Possibly the favorite singer-songwriter of the alt-comedy scene, Colin Hay became familiar to millions of civilians like us as front-man, songwriter, and vocalist of 80s Aussie pop band Men at Work – and if you can’t instantly tap your toes to the beat of “Down Under,” you have been living on Mars. Or are 12. Or very sad today.
Although the only constant member of the formed, disbanded, reformed and currently not working but hey, let’s see what happens “Men”, Hay has had as much success in the last 15 years as a solo artist, regularly selling out theaters across the world. His latest album is “Next Year People”, released last year (a joke that only lasts til December) on Compass Records, and he continues touring Europe, Canada and, later this summer the US, in support. Not that being a global citizen is an issue; the Scotland born, Australian-raised LA resident, with a Peruvian wife, just needs a “Live at Budokan” album to even out his passport.
When within driving distance of home, Hay gigs around Southern California and has been crossing streams with the comedy community for decades. He was part of the legendary Largo nightclub scene in the 90s, a semi-regular performer at nights that featured alternative comedy acts and the type of artists Hay liked being around. It was during that time he came to the attention of Bill Lawrence and his wife Christa Miller, of the TV show “Scrubs”. Lawrence and Miller were curating the featured music for the quirky comedy, and Lawrence liked Hay so much that he not only used his music but put him onscreen, serving as a mysterious Braff-stalking subconscious with a guitar, in three episodes.
The comedian’s favorite guest
Early on, from Comedy Bang Bang to Jeff Garlin’s By the Way, to Sklarbro Country, Hay’s established relationships with performers and his low-key humor quickly made him a great two-talents-for-the-price-of-one guest for the booming podcast market. On the 2012 Never Not Funny Pardcast-a-Thon, Hay told host Jimmy Pardo that when approached to have his music appear on the soundtrack of “Garden State”, the debut film from “Scrubs” star Zach Braff, he was unsure, thinking the deal wasn’t to his liking. However, an email from Hay to his representation went astray, Braff included “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” on the platinum-selling album and next thing you know the Hay’s LA home has an expensive new kitchen and the singer has a legion of new young fans.
Those fresh listeners will have a chance to hear music both old and new on the 2016 leg of Colin Hay’s tour to support “Next Year People”. His latest effort is full of quirky, open-hearted songs with catchy melodic hooks that underscore deeper lyrics. Some of the songs are based on Colin’s personal experiences such as the coming of age “Waiting in the Rain.” “Next Year People,” pays tribute to long-ago farmers and their struggle against unrelenting nature, but the lovely clap-along “Trying to Get to You,” like the singer, is more optimistic. Maybe that’s because it also features his wife, Cecilia Noel, on background vocals (she appears on many of the other songs as well).
Tour dates below. If he’s not hitting your city, check out the documentary “Colin Hay – Waiting For My Real Life“, coming soon.
Colin Hay took a moment out of the tour to answer our Quick Six Interview:
Watching and listening to Stephen Hawking talk about Many-worlds interpretation. Bends my head.
Who decides on your album cover art?
We usually work with Robert Hakalski, a great album cover artist.
What is an artist’s relationship to their label? What is yours?
There is no one answer to this. I enjoy working with Compass Records. I think the feeling is mutual.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in the music industry at all?
Morning or night person for work? and for a day off?
Afternoon actually. A day off, hmmm… I’ll let you know when I take one.
How do you know when a song is finished? And do you ever go back and dig out unfinished or old songs?
When it talks back to you, and says “Leave me alone I’m done”. And, Yes, I do.
What song do you wish you had written?
If you could duet, vocally or instrumentally, with anyone alive or dead, who would that be?
What would be your perfect weekend?
A drive up the coast road on Highway 1 is hard to beat.
What’s next for you?
COLIN HAY TOUR DATES:
Sunday 17 April 2016 Largo at the Coronet, Los Angeles (with Kevin Pollak)
Friday 22 April 2016 Academy of Music Theatre, Northampton, MA
Saturday 23 April 2016 The Flying Monkey, Plymouth, NH, US
Saturday 30 April 2016 Union Chapel, London, UK
Sunday 01 May 2016 Kentchurch Court, Hereford, UK
Wednesday 04 May 2016 Gaiety Theatre, Douglas, Isle Of Man
Friday 06 May 2016 Pleasance, Edinburgh, UK
Saturday 07 May 2016 The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, UK
Sunday 08 May 2016 Òran Mór, Glasgow, UK
Monday 09 May 2016 Òran Mór, Glasgow, UK
Wednesday 11 May 2016 Harmonie, Bonn, Germany
Thursday 12 May 2016 Capitol Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany
Friday 13 May 2016 Christuskirche, Bochum, Germany
Sunday 15 May 2016 Rosenhof, Osnabrück, Germany
Tuesday 17 May 2016 Fabrik, Hamburg, Germany
Wednesday 18 May 2016 M.A.U. Club, Rostock, Germany
Thursday 19 May 2016 Kuba – Kultur Halle, Wolfenbüttel, Germany
Friday 20 May 2016 Kulturforum – Konzertscheune, Lüneburg, Germany
Thursday 07 July 2016 – Sunday 10 July 2016 Winnipeg Folk Festival 2016 Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Saturday 16 July 2016 Boarding House Park, Lowell, MA
Wednesday 20 July 2016 Francis Scott Key Auditorium, Annapolis, MD
Thursday 01 September 2016 Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, CO (with The Milk Carton Kids)
Feb 15 The 80’s Cruise Fort Lauderdale, FL (see site for details)
Quick Six: Pop Culture Beast lets artists choose from our standard ten questions – and we let them tell us what they’d like you to know.
(And in this case, yes, we can count, we just included all ten answers. You’re welcome.)
A former ABC National, Dallas and Atlanta radio personality, Martina O'Boyle is now making movies and covering culture in London, Dublin, and as far in Europe as the cheapie flights will take her, for Pop Culture Beast.