Justin Burford is the ARIA Award winning frontman of End of Fashion and recently made his stage debut as the star of Rock of Ages. Before he heads to Adelaide for the premiere of his new show, Kurt which weaves story and song to celebrate Kurt Cobain’s short and influential existence, we had a quick chat about all things Justin.
1. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Like any kid I wanted to be a million different things all at once. I always had tendencies toward art and music however. I think I knew deep down that’s where I would end up. I love anything creative or performance based and that’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember.
2. Who is the most important person in the world to you?
I’m going to cheat and answer in the collective. My family. Definitely. They are always there through the highs and the lows that this career has in spades. They are a much appreciated source of support and love.
3. What animal best represents you and why?
I would like to be a magical shape shifting beast.
4. If you were a contestant on Deal or No Deal, how much would you need to be on offer before you walked away?
I’ve never watched that show so I have no idea how its played! Um, I’m guessing a lot? Or a little….whatever’s the appropriate response.
5. What was the first gig you ever appeared at or in and how old were you?
The first time I ever sung in public was in year 11 at a school social. I begged the school band to let me do two songs. They were Nirvana covers. There is a pattern emerging.
6. Windows or MAC?
There’s a Windows? Im a MAC man all the way
7. Favourite food?
I have recently developed an unhealthy obsession with nutella. I don’t know if that counts as a food but it’s edible and tasty. Straight out the tub with a spoon. Heck yes.
8. Who is the performer you would most like to work alongside?
9. What five songs would be the first you put a mix tape?
I can only ever answer these for this minute, right now…in no particular order Stone Temple Pilot’s “Big Empty”, Crowded House’s “Private Universe”, The Jayhawk’s “Blue”, Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold” and Talking Head’s “And She Was”.
10. What is the best thing about being a performer?
Every performer must ask themselves this question from time to time because it can be so demanding and so challenging for very little remuneration. So I think it’s simply this; the exchange of energy. That is the currency of performers. The best you can ask for as a performer is that the energy you emit is absorbed by the audience, amplified and reflected back and so on. It’s also just a lot of fun.
11. What’s the worst thing about being a performer?
For me it’s the instability. It’s incredibly hard to maintain a balanced life style, relationships and psyche when you are uncertain about where the next pay check is coming from. That is certainly not why anyone does it, but it can be tough at times.
12. Name one moment when you looked around, breathed happily and felt content.
I try to do that at least once a day. Even when things look their most bleak it’s important to take stock of who you are and what you have. We are all incredibly lucky to be here and it’s important to remind yourself of that as often as possible.
13. Where is the most interesting place you have travelled?
It’s a toss up between Tokyo and Mississippi. I didn’t get to spend all that much time in Tokyo but it was absolutely fascinating and I had so much fun there. I would love to go back and see more of it. I spent three months in Mississippi recording my first record so we got to know our town and its residents pretty well. People think that the US and Australia have so much in common but when you spend a decent amount of time there (especially the southern states) you realise just how different our cultures are.
14. Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?
I got to hang out with Priscilla Presley and Viggo Mortensen on the same night when we played Rove a few years back. They were both really cool.
15. Most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?
Last year I came down with a flu really fast during a performance of Rock Of Ages. It was a super bug. I mean it just floored me out of nowhere. At the shows most heartening, tender moment my lungs just gave up and I had no voice. I mean NO voice. I basically had to stand there and talk the lyrics to a crowd of very puzzled faces.
16. What’s your life motto?
It’s going to be alright kid.
17. What’s your favourite post-show snack?
Chili pepper squid and rice.
18. What’s your biggest phobia?
19. What are you most looking forward to about visiting Adelaide?
I love Adelaide. It has a great night life and arts culture. I’ve never met someone from Adelaide I didn’t like.
20. What are you most looking forward to about the 2012 Adelaide Cabaret Festival?
The opportunity to perform to a crowd I wouldn’t normally get to play to. I’m really excited about sharing this show with people. I can’t wait to meet lots of exciting, motivated performers and broaden my horizons in a field of entertainment that is brand new for me.
Justin’s show Kurt will play in the Banquet Room on 8 and 10 June at 7pm. For booking details and more information about the 2012 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, visit www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au.