No bone to pick with the great Colin Hay
On the eve of Colin Hay's concert here in Tampa Bay (7:30 p.m. March 31 at the Largo Cultural Center), Times pop music critic Sean Daly and myself are giddy, retelling stories of our interview with Colin, fighting back and forth over his top 5 solo tunes and generally acting like a couple of 14-year-olds hopped up on Pixy Stix while watching our first hour ever of MTV.
Such is the power of Colin Hay. And even though our podcast interview with our hero was short and plagued with sound issues, we were able to dig out several tasty morsels of info from the mischievous musician.
Here are some highlights:
We went to see you with Ringo last year and you only played two stinkin’ songs. What gives, Colin Hay?
"Why are you picking the bone with me? That’s Ringo’s call. You got a bone to pick with Ringo."
Hey, we were just watching clips of you in Scrubs. How did the Zach Braff friendship come about?
"He used to come and see me play at this place in Hollywood, before he was in that show. He had my CDs and took them into the producers and creators. They’ve been very good to me."
Indeed, it gave your solo career some real juice. You weren’t just "that guy in Men at Work" anymore.
"It’s been happening kind of gradually over the last 20 years, but in the last five years, it’s taken a bit more of a hold because of Scrubs."
One song Scrubs uses brilliantly is Waiting for My Real Life to Begin. What’s the genesis of that song?
"I was working with a drummer in the studio, and one day I asked him, 'How ya doing?' and he said, 'Oh, Colin, I’m just waiting for my real life to begin.' And I thought, what a great title for a song. The song just popped out right there and then."
The song has become a generational anthem.
"It seems to be one of those songs a lot of different people can get a handle on because we all do it. We all think that tomorrow or next week or next year everything’s going to be cool, you know?"
So many of your songs have an autobiographical feel to them. Ever been tempted to write your autobiography?
"Yeah, I’ve started it a few times, but I’ve never finished it. People have been coaxing me for the last few years to write something, but I don’t feel like it yet."
Back in ’83, Men at Work won the Grammy for best new artist, beating out Asia, the Human League and the Stray Cats. Did you fear the dreaded “Grammy Curse,” the one that essentially kills the careers of best new artists?
[Laughing] "I didn’t think it then, but I have a few times since!"
Uh-oh. You’ve said before that Men at Work will never reunite. Still feel that way?
"It’s not like I have anything particularly against it. I loved being in Men at Work. Men at Work was a very important band for me at a very important time. I loved being a part of it. The reason I say no is that I know the people. It’s not like I’m necessarily stopping it."
You’re working on a new album, set for release later this year. As an artist, how do you know when a song is done?
"You have to listen to the song. If you listen, it will speak to you. If you listen very carefully, you’ll hear this little voice saying, 'I’m done. I’m done.' ” [Laughs]