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Midnight Oil set to retire

Australian rock band Midnight Oil effectively retired as passionate frontman Peter Garrett announced he had quit the band after 25 years.

In a brief statement on the band's website, Garrett said the decision came because he wanted to pursue other challenges, but gave no hint about what lay ahead.

"The last 25 years have been incredibly fulfilling for me, and I leave with the greatest respect for the whole of Midnight Oil," Garrett's statement said.

"The band has brought a lot of pleasure and meaning to people's lives, including my own. Who could ask for more?

"But it is time for me to move on and immerse myself in those things which are of deep concern to me and which I have been unable to fully apply myself to up to now."

Also in the statement, the band wished Garrett all the best, but reaffirmed their commitment to continue making music together "in another guise at some point down the track".

"We've had a unique relationship and special chemistry for many years, one too good to lose," remaining band members Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie, Martin Rotsey, Gary Morris and Bones Hillman said in the statement.

"We want to thank our families, all fans worldwide, our crew and the office team for their enormous support over the years.

"It's been a great ride together, many, many thanks."

Speculation is already rife that after feverishly supporting causes like indigenous rights and the environment through Midnight Oil's music, Garrett will carve out a career in politics.

He tried once before in the early 1980s, but was narrowly defeated in his bid for a senate seat on the Nuclear Disarmament Party's ticket.

Instead, he added his voice to causes like the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), of which he has had two stints as president.

Greens Senator Bob Brown said Garrett was a wonderful Australian with a lot more to give his country.

"Peter's a great and wonderful, warm-hearted Australian. I've had a long friendship with Peter and I really appreciate that," Senator Brown said.

"But everyone's been calling me about Peter except Peter."

When asked about Garrett's links with the Greens, Senator Brown said: "Peter's already in the fold as far as I'm concerned, you know these things aren't determined by whether you're a member of this or that."

ACF executive director Don Henry applauded Garrett's passion, integrity and commitment but said he wasn't sure where Garrett's resignation would lead him.

"It's up to Peter to consider his future and he'll cross any bridges he needs to cross when he thinks about that," Mr Henry told ABC radio.

Australian music guru Ian "Molly" Meldrum said the band's major quality was their music made Australians think.

"They were just a great rock and roll band and if you went to a concert, it was just so powerful to be there," he said.

Meldrum said it was possible Garrett's timing did have something to do with a potential move into politics.

Just thought some of you fellow oils fans would like to know!
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I suppose it was inevitable that the end would come after twenty-five years, but it's still a little sad in a way. I just received my copy of Capricornia in the mail a couple of weeks ago and haven't even had time to get into it. Peter Garrett is a talented and caring man. I'm sure he'll make a difference in the world again at whatever he chooses to do next. Maybe it's better leaving while you're on top, and not hanging around way past your prime like some artists do, and I won't mention any names.
Originally posted by suenotsusan:
[qb]I only wish that in American politics, we had someone as passionate and commited as him. [/qb]
Well, you did, but they have a habit of either getting shot at or dying in plane crashes... Frowner

Anyways it's a sad day for Australian music. I'd propose a minute's silence but I think the warcry of the Midnight Oil fans would be more appropriate...

From The Australian. With apologies to those who don't find it funny. It made me laugh.

Tim Blair: Unwanted old Oilman faces limited options

December 05, 2002
WHO will ever forget where they were when they learned that Peter Garrett had left Midnight Oil to "immerse himself in those things which are of deep concern to me"? I was in McDonald's eating an excellent Salsa Burger. A fellow diner looked up from his newspaper and told a friend: "Peter Garrett's quit the Oils!" The friend's reply: "Who?"

You expect that sort of ignorance from Quarter Pounder buyers. The rest of us had to cope with the shock of discovering that Garrett hadn't already quit the Oils years ago. Extensive research reveals, however, that since 1993 Midnight Oil have produced seven albums � one of them, Redneck Wonderland, a rockin' rebuttal of Hansonism. Alas, it proved as unpopular as Pauline. Others, such as 1996's Breathe, I've never heard of. Does anyone own a copy of Capricornia?

Garrett is riding the opposite of a wave of success into his expected political career. Could this undertow of failure draw him towards the Australian Democrats? Not likely, given the Dems' feminist leanings, which would clash with the Oils' all-bloke fan base.

The Australian Greens seem an obvious choice for Garrett, who is president of the Australian Conservation Foundation. But the Greens may reject him once they learn of Garrett's eco-unfriendliness. It turns out that during a 25-year vinyl and plastic binge Garrett and his band consumed thousands of tonnes of oil-based natural resources merely to produce something that separates the ads on "Best of the '70s and '80s" rock stations.

Various Garrett connections might also trouble true Greens. In 1990 Midnight Oil protested outside the hated multinational Exxon's Manhattan headquarters against the company's 38,800-tonne Alaskan oil spill � before presumably catching a limo to the headquarters of their record company, the hated multinational Sony.

Last year alone Sony wolfed down 3357 trillion joules of oil-derived energy � equivalent to 80,568 tonnes of crude. Makes you wonder why Garrett didn't add record companies to his list of evil businesses in 1987's The Dead Heart: "Mining companies, pastoral companies, uranium companies, collected companies."

The Greens can't enlist someone with blatant Big Oil links. They're out. So is Labor, as Garrett's belief in cultural protectionism and tariffs is at odds with the party's platform. And if he's any sort of politician, Garrett won't have forgiven the ALP for directing preferences against him when he ran for the Senate as a Nuclear Disarmament Party candidate in 1984.

If history is any guide, no matter who Garrett joins, the winners will be the Liberal Party or conservative forces generally. Practically every cause adopted by Garrett and his band ends in comical ruin. Anti-uranium? We're about to get a new reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney. The republic? We remain under the benign rule of the Queen. An apology from the Prime Minister for the stolen generations? We haven't heard one and we're not going to. Maintaining bans on the parallel import of CDs? Another doomed effort. Midnight Oil are Australia's Spinal Tap. If Garrett wants to bring down the Government, he should support it.

Even on his pet subject, the environment, Garrett is easily demolished. In a recent 60 Minutes debate, Swedish anti-hysteria campaigner Bjorn Lomborg beat Garrett like a bald-headed stepchild. Cranking out a three-minute pop song about environmental or political concerns is relatively easy, as Garrett now knows, compared with arguing with people who are armed with facts.

Maybe what we're witnessing here is a reverse midlife crisis. Many office-bound men edging towards 50 (Garrett hits the half-century mark next April) daydream about rock stardom. Garrett possibly lusts for the thrill of budget analysis and policy statements. He should beware. Nothing is as embarrassing as an old politician at a karaoke bar. Except, perhaps, an old rocker who takes up politics.

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