ANGEL CITY - Doc Neeson's Quiet Return Page 3
by Martin Popoff
That's a physical challenge to yourself right there!
"Absolutely. And I'm not really very good in hot weather. So I hope I don't go into meltdown (laughs). But I'm looking forward to doing it. I'm not really interested in the politics of what's going on. My own personal view is that it was a mistake all along, but I won't be pushing any political line. I'm just going there to give support to young men and women who have just been thrown into the battlefield. My father was in the British army for 22 years. I was also called up for National Service here, during the Vietnam War. I didn't go there. I did all the infantry training, but I ended up in New Guinea as a sergeant in the Army. So I've got some understanding of what it's like to be away from home, and of course, being in the military. So I'm just going to support those sailors and soldiers and airmen-type people. So that should be a pretty exciting time, and a challenge. It's like... they have doctors without frontiers. My idea is that there is music without frontiers."
Continued rehabilitation is key to making all of this happen. "I go to the gym four days a week now," explains Neeson. "It's mostly light weights and stretching, and just building up stamina. For a long time after the accident I was hardly able to move. So I lost quite a bit of mobility. In terms of just walking around normally I'm fine. But in terms of getting back into concert performance level, I figured, yeah, I should just go and do some gym regularly. I tell you, that trainer must have x-ray vision, because she showed me muscles I didn't even know I had. It's good."
I asked Doc what the elements were within his live presentation that earned him his reputation as a front man to be feared.
"I've always been a very athletic person. I've been, in Australia, the South Australian high jump champion. I've been the South Pacific high jump champion. My running times were comparable to people in the Commonwealth, in the Olympic Games, let's say, in the 1940s or '50s, and that's without any training. I did have a trainer that wanted to pick up on that and make me take it seriously, but I wanted to play the guitar more. So I ended up not following up that athletic side of me. But I took it on the stage, and at one point I was described as Mick Jagger on speed. So I was a very energetic performer. I used to see bands on TV doing their hit songs, and they just stood there and did the song; there was no performance. I used to feel shortchanged when people did that. And a lot of people found it quite okay and gave a big cheer when it finished, but I wasn't just motivated internally. It was just that... I didn't actually have an aspiration to be in a rock band. I was more interested in becoming a film director in my early years. But I just thought that the public deserves a bit more on stage. So that's where I based a lot of my performance ideas around, expressing the song, not just singing it."
ANGEL CITY - Doc Neeson's Quiet Return Page 4