STACK‘s Roving Reporter stops in at JB Hi-Fi Elizabeth (SA) to chat Jimmy Barnes’ in-store signing with Store Manager, Jessie Richards.
You may have only learned that the South Australian town of Elizabeth is where Jimmy Barnes spent his formative years via the man’s best-selling autobiographies of ’16 and ‘17, or perhaps his single from latest album My Criminal Record, Shutting Down Our Town. For the actual denizens of Elizabeth, it’s mega-old news.
“People were telling us stories about how they went to school with Jimmy, or they used to go and see Cold Chisel at the local pub when [the band] first started out… the stories were endless – it was pretty cool,” says JB Hi-Fi Store Manager Jessie Richards.
She’s describing the scene of Sunday June 2, when Jimmy Barnes turned up to his hometown – which, by his own admission, he hadn’t visited “in a very long time” – to conduct a special in-store signing event. “There were about 1000 people that showed up, and it was just full of die-hard Jimmy Barnes fans,” Jessie smiles. “People were dressed head-to-toe in Cold Chisel paraphernalia, they had photos and other memorabilia that they wanted Jimmy to sign, one lady was in the line from when the shops closed on Saturday night to when we returned on Sunday morning… some [fans] I did recognise as regulars, but then, I’ve been at the store four years now, and a lot of people I hadn’t seen before!”
Jessie says Jimmy was only supposed to be at the store for an hour, meeting with special needs fans for five minutes before spending the remainder of time with the rest of the queued-up devotees. Instead he spent over three hours with his fans, and “met every single person in line – I was blown away,” says Jessie.
Having lived in Adelaide her whole life and worked for JB Hi-Fi for 13 years in total, Jessie is more of a rap and heavy metal fan herself – but admits that being an Australian, “you gotta appreciate a bit of Cold Chisel!” While hip hop (like local boys Hilltop Hoods) and K-Pop sell excellently at the store, it’s clear there are plenty more Jimmy fans lying in wait for just the kind of opportunity the in-store granted – Jessie looks up the Elizabeth census information and it is confirmed: “The population as of 2016 was only 1000 people. So pretty much the entire suburb rocked up!”