Joe Camilleri doesn't think he is a great singer - but the rest of Australia knows otherwise.
With a musical career spanning 45 years and producing close to 30 records, Camilleri is an Aussie rock legend and one of this nation's finest performers.
Best known for fronting his two most successful bands, Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons and then later the Black Sorrows, Camilleri's back catalogue of great songs is instantly recognisable across the generations.
Think of Shape I'm In, Hold on to Me, Chained to the Wheel, and Harley and Rose and you think of good rocking songs that your girlfriend loves to dance to.
Out front with a saxophone or guitar in his hands, Camilleri is the epitome of a hardworking entertainer who knows how to connect with his audience.
And he sings pretty damn well.
''My trick is that I surround myself with really good people and they make a reasonable idea a much better one,'' he says.
''I work really hard. I'm not scared of work. In fact it's a requirement in my life.
''I come up with a few things that are of some value and I try to keep getting better at whatever it is that I'm trying to do. Mind you there are some really great singers and musicians I've worked with.
''I do have one thing and that is that I seem to be able to connect to the common man.''
That theme comes through strongly in a new documentary called Joe Camilleri: Australia's Maltese Falcon.
It is an intimate insight into the man who, despite being supremely talented, is genuinely humble and an all-round nice guy.
The almost two-hour documentary delves into Camilleri's early childhood in Malta to his family's migration to Australia and his eagerness to burst into the local pub music scene and on to rock stardom.
It rightly portrays him as an everyday kind of person who just happens to be good at playing music.
With interviews from among the elite of the Australian music industry, file footage of the early pub rock days, contemporary concerts and recording sessions and even a cooking lesson with the man himself, the rockumentary makes for compelling viewing.
''I've never seen it but they tell me it's better than Paul Kelly's,'' Camilleri laughs in reference to the Kelly documentary that has been released at the same time.
''Mine only cost a $1000, his cost about $500,000.''
Camilleri says he probably won't watch the film that is dedicated to his own life and music.
He cooperated fully with the producers and let the directors delve into whatever area they wanted.
But watching the final product might be a step too far.
''I think it's a very difficult thing for me to do,'' he says.
''I don't like the way I look, I don't like the way I sing, I don't like the way I talk. Why should I torture myself?
''They had free range. I didn't want to get involved. I was happy to talk to them on any level about anything. But I didn't want to mess with it. For me, I think I'm about as interesting as an ant on an ant hill.
''I just don't feel that my life is all that interesting.
''I love my life, don't get me wrong. I love hanging out with my kids and all that stuff that you do. I only have one real love outside of my family and that's music. And I'm not that good at it.''
Oh yes he is. The sheer number of his record sales over the years gives testament to that.
So, too, does the fact that so many of Australia's best recording artists have sought out Camilleri to produce albums for them.
His own latest album is quite likely a world's first venture.
The Black Sorrows' Crooked Little Thoughts is a refreshingly original concept of bringing together numerous artforms into one beautiful package.
For the project Camilleri collaborated with acclaimed Australian artist Victor Rubin to produce a 73-page hardcover book in which the lyrics to each song are accompanied by prints of stunning Rubin paintings.
Complete with photographs, poems and stories, this offering is a real gem.
And that's before we even get to the music.
The book houses three CDs containing 24 new songs that capture the essence of the Black Sorrows as they have been in the past and where they are headed.
''I thought it was a good cross section at the time of what I do,'' Camilleri says.
''And these days you can just get anything for nothing basically.
''I thought we are losing the art of what it used to be, you know that record thing about people buying it and not giving it away saying 'here's a burnt copy'. It means nothing.
''In this concept no one is going to say that. Well you might say, 'here have a listen to this', but you'll want it back because it is something you can't copy.
''You can copy the music on disc but you can't copy the book. Who wants to download 80 pages?
''I also thought that they'd make a really nice thing together - you've got art, you've got poetry and the songs and music. They all go hand in hand together and it works really well.
''I've just extended what an album used to be.''
Camilleri insists he spends little time thinking about what he has achieved and is more interested in looking ahead.
But he does reminisce a little about the ''good old days'' when the Australian rock scene was just beginning to bloom.
''What I love about Australian music is we had our own sound and we still have our own sound,'' he says.
''We never really competed with each other. There was really good support back then. But that kind of fell apart.
''Now everybody's fighting each other to get on shows like the Today show.
''In the '70s if you got on the Today show you would have been laughed out of the building because no musician worth his salt is going to be up at 7am.''
Still loving the gigging but hating the actual touring, Camilleri says he prefers to drive interstate when he can because he can't stand the waiting around in airport terminals.
''There must be something with the Virgin and Qantas rule books - page 67, the missing page - that says 'Let everybody wait as long as we want them to,' '' he says with a laugh.
''That gets a bit annoying. But I really love being up on stage in front of an audience.
''I play probably with more desperation now than ever before in my life.''
Joe Camilleri and the Black Sorrows
WHERE: The Abbey
WHEN: Sunday, November 25
TICKETS: $55 or $125 dinner and show
■ Crooked Little Thoughts and Joe Camilleri: Australia's Maltese Falcon are both out now.
■ Chris Johnson is a musician and a staff writer