From the July 18 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, where Tragedy was selected as their Pick of the Week:
'My brother was bass guitarist for Normie Rowe when Barry Gibb played a demo of the Gibbs' latest recording at rehearsals one afternoon in Sydney. It was Spicks and Specks, the single that, after a string of flops in Oz launched the Bee Gees. Jeff Apter's record of their rise, fall and rise really gets you in. Especially those heady days in Britain in 1967 when they turned out a string of hits. But there is deep sadness in the tale too, for when they sang Tragedy they couldn't have known that was in store with the untimely death of Maurice, younger brother Andy and, more recently, Robin. Apter brings the story up to the moment, Barry Gibb, after an extended time channel surfing on his couch, rousing himself to do the Mythology tour.’ —Steven Carroll
Tragedy was published in the UK
and North America by Jawbone Press in June 2016 and a new, smaller format edition of the book was published in Australia in March 2018. You can hear me speaking about the book with radio station 4KQ.
For quite some time now I've been writing about, and
with, iconic Australian musicians. (OK, the odd Kiwi, too, but you know we
claim the best ones as Australians.) So it's odd I haven't already written a
biography about John Farnham, in some ways our most iconic singer of all —
certainly our most popular. Foolishly, I got entangled in matters of
'coolness', something John has never been accused of, nor pursued. But once I
started to dig into the life and career of John / Johnny / 'Farnesy' Farnham, I
learned what a rich and lively story it is, how a regular guy took a punt on a
career in pop, peaked very quickly, and found himself washed up and seemingly
done — all before the age of 30. Then, with the faith and tireless support of
several key people, and a reborn belief in his own ability, John's career
reached the type of supernova heights he hadn't even approached during his
'Sadie' days. And then — and here's the kicker — John managed to not only prove
that Whispering Jack was no fluke, but maintain a second coming that continues
30 years on.
I say this about every book I write, admittedly, but I'm incredibly proud of what I've emerged with, a very Australian story about an iconic Australian character. (OK, I know, I know, he was born a Pom, but let's not get too picky.) Hope everyone enjoys reading Playing to Win as much as I did writing it. It's out through Nero books in beautiful hardcover. It's also available as an audio book; you can hear a sample of Rob Meldrum (Molly's brother) reading the book.
A softcover edition of the book will be available in October 2017 through Nero Books. You can order the book through Booktopia and get a sneak peek inside the book here. It's also been creating a bit of controversy.Thanks to everyone who attended a series of talks I gave about the book in Brisbane during March 2017.