Aussie rock legend Jimmy Barnes is all set to give Dubai a blast of good old honest rock ‘n' roll … English rock.''

English rock? From an Aussie rocker? A volatile mix, some might say.

In fact, Barnes, 50, was born in Glasgow, Scotland. At the age of 6 he and his family moved to the land Down Under. While today he's as Australian as a jar of Vegemite, his rock influence is decidedly English, having grown up on a diet of Led Zepellin.

Australia's most successful rocker will belt out his blue-denim strain of rock at the Crowne Plaza, Dubai, on August 20. But he says that his sets will be tempered by a few bluesy numbers. Just a few.

“I'm an R&B singer in a rock band,'' he says. “I went through a stage where I did some acoustic and bluesy albums – a kind of a tribute to my roots – but now I'm back to hard rock.''
The former lead singer of Cold Chisel, one of Australia's most successful rock bands, Barnes has a trademark for loud, sweaty, full-bore performances.

Blessed by a voice with an amazing range – once likened to an angle grinder – Barnes rewrote Australian rock history with 6 solo albums debuting at No. 1 on the charts. Working Class Man – virtually an Australian national anthem – and Good Times (which he performed with INXS) are just two of his hit singles.

Speaking to e+ from the Beatles museum in Liverpool, Barnes, 50, says he will be joined by his 20-year-old son, Jackie, who plays drums and piano and has been performing with him for 18 months.

“Jackie's a great performer; we'll be playing with Davey Lane from You Am I and Peter Lawler on bass. We're all fired up to rock Dubai.''

In fact, all of Barnes's children contributed to his most recent album Double Happiness, which features duets with artistes including Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, INXS, John Farnham and The Living End.

“My girls are amazing musicians; one is totally into R&B while the other one is into folky stuff such as Joni Mitchell.''
Barnes, a folk hero in Australia, has played in Dubai before. He and former Cold Chisel guitarist Ian Moss played at Hard Rock Cafe in 2001.

Barnes is waiting to hit Dubai. “I've got a few days there (Dubai) and I'm keen to have a good look around. I heard that it has changed a lot since I was last there,'' he says.
“This time, you can expect a good mix. There'll be some blues, a few covers, some Cold Chisel songs and of course my classic songs.''

Barnes is currently touring Ireland, after spending time in the UK playing golf with his mate Peter Lonard. After 33 years in the industry, he's still as excited to hear his songs being played all around the globe.

“I've heard my music being played all over, even Japan. Only last night, we were sitting in a joint in Liverpool and this guy came up to me and screamed: ‘Barnesy! It's Barnesy!' We sat there chatting about Cold Chisel and Led Zeppelin, was a good,'' he says.

Date: August 20
Venue: Jumeirah Ballroom, Crowne Plaza Hotel Dubai
Time: 7.30pm, show starts 9.30pm
Tickets: Dh95
Contact: 04 3913465, 04 3676520

The Barnesy files

  • At 16, Barnes joined Cold Chisel in 1973 as lead singer. From 1978 and onwards, the band blasted to the top of the Australian rock scene, producing 7 albums and becoming renowned for its livewire performances. With over 5 million albums sold in Australia, some of their songs have become anthems to a generation. Khe Sahn, a song about the Vietnam War, consistently rates as one of the country's most requested rock songs. The band split up in 1983 but has reformed twice, in 1999 and 2003.
  • In 1983, Barnes released his first solo album, Bodyswerve. This, like his next 5 albums, debuted at No 1 on the Australian rock charts: an unprecedented feat.
  • Barnes recorded two singles with Australian rock band INXS in 1986: Good Times and Laying Down the Law, which were in the soundtrack for the film Lost Boys. After the death of INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence in 1997, Barnes toured with INXS in 1999 and 2000.
  • His most recent album, Double Happiness, is a 2-CD set of duets in which Barnes sings with his children and various artistes including Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, INXS, John Farnham and The Living End.