The Australian rock band Midnight Oil had always had a political bent so it really wasn’t that much of a surprise when its lead singer, the very tall and very bald Peter Garrett, decided to run for – and subsequently was elected to – the Australian House of Representatives.
Of course the down side of having a singer popular enough to get elected is that it tends to put a damper on a band’s career, and so Midnight Oil – whose biggest hits in the United States included “Beds Are Burning,” “Blue Sky Mine” and “Forgotten Years” – ended in 2002 when Garrett got serious about politics, and except for a handful of benefit shows in 2009, they were over.
Until a year ago, Garrett says by phone from home in Sydney, when he and the other Oils got together to see if they still wanted to play a few shows.
“Once we got in a room together and played, and it sounded exciting, we thought, ‘OK, maybe we’ll do a half dozen shows,’” Garrett says. “And it ended up a global tour.”
A tour that now brings the band back to Los Angeles and the Greek Theatre on Saturday, Aug. 19, after playing the Wiltern Theatre in May.
“They had always said, ‘Once Pete finishes politics maybe we’ll play again,’” says Garrett, who chose not to run for re-election in 2013 after serving in the federal government since winning his seat in 2004.
Garrett wrote a book, a memoir, “and then I accidentally did a record, and it sort of unlocked a musical gene,” he says. “We agreed it was worth sitting in a room, especially in the times we’re living in, to see if it meant anything to us as the members of Midnight Oil.
“We figured if it meant anything to us it might to our audiences, too,” he says.
The band were superstars at home in Australia, but its brand of melodic and hard-charging rock,…