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Cold Chisel to tour Perth
Greg Weight Cold Chisel, with Steve Preswich on the far right

Australian rock legends Cold Chisel are going back on the road with what is touted as their biggest tour in nearly 30 years.

The Adelaide-spawned band behind homegrown classics like Khe Sahn, Flame Trees, Forever Now and Cheap Wine will announce the tour today at a Sydney press conference.

But details of the Light the Nitro tour, which borrows a line from an unreleased new Don Walker song HQ454 Monroe, came to light early Thursday morning.

The reunited Cold Chisel will kick off the tour in Newcastle on October 13, before hitting all parts of Australia for 24 gigs, including two WA shows.

The veterans will play at Sandalford Estate in Margaret River on November 26 and the Belvoir Amphitheatre on November 27, with tickets going on sale August 4.

The tour will hit both coasts, visit Darwin and Hobart, and also see singer Jimmy Barnes and company play their first concerts in New Zealand since 1983.

"We can't wait to get back on the road together," Barnes said.

"Every day for years I've had at least one person come up and ask me when Cold Chisel is going to do a proper tour.

"I'm bloody glad to finally have something good to tell them."

Barnes revealed that the original plans for the reunion were hatched in secret two years ago as the erstwhile pub rockers prepared for a one-off gig for more than 50,000 fans at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.

"We got such a buzz from that gig that it made all of us really want to get our act together."

The first step in the reunion was preparing the Cold Chisel back catalogue for a lucrative digital re-issue.

Tomorrow all of their albums plus plenty of rare and previously unreleased tracks will become available online and in "collector's edition" CD packages.

Chisel were sharpening up for live performances and a new album earlier this year when tragedy struck – drummer Steve Prestwich passed away in January only two weeks after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Keyboardist Walker explains that the surviving members did not even discuss whether to continue for two months.

"When the four of us finally sat down to talk about it we realised we all felt the same way," he said.

"Steve was really keen on seeing all these things happen.

"We all felt it would have been wrong just to walk away from the plans we'd started together."

Guitarist Ian Moss echoes Walker's sentiments, adding that Prestwich's death was "another reminder that life is short".

"We miss our brother Steve every single day but the four of us still love playing music together.

"And we know that people want to hear these songs," Moss said. "The tour is going to be a celebration of what he helped us create."

While Cold Chisel has reformed for one-off gigs and reunion albums since their initial 1983 split, bassist Phil Small said that this time they plan to up the ante.

"After that 2009 gig we’d all quietly decided to try to do something big," he said.

"To have bailed out just a few months from actually doing it would have felt like we were letting Steve down."

Renowned New York drummer Charley Drayton, who has played with Keith Richards, Johnny Cash and Aussie band Divinyls, will fill in on drums for the Light the Nitro tour.

The band said that one-fifth of tour profits will go to Prestwich's two children.

Meanwhile, Cold Chisel will complete a new album, which should feature songs written by Prestwich, but there will be no new album released until early next year at the earliest.