Author(s): Andrew McMillan
Midnight Oil are an iconic Australian band, known for their songs of social conscience and their conviction. They didn't get that way by accident - one tour in 1986 changed them forever, as they joined the Warumpi Band to play to remote Aboriginal communities. Journalist Andrew McMillan was a witness to this tour and he documented it all in STRICT RULES. This contemporary Australian classic charts not just the development of an eternally popular band but a moment in time when Australian culture changed, because the songs produced by Midnight Oil thereafter became embedded in the nation's minds. With Peter Garrett back at the helm of the Oils, the band will embark on a reunion tour in 2017. Peter Garrett will write an epilogue for this new edition of STRICT RULES, which also contains drummer Rob Hirst's original foreword.
Born in Melbourne in late December 1957, Andrew McMillan grew up in Brisbane where he started freelancing for the national rock magazine RAM in his final year of secondary school. Upon moving to Sydney in 1977, he worked on staff at RAM for a year before resuming freelancing, writing for The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Sunday Telegraph and scores of magazines including Rolling Stone, Playboy and Penthouse. In late 1988, upon Australian and UK publication of his first critically acclaimed book Strict Rules, Andrew retired to Darwin. His subsequent non-fiction books included Death In Dili, Catalina Dreaming, An Intruder's Guide To East Arnhem Land and Tiwi Footy. Along the way he worked brief stints as a grocery packer, storeman, roadie, gyprocker, painter, screen-printer, radio scriptwriter, radio and record producer, publicist, factory hand, salesman, television researcher, electorate secretary, submissions writer, ministerial bush driver and secretary, band leader, speechwriter, minder and Australian Electoral Commission mobile polling team leader in Arnhem Land. He also ran the Northern Territory Community Writing Program (precursor to the NT Writers' Centre) for 18 months in 1994-95. In his later years, whilst working on two unfinished books, his by-line appeared in The Monthly, Griffith Review and Meanjin. Diagnosed with cancer in late 2010, in the last year of his life Andrew started writing shorter pieces and formed and fronted a new band, The Rattling Mudguards. With backing vocalists the Loose Screws and guest piano player Don Walker, they recorded a live album in October 2011. It was set free by Laughing Outlaw Records in 2012. Andrew McMillan died in 2012.