Dirty Deeds - Track By Track

You Am I frontman Tim Rogers has delivered the soundtrack of the year for David Caesar’s crime epic Dirty Deeds. He takes FILMINK’s Erin Free on a track-by-track tour through the album.


“When we were going through songs, I think it was possibly after we’d started recording, the call came through that we couldn’t use ‘Dirty Deeds’ on the record. It had always been a bit of a problem to me that they were using the AC/DC track because that was recorded in ’76, and the film is set in ’69. For an attentive person like me, that kind of bugs me. But you know, it’s David’s film, and he really wants it and it’s the name of the film, so stuff it.
So the call came through, and it was ‘shit, that’s gonna be a difficult one. It’s such an iconic song, and a great song. It’s gonna be difficult to do.’ We got a lot of suggestions - like getting the Propellerheads or someone to do it like a dance act, or getting Shirley Manson. The suggestions were getting pretty wild. Then I was listening to a Dirt Bombs record which was on in the car, and the idea of us kinda shifting the beat of the thing, and not just having it as a 4/4 thumper, but maybe turning it into a mid-late 60s garage feel by just shifting the beat around. Well, who am I gonna get to do it? Who’s the best band in the land? Mine! The best one to sing it was Tex. And as it happened, he’s a friend, and I gave him a call. I did a little demo of me singing it for an idea I had of how the way it could be sung. And he just came in and did a far better version. He just belted the fucker. And I haven’t had anyone try to swing a punch at me about it, because it’s very close to people’s hearts. We took a risk with it, and I’m glad we did, because I think it turned out great.”


“David Caesar knew that song, and was probably the only person apart from Rusty Hopkinson who knew it. I was just listening to one of my record compilations, and the song came out, and I thought that there was an opportunity for this heavy kind of psychedelic stuff in the film. I thought Phil could carry it off, and I think that just having the ‘spoon doing a tune that wasn’t a modern rock song and had a bit of antiquity to it, I thought well, ‘look, I’m sure they could nail it, let’s give it a run’. And they did. That was one of the biggest surprise-kind of days. I mean, I know those guys are really together as a band, but they’re just sweethearts, and just kinda really interested, and interesting. You know, it was a really fun thing. Everyone knew we had an objective to knock over a great version of the song. And they just play all over it.”

TROUBLE : You Am I with Bernard Fanning

JUST NO GOOD WITHOUT YOU : Bernard Fanning with Bruce Haymes

“We started playing it and it was Andy Kent’s favourite song. So I started re-examining things, because I thought it was a little too similar to some other balladic rock songs You Am I have got. But I decided to persist with it. And I hadn’t seen Bernie in a while and gave him a call, and he was all over it. He came very quickly to mind. In retrospect, I would’ve liked Bernie to sing a sort of soulful rock number. He’s been underdone as a rock and roll singer. But, yeah. That was an immensely pleasurable week that we had hanging out, we did this show together at the Hi Fi Bar in Melbourne, and did some recording too.”

I’LL BE GONE : Palladium

“I know I wasn’t thinking of that song for the film, but I saw Palladium play and for some reason when I walked home, I thought of that song. It can’t be something about those two voices together, but I think they were one of the first bands asked to do something. And we struck up a good relationship with those guys.”

SOMETIMES I JUST DON’T KNOW : You Am I with Billy Thorpe

“We were originally going to do another song with Billy called ‘Where The Wind Don’t Blow’ but we were actually working right up until the last minute. We were really stuck for time. He was busy, and I was leaving the country. We were going to do some stuff together, collaborate, exchange lyrics etc and so in the end we had so little time and we could only do ‘Sometimes I Just Don’t Know’, which was written for him. He was kinda like the patron for the whole project really. I rang him very early on, and almost asked for his blessing on certain things, so that was really important. It gave us the confidence to go ahead with a lot of things. And he’s a good friend of Bryan Brown. It all kinda fit very nicely. I went and saw him a couple of times last year and I think when I got home from one of his shows, I really started piecing that song together.”

WILD ABOUT YOU : Dallas Crane

“I just very greedily just wanted the band on there. It’s a song that’s got this kind of frantic energy, that they kind of hold together, and it was recorded the day before they left for London.”


“Just a tune that I wrote after getting the script. The riff had been around for a little while. That was a song that I finished specifically for the scene where You Am I play the band in the bar in the film, and we recorded a version, and then re-recorded it, just to try and snap it up a little bit. It’s what’s good about You Am I and what’s bad about us, you know, comparably to a lot of stuff. There’s something about the velocity, or the attack of the vocals that goes missing but it’s a good little rock and roll song. It doesn’t quite have the power that the others do, but then I can see why there’s such a fervour over us playing behind different singers. You know, short comings and great strengths. Yeah, interesting how it sits in with the stuff we’ve been playing in the city. I don’t enjoy it very much and I think, you know, it was done at the start of when we had written stuff and were writing stuff for our album Deliverance.”

MADE MY BED, GONNA LIE IN IT : You Am I with Phil Jamieson

“That was suggested by David for the opening scene, and there was a version that we did with just me singing it, which just didn’t cut the mustard at all. Then we asked Phil to do it, because he’s a singer, and a mate and he’s got very close ties to Stevie Wright and it was all just perfect to do. But it’s an odd song - its one of the stranger songs to be recorded by The Easybeats. It’s the whole feel, and the arrangement and everything. And as it worked out, The ‘spoon’s version of ‘And I Heard The Fire Sing’ worked better for the opening sequence anyway, which we found out again after recording. We love this recording and dig it, but you know, ‘And I Heard The Fire Sing’ just works better to kick the film off.”

WASHBOARD ROCK’N’ROLL : Lisa Miller, Jody Bell & Tim Rogers

“That was originally sung by a group called The Schneider Sisters in the early fifties. David Caesar was very passionate about using that particular song for a particular scene. He thought we could just use the original, but I kinda said ‘could we please give it a go, gimme a chance to rerecord it.’ Its such an eccentric song, and I wanted to get Lisa Miller to sing it, and this group to play it. And as it worked out, David really dug the version that we did. So we went for it. And in the context of the album, it’s such a different song and an odd one, but that’s one of the reasons why I love it.”

BLACK AND BLUE : The Powder Monkeys

“The only person that I know of who could sing that song, that I know of, was - if it’s not Chain’s Matt Taylor - then it’s The Powder Monkeys. I love the band. My original idea was to get Matt to come and sing and play on it, but just getting him over from Perth became a little bit difficult. The Powder Monkeys are a really, really individual, eccentric band, and a brilliant example of how an instrument can be played. It’s a real, kind of raw as fuck version, and it was an amazing day of recording, you know.”


“We obviously wanted to record some tracks that were of that time. And that was my kind of girlish attempt at writing a ’69 psychedelic song, with a lumbering kind of beat. That was very much written as an example of something rather than ‘hey this is a great song’. It was just supposed to have those sounds, and so that’s when it felt like clocking on for the job. Saying ‘give me something that sounds like a ’69 psych song’.”

LOSIN’ MY BLUES TONIGHT : Tim Rogers & Lisa Miller

“We needed that for a particular scene, and I wanted the opportunity to re-record it. Just to show a bit of guts and go for it, and so, I thought well ‘who will we get so sing it?’ So I just did the demo kinda version of it, and I didn’t realise it, but yeah, it does sound very different. It’s just me singing in a different register with a different kind of twang. When it finished, I think we all kind of agreed just to leave it like that. And you know, it works great with the film and so you know, it served its purpose. Just a kind of odd version of a song. I wasn’t aware that it was ‘that’ different when I played it to them. It’s probably closer to talking rather than singing - it’s fairly loud, with a bit of a 1940s Australian accent, which is vastly different to the current one.”