Still crazy after all these years
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Still crazy after all these years

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That quote comes from the first volume of Thorpe’s autobiography, Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll: Still crazy after A Year in Kings Cross 1963-1964. It’s the story of his rise to pop stardom, set against the backdrop of the vibrant, seedy and shady half-world of Sydney’s nightclub district. More than a story, in fact: Thorpe all these years aims to enrich his account of the events in his life by evoking the associated sensations: These ... factual elements have been included ... to Billy Thorpe pumps up the volume enhance the reader’s ability to feel, hear, smell, taste, see, understand and experience a truly unique place and time. Philip L Kerr In one sentence, Thorpe checks off all five senses—and more. His desire to share his experiences with his readers finds a resonance in the words of the Jungian typologist Lenore Thomson: Thorpe’s attitude reflected local beliefs that Even those ESPs who enjoy writing and publishing are always aware of their potential audience. They performances had to reflect the physicality need responsive interaction, the sense that their of the music in a sonic experience that had words have connected and are having an effect. to be felt as well as heard. Shane Homan I think that Thorpe is indeed an ES_P: specifically, an ESTP, the type whose actions, according to David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates, are habitually ‘directed I don’t live my life on nostalgia, mate. I just towards their audience.’ Thorpe’s audience-centred ...

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StillcrazyafteralltheseyearsBilly Thorpe pumps up the volume
Philip L Kerr
That quote comes from the first volume of Thorpe’s autobiography, Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll: A Year in Kings Cross 1963-19. I6t4’s the story of his rise to pop stardom, set against the backdrop of the vibrant, seedy and shady half-world of Sydney’s nightclub district. More than a story, in fact: Thorpe aims to enrich his account of the events in his life by evoking the associatseedn sation:s These ... factual elements have been included ... to enhance the reader’s ability to feel, hear, smell, taste, see, understand and experience a truly unique place and time.
In one sentence, Thorpe checks off all five senses— and more. His desire to share his experiences with his readers finds a resonance in the words of the Jungian typologist Lenore Thomson:
Thorpe’s attitude reflected local beliefs thatEven those ESPs who enjoy writing and publishing performances had to reflect the physicalityare always aware of their potential audience. They of the music in a sonic experience that hadneedr esponsive interactio,nthe sense that their to be felt as well as heard.words have connected and are having an effect. Shane Homan I think that Thorpe is indeed an ES_P: specifically, an ESTP, the type whose actions, according to David I don’t live my life on nostalgia, mate. I justKeirsey and Marilyn Bates, are habitually ‘directed love to play!peorTh e.ncieuda rieht sdrawotinit bg,hin wrs no ti ylicilon te is expred stylcn-eectnsa dueio ls aut in Billy Thorpehis performing. ‘I like the transmitter-receiver thing with audiences’, he said in 1973. His legendary pub gigs are recalled by one commentator as ‘very much a game between At rock concerts in the 1970s youd see me crouchepodfe rtfhoart meerra  aanred  oafu tdhiee ncpee.r sTohnoarl preelsa toiownns hmipe mbeoryioens d in front of the stage, camera in hand, snapping away ’ happily. At one show I got lucky and was invited upb and and audience. Thats all its ever been for me, onto the stage. he says, music and the people.’ Billy Thorpe was just launching into his signature song ‘Most People I Know (Think That I’m Crazy)’ when his guitar amplifier gave out. As the road cre scrambled to fix the fault, Thorpe paced the stage like a caged beast. On being given the all-clear, h spun the volume knob around to 10 and hit a powe chord to check that he was back on the air. As the sound boomed out into the auditorium, his eyes lit up and he broke into a grin from ear to ear ...
As Ben Groundwater notes, Thorpe is ‘famed for his eardrum-tearing concerts.’ ‘Volume has a certain vi to it when you learn how to use it’, says the veter rocker, ‘and I learned how to use it long ago.’ According to Tony Barber, who played with Thorpe in the original Aztecs, ‘Billy has a good musical ea and an uncanny ability to detect every nuance, miss note or slight variance.’ By his own account, Thorpe’ other senses have a heightened acuity, too:
All old theatres have it, liokled classic cars. It’s the smell of romance, advenet, uorld leather and velvet. To me it’s like an aphrodisiac.
Australi aPnsychological Type R e  v  i e   wVol 6 No. 1 March 2004
Billy Thorpe, Festival Hall, Brisbane, 1973.Photo: Philip L Kerr
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Still crazy after all these years Thorpe was born in Manchester in 1946. In his earlySexandthugs...years, he says, he was a ‘proper schoolboy.’ But that all changed when, aged 9, he emigrated to BrisbanTewo girls for every bo ys!ing Jan and Dean in their with his family and became an Australian. Indeed,1 963 hit Surf City. In the first volume of his memoirs he was destined to become an Australian icon. Thorpe tells how, betwesehnows at the King’s Cross ESTPs resent pressure to co venue of the same name, he lived out that popularrnmf , says Otto Kroeger, and prefer getting on with things to studying them male fantasy, sharing his flat—and his favours—with into submission. Thorpe,u ter to type, says he hated two young women. In his second volume he goes one high school. Apart, that is, from playing drums in the (or four!) better, with an account of a wild weekend military band: he loved the power and tribal rhythm.i n a hotel with six uninhibited flight attendants: Later, as a successful pop star, he took his revenge by going back to his school in his Aston Martin and rls doing wheelies beside the quadrangle. Not that anaeve m yr derkaobt nnind iI awraoluing dancerthi-s Tnd aestinap ,tef gigoynuiS xre d. amsnet ws. academic career had ever been on the cards: In encounters such as t,hTishorpe relates his ethical Radio 4KQ: Billy, if they’d asked you 35 years ago whatconflicts as a dialogue between his angelic self and you’d be doing in 2001,awt hwould you have said?a devilish personification of the dissenting part of his Thorpe: Oh, what I’m doing now. There was nevern  is hiorsp tsd woicgn .aRtnylroadtry counn a sa( pu pop sretnueeqfr) rewet  inatamo.yse encou And the any doubt.car on a dark and stormy night, Thorpe runs down  Thorpes direction was set at the age of 10 when hae  young woman. He carries her back to her house saw the self-described Wild One, Johnny OKeefe, ahne dh, aass  tsoh reesm wovete  tahllr oouf ghhe rf rcolomt htehse.  rain, of course at Festival Hall. ‘That’s what sowed the seeds for me to make music a career’, he says. Within a decade ‘Here I am’, he writes, ‘miles from anywhere in some he would find himself standing in O’Keefe’s shoes: farmhouse with an unconscious naked young beauty ‘One of the biggest thrillsmoyf life was to come back in front of a fire.’ She revives, and guess what? She’s to my home town to a sold-out Festival Hall.’ a Thorpe fan! Her injuries are soon forgotten. He By the age of 11 Thorpe was singing in pubs. Whenr uns her a bath, and one thing leads to another ... Channel 9 opened in Brisbane in 1959 he became aIn ESTPs’ personal relationships, say Keirsey and regular on their childrens’hsow. In his early teens Bates, ‘deep commitments do not always occur’, he graduated to ChannelT7e’se n Beat ‘family responsibilities may at times be given and, performing with homegrown heroes such as OKeefe and Col second priority. Thorpheo, wever, opens his book Joye, and with top-line touring acts of the calibre ofMost People I Knowby thanking the ‘love of my life’, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. his wife of 27 years, Lynn, and their two daughters. And so when, at a rock star party awash with drink tInh et haes ppirreinseg nycoeu onfg t ehnetseern tceaori nlosoukmemd,a ltiest peenrefdo ramnedr s and drugs at a country house near Macon, Georgia, Thorpe gets the come-on from an attractive young lTehaorrnpeed .w Io sutldol lea talelr  oaf dmmyi t.e aArlpipere asrtiunffg  frwoitmh  hOiKme oefne , woman—Miss Georgia, or should have been—he gallantly resists. Well, that’s what he says ... Teen Bea twere a trio of gawky local kids, the Gibb Brothers. Later they took brother Barry’s initials, ESTPs are ‘always popular and know many, many along with those of promoter Bill Goode and disc people’, say Keirsey and Bates: and, judging by the jockey Bill Gates, to become The Bee Gees. names he drops, that’s certainly true of Billy Thorpe. ESTPs seek excitement, note Keirsey and Bates. InHe tells, for example, of a pub crawl in Sydney with  Tom Jones and Roger Miller. They end up drinking Khiisn gesa rClryo tsese anns dT htohrapt ew fiarss ti ts,a hwe  tshaey bs.r iBgyh tt lhige hatsg eo fo fw ith a local police sergeant (Ive always gotten on 16 he was living there amid all the action. Linking famously with coppers’, says the ESTP charmer) and up with the first incarnation of The Aztecs, he snared getting laid by some of btheest -looking girls in town. a residency at Surf Cityth—‘e recalls, too, some ‘hilarious nights’ with Paul Thorpebest gig this country has ever had—and was solaoyni ng them in the aisles. Hogan in a Bel Air house rented from Joan Collins. And in other places, too. For the video introductions to his segments of the 2002Long Way To The T otpour he enlisted no less Thats where the first volume of his memoirs startst. han Bryan Brown and Jack Thompson. I wanted to Asse ixt sa tnitdl et hsuuggsg easntds ,r loifcek wnitrohl lT.h Te hAezyt eccosn twinaus eodn teo  ofb eBilly Thorpe’, says Brown. Thompson calls him a ‘firm friend.’ And so too, according to Thorpe, does Tpherofsoer my,e tahrsr oaurge hd voacruiomuesn ltiende -(uopr,s , pienrtho atphse,  f1r9e7el0ys . Barry Gibb, 40 years on froTmee n Bea.t interpreted) in Thorpeses cond book. It takes its ESTPs know the best resrtasrieK ,sB dna ye esatunt title from his signature songMost People I Knowobserve, and headwaiters call them by name. When Think That I’m Craz.yGiven its subject matter, the and a few friends drop into a restaurant in Thorpe book might just as well have been tSitelxe d& ThugsNew York’s Little Italy, thpea droneis all over him, & Rock’n’ro,ll Part 2. taking him to a private room for his special menu.
Australi aPnsychological Type R e  v  i e   w 1 MarchVol 6 No. 2004