Ask anyone who knew Glenn Wheatley and they will tell you he was always thinking, planning, dreaming. Making things happen.
He was always ahead of the curve.
One of Glenn's final projects was the audiobook he recorded late in 2021. It's a rare occurrence in publishing where an author passes before their book is released, and for Glenn to have quietly narrated his own life story for an audiobook mere months before his death is even more unique.
Unique, but not altogether surprising, says his son Tim Wheatley. Glenn liked audiobooks, so he dictated his own.
Tim added a foreword to the audiobook as well as a cover of Because I Love You, the song originally made famous by Glenn and his band The Masters Apprentices 50 years ago. It's a moving tribute from a loving son to his father.
"To know that I have his voice telling his life story has left me with an odd sense of relief," Tim says.
"But there's no way he would have been happy just telling the first part. Finishing the rest of his story is something we needed to do. He has already done the hard part."
Paper Paradise is an honest and entertaining memoir about ambition, success and rock and roll - a story about one man's meteoric rise and spectacular fall set against a classic Australian soundtrack. Few others have had the impact on the Australian music industry as Glenn Wheatley. From working class boy to rockstar and star manager, he worked with some of Australia's most successful musicians including Little River Band, John Farnham and Delta Goodrem; and pioneered the FM radio industry.
After an extraordinary ride in the fast lane, and an equally mighty fall, he made it back to the top.
Now it's Tim's turn to take the reins.
He is, unsurprisingly, still grieving but pushing through the pain to complete - and promote - the audiobook. His voice shakes at times when he speaks of his father, hurriedly followed by a quick joke or a laugh at his own expense. Or Glenn's.
The pair were close, and had been working together to revive Wheatley Records.
Tim was due to release his EP Shiny Tacoma the week Glenn passed in February. He pushed back the release date to May.
The EP was initially meant to be an album, but Tim's then record label suggested he release an EP instead. He was devastated.
"I worked incredibly hard with my father for about 18 months making that album a cohesive body of work; a collection of stories for people to listen to," he says.
"Whether it was COVID or the label living by that old Spotify algorithm, which is just single, single, single, they thought it best I turn it into an EP.
"The country songs that I recorded in Byron Bay with Steven Schram back in 2019 made it onto the EP, so at the very least those songs all came from one session, so there's that continuity there which is important for me.
"I pick up the guitar and I write songs for fun, for therapy; not just to become radio songs. So now we're getting this one out as intended.
"When I became an independent artist, Dad got incredibly excited about dusting off the old Wheatley Records label. Back in the '80s he started Wheatley Records out of necessity - no one else would release the records he wanted to release, and I'm talking about John Farnham, Real Life. Artists who went on to become some of the biggest."
Father and son intended to release the EP together on a revived Wheatley Records, but Glenn passed four days short of the release date, turning Because I Love You into an unintentional tribute.
"It's just a shame that he wasn't here with us to hear the response from the song, but this is a part of what I feel compelled to finish, as he would have hated shelving a record we worked on together," Tim says.
"But I have to say, I'm rudderless without him. We were partners for a long time."
Releasing Shiny Tacoma has been cathartic for Tim. A fresh start. The songs were written before lockdown, and re-produced by him during lockdown to fit the EP format.
"It's important for people to know that this EP is not me honouring my father with some lighthearted country songs," he says.
"I've started work on a new record and the writing is coming thick and fast at the moment, and it is coming from a different place.
"If you asked for a song from me in the next half an hour it would come out as a country song. It's my go to thing.
"Jackson Browne, The Eagles, Crosby, Stills & Nash, that's me naturally.
"What we are trying to do now is to look at where country music is going - I think there is the beginning of a renaissance here.
"There's a little scene where I am in Melbourne where country music is becoming cool again, if I can say that.
"There are some records this year that have inspired me as well, like The War On Drugs and the fact that they threw radio out the window and released seven-minute songs that tell a story - and in doing so have conquered Spotify.
"Getting the EP out has helped to clear the slate but when I hear snippets of it, it takes me back to a happy place, makes me think happy thoughts."
Also making him happy - and keeping him busy - is his daughter London Margaux, born in March.
"This little girl is exactly what we all needed, but she is also a constant reminder. When she was born it was the happiest moment of my life but I was sad Dad wasn't there," Tim says.
"But onwards and upwards! We've got a lot to do to get this story out there. Dad has kept us very busy and we're working on that list of his, ticking things off one by one."
Glenn "meticulously kept diaries from 1969 onwards", Tim says, and the last entry he made was in "quite oddly shaking handwriting".
"Whether is was due to COVID or a hangover, I don't know, it could have been both, but he listed the things he was embarking on this year, and that included a play, a movie, the audio book, and lots of things I can't really go into.
"We're doing our best to get the practical things done but there were some things that only Dad was going to be able to pull off, let's be honest.
"If anyone understand the relationship between my mother and father they'll know she was the puppet master, and really did pull a lot of the strings for him, while Dad was the one who believed that anything was possible.
"Now I'm worried that I'm my mother's puppet, but we'll figure this one out as we go [laughs]."
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