Iain Shedden, former drummer with The Saints and long-serving music writer and critic for The Australian and Weekend Australian newspapers, has died at the age of 60.
One of the highest- profile music journalists in the country, Shedden had connections with the best in the business. When Nick Cave finally opened up on the agony of losing a son, he told his story to Shedden. The account got a front page splash in the Weekend Australian. He interviewed all the big names, from David Bowie to Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Kylie Minogue and countless others.
It was Shedden who interviewed Creation Records founder Alan McGee on stage at the 2011 Bigsound conference for an unforgettable keynote which oozed with McGee’s wit, sharp tongue and his bitterness for the music business which made him rich and famous. The Scottish pair got on famously and it was McGee who warmly welcomed his interviewer to the stage as the former drummer of The Jolt, a U.K. band which turned him on in his youth.
Later in the conference, Shedden joined Daily Telegraph music editor Kathy McCabe and this reporter for a “grilling” of Michael Chugg which is remembered for the veteran concert promoter’s rant at McGee, his prolific use of profanities and his admission that, under the surface, he was shy. Shedden confirmed as much.
The Scotland-born, Sydney-based journalist had been the music writer and critic for The Australian for 24 years and published his first book, Hey You in the Black T-Shirt, in 2010, an autobiography co-written with its subject, Michael Chugg. Shedden also played drums in Sydney bands Dog Trumpet and King Curly.
While details surrounding Shedden’s passing have not yet been made public, many artists and industry professionals paid their respects as news of his death spread Monday (Oct. 16).
Speaking to The Australian, singer-songwriter Paul Kelly described Shedden as “a gentle, smart, wry man. A sharp wit with a crinkly smile. An average tennis player like me so we had good battles,” while rock singer Jimmy Barnes added: “Iain was a good man. I have done a lot of interviews in my time and most of the time, no matter who it is with, it feels like work. But whenever I spent time with Iain I felt at ease. Not just because he had that broad Scottish accent but he had a manner that just made me feel comfortable.”
Reg Mombassa, founding member of Dog Trumpet and ARIA Hall of Famers Mental As Anything, tweeted: “Tragic news about our friend and drummer Iain Shedden a great loss.”
Read more comments below.
ARIA would like to send its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of respected Australian journalist and musician Iain Shedden, who has passed away, aged 60. pic.twitter.com/RuUhPbly4T
— ARIA (@ARIA_Official) October 16, 2017
A music lover, supporter of the Australian Music Industry and brilliant writer, Iain Shedden you will forever be in our hearts. pic.twitter.com/lcvpSxMuV5
— SplendourintheGrass (@SITG) October 16, 2017
— IMC & HOMEBAKE HQ (@IMChq) October 16, 2017
We are saddened to hear of the passing of one of the country’s finest music writers, Iain Shedden. RIP —https://t.co/fXTFBENwHL
— TEG DAINTY (@TEGDAINTY) October 16, 2017
Vale Iain Shedden – long-standing MEAA member https://t.co/HXSvCiFRjL
— MEAA (@withMEAA) October 16, 2017
Tragic news about our friend and drummer Iain Shedden
a great loss
— Reg Mombassa (@regmombassa) October 16, 2017