with JIM WHITE of

The Dirty Three, courtesy of Drag City Records featuring Jim White (centre)

The Dirty Three, courtesy of Drag City Records featuring Jim White (centre)

“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day.

We seem to have a thing about drummers here at Velvet Sheep ranging from Shellac’s Todd Trainer to Pavement’s Bob Nastanovich.

Today’s guest is another denizen of the drumming profession, he sits at the back, yet his sound is to the fore – it’s the sticksman behind cult 90s Australian instrumental band The Dirty Three and now touring as Xylorious White, stand up from the stool to take a bow, Mr. Jim White

The Dirty Three, with Jim White centre. Courtesy of Drag City Records

The Dirty Three, with Jim White centre. Courtesy of Drag City Records

I first became aware of Jim when writing the original Velvet Sheep fanzine and getting sent a review vinyl copy (they were the days) of the 1995 “Dirty Three” album on Big Cat Records.

They’d already been supporting the likes of my favs the Beastie Boys, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion & Pavement and it was elementary to hear why.

The moody instrumental eddies & vortexes contained within washed over me like a tempestuous weather front and I was left ducking for cover.

I’d started work at MTV in ’96 when “Horse Stories” came out on Touch & Go and it was a bona fide classic. The Dirty Three’s legend was assured, and we all know what happened next for bad seed band member and violin grinderman Warren Ellis.


When you play drums in an instrumental rock band, even behind the biggest bass drum there is nowhere to hide and former Venom P Stinger founder Jim White’s talents didn’t go unnoticed either.

White played  with Nina Nastasia, Cat Power, Bonnie “Prince” Billy & PJ Harvey but The Dirty Three is still a going concern and have had the honour of curating an All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2007.

Most recently though, the avant rock powerhouse has been writing & touring with Cretian singer & lute player George Xylorious and their minimalist collaboration is about maximum love.

Given the diversity of styles he pedals (sic) and the company he keeps I was intrigued to find out what Jim had chosen as his “song for ewe”…

Over to Jim:

“Hey Nick,  I listened to a Mary Margaret O’Hara song. It’s called “When You Know Why You’re Happy”, the version on Youtube from a TV show called “Night Music”.  I’ve watched this clip a lot , this is how I listen to this song .

Its dark and cold here now and i can’t say too much about the music for fear of ruining it”


You catch Xylorious White on tour in North America at the dates below:

 7th    July     Montreal (Quebec), La Sala Rossa, plus Circuit Des Yeux

 8th   July      Toronto (Ontario), The Drake Hotel, 

9-12th July    Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada), Winnipeg Folk Festival

13th  July      Denver (Colorado), The Oriental Theater

14th July      Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Centre, w/ Jessica Pratt

15th July     Chicago (Illinois), Schuba’s  plus Circuit Des Yeux