Catching up with Peter Garrett


He’s a champion of the environment but the Sydney-based rock icon isn’t above a little fireworks vandalism. As told by Di Webster.

What is your greatest strength?

Beats me – but I love life and refuse to give in to negativity or cynicism.

What is your greatest weakness?

I hate anyone telling me what to do and I don’t like looking at a map, even when I’m well off the path.

What scares you?

I’m not scared by much other than a painful exit but I worry our world is being scalded by so much hot, extreme weather. Unless we act seriously on climate change, we’ll very soon be praying to rewind the clock.

What virtue do you admire most in people?

Generosity of spirit: whether it’s a smile for a stranger or standing up for an issue that means a lot to you. People who put out for others make the world a better place.

What other job would you choose to do?

I can imagine being a tour guide in remote locations, sharing the living culture and amazing natural beauty of Australia.

What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?

I’d be happy just playing bass. Despite appearances, I’m actually content to hang in the background, just shooting the breeze and talking footy. In every real band, it starts with the rhythm section – the Oils were no exception.

What is your most treasured possession and why?

My memories – they can’t be deleted by mistake, lost or stolen.

What is your idea of absolute happiness?

The crazier my working life became, the more I relished the family coming together. Not doing much, just being in the same place, wrapped in a blanket of love, accepting difference, creating memories.

What travel experience is on your bucket list?

The NSW South Coast. It’s unspoiled, with lots of forests, lakes and a spectacular coastline. There are great bushwalks that I’ve been meaning to do for years.

How do you switch off?

Unplug, uncork, gather around a fire, chat. Or if I’m by myself, I play a bit of guitar.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

A long hot shower – occasionally.

If you could turn back time, what would you change in your life and why?

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien – good song. Of course, there are things I do regret – sorry, neighbours, for blowing your letterboxes to smithereens on cracker night eons ago – but I wouldn’t change any of it.

What is your greatest achievement?

My marriage to Doris and being close to our three daughters. Nothing else comes close.

Who is your personal hero?

My mum’s dad, a wounded war veteran and one of the most peaceful people I knew. His quiet way had a big impact on me.

What’s the most Australian thing about you?

My voice.

Where would we find you at a party?

In the kitchen, swapping yarns, talking politics and singing ’80s and ’90s pop songs.

If you were an animal, what would it be?

Kangaroo. The males don’t take a backward step – and leap tall fences in a single bound.

If you were down to your last $20, what would you spend it on?

A copy of The Big Issue, with a generous tip.

How would you like to be remembered?

What was the question?

Image credit: Maclay Heriot

SEE ALSO: Catching Up with Jimmy Barnes

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