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Kevin Bloody Wilson Interview
Words by James Taylor
For over 20 years now an Australian, with probably the widest vocabulary of naughty words ever to be laid down on CD, has bothering the world with his tales. Leaving no taboo untouched, Music-Zine can’t help but wonder how a man with a guitar and a penchant for the obscene all collided to form under the banner of Kevin Bloody Wilson. Indeed, from a modest outback mining town to a multimillion selling comic and musician - just where on earth did it all go right? Holding back on his F’s and C’s for tonight’s meeting, Kevin Bloody Wilson tries to enlighten us.
So you’re from Kalgoorlie in Australia, which I understand is deep in “the bush”.
KBW: Yeah, Kalgoorlie is an aboriginal word for “wear the fuck are we?”
What was it like growing up in a place like that?
KBW: Well “the bush” is probably the biggest misconception about is ‘cos there aren’t actually any bushes! Where I come from it’s just desert and spinifex - like the old tumble weed you see in western movies. So I just got used to it. It’s just like if you grew up in London you’d think “this is normal”. It is what it is.
I don’t suppose you’ve seen “I’m A celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!” have you?
I’ve seen it. It doesn’t get played in Australia and is nothing like real life in the outback. But we did eat little grubs. One of my closest friends to date is a guy called Nigel Nunganungastein - he’s a full blooded aboriginal and he taught me a lot about bush craft, survival and bush tucker.
How do you think that being there and experiencing those things has affected the kind of songs you write?
KBW: Well in Kalgoorlie, when I came into the town itself as a kid it was a pretty rough town - which sort of optimises the outback. In Kalgoorlie you had to be able to fight, flee or be funny. So with my height and my legs there’s no way I could do either of the fuckin’ first two so I stood my ground and made ‘em laugh.
And it seems to be going pretty well for you!
KBW: Well what I’m doing now just came out of a hobby. My brother and I had guitars when we were 14 and had a band with a couple of mates. That band actually stayed together for 14 years. We sort of became the first guitar band in the town! Prior to us everything was piano, sax, drums - we were the first sort of Shadows line-up to do anything. But we all had day jobs and it was only part time. I always thought “oh wouldn’t it be great to just get paid to do this”. Even then when I was doing my electrician’s apprenticeship I was getting maybe $5 an hour, but $20 an hour as a musician.
So just about when did you discover that you could sing the sort of songs you sing and people would actually buy them?
KBW: It was my mates that actually pushed me into it. When I started writing about them and incidents that had happened to us all, individually and collectively, they said “why don’t you record some of this shit and we’ll play it in the tractors and trucks?”
And what was the first song that sparked it off?
KBW: Well I actually did an album, well more of just a fuckin’ cassette that I was making at home, called “Your Average Australian Yobbo”. I made about 200 copies. Then the next day at a men’s show I’d sold 87.
So just how much of your material is actually autobiographical? I’m thinking about “the potato song” in which you sing about stuffing a potato down your pants to make a certain area of your anatomy seem larger.
KBW: (laughing) Well you can believe that happened if you want! But yeah a lot of it is. Sure you might embellish it from time to time but not a lot of it needs it. I think the hardest job in the world is to be a stand up comic - but I don’t consider myself to be a stand up comic. I’m a musician that just fucks around!
You act is still fairly comedic, so what comedians are you into at the moment? Is there anyone British you love?
KBW: Ah well I love Little Britain I think it’s fuckin’ amazing. But comedians, erm Billy Connolly. Billy’s actually opened a lot of doors for me over here and was very supportive in getting me started. We still do shows together and I caught up with him this year when he was touring Australia. He’s a good bloke, Billy. Also Ben Elton. I love Ben Elton, he’s a clever bloke. He’s married to a Perth girl that used to appear on my records actually. She was part of an all girl acapella group called ‘The Jam Tarts’. She was a great singer. You can still get all the old songs with her on and this is where the stuff I’m doing is breaking so many laws and set patterns of the music industry. Like the music I perform has got to where it has without radio airplay or television. Like Kev FM on the website which plays my songs 24/7.
I’ve heard your songs on there slating Russell Crow and Shane Warne. Who’s next on the hit list?
KBW: Well you never know til it hits you in the face. I might just be sitting on an aeroplane and then think of it. I don’t tend to go for the individuals too much - although I have done with the likes of “Santa Clause you cunt” - but mostly if the idea’s gonna turn up then it’ll just turn up.
I’ve heard the Christmas album and indeed “Santa Clause you cunt”, but what’s a real KBW Christmas like?
KBW: Erm this year it’ll be a BBQ on the beach out the front of our house in Perth, where I’ve lived for about 20 odd years now.
Now that you’ve been everywhere there is to be playing your songs, who is the most offended by your act?
KBW: As a group I’d say the Americans! I haven’t seen Borat yet but anyone who takes the piss out of the Seppos is fine by me! One if the things that we (Australians and the English) have in common is the ability to take the piss out of each other.
So it’s not the Canadians then? You do sing about not being able to say “cunt” in Canada.
KBW: (laughing) No it’s certainly not them they love it!