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“It’s a joy to be playing live”: Jimmy Barnes on his health scare and return to kiwi stages

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Apr 2024, 12:15pm
Photo / Getty
Photo / Getty

“It’s a joy to be playing live”: Jimmy Barnes on his health scare and return to kiwi stages

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Apr 2024, 12:15pm

The working class man and one of Australia's most beloved musicians, Jimmy Barnes, is heading back to our shores for his 'Hell of a Time' tour.   

Over the length of his career Barnes has achieved 15 solo number-one albums in Australia, becoming 21 when combined with the five earned as the lead singer of ‘Cold Chisel’, resulting in him having the highest number of any artist, including the Beatles and Taylor Swift. 

Late last year the musician underwent a health scare, sending him under a surgeon’s knife and leading him to cancel the rest of his shows for the year. 

He revealed on Instagram that the bacterial infection he was battling had spread to an already-weakened valve of his heart and was undergoing open heart surgery. 

Barnes told Newstalk ZB’s Roman Travers that there were a few points where he felt like he wouldn’t make it through. 

“It was pretty drastic.”  

He’s happy to report that he’s now feeling “fighting fit”, having come through the worst of it and is now back swimming, singing, and training once more. 

“I remember just literally lying in the hospital bed and thinking that, you know, I might not make it,” Barnes said. 

“And I just figured that when I came through it and I was okay, I figured that, you know, I’ve got to enjoy every moment of life, you know?” 

He decided to treasure all the little moments, particularly with his loved ones, making a point to call his kids and tell him he loves them if he ever feels the urge. 

“I savour every moment.” 

Barnes has returned to playing live, celebrating the anniversary of his 1993 ‘Flesh and Wood’ album with a self-described ‘intimate experience’ on his ‘Hell of a Time’ tour. 

“It’s a joy to be doing shows,” he told Travers. 

“It’s a joy to be playing live.” 

The New Zealand leg of his tour gets underway in July, with tickets still available for Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin. 

Some artists are incredibly picky when they perform, liking to have control of everything down to the minutiae. Jimmy Barnes likes to be ‘across it’, saying that you have to have an eye for details. 

“My job is to make sure I get out and do the best show for the public,” he said. 

“To do that I don’t just look after what I do, I gotta look after what the band does, what my band are playing, who I’m gonna work with." 

“The show starts as soon as the door opens up.” 

Barnes is picky with his opening act, telling Travers that he wants people to come in and see a good opener, someone who’s exciting to see. 

“From the minute people walk into the auditorium to the minute they leave, they’re entertained, then that’s me doing my job.” 

Every show on the ‘Hell of a Time’ tour is an ‘intimate experience’, Barnes forgoing the traditional rock concert, stripping it right back and digging into the stories behind the songs. 

“It’s quite interactive with the crowd,” he revealed, promising chats, laughs, and interactions with the entire Barnes family. 

‘My wife, and my daughter, two daughters, are actually on stage with us.” 

“It’s quite unique.” 


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