DON Walker is clueless to why it takes himself and his weathered comrades Tex Perkins and Charlie Owen 12 years to release an album.
All he knows is that many of life’s trials and tribulations have passed through the Australian supergroup’s three records, delivering a unique character for each release.
On Friday Tex, Don & Charlie will release You Don’t Know Lonely, the follow-up to their critically-acclaimed Sad But True (1993) and All Is Forgiven (2005). Work initially began in 2010, but the death in 2011 of their double bassist Shane Walsh postponed the project.
“It was quite painful for us, particularly Charlie, to think about doing something without Shane for a while, especially when discussions would turn to who to get to replace Shane and then the years go by,” Walker said.
The prolonged gestation has done little to diminish the material’s emotion. The three released tracks Just Your Luck, A Man In Conflict With Nature and The Hitcher articulate the world view of an older man - his hopes, his memories, his regrets.
“The three records sound distinct from each other by the fact they were made in different stages of life,” Walker said. “That happens when you leave 12 years between records. The first album we were still relatively young men, and now we’re not.
“The basic instrumentation, chemistry and how it fits together is the same.”
Separately the trio hold esteemed places in Australian music. Walker wrote the bulk of Cold Chisel’s greatest songs, Perkins is the intense frontman of Beasts Of Bourbon and The Cruel Sean and Owen is considered one of the country’s best guitarists.
Together they have produced emotional slabs of alt-country like Fake That Emotion, Postcard from Elvis, and Harry Was A Bad Bugger.
Walker still writes for Cold Chisel, but said Tex, Don & Charlie caters for quieter self-reflection.
“They tend to like songs among the ones I write that I like myself,” he said. “There are particular songs of mine that might be orphans in any other situation.”
Away from music, Walker received literary acclaim for his 2009 autobiography, Shots. The 65-year-old still harbours hopes of publishing a work of fiction.
“I’m trying to write some fiction but I’m still a few years away from coming up with anything I could show anybody,” he said.
“I put out Shots and for a good few years I didn’t do anything except tell myself I want to write some fiction. I read some books about writing books, but nothing happened.
“Finally at the beginning at last year I thought the only way this is going to happen is if I get up early in the morning and get a blank sheet of paper and scribble on it and that’s what I stated doing.”
Tex, Don & Charlie perform at the Cambridge Hotel on September 8.