Henry Wagons enjoys a good breakfast in Lismore.
Henry Wagons enjoys a good breakfast in Lismore.

Henry Wagons rolls in to Lismore

ON HIS first solo record Henry Wagons is expecting company.

And he gets plenty of it, thanks in part, he says, to the fact he's not very good at spending time alone.

The album, as it turns out, is a record of duets featuring Alison Mosshart (The Kills/The Dead Weather), Robert Forster (The Go Betweens), Sophia Brous, Gossling, Jenn Grant and Patience Hodgson (The Grates).

"My band Wagons is a bit of an egomaniacal enterprise," he says. "But, really it was all inspired by the first song with Alison Mosshart."

The song, Unwelcome Company, is based on a story Mosshart told Wagons.

It involves biblical waves of pests in her home, a mass killing and subsequent waves of maggots.

"I wrote the song more or less as a duet in a time when Wagons were on a break." Thanks to a supportive label, Wagons was on a plane the next day to record in London.

"Because I ended up producing the album myself, we didn't spend the money where you usually do," he says. "Alison is a really busy lady, so when I asked if she was still up for it and when she was available, she said 'this Sunday'. So I jumped on a plane the next day.

"I kind of wanted to be in the room so I could talk people through the songs."

Producing isn't new for Wagons though.

"It's how I first got into music," Wagons says. "I guess I got into music by nerding out and fumbling my way through in a studio, recording things eight times.

"From doing that I had some sort of musical visions and got into playing myself.

Ten years later Wagons the band took over and we worked with other producers."

Wagons then spent his time screaming into a microphone, "summoning up these strange demons in a weird, angry Gordon Ramsey chef kinda way".

With the album done, however, he's looking forward to leaving it up to someone else next time.

Playing in Lismore tonight to support the release of his debut solo album of duets, Wagons says to expect the unexpected.

"I try to never do things by halves," he says. "So the band I have with me is bigger than my normal band - a few backing singers, a new guitarist, the rhythm section from Wagons, a Vegas attitude and when the guests can't pop in - I'm hoping there will be a few people in the same city at the same time - I'll find a cast of local favourites and possibly a hairy bartender."

If you miss Wagons on stage (which you won't), you'll definitely catch him on Friday morning at one of his favourite breakfast stops, Dragonfly Cafe.

"I have a pretty humble breakfast of poached eggs and avocado but the eggs are always perfect, the bread is always buttered and the avocados are always ripe - it always sets my day off to a good start."

But it's not just the breakfast he loves about Lismore.

"It's always a big raucous fun stop," Wagons says.

Henry Wagons plays Lismore City Bowling Club tonight, 8pm. Tickets $15, eventfinder.com.au or from the venue 6621 5991.

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