Man At Work
-S&S chats with singer-songwriter, Colin Hay.
Many of you 80s music fans will remember the Australian chart toppers, Men At Work, whose clever jazz/rock/reggae infused ditties about Overkill and Dr. Jeckall and Mr. Jive, kept fans moving on the dance floor from coast-to-coast and their eyes glued to their TV sets anticipating the next M.A.W. video to premier on MTV.
Those infectious first few notes of that suave sax intro, backed by pulsating rhythms leading you to the tale of a paranoid reclusive who only "wished to be left alone"--became Men At Work’s first #1 single in the U.S.,Who Can It Be Now? (1982) followed by several subsequent hit singles leading them to international success.
Fronted by Scottish-Australian singer-songwriter, Colin Hay, this talented group of musicians spoke of life from the Land Down Under, which included songs that introduced their U.S. fans to Vegemite sandwiches and traveling in fried-out Kombis.
Yes, these stories were of foreign patois to most American natives, yet well received and widely encouraged.
With three albums under their belt, Men At Work decided to call it quits in the mid-80s. The group (Hay and saxophonist, Greg Ham) went on to reunite in the 1990s and have played one-off shows since then.
In more recent years, Colin Hay has concentrated on his solo career having released 9 albums.
He has enjoyed a re-introduction of his music to both old and new fans due to his music being featured in the movie Garden State and having had several appearances on the television comedy, Scrubs.
“It feels great because that’s exactly you want. Obviously you never want your music to fall on deaf ears and I’ve been very lucky and fortunate in having a growing fan base," Hay said. "It helps having a lot of the newer songs recognized by the youngsters."
“The good thing about the younger people that come to see me is that they like listening to all the old, but they really like what I did yesterday as well."
Although he is proud of his catalog with Men At Work, Colin Hay isn’t one to dwell too heavily on the past. He has recently released the DVD, Colin Hay - Live At The Corner, featuring a recent live performance in Australia.
“I’ve been wanting to do a DVD for ages. It was recorded two or three years ago at the legendary Corner Hotel in Melbourne, I’m very pleased with it,” said Hay.
His latest album American Sunshine (2009), is a well crafted set of songs featuring various tones and concepts, that familiar voice and clever songwriting Collin Hay fans have come to know and love.
“All the songs are different, really. I don’t really think about themes. I just let other people listen to the songs and get what they want from them. But ultimately, there’s always something hopeful about the songs,” said Hay.
For those of you heading to a show, you can look forward to enjoying several of your favorite Men At Work sing-a-long’s, as well as many tracks from Hay's solo albums.
The man at work is currently working on a new album at the moment which is slated to be released next year.