In a League of his own
Philip Oakey sounds like the happiest man on the planet -- and the most humble.
"We were never quite born for the entertainment industry," the longtime frontman of The Human League -- and their sole original member -- told me during a phone chat today. How odd that is to hear from a musician who helped reinvent and lead an entire genre of music during the 80s.
To that end, he says, the fans still come first during live shows. And those who get a chance to catch a rare U.S. tour by The Human League -- part of the 2008 Regeneration Tour -- will hear hit after hit, including "Don't You Want Me," "Open Your Heart," "Fascination" -- and yes, his solo hit "Together in Electric Dreams."
You'll have to wait 'til the weekend to hear the full interview, but here are some highlights.
PHIL LOVES TO TOUR: "I'm one of the unusual people who really likes touring. I would tour for half the year. Compared to the rest of my life, it's actually pretty simple. At least when I'm on tour, I can sorta feel like I've done my job for the day, when I've done a show."
ON THE LEGACY OF THEIR "DARE ALBUM: "I didn't really understand that until last year, I don't think. I've always thought that the album wasn't quite what people thought it was. I tended to think of the run of singles we had as more important. It was only during the [2007 Dare] tour last year that I suddenly got that somehow those 40 minutes of the album meant more than the individual songs. And in a way, that's getting to be a lost art now, because people don't really make albums that all fit together."
EXPECT TO HEAR THE BIG TUNES IN CONCERT: "We mainly stick to hits, I think maybe because we never quite expected to be in a band. We're pretty grateful for people liking what we did. We tailor the shows to what people want to hear -- blatantly so. We just try to make sure the audience enjoys themselves really -- or at least nod off with a pleasant sound in their ears."
Still thinking of joining us for the Regeneration show in Las Vegas on Aug. 2. E-mail me for details.