Last year marked 30 years since Diesel began his music career after stepping off a bus in Sydney having travelled across the Nullarbor with his band Johnny Diesel And the Injectors.
After circling the country with his band in 2017, Diesel will be heading out in solo mode this year allowing him to roam even further into the 'nooks and crevices' of his back catalogue as he trawls through the highways and back roads that have made him the journeyman of music he is today.
Thirty years on the road; the wealth of experience you must have accumulated would be extensive. But do you still find yourself learning/ being surprised regularly?
[Diesel] After 30 years, making music is still a challenge. The idea of creating sound 'out of thin air' still fascinates me. But as much as I keep discovering different things, I'm probably forgetting stuff too.
What are a couple of the biggest changes/ adaptions to the industry you have had to endure during your career? And how did they extend your career as a musician?
One of the most major adaptations I've made is becoming a solo artist. I would have never imagined doing some of the shows I've done when I started, always within the security of a band. Being solo has allowed me to experiment, finding ways to do things that I can later fold into the band.
As much as things change and evolve quickly with the modern world, often the more time passes the more things stay the same; is that true of a touring musician from the late '80s compared to now?
It is true about change being the only constant thing.
The one thing that has remained constant is the importance of touring for me. I still think it's the most tangible facet of the industry, with word of mouth, physically and digitally keeping a profile for artists like myself.
Can you take us back to the journey you made across the Nullarbor with your band The Injectors landing in Sydney with less than a $100 to your name; how raw and honest was that time for you as a musician as well as a person?
At the age of 20, you are blind-sighted (sic) to a lot of things an older person might have concerns about. Luckily for us, things moved so rapidly we barely had time to think about what might happen, doing nine shows a week for months around Sydney doesn't leave you much time to think about much else!
How did the support of Jimmy Barnes (on his 'Freight Train Heart' tour in 1988) come about? The press release says it was 'fortuitous'. And how pivotal was the gig to your future?
Doing the support all over the country put us in front of a lot of people in a short time.
I had been sleeping on our 'would soon be' manager's sofa who happened to be doing some drumming for some recording Jimmy was doing and got invited in. The recording went well, the most intense recording experience ever (I had at that stage very little experience in the studio).
I was then asked by Jimmy to join his band, which I turned down due to the fact that I'd just brought a band across the country and couldn't 'abandon ship'. It was then the solution of doing the support and playing in J.B's band came to be.
You have covered more distance across our big, sunburnt continent than probably 99 per cent of the population; what do you most enjoy about travelling to 'regional Australia'?
The oxygen is good for starters. I like to run most days, it's my pre-show ritual. I've seen so many great spots: rivers, lakes, mountains, trails I'd never would imagine just by running out of my hotel door. I like how people say 'hello' in regional areas… that's always nice.
Are there still any pockets of Oz you are yet to explore that remain on your gig bucket list?
I've yet to go to the red centre, that's on my list.
The upcoming solo tour; will it be a standard Diesel set or do you have something a lil special planned giving it is your 30th anniversary?
I've tried to make the set as encompassing as possible; with 16 albums the task of picking songs becomes more of a challenge, but I think I cover all corners pretty well.
How many guitars will you be bringing on this tour, and is each guitar as special as the next one or do you have a favourite (much like a cricketer has a favourite bat)?
I usually have six or seven as it helps me to cover a lot of musical ground having different sounding instruments in different tunings.
Will you be open to taking requests of your back catalogue, no matter how obscure the song? And do you ever need to re-learn any of your older songs?
I definitely need to re-learn older songs, at least get a 'big picture' and start from there. It's never going to be exactly like the record as I've never been good at copying myself.
As for requests, you never know what might pique my interest.
Diesel Tour DatesFri 16 Feb - Northshore Tavern (Perth)
Fri 23 Feb - Hamilton Hotel (Brisbane)
Sat 24 Feb - Lonestar Tavern (Gold Coast)
Fri 2 Mar - Shoppingtown Hotel (Melbourne)
Sat 3 Mar - Macs Hotel (Melbourne)
Fri 9 Mar - Villa Noosa Hotel (Sunshine Coast)
Sat 10 Mar - Highfields Tavern (Toowoomba)
Thu 15 Mar - Emerald Star (Emerald)
Fri 16 Mar - Allenstown Hotel (Rockhampton)
Sat 17 Mar - Harvey Road Tavern (Gladstone)
Fri 23 Mar - Astor Hotel (Goulburn)
Sat 24 Mar - Oaks Hotel (Albion Park Rail)
Fri 6 Apr - Nelson Bay Diggers (Nelson Bay)
Sat 7 Apr - Laurieton United Services Club (Laurieton)
Fri 13 Apr - Blue Cattle Dog (St Clair, NSW)
Sat 14 Apr - Ettamogah Hotel (Sydney)
20-21 Apr - Brass Monkey (Sydney)
Fri 27 Apr - The Basement (Sydney)
Fri 4 May - Gateway Hotel (Geelong)
Sat 5 May - Mathew Flinders Hotel (Melbourne)
Thu 10 May - Slug & Lettuce (Adelaide)
Fri 11 May - Norwood Hotel (Adelaide)
Sat 12 May - Victoria Hotel (Adelaide)
Fri 18 May - Shoalhaven Bowls (Shoalhaven Heads)
Sat 19 May - Club Sapphire (Merimbula)
Fri 25 May - Central Hotel (Shellharbour)
Sat 26 May - Young Ex Services (Young, NSW)