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This Man's no Dipstick

This Man's no Dipstick

Who: You Am I, Tumbleweed
Where: University - Bar on the Hill
When: Wednesday August 12, 1998

YOU'VE gotta admire the bare-faced honesty of YOU AM I singer and guitarist TIM ROGERS, who keeps laying his soul open, album after album.

It seemed hard to imagine the Sydney trio You Am I producing an album as good as the eight- ARIA-winning HOURLY DAILY. The same could have been said after SOUND AS EVER, and every fan has their favourite.

But the group's NUMBER FOUR RECORD is equal to any of these.

Playing tonight at the University of Newcastle, with TUMBLEWEED, for the RUMBLING DICE ROADSHOW, Rogers, bass player ANDY KENT and drummer RUSTY HOPKINSON will kick arse if this album is any indication.

Although Rogers reckons he feels 'thick like a dipstick and white as a sheet', it's a self-deprecating sense of humour he uses to great effect on the album's opening track, JUNK. If HOURLY DAILY was a warts and all portrait of urban Australia from the point of view of an alienated Australian, then NUMBER FOUR is an extension of this portrait but specifically through Rogers' eyes.

Rock stardom hasn't changed him, he's still happy as ever to be 'holding a $2.35 can in a bag' and blending into his surroundings 'where no-one ever meets your eye'.

But he ain't no tall poppy. In THE CREAM AND THE CROCK he takes a swipe at the rock star syndrome with some characteristic cynicism.

'Now it's red wine for a headline, somebody's pullin' favours by phone,' he says.

Gotcha. I'm happy to let the music do the talking too, as it does so well.

To appreciate Rogers' lyrics you've got to be prepared to read between the lines, a fact that he hints at in WHAT I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU. It's not what you say, but how you say it. Or play it. Or something like that. You Am I plays it straight down the line, but with pop smarts.

He takes a stab at a serious pop message in FIFTEEN, giving the prudent advice, 'hate yer friends cuz they're the only ones that make you wanna die,' with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.

Like the geek in his songs, Tim Rogers is not the pin-up boy. Perhaps speaking from experience he appeals to kids to look under the surface of their friends.

Go for 'the ticket stub that never won a prize'.

'There's no hard sell coz he's got a face that came straight from a fight,' he says.

'He's big and dumb like a Dagwood Dog and his jeans never fit quite right'.

In TOP OF THE MORN & SLIP OF THE DAY Rogers drops some of his most priceless lines while singing about travelling.

'You only know who you are when you move and who you're with when you're alone'.

There's a frantic pop thing happening on BILLY and a do-wop heart breaker COME HOME WITH ME where he declares 'I want to kiss you as the sun comes up and turns out Friday nite'.

HEAVY HEART will recognise a few hearts with the lines 'now every T-shirt's got a wine stain and I'm loving cigarettes again'.

But it is RUMBLE and it's chorus of R.A.D.I.O" that has to be the number one reason this year for jumping in your car and turning the radio back on.

Taking a stab at the cliche-mongers of the inner-city clique in GUYS GIRLS GUITARS, Rogers reveals a little of what keeps him on his edge. An acute power of observation that brings with it a healthy respect for credibility.

'The patented moves growing colder, the seventh chord just keeps getting older,' he says.

'And he knows just as sure as his microphone stinks, there's a change coming through and he ain't going home alone tonight.'

Tim Rogers knows it, rock and roll should be music to score to. Do you? TE

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