band in 2002, The Angry Tradesmen, with the idea of taking the guitar/drum music of North Mississippi and blending it with drum/bass music of the 1990's and experimental post-punk rock. Their album 'Beat the House' was released in 2008 and featured studio performances by Midnight Oil's Martin Rotsey.

Hirst and Rotsey also play on the track "All Around the world" on Jim Moginie's 2006 solo album "Alas Folkloric".

Other musical collaborations have included working with Australia's olympic athletes on a record commissioned by SOCOG for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and although unrelated, a collaboration with former Olympic athlete Paul Greene. Hirst and Greene have released an album "In the Stealth of Summer" and a DVD, "Hirst & Greene Live at the Basement".

In 2010, Rob Hirst announced that he and two other former members of Midnight Oil, Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey have teamed up with Violent Femmes bass player Brian Ritchie to form a new surf rock band, "The Break".

External links


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