Tex Perkins is back in black for Johnny Cash show

PERFORMER: Tex Perkins' award-winning show The Man in Black heading to Bendigo. Picture: SUPPLIED
PERFORMER: Tex Perkins' award-winning show The Man in Black heading to Bendigo. Picture: SUPPLIED

Tex Perkins is reviving his award-winning show The Man in Black for regional audiences.

Starting in May, Perkins will tour the Johnny Cash show nationally and has included Bendigo on his schedule.

The last time Perkins performed in Bendigo was in 2016 as a part of the RockWiz regional tour and during The Far From Folsom tour that saw him perform Johnny Cash songs in former prisons and gaols.

“Even though it has been refurbished into a theatre Bendigo still qualified for that tour,” he said. 

“Playing Johnny Cash works for me and the reason it does is because it feels natural and I find singing Johnny Cash easier and more enjoyable than even my own songs.” 

It has been nine years since Perkins first took on the Man in Black role.

Tex Perkins | The Man in Black

“We did a week at the Athenaeum in Melbourne and the show’s in good nick. It’s a better show than last time,” he said.

“The script and dialogue that connects the songs has been honed, we had cut a lot of the fat off and put extra meat in.”

The show, which tells the Johnny Cash story, features more than 20 songs by the famed singer-songwriter.

“Half show you’ve got to play because it serves the narrative of story but also people kill you if you don’t play certain songs,” Perkins said.

“But there are also plenty of songs that have come and gone. We have replaced some of the songs that were in it last time.”

Perkins said Cash songs Folsom Prison Blues, Walk the Line, Jackson and Ring of Fire were the four most popular hits he performed.

Tex Perkins - Ring of Fire

“Depending on where we are I like to play some other stuff. Johnny Cash did some pretty dark stuff but you have to pick your audience before you sing it,” he said,

“That's the  Johnny Cash I like to play with most of all.

“The whole show about his duality. He was religious and a family man but on the other hand he was this out of control, motel room-wrecking drug addict with a dark sense of humour. So there’s this duality, which is an overriding theme of the show.”

Perkins said his first experience with Johnny Cash was hearing A Boy Named Sue on the radio.

“That's a humorous song with lots of grubby, dark imagery. It’s mud, blood and beer but its a funny song,” he said. “It also had line bleeped out, which was the first time I had heard censorship, and that's an intriguing sort of factor to a young developing mind.”

Tex Perkins in The Man in Black is at Ulumbarra Theatre on Thursday, May 10. Visit  www.thecapital.com.au/Whats_On/Tex_Perkins for more.

Johnny Cash - A Boy Named Sue (Live in Denmark)