After Powderfinger's famous disbandment in 2010, rock journalist and former Rolling Stone Australia editor Dino Scatena set out to document their footsteps. Now, upon the release of Powderfinger: Footprints, he guests blogs to tell us the story behind both the band and the book.
Hoggy, JC, Cogsy, Darius, Bernie: Once the five members of Powderfinger agreed to let me write the band’s official biography, they made a pledge as a group to tell me everything. Nothing was out of bounds. What more could a menial rock biographer want?
For all the millions of words already written/spoken about one of the most popular and successful acts in the history of Australian music, my primary objective with all this unprecedented access was to deliver Powderfinger fans the story they never knew; answer all their questions, tell them what really happened, recreate on paper all the most significant and ridiculous moments in the band’s 20-plus years together.
There were no preverbal dead hookers in hotel rooms to uncover, nothing like that, but these five unpretentious laidback Queenslanders have barely ever revealed anything about their private lives before.
Making the whole process even easier, Powderfinger was in the throes of disbanding. So their story came with a readymade beginning, middle and end. The rest of it would probably write itself. [Ha!]
I started work on the book in October last year, in the month leading up to the band’s farewell performance at the Riverstage in Brisbane on November 13 2010. I was lucky enough to witness the last dozen Powderfinger shows, allowed deep into the band’s inner-circle to document this final chapter. Personally, it was an extraordinary experience to be a part of – it’s so rare for any act to call it quits when they can still draw 300,000 people to a tour.
At every stop, at each of the final shows in each city – Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and finally their hometown of Brisbane – there was such an outpouring of emotion from fans. This wasn’t just another rock concert – it was the last time they would ever get the chance to see their beloved Powderfinger.
In a long bygone era of popular music, in what now feels and sounds like a lifetime ago, I wrote another biography about an entirely different kind of Australian musical icon, an unauthorised biography on – what was I thinking? – Kylie Minogue.
As a writer, the difference between authorised and unauthorised is that one opens all the doors and the other has them all slammed in your face.
Footprints is an intimate history of Powderfinger. A lot of it is funny and silly, as well as quite moving and tense in parts. I thank Hoggy, JC, Cogsy, Darius and Bernie for being so open and honest. I have no doubt their fans will be blown away by the result.