Tim Wheatley has been busy! After the passing of his father and Australian music industry icon Glenn Wheatley it was announced that there would be a new edition and audiobook of his bestselling book, Paper Paradise – a memoir of the man behind the music who broke into America with Little River Band, reinvented John Farnham with Whispering Jack, and brought FM radio to Australia which is out now.
Among Glenn’s final projects was the audiobook he recorded late in 2021 with the release marking a rare occurrence in publishing where an author passes before their book is released, that Glenn narrated his own life story for the audiobook mere months before his death is even more unique. Complete with a foreword from Glenn’s son Tim, the audiobook also features Tim’s cover of Because I Love You (lifted from his forthcoming EP), originally made famous by Glenn and The Master’s Apprentices fifty years ago, a moving tribute from a son to his father.
Thoughtful troubadour Tim Wheatley has also shared his new song Shiny Tacoma, a gorgeous, sun-soaked ode to being challenged, to looking back on rough times and finally being able to laugh. Accompanied by a heart warming film clip that is a nostalgic revisit on the song’s creation in the studio. Tim had worked closely with Glenn on the EP and it was slated for release the week of his passing. Offering a tip of the hat to his father with his heartfelt cover of The Master’s Apprentices classic Because I Love You nestled comfortably alongside this special collection of songs. Tim tells Hi Fi Way more.
It must have felt like a bit of a whirlwind having plenty on the go, have you been able to catch your breath?
Funnily enough, even after mine and my family’s lives were thrown a curve ball, I have found down time. Out of necessity, otherwise I would have absolutely burned out or broken down by now. My new daughter is someone that I stop and take my time with. Nothing can rush me, stress me or even get noticed when I’m with her.
How hard was it juggling your new EP and your late father’s book?
It varies every single day. Some days I wake up thinking I can’t wait to talk about the two projects, and in particular my father. And then other days I can’t bear to face it. I have to constantly ask myself ‘what would Glenn do?’ Before I get back to work, it tends to get me through some otherwise hard questions. I probably struggle spruiking my EP more than talking about my father’s book, as at times my EP seems very insignificant to me by comparison to getting my father’s story out there.
Was finishing the book one of the most satisfying projects you had undertaken?
To be able to finish something for my father and be given the chance to let people know what he meant to me, was incredibly satisfying. I can’t remember how many times he has bailed me out and got me over the line with things I’ve started and failed to finish. So, to lend him an albeit ‘belated hand’, made me incredibly happy.
Did you learn more about your father that you didn’t already know?
The amount of people that reached out to myself and my family from around the world and across all facets of his life was overwhelming. Everyone with a different story about how he helped them, inspired them or even saved them was where I learned the most about him to be honest, as I lived the book with him for the most part.
What do you hope readers take away from reading the book?
I hope people realise you don’t have to be cunning, crafty, devious, ruthless or cutthroat. There is room in the entertainment business for loyal and hardworking people. They were the qualities that not only got Glenn to the top, but how he stayed there for nearly fifty years.
Have you been stoked with the reaction to your EP?
I think we took a country EP by a white, middle aged, straight man as far as we could. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
How would you describe it compared to anything else you have done before?
This EP was initially half of an album that got sliced into to EPs. I can’t compare it to anything I have done before because to me, it’s just a snippet of something larger that I was working on. But I suppose that is also what makes the EP different to what I have done before.
What is the story behind the single Shiny Tacoma?
Shiny Tacoma was the first song written when I moved to London from Los Angeles. I was sitting in a cold, dark and empty apartment with nothing but my bag and a guitar. The guitar sounded amazing with the empty apartment acoustics and it just flowed. I was writing about how it was I found myself in these less than ideal situations, but with a smile and a shrug of the shoulders. I was looking to the bright side of uncertainty and finding my feet in a new country. Initially, the song was in fact a lot ‘darker’, but something rubbed off on it in when I recorded it in Byron Bay. The entire tone of the song became a lot brighter and happier.
Have you started thinking about what project is next for you?
Absolutely. I have an album underway that tracks the journey of my time in England, two years away from my family and friends, the passing of my father and the birth of my daughter. I found time in London during lockdown to really develop the songs a lot further than I otherwise would normally and have found a place to take my ‘Americana/ folk/ country’ into the future I think. Although there is a part of me that is somewhat nervous about falling short of what I set out to achieve with this album, as I have never felt such pressure before to set the bar higher. Wish me luck!
Any plans to go on tour to launch the EP around the country?
I always need to be performing in one way or another, and will be playing shows throughout the year, although my focus at the moment is creating and writing while spending time with my family. I honestly feel the need to nourish my soul before I hit the road again.
Interview By Rob Lyon