Don't Look Back

Don't Look Back


A music conversation with Double J's Caz Tran that explores how music soundtracks, punctuates and permeates our life. An intimate look at how a single song can express who we are, what we're going though and where we're heading.


Missy Higgins  

Life doesn't come with an instruction manual or a roadmap. Sometimes you just bumble through, faking it til you make it. Others of us are lucky enough to find that role model, a mentor who shows us a possible way forward. Missy Higgins was one of those lucky ones. At a time in her life when she needed it most, she discovered the music of Canadian songwriter Sarah McLachlan which helped kickstart her musical life. Further along down the track, Sarah McLachlan also played a key role in bringing Missy out of musical retirement with a changed perspective on what it is to be a musician.

Ben Lee  

Ben Lee is back with a new album Freedom, Love and the Recuperation of the Human Mind, and not surprisingly his spirituality informs much of this latest release. But you might notice something a little different. It's possibly the most stripped back that we've heard him, and his approach to sharing his stories has shifted. There's an openness that invites your ears inwards. Ben says it's something that's come with getting a little older and becoming a parent. He talks about the influence of really good art, the Dalai Lama and a Gillian Welch song that literally was a revelation.

Clare Bowditch  

Mum of three, beloved musician, sometime actor and now popular radio host on her Melbourne ABC local radio show, Clare Bowditch has a lot of irons in the fire. A natural story teller, Clare talks with warmth and openness about a dark time in her life, a time when she couldn't read the paper or even listen to music and shares the song that was her constant and healing companion.

Michael Franti  

Michael Franti has a simple manifesto when it comes to the reason he makes music. It's ultimately, 'to make people feel happy, healthy and equal.' It's been informed by experiences like performing in prisons, his trips to the Middle East and playing on the streets. The Spearhead frontman shares intimate tales of the evolution of his music and its message through his encounters with getting tested for HIV, coming to terms with his son Ade's health issues and dealing with addiction in his family. Michael talks about how he was changed by hearing 'The Bottle' by his hero Gil Scott-Heron, a song in which Heron lays bare his struggles with substance abuse.

Holly Throsby  

Songwriter Holly Throsby has given us four albums exploring themes of darkness and wonder, a kids album, written and illustrated her own comics and can now add novelist to her list of achievements. 'Goodwood' is about a small, tight knit community who're changed forever by the sudden disappearance of two people from the town. As a writer, Holly balances the emotional tension with lovely light touches and humour, phrases that pop and reveal as much about the writer as they do about our evolving relationship with her characters. And even though writing songs and books are fairly different pursuits, there are similarities in the way the unconventional use of language can spark an emotional response and become part of the lexicon, something she came to appreciate through a stream of consciousness song by Scottish rock band Life Without Buildings.

Mick Harvey  

Whether he's re-interpreting the songs of French icon Serge Gainsbourg, or assisting the likes of Nick Cave and PJ Harvey to bring their artistic vision to life, Mick Harvey's renown as a trusted and insightful collaborator is well known. In this episode, Mick Harvey shares his deep appreciation of the fearless and uncompromising work of Nina Simone and how her song 'Four Women' with its blurring of musical lines and mysterious story telling continues to inform his own captivating work.

Eddie Perfect  

Great music can provide instantaneous, unconscious gratification, like a when a key just glides into a lock. On the other hand, songs can have a very specific set of purposes. As a writer and performer with a huge love of musical theatre, Eddie Perfect sees songs as serving very precise and multilayered functions. He says the 1970 soundtrack for Stephen Sondheim's musical comedy 'Company' and in particular the weary but scathing performance by Elaine Stritch illuminated the various important roles that musical pieces can fulfil within a broader story setting.

Eleanor Friedberger  

In the years since the Friedberger siblings decided to rest their musical carnival ride, The Fiery Furnaces, singer Eleanor Friedberger has had a steady creative outpouring that's informed three solo albums with lots of introspection that's bittersweet, fragile and never without its gentle quirkiness. She invites us into her childhood, one filled with her own tastes and musical discoveries but also one that's been influenced by a nurturing and kind hearted older brother. Matthew Friedberger not only bought Eleanor her first guitar but introduced her to the quintessential New York band. Find out the iconic Velvet Underground song that stoked her long fascination with The Big Apple and helped her take her first artistic strides.

Richard Fidler  

Each week broadcaster and author, Richard Fidler through his acclaimed program Conversations captivates millions of listeners with his incisive, thought provoking and good-humoured approach to sharing a good yarn. In this conversation, he takes us back to the much darker and despairing times of his youth in Canberra. The recession of the early 1980s and the looming nuclear crisis threatened to wipe civilised society off the boards altogether. In this climate some menacing and melancholic music captured the mood of the time and the imagination of a young Richard Fidler. Join him as he shares the magnificence and bleak tones of Killing Joke's 'Requiem' which gave him a sense of dancing to the impending apocalypse and ultimately, an odd sense of inspiration.

Felix Riebl  

He's a talented singer, songwriter and showman, but Felix Riebl has had a lifetime of constant push and pull in his relationship with music. It began with the search for identity, then the struggle for expression and these days as an older musician it's about allowing himself to enjoy the mystery of the language of music. Felix shares some of the moments that have shaped his journey including growing up in an accomplished musical family, learning to accept the unique qualities of his voice and he also shares his secret burning six string regret! And you'll hear the incredible song by Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin that opened up a whole world of music to him.

Patricia Piccinini  

Wonder of the natural world is the key inspiration for acclaimed visual artist Patricia Piccinini. Through works such as the Skywhale and 'Graham', a character created for the TAC campaign, she's aiming to coax us out of our accepted ways of thinking to take a walk along the line that divides the natural and the unnatural, the beautiful and the grotesque, and examine our relationships to them. She shares how the emotional complexity of Morrissey's 'November Spawned a Monster' stirs her with its intense poignancy and yearning, and a song that's a true reflection of the focus of her wonderfully evocative work.

Henry Rollins  

Touring speaker, writer, broadcaster, actor and former frontman for hardcore punk legends Black Flag, Henry Rollins has a packed CV for a guy who's professed never to have had any concrete plans in life. His intense enthusiasm and a restless curiosity are the fuel that's sustained a lifetime of pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. He's travelled the world absorbing history, culture and ideas in countless countries and tells compelling stories with a sharp wit and bulletproof conviction. And there's no doubt that he's out to inspire change. Here, Henry Rollins tells the story of pioneering punk band, Bad Brains, one mind blowing gig and how their song 'Pay To Cum' continues to fill him with awe.

Ivan Aristeguieta  

Ivan Aristeguieta says every comedian has two jobs. Aside from making people laugh, Ivan is also a food technologist and it's his knowledge in the culinary arts that's helped him break through cultural barriers in his adopted Aussie homeland. But the sights, smells and sounds of his birthplace are never far away from his thoughts. Join Ivan Aristeguieta as he takes you on a trip to Venezuela to hear the broad musical influences that he absorbed in his teens and how one song from a very special concert changed him forever.

Kate Mulvany  

'The last plane out of Sydney's almost gone...', an unmistakable lyric line set to a restless and infectious melody, that playwright Kate Mulvany recalls hearing everywhere from radio through to blue light discos growing up in Geraldton WA. However, it wasn't until she heard the word 'Vietnam' in the Cold Chisel classic, Khe Sanh, that she sat down to really listen to the story that was being told. It brought emotional demons out of the woodwork, opening up a dialogue with her Vietnam Veteran father's life and was a catalyst for great personal upheaval. And ultimately, helped her find a place of community, healing and happiness.

Sean Lennon  

One can only imagine the richness of music and art growing up that Sean Lennon had. Over his career he's had three solo albums but what he's found is that, at heart, he's a collaborator. He's recently teamed his surreal guitar licks with the bass brilliance of Les Claypool for a psych-pop partnership called The Claypool Lennon Delirium. As a musician, he's constantly exploring and intrigued by how melodies and lyrics interact to produce something wholly unique. As a guitarist he finds one of rock's greatest, Jimi Hendrix, a continuous source of learning and inspiration.

Dr Karl  

For Science Week, a man of many illuminating thoughts and shirts, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki shares how music has provided a vivid soundtrack to his broad, colourful and celebrated career. He's worked as a ditch digger, a roadie, a physicist and of course his restlessly curious mind has been a beacon for the quirky and the mindblowing in equal measure across all manner of media. Find out why the music of Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention has been such a stimulant for one of Australia's busiest brains.

Chris Cheney  

On their 7th album SHIFT, The Living End has taken some bold steps forward. They've delivered some of the most personal songs they've ever written and new sonic textures have expanded and enriched their sound. But listening to singer Chris Cheney telling stories about schoolyard friendships, 80s compilations, man crushes and most importantly, his parents record collection, you get the sense that there's always been a much broader and deeper appreciation of the power of music in his bones than we allowed ourselves to believe of this dynamic rockabilly front man. From Elvis and Chuck Berry to The Sex Pistols and The Beatles, with plenty of 80s influences in between, they've all been a part of Chris Cheney's musical landscape. But there's a certain flamboyant Piano Man who continues to intrigue and inspire him to this day.

Peggy Frew  

Peggy Frew is a founding member and bassist for acclaimed Melbourne band Art Of Fighting. In this chat, she tells the story of how PJ Harvey's 'Sheela-Na-Gig' empowered her as a shy and quiet teenager and continues to strengthen her resolve and focus as a successful new writer.

Arj Barker  

Arj Barker knows a thing or two when it comes to making people laugh. Much of it comes down to understanding human behaviour. But sometimes life throws some curveballs which test one's resolve and emotional capabilities. Arj shares his story of a devastating heartbreak which coincided with one of the highest points of his comedy career and how Radiohead's 'Paranoid Android' came to soundtrack this turbulent time.

Jason Isbell  

Jason Isbell is a songwriter who approaches his craft with a strong, honest work ethic. It's a reflection of his childhood roots. As a teenager, Jason was just starting to combine his love of books and guitar playing to write songs, when one day, from his mother's stereo, came the pivotal song that flicked the switch on and opened his mind to limitless new creative possibilities in music.

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