Becoming a rock and roll star - if we’re honest,
it’s a dream most of us have harboured at some
point in our lives. The glamour, the money, being
on the road and all the fans sounds pretty good. But
what’s it like in reality? Tim Rogers is the
charismatic lead singer of You Am I. He’s living
the dream and we take him back to where he grew up
to find out where the dream began.
GEORGE NEGUS: Is it where you were born or simply
where you've lived the longest? Our early years play
a heck of a big part in determining our outlook on
life later on. Take Tim Rogers. He's a really good
example of just that. Tim's the lead singer with the
rock group You Am I and during his 33 years Tim's
been a bit of a nomad. But tonight, with our own Brendan
Hutchens in tow, Tim goes back to his roots.
BRENDAN HUTCHENS, REPORTER: They
are the quiet achievers of the rock world, yet they're
punchy, raw and rash - not exactly how you'd describe
the formative years of You Am I's lead singer, Tim
TIM ROGERS: The house used to face
the, um...school and, er, my brother and I used to
sell lemons out the front of the house. Yeah, and
then they come and it's all torn down and something
new put up... Yeah, pretty disappointing.
BRENDAN HUTCHENS: Yeah.
TIM ROGERS: I rang my old man and
told him about it and...yeah, you know?
BRENDAN HUTCHENS: Tim Rogers is
taking us back, first to Perth and the utter normality
of suburban Applecross where he went to primary school.
TIM ROGERS: In those kind of brushes
up on the left-hand side of the footy oval was where
we used to do our little wing commander impressions
and muck about as...as kids. (Mimics engine whooshing)
That's essentially what it was.
BRENDAN HUTCHENS: And then, even
further back in time to the beginnings.
TIM ROGERS: When people ask, "Where
are you from?" to say that I am West Australian
does mean something to me. And when I meet someone
that is West Australian, I will... for some retarded
reason, you know, want to hear a bit more about them
or... And, you know, if they're from Kalgoorlie then,
you know...then... "Oh, come here!". It's
why, I guess, I carry on about Kal so much, and why
it's so important to me, because it's...you know,
it's, um... it's something about me that I know is
kind of...unique. Along with, you know, the rest of
the folks here. And I sort of desperately kind of
cling to it.
BRENDAN HUTCHENS: Well, this is
Kalgoorlie, right in the heart of the WA goldfields
- a town that's grown up around mining. And you also
might have heard of the colourful nightlife around
Hay Street. It's also the place where, 33 years ago,
Tim Rogers was born. Did you think as a kid, "Wouldn't
mind go off and work in the mines and..."?
TIM ROGERS: No, it was kind of like,
er...just...at that stage, I guess, just anyone who
was bigger than you was just infinitely cool, whether
they were kind of like the postman or... I remember
really wanting to be a taxi driver pretty early, probably
just because a guy driving a taxi was bigger than
me, you know?
BRENDAN HUTCHENS: These days, the
kid of Kalgoorlie stands at 6'3" and he's the
one being looked up to. You Am I have achieved more
than most bands can dream of - numerous awards, a
string of hit albums - but there's one thing missing.
TIM ROGERS: I think, actually, our
biggest success is that we haven't had a hit single.
If you have a hit single you're damned. It can give
you a leg-up but there's not one song that we're particularly
BRENDAN HUTCHENS: So how did the
kid from the WA goldfields end up as a bohemian rock
TIM ROGERS: When I was 13 I was
getting my teeth drilled in a mobile dentist in Adelaide
and 'Start Me Up' by the Stones came on. It was their
'81 single. And, er...the opening chords rang out
and I just...just delirious. Maybe it was the gas
- I don't know. But just kind of ran home and just
pleaded with mum. I said, "I'll do anything to
get a guitar!" And just got an old gutiar string
and, um...and it just went from there. But until the
band took off, I never thought it was possible. It
was like, "How do you do that? How do you become
that mysterious?" Because rock bands for me were
like superheroes, you know?
BRENDAN HUTCHENS: That superhero
dream was put on hold for a while. Tim tried law,
sold records, pizza. He tried to find himself and
in the end he did. Did you write when you were young?
TIM ROGERS: No, no. Not at all.
And thank God I found it, because before I was writing
and playing regularly, I didn't know what to do with
it. And I was kind of... (Punches the air) ..or...
Really having a lot of problems knowing what to do
with all that energy and...and emotion, really. Predominantly
emotion, you know? I was very weepy as a child. (Laughs)
BRENDAN HUTCHENS: The sun's set
at the end of a long day and this is what it's all
been building up to - a gig at the Kalgoorlie Hotel,
Tim's hometown. And so the journey is complete - playing
on stage in the place where you were born. If, like
Tim Rogers, your roots are important, it doesn't get
much better than this.
TIM ROGERS: (Sings) # Can you help
me find the words for sadness now?
# All my explanations leave me like dirty water out
from a... #
GEORGE NEGUS: Brendan Hutchens
there, going back home with Tim Rogers, and they weren't
bad with that egg-shaped thing they were kicking around.