Friday, September 14, 2012 • Doors 7pm • Show 8pm • $38 Reserved • $22 General Admission • All Ages
Most artists who have experienced the levels of success and adulation Colin Hay has would be content to sit back and earn a living walking to the mailbox and back. Yet Hay is restless, eager to move forward and continually hone his craft while continuing to challenge himself. Hay’s solo shows intersperse classic and new songs with hilarious, poignant, and downright surreal stories drawn from his often unbelievable experiences over the past three decades. “I’ve been doing these solo tours for a number of years,” he explains, “going back to the same places and building audiences by doing the best shows I can.” Themes of redemption and renewal come naturally to Colin Hay, as he is in the midst of a remarkable renaissance.
Colin Hay may be best known as the lead singer for Men At Work, the platinum selling Australian band that topped worldwide charts in the 80s with anthems like “Down Under,” “Overkill,” and “Who Can It Be Now?” Hay’s justifiably proud of his place in pop history, but since moving to Los Angeles in 1989, he’s made 11 solo albums and is confident that Gathering Mercury is the best of the lot.
“These are some of the strongest songs I’ve ever written,” Hay says from his home studio in the hills of Topanga Canyon. “The loss of my father last year brought an unavoidable emotional contingent to writing and recording. I don’t have a definitive belief in an afterlife, but I do feel like I had his help when I was working on this album, especially alone late at night, in the studio.”
“I made a solo rock album for Columbia called Looking for Jack in 1987,” Hay says. “When it wasn’t commercially successful, I got the feeling that Columbia didn’t know what to do with me, so I took up an offer from MCA Records, and Columbia let me go.” Hay went back to his original musical inspirations for Wayfaring Sons, an album with Celtic folk influences for the MCA record. They dropped him soon after. “I’d moved to the States in ‘89, and soon realized I’d have to work harder for more modest returns. I started my own label, Lazy Eye Records, and set about building a new audience, through writing, recording and touring.” It’s been hand to hand combat ever since, but nourishing work at the same time.”
Hay has released nine albums since founding Lazy Eye in 1992. Peaks & Valleys(1992), an outing for solo acoustic guitar and voice; Topanga (1994), a rock album that featured “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin;” Transcendental Highway (1988); the acoustic Going Somewhere (2001); Company of Strangers (2002); a collection of newly recorded Men at Work hits and some new songs called Man At Work (2003); Are You Lookin’ at Me? (2006); American Sunshine (2009) and the current Gathering Mercury. Since 2003, Hay has had a partnership with Compass Records and he’s slowly rebuilt his name recognition. “I went from playing for 50 people a few years ago, to 500 and 1,000 seat venues. I’d like to speed it up a bit, cause I’m running out of life,” Hay quips in fine Scottish style, “but for the most part I’m happy to be on the road and still making music, and attracting ever increasing audiences.”