Jeff Duff_Mayhem at the Basement

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Jeff Duff is arguably one of the greatest performers Australia has produced. His musical prowess and flamboyant, androgynous performances have been making waves since performing with his band Kush in the early 1970’s, and nowadays he says he is busier than he’s ever been – whether releasing his 30th album, touring sell-out David Bowie tribute shows, or publishing a book.

In typical ‘Duffo’ fashion he will launch his tell-all pictorial biography, This Will Explain Everything, with a night of Mayhem At The Basement (a venue he says he was once banned from “for inciting a riot”). This will not be your typical Tuesday evening book launch.

Duff has worked in London, met celebrities along the calibre of Paul McCartney and “gotten into trouble” for his ludicrous and revealing outfits on many occasions (including the outfit that graces the metallic gold cover of his book). But he’s rather nonplussed about it all, he’ll talk about recently winning the bowling award from Northbridge Cricket Club with just as much enthusiasm as when Andy Warhol wrote the sleeve notes for one of his albums, or the appearance he made in Baz Lurhman’s The Great Gatsby.

“My career is just what I do…there are no high points or low points,” said Duff. “I don’t consider [the way I dress] abnormal or different…if you’ve done something all your life…to you it’s not outrageous, it’s just what you do.”

More than a book launch, Mayhem at the Basement will be a retrospective of Duff’s career to date, with a unique greatest hits performance from Duffo and his ‘Bowie band’, special guests sharing anecdotes of the mischief he’s been involved in, and much more.

Duff explained he began compiling This Will Explain Everything 15 years ago, coming home late at night from gigs and “scribbling down all the events that I could remember from my career”. He dedicates the book to the memory of David Bowie, who he cites as “a major inspiration for the past 40 years”.

Those among us who came of age after the era of Countdown may not immediately recognise his name, but it has been said that, had Jeff Duff hailed from a country in the top half of the world “he could now be as acknowledged and acclaimed as David Bowie or Lou Reed or Iggy Pop” (according to rock historian Glenn A. Baker). (AM)

May 31, 8pm. The Basement, 7 Macquarie Place, Sydney. $25-$30 (dinner packages also available). Tickets & info: thebasement.com.au or moshtix.com.au