WHEN Tim Freedman penned a song about Australian career criminal Bertie Kidd last spring, little did he know it may ruffle feathers.
The Whitlams' frontman was told to change Kidd's name or risk his wrath.
While he was loath to get offside with a notorious criminal (incidentally newly-released from prison), Freedman was wedded to the name.
He sought out Kidd's biographer, Simon Griffin, to see if he could use it.
"They said 'go for it'," he said.
"Bert's retired now and he's had far worse accusations made against him - many of them not true - so they allowed it."
Freedman's song The Ballad of Bertie Kidd hones in on a rare slip-up by Kidd, now 86, a master safe breaker, forger of currency, fixer of races and standover man who served 27 years in jail.
The six-minute crime caper tune describes a foiled art heist when the crew put their balaclavas on too early and got caught by police.
"This was one of the few moments when things went wrong for him," Freedman said.
"It was a slapstick moment and I hope we've captured that in the song.
"The biographer didn't know the story and has now put it into Volume 3 of Kidd's biography.
"Bertie is also in the film clip; we sent a crew to Launceston two weeks ago."
Freedman will launch the new single at the SS&A Club Albury on Sunday as part of his new solo tour.
The Whitlams last packed out the house in June 2018.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Having spent most of the year in Sydney and the NSW North Coast, Freedman said the band members had been lucky in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
The Whitlams' Gaffage and Clink Tour with Ben Lee and Alex Lloyd had sold out multiple dates around the country soon after being announced, but was now rescheduled to August and September 2021.
"Our partners or wives all had jobs that continued, so the fellas got to know the kids better," Freedman quipped.
"It was really just like an enforced holiday for us.
"But there has been a lot of pain for plenty of people in the arts and I've been disappointed with the amount of assistance even though it's starting to dribble out now."
Freedman said he was disheartened by the federal government's policy to hike up the cost of arts degrees.
"It's absolutely disgusting," he said.
"We're getting so neo-rational; I don't think I've been angrier."