JIMMY Barnes is said to have the hardest-working set of vocal cords in Australian rock. And he once lived an even harder lifestyle. The former Cold Chisel lead singer and 51-year-old father of five had a brush with death earlier this year when he had surgery to correct the bicuspid aortic valve in his heart.While recovering, Barnes wrote Out in the Blue, his 13th studio album, on sale tomorrow.
What was your first car?
A Morris Oxford. I paid $25 for it and it had six months' rego and a full tank of petrol. I was 16 and living in Adelaide.
What do you drive now?
A Holden Commodore. I can take my dogs in it. I like Holdens, they're good cars. When I'm on the road, I hire them. I sang at Bathurst recently, which was great. I watched the race start from the pits. I had a bit of a word to Skaifey before he started. I've done Bathurst a few times. I've met Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife a few times. They're pretty intense, serious guys. They're both incredible drivers. I think the whole V8 Supercars thing is great.
Do you have a favourite drive and who would you take?
I'd take my wife Jane anywhere, but we enjoy driving along the north coast of NSW.
How far would you drive in an average year?
Jesus! That's hard to say. I'm on the road all the time. I did 600km at the weekend.
Your favourite motoring memory?
We have a car in Thailand, a Chevy van that belonged to Jane's father. He gave it to us and it's like a boat. It has karaoke in it and big luxury seats. My friends call it the pimpmobile because it's done up with mirrors and light shows. We love getting all the family in there, driving along, watching movies, driving to the beach in Thailand.
What would you buy if money were no object?
I like my Holden, but if money were no object, I'd buy an electric car.
What music is playing in your car?
At the moment, The Hives' new album, The Black & White Album.
How much is too much for a new car?
More than you can afford!
What should be done to make driving safer?
I think we could bring down the speed limits . . . Trucks should have their own lanes and be made to stay in them.
Are you sponsored by a car company?