My fave band the waifs on Enough Rope last night….. Denton still annoys.

August 22, 2007 |

Denton & waifsI can take Denton in small doses……just.  He is quick with the repartee, picks up any slip and runs with it.  But it still has that smarmy undergrad feel to it.  The “look at how quick am I” delivery followed by smirk.  He is smart and well read and very occasionally quite insightful.  But that doesn’t really come through in his interview style.  I don’t know why Denton is fast becoming an icon type interviewer, the  the Parkinson of Australia.  I think it is because his guests get such an arm chair ride over what they want to talk about.  Denton is fawning to the point of being obsequious.  In short  utterly woosy.  

The waifs are my all time favourite band.  They are very genuine performers.  In interview they were honest if a little vague.  It was poor form that the goils didn’t get  Josh up there to be part of the fun.  W

Here is the transcript, with a few deletions and a few editorials by yours truly:

It is the opposite of Australian Idol, a musical success story based on playing live, honing your craft and developing a following so big that radio has to play your songs. From The Waifs, please welcome sisters Donna Simpson and Vikki Thorn.

ANDREW DENTON: Welcome. Welcome to you both.

VIKKI THORN: Thank you.

ANDREW DENTON: Can we go way, way back? You lived grew up in is it Albany or Albany? I always get it wrong even though I’m from Western Australia.

DONNA SIMPSON: You’re from Western Australia?


DONNA SIMPSON: Where are you from?

ANDREW DENTON: It’s OK, you’re allowed to be.

DONNA SIMPSON: I know but…

ANDREW DENTON: I’m from Perth or as I pronounce it Proth.

VIKKI THORN: Yeah, it’s Albany.

ANDREW DENTON: Yes, so you grew up in Albany, but ah every salmon fishing season you would go down the beautifully named Cosy Corner, with your dad who went fishing for salmon, and it was a bit of a hippy, kava-loving experience.

VIKKI THORN: Yeah, we played in we played in vats of blood, and all these fish guts. Yeah, it happened sort of three months a year. And there’s three families that go out there, and we’re the third generation actually, so our our grandfather, and our father and and now us and ah the, they sit on the beach and they watch for schools of salmon coming along, and it’s a very old method of fishing. It hasn’t changed in 60 years.

ANDREW DENTON: We’ve got some footage here actually. This is, I think you took this ah Donna, of ah this is your dad pulling in…





ANDREW DENTON: Jimmy pulling it in.

DONNA SIMPSON: Watch it, Jimmy. Watch it, watch it.

ANDREW DENTON: So you girls used to get down there and do all this as well.

VIKKI THORN: Oh we still do. Yeah. Yeah.

ANDREW DENTON: You still haul in the salmon?

DONNA SIMPSON: Oh yeah, we we go every, every year to haul those great fish.

ANDREW DENTON: Are there any that you reject?

Gawd I hate that corniness.  Very undergrad. 


ANDREW DENTON: So ah Donna, you’re the, you’re the older. You’re three years, four years older than Vikki?

DONNA SIMPSON: I’m four years older than Vik.

ANDREW DENTON: Yeah, and as sisters growing up when you were in your teenage years was she the annoying younger sister, or were you close?

DONNA SIMPSON: I can’t really remember her, that much.

ANDREW DENTON: I think that answered the question.

DONNA SIMPSON: I remember Vik when she was about 16 or 17 wanting me to buy booze for her. And of course I didn’t.

ANDREW DENTON: Oh, you so did. Did you idolise Donna as younger sisters sometimes do?

DONNA SIMPSON: It it’s a similar thing. I think four years was enough for there to be, I mean I do remember Donna as I became a teenager. She was yeah, the big older sister that I wanted to hang out with and, but yeah, as a kid I have no memory of you whatsoever.

ANDREW DENTON: OK, so we’ve got plausible deniability on both sides here. It was at Cosy Corner that your dad first handed you a guitar, and that that was like an immediate marriage for you wasn’t it?

“It was amazing because suddenly, you know I was 15 years old, and I hated school, and I wasn’t doing well, and suddenly I found something I could do, and that just blew my mind and by the end of the first day of playing guitar I was playing Bob Dylan songs.”

DONNA SIMPSON: It was. It was amazing because suddenly, you know I was 15 years old, and I hated school, and I wasn’t doing well, and suddenly I found something I could do, and that just blew my mind and by the end of the first day of playing guitar I was playing Bob Dylan songs.

ANDREW DENTON: What were your visions of ah Dylan?

DONNA SIMPSON: It’s very strange. But I just knew, that one day, we would tour and play with him and that I would sing with him.

VIKKI THORN: You did not.

DONNA SIMPSON: I did so. I did and it’s really weird. You can read my diary and it’s in there.

ANDREW DENTON: But what differentiates you from other teenagers, is you did get to play with Dylan, and, and we’ll talk about, I don’t want to spoil it for people. We’ll get, it’s a bit oogedy-boogedy. We’ll get, we’ll get to that later.

VIKKI THORN: Oogedy-boogedy.

DONNA SIMPSON: Yeah, that’s us.

ANDREW DENTON: You, sort of discovered that you could harmonise by accident, is that right?

VIKKI THORN: Yeah, we, we played a song that was an old Everly Brothers song, I think, something that dad you know used to listen to in the house all the time. I just took a higher harmony over her. And, and I don’t know how I knew how to harmonise. It just came very naturally. You know, I’d studied a bit of music at school but I’d never sung in harmony much before. We, mum has that on video, the first time we sung together. It doesn’t sound like harmony.

ANDREW DENTON: We’ve got a guitar here. Do you want to give us a little burst of Everly Brothers?

VIKKI THORN: Oh yeah. We probably don’t need the guitar. I don’t know, do you know the chords for this?

VIKKI THORN: This was the first song. You know this one?


VIKKI THORN: Well sing along.

ANDREW DENTON: No, you don’t want my harmonies let me tell you. Dogs heads explode.

VIKKI THORN: That was the first song.

ANDREW DENTON: That was, so what an amazing moment. You suddenly realised you could do this high harmony line. Did you look around going who did that?

VIKKI THORN: Yeah, I did a little bit the first time, yeah.

ANDREW DENTON: Wow. And then you ended up ah playing in pubs, of course when you were over age.

VIKKI THORN: No, no, well that was the thing. I, I really wanted to do it from that point because I was underage, and I thought what a great opportunity. I can go to the pubs before any of my friends can and that was really my, you know, my focus, more than singing.


ANDREW DENTON: That’s honourable. However, once you dominated Albany it was time to move. Tell the story when you were 20 you, you turned up at Vikki’s school in a yellow Kombi. What was the plan?

DONNA SIMPSON: I’d said to Vikki, you know, we should go round Australia. Let’s, let’s just get out of here, let’s go travelling. You know, we were from this town where if we saw a car come through from over east with eastern states numberplates, I mean I would just look at these cars and think wow, they’re from over east. They’re from Sydney and, and Wollongong and…you know and it was it was really exciting for us. So I bought this old van and I went and picked her up from school…

VIKKI THORN: My last day at school.

DONNA SIMPSON: And she couldn’t believe it, her last day of school. And I said “Look what I’ve got. This is it. We’re going”. And we left a few weeks later.

ANDREW DENTON: Had either of you left the town before really?

VIKKI THORN: No, I mean you know on family holidays but never, it was a huge adventure.

DONNA SIMPSON: No, not by ourselves.

“She used to ring up, tourist bureaus, in the next town, like OK, let’s go play in Busselton. We’ll ring the Busselton tourist bureau, “Do you know of any live music in your town, like where does?” And so we’d end up in biker bars, and all these weird, depending on what the lady at the tourist bureau, what what her scene was.”

VIKKI THORN: Really, because we had a little PA, we’d have to lug our gear into these clubs and you know how she got gigs? She used to ring up, tourist bureaus, in the next town, like OK, let’s go play in Busselton. We’ll ring the Busselton tourist bureau, “Do you know of any live music in your town, like where does?” And so we’d end up in biker bars, and all these weird, depending on what the lady at the tourist bureau, what what her scene was, we’d end up in.


VIKKI THORN: In that bar playing for them, and sometimes it was a bit scary. We’d walk, walk into these places and, you know, there’d be maybe three or four blokes, maybe, sitting in the front bar, and we’d have to go in and set up and it was fun though.

DONNA SIMPSON: And start singing to them.

ANDREW DENTON: And what kind of stuff were you playing for bikers? Was it Everly Brothers as well?

DONNA SIMPSON: 12 bar blues in E for hours. It was pretty much that, just the blues.

VIKKI THORN: We stick to the blues. But they were they were nice. You know we had one guy come up and said you know “I’m here to look after you girls. Anyone gives you any shit just ah tell me and I’ll fix them up”.

ANDREW DENTON: Now, get your clothes off.

Grrrrrr…. He is just not that funny.

VIKKI THORN: No, no that never happened, and that I think, is why it it was the whole travelling thing, before we met Josh, when it was just the two of us, was a very positive experience. We didn’t have any negative experience. People were very good to us, and we were looked after wherever we went.

DONNA SIMPSON: So it was fun.

ANDREW DENTON: We should explain who Josh is. Josh is ah, was became the third Waif, back before you were The Waifs. Welcome Josh.

JOSH: Thank you.

ANDREW DENTON: Josh is the co-song writer with Vikki and Donna, and very much a driving force of the Waifs. When you first met these girls driving around in their campervan, what were they like?

JOSH: Well, they haven’t changed a lot actually. I mean they they still have the same endearing, immediate, likeable quality and I saw them playing in ah a cocktail bar for the first time and I was instantly smitten, by the sound that they were making and the personality that they exuded, and 15 years later I still feel the same way about them.


ANDREW DENTON: That is so, sucky.

It worked but it is just soooooo undergrad. 

JOSH: But it’s true.

DONNA SIMPSON: Now, we’ll get our gear off.

ANDREW DENTON: So Josh you joined the band, and was it, was that that was your suggestion wasn’t it?

DONNA SIMPSON: Yeah, um, poor little thing, he needed a shower, so invited him back to our hotel room, to, to use our shower, and he sat down on the bed and picked up the guitar and started playing and I’d only known him ten minutes, but I’d already asked him to have a shower, and join the band.

Here is where I cringed more than a little.  Clearly Josh is not the power in the group.  It might be the truth but it is a slight put down… and on national television.  But if he wears it so be it.  Stupid bastard.

ANDREW DENTON: You must have just thought this was one of the great days. Two girls in a campervan have asked me back for a shower, and to travel with them for the rest of my life.

JOSH: It was definitely a turning point for me.

ANDREW DENTON: Turning or turn on?
And back to the undergrad sex allusion.  Tedious is the word.  An Algonquin round tabler he aint.

JOSH: Turning.

DONNA SIMPSON: I mean it it sounds lewd, but it wasn’t.

ANDREW DENTON: Pretty amazing for you Josh, to come into this not just a partnership, a sisterhood, in this little campervan. Were were you, ah you must have been keenly aware of the the politics of it.

JOSH: Well, in a in a way but it felt very natural right from the the start. I mean obviously to jam for ten minutes and then be asked that question, there’s a, a connection.

ANDREW DENTON: Do you want a shower?
Bout ready to throw something at the TV about now.
JOSH: Well, no that had already been asked. I forgot about that, you know, there was a connection that Donna felt that I felt as well and it’s I think it’s a personal connection and a music musical connection as well that we’ve always uh really had. It it’s always felt very much like a family to me and I felt instantly welcomed into that right from the very start.

ANDREW DENTON: How many times did you go round Australia in that van?

VIKKI THORN: Oh in ’92, and then ’93, ’94, ’95, we sort of…’96. Travelled between mainly the west coast until we decided to move east for good to try and write music, and make a serious music career.

ANDREW DENTON: So travelling round Australia, give or take seven or eight times in one campervan, three of you, that must have been one stinky van.

VIKKI THORN: It was. It was

DONNA SIMPSON: It was. It was gorgeous. It still is, isn’t it?

VIKKI THORN: Yeah, it is.

DONNA SIMPSON: It was great. We had it all set up. We had our all we used to carry our own PA system, so we had all of our speakers and the desk and amps and everything underneath the van, and we would sleep on top, on a bed on top. And you know, if the eh the weather’s so great in the Kimberley’s, that we’d just find a dry riverbed and sleep in there. And we’re always sleeping out somewhere. It was just beautiful.

ANDREW DENTON: It sounds incredibly romantic and beautiful, but I’m sure there are times it was just, you just wanted out.

VIKKI THORN: Hell. Yeah, I think after you live with people for a long time you don’t tend to treat them with the respect that maybe you should when you’re living with in such close quarters. And Donna and I being sisters, you know women when they live together their menstrual cycles sort of hook up and you’ve got PMT at the same time, that’s hell, you know.

JOSH: I’ll vouch for that.

ANDREW DENTON: I was going to, they would have been, they would have been happy, happy days for you Josh.

JOSH: Very happy.

ANDREW DENTON: So when did it reach its lowest point on the road for you guys? Was there a moment?

DONNA SIMPSON: I think yeah, it was the end of ’93, I think…

DONNA SIMPSON: I actually kept saying to, Josh and Vikki they were having this big argument in the van, and I kept saying, ‘I’m leaving. I’m leaving. I’m leaving, you know.’ They just didn’t hear me.

ANDREW DENTON: And it was around this time that you got the name ‘The Waifs’, wasn’t it? That was that was given to you, really.

DONNA SIMPSON: Yeah, we, we, things got really tough on the road, so we all decided to go home and Josh went to his family, and virtually walked into the house and his grandmother said “Oh look at my waif, my waif”. And then we went home to our family and our grandmother said “Oh here come the waifs”. And like…

VIKKI THORN: Yeah, here come my little waifs she said.

DONNA SIMPSON: My little waifs.

VIKKI THORN: Meaning I guess that we were a little dishevelled, dirty and homeless looking.

ANDREW DENTON: It could have been worse. They could have said you little shits.
And here is where another bout of Dentonesque humour first year uni style kicked in… again.

VIKKI THORN: Well, actually I think it was her way of saying that.

DONNA SIMPSON: We could have been…

ANDREW DENTON: The Shits, yes.
And the scatalogical references continue…. It is so rare that you can use that word but Denton is the gift that keeps on giving in that regard.

DONNA SIMPSON: We could have been The Shits.
Not that Donna helped. 

ANDREW DENTON: Be a great intro wouldn’t it. “Ladies and gentlemen, The Shits.”
And again…..

DONNA SIMPSON: Oh damn, why didn’t we think of that?
And she has a bogan moment

ANDREW DENTON: I’m very glad for you that you didn’t. Where, you’ve spent all these years playing other peoples songs and you knew hundreds of them. You could gig for seven or eight hours. When did you realise hey, hang on, we can write our own music?

VIKKI THORN: Ah Josh, I remember after a big argument, he hitched out of Broome one time and went for a eh a holiday in the Kimberley’s, and he came back and he’d written three or four songs. And he wouldn’t sing to us at the time. He was too shy, so he just sort of had to pluck out the melody on the guitar. Donna, you wrote ‘Crazy Train’, which is a song that we play in our set today.

ANDREW DENTON: Can you give us a burst of ‘Crazy Train’?

DONNA SIMPSON: Oh, oh can we?

ANDREW DENTON: Does that require full orchestration?

DONNA SIMPSON: No, no, we we’ll do it.

VIKKI THORN: I can’t do my harmonica though.

DONNA SIMPSON: Oh no, we can’t do it.

VIKKI THORN: It’s a minor. It’s going to sound really weird. Sounds like a train with sort of one wheel off the track.

DONNA SIMPSON: What key is that in?

VIKKI THORN: It’s A minor.

DONNA SIMPSON: Oh why don’t you do ‘Papa’? Want to do ‘Papa’?

VIKKI THORN: What do you want?

ANDREW DENTON: No, I eh just entertain me.

DONNA SIMPSON: Sing your ‘Papa’ song.

ANDREW DENTON: In the style of ‘The Shits’.
He can be so irritating.  He drops that careful consoling understanding soft spoken style he has perfected and becomes a square headed version of a Jack Russell puppy.

ANDREW DENTON: No, that’s… And what I like about that is it’s uplifting. Is that you wrote that song?


ANDREW DENTON: That sounds like it comes from the negro blues tradition from about 1920s.

DONNA SIMPSON: That was the music we listened to as we were travelling around. We listened to a lot of Sonny Terry, Brownie McGee and lot of black gospel music.

ANDREW DENTON: Most bands, they get management, get a song, hope it’ll get on the radio and they’ll tour off the back of that. You did it quite the opposite. You didn’t have management. You toured and toured and toured and toured. Ah, you set up your own distribution company off the back, off the campervan, and eventually you got radio play. Eh and in fact you did it in conjunction with John Butler, didn’t you? You formed a record label together the two of you.

DONNA SIMPSON: Yeah, yeah.

ANDREW DENTON: Did you ever consider whether or not this was the the wise way to do it, to do it what some would consider the hard way?

DONNA SIMPSON: No, this was this was the way we were doing it.

VIKKI THORN: It was the only way.

DONNA SIMPSON: It’s the only way we knew that we were going to do it, wasn’t it? I mean we we were playing music origin, initially to travel so we didn’t have to pick fruit to go round Australia. That’s why we wanted to, to you know play.

VIKKI THORN: It was just a natural progression. Yeah, we got…

DONNA SIMPSON: It was, it was very natural wasn’t it?

VIKKI THORN: We, we made a tape. We sold the tape. We kept the money from the tape to make an album and then we had an album

ANDREW DENTON: So who whose the boss?


ANDREW DENTON: And why is Vikki the boss?

VIKKI THORN: Why am I the boss?

DONNA SIMPSON: Because she’s very bossy.

Here it got really interesting.  There was a real tension.  It wasn’t what was said but the way things were said and the gestures.  Very very telling. 

DONNA SIMPSON: She is. She’s very bossy and very controlling.

ANDREW DENTON: Vikki are you the boss?

VIKKI THORN: I wouldn’t think I, maybe I was like that at some stage. I don’t think I am now.

DONNA SIMPSON: I mean it nicely. Like you are the boss.

VIKKI THORN: OK. I am. Sure, I’ll take it.

ANDREW DENTON: All right, so first of all, what is it most you secretly love about each other?

VIKKI THORN: Oh that’s a nice question. I, it’s not much of a secret but I, Donna’s a very, very generous person and I love that about her because I’m not naturally inclined to be gen, generous, and I admire that in her very much.

DONNA SIMPSON: Thank you. Yeah, you can have that as well.

DONNA SIMPSON: I think Vikki, Vikki has a really good head on her shoulders. And she’s a lot smarter than she gives out, and she has a great sense of humour, that most people don’t get to see. And she’s a brilliant mother, as well.

VIKKI THORN: Oh that’s nice.

DONNA SIMPSON: Yeah. Now get your gear off.

About here I came to the conclusion that the less Donna says the better.  She is a really hippy chick but rough and getting rougher. 

ANDREW DENTON: I’m easy. And what is it about each other drives you mad?

DONNA SIMPSON: Oh. I hate, I hate Vikki, this is what drives me mad about Vikki is, she’s always cutting me off. She’s always, cut me off or cutting me down. In front of people, yeah.

ANDREW DENTON: Cut you down. In what way?


VIKKI THORN: Tell the Dylan story.

“And I was backstage putting my guitar away, and Bob Dylan walks up and goes “Hey, how you doing, yeah, hey, hey”. And I’m like wow, you know, looking straight into Bob’s face. And Vikki, Vikki comes up and I introduce her, you know, this is my little sister…oh Vikki said, “Nice t-shirt Bob”. He had a rodeo t-shirt on and I said “I rode in a rodeo a couple of times when I was a kid, I rode twice”. And Vikki says “You did not”..”

DONNA SIMPSON: Oh OK, OK, so I’m backstage, right, opening for Bob Dylan backstage. Haven’t even seen the man, not once. And knowing that this is my moment, you know, this is this that fate, this is that intuition, this is that, it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. And I was backstage putting my guitar away, and Bob Dylan walks up and goes “Hey, how you doing, yeah, hey, hey”. And I’m like wow, you know, looking straight into Bob’s face. And Vikki, Vikki comes up and I introduce her, you know, this is my little sister, sort of thing. And ah and I said, oh Vikki said, “Nice t-shirt Bob”. He had a rodeo t-shirt on and I said “I rode in a rodeo a couple of times when I was a kid, I rode twice”. And Vikki says “You did not”.

DONNA SIMPSON: And then, so there’s Bob Dylan standing there, and I said “I bloody well did so”. And she said “You did not”. I said, “I did so”. And it went on.

ANDREW DENTON: And Bob’s just standing there.

DONNA SIMPSON: He’s just standing there and we just started laying into each other. Donna, you spent more time with, with the man. He comes across these days as very enigmatic, very difficult to communicate with. How did you find him?

DONNA SIMPSON: It’s, you know well I I found him, he’s fine. He’s, he’s really.

VIKKI THORN: He’s great. She’s really funny, sorry. I don’t mean to cut you off but you…


VIKKI THORN: She was just like, I, the time that I first met him, I froze up and I just was in my head this ‘That’s Bob Dylan’. But Donna, she’s very casual and open and just was joking around with him, you know. And he joked around with her, you know.

DONNA SIMPSON: Yeah, there was a bit of a teasing, you know.

VIKKI THORN: They’d come off stage and give high fives and she’d say things to him. I’m going “That’s Bob Dylan, you can’t say that sort of stuff”.

ANDREW DENTON: What sort of things?

VIKKI THORN: Just cheeky. She was just cheeky, you know.

DONNA SIMPSON: Well, he was, he’s a cheeky he’s quite cheeky himself.

ANDREW DENTON: Is he flirty? I hear he’s flirty.

VIKKI THORN: He’s in a, his own gentlemanly, old man way, yes.

VIKKI THORN: I think he was flirting with you.

DONNA SIMPSON: He is. He is love, I think he’s great. He’s lovely.

ANDREW DENTON: Now he got you up on stage in North Carolina to sing ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’. So there you were in your dream.

DONNA SIMPSON: Yeah, worst moment of my life.

ANDREW DENTON: Worst moment? Because?

DONNA SIMPSON: Well, I’d drunk half a bottle of vodka and I wasn’t ready for it. Um, it was, it was too surreal. It wasn’t real. It was, Vikki puts it beautifully…

VIKKI THORN: Josh came running downstairs and he said Bob Dylan’s just called you on stage. We knew it was a possibility but it hadn’t happened before and we were, you know, just in our pyjamas basically. We threw on his shirts and we ran up onstage and it was all the lights are down. I rang straight into a pole, and the security guy grabbed and sort of directed me…

DONNA SIMPSON: Pushed us on.

VIKKI THORN: And there we were. The lights came up and then, Dylan’s standing right there and he starts

VIKKI THORN: And the song was just the sound [playing guitar and singing] and we’re doing these harmonies over it [singing] and he starts singing and I just, I was overcome with emotion and I thought ‘I’m in a Bob Dylan song. I’m in it, it it’s all around me’. [Singing] Yeah, I mean this, this was a song that I had known, for as long as I could remember and all the people in the audience out there had the same experience. Everybody knows that song. But here we were creating that sound, for them. We were a part of a Bob Dylan song and that was an awesome moment. It was like, it really doesn’t getting better.

ANDREW DENTON: And so best for you, worst for you.

DONNA SIMPSON: Yeah, it was it was terrifying.

VIKKI THORN: You just didn’t hit that harmony quite right, that’s why.

DONNA SIMPSON: I didn’t hit the harmony right.

DONNA SIMPSON: I just froze up. It was, I just wanted to get it. I wanted to be watching me on stage with Bob Dylan, not you know, I wanted to be somewhere else watching me.

ANDREW DENTON: You wanted to have a, a second view down there with the cigarette lighter.

DONNA SIMPSON: Yeah, yeah, saying look at her. I know her.

ANDREW DENTON: I wish I was her.

DONNA SIMPSON: I wish I was her.

ANDREW DENTON: She’s from The Shits. I remember her.
DONNA SIMPSON: But it was funny cos Vikki, closed her eyes and when the ‘Oh, ohh, oh,’ you know in the ‘Oh’ bits, Vikki closed her eyes and started dancing and she was dancing into Bob, and she was nearly hitting him.

VIKKI THORN: I had no idea.

DONNA SIMPSON: She had no idea and I was grabbing her, pulling her away, and…

VIKKI THORN: I don’t know that. You never said that before.

ANDREW DENTON: She was heavily concussed from having run into a pole seconds earlier.

VIKKI THORN: I loved it. I embraced the moment and I…


VIKKI THORN: I enjoyed it.

ANDREW DENTON: That is the most fantastic story. I love that, and I, I think everybody watching tonight, will know what you mean and be envious of you but know what you mean too.

DONNA SIMPSON: Yeah, it was it was.

VIKKI THORN: Isn’t that strange? Two completely different reactions to the same thing.

ANDREW DENTON: Can we talk about another song which, which you wrote, ah at around that time, which ah last year won the grand overall prize at the American song writing competition, the first time that’s ever been won by someone outside America — ‘Bridal Train’, which is about your family history. Can you maybe give us a burst and tell us a bit about it?

VIKKI THORN: Yeah, my my grandmother was a war bride, after the Second World War. She met Bob Cain, he was an American sailor. And they met in Perth, and after a very brief engagement, married and then he was sent away. She received a telegram at about midnight one night, saying eh pack your things, there’s a train, ah the US Navy is chartering a a train to take ah war brides to Sydney, and from Sydney you can board a ship, and we’ll take you to America to be with your husbands, and I just wonder how those women must have felt as they were journeying across their country possibly for the last time you know to go and live in this, in this new place and you know with children, and you know I was…

ANDREW DENTON: Can you give us a burst?

DONNA SIMPSON: I can. Here you can play it.

ANDREW DENTON: That’s beautiful. I go all gooey when you harmonise.

VIKKI THORN: I get a bit emotional still when I sing that song.

ANDREW DENTON: Actually I went all gooey then, and it wasn’t even my grandmother. That’s beautiful. That really is lovely. What’s ironic is that you, you grandmother went off to America to marry her man. You both found husbands in America as well. You both live there.

VIKKI THORN: I love being home. I love being a mother. It it’s brought a new depth and fulfilment in my life and I enjoy playing music so much more since I’ve, I have that aspect.

ANDREW DENTON: What about you Donna? What eh what has having a little boy mean?


ANDREW DENTON: Same for you?

DONNA SIMPSON: Yeah, it is. It’s very similar, and I just I love that they’re so musical already the kids, you know…

ANDREW DENTON: What a fantastic thing you’ve got to give them though. There’s no better gift.

DONNA SIMPSON: Yeah, the and they’re three three little boys, and they’re all you know little cousins.

DONNA SIMPSON: We ah had our babies three days apart.

ANDREW DENTON: Did something one particular night?
Yeah the girls all played along but it was just plain tacky.  And I like risque jokes.  But this was just corny and undergrad.

VIKKI THORN: Yep. It begs the question doesn’t it?

DONNA SIMPSON: It was the same night. We’d finished playing a gig at our…


DONNA SIMPSON: In Albany, our hometown at a winery. Ah and it it was a great night. It was just full of family and friends and…

ANDREW DENTON: Another thing beginning with F.
Irritating is the word

ANDREW DENTON: I’m with you.


ANDREW DENTON: Look, it’s been so much fun. It’s been just gorgeous. Lovely to hear you play as well, and thank you as well, Josh. I know you’re coming back to Australia later in the year. I hope it’s a fantastic tour. Have beautiful children, thank you very much.

VIKKI THORN: Thanks, thank you.

I have my tickets to the concert on 3 October at the Forum.  They are briliant.  Better than in interview.  Check out their site at


Leave a Reply

Verified by MonsterInsights