Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage



NUNN ON ONE: MUSIC Colin Hay on Men at Work, Sia, Fierce Mercy album
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

This article shared 1231 times since Tue Feb 14, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

By selling more than 30 millions records worldwide, Men at Work left a mark on the music scene. Songs such as "Down Under," "Who Can It Be Now?" and "Overkill" brought the group commercial success. In 1983, the band won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

Lead singer Colin Hay released several solo albums after Men at Work broke up in 1985. He contributed to the Garden State soundtrack in 2004 with the song "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You." Eventually, he started is own record label, Lazy Eye Records.

His documentary Colin Hay: Waiting For My Real Life has had him making appearances at venues around the world. Hay's new album, Fierce Mercy, is released on March 3 and he sat down to talk about it at City Winery.

Windy City Times: To start off, people must assume you are from Australia.

Colin Hay: Well, you would, wouldn't you? When you become successful being known for a certain place the logical assumption is to be from there. I am from there but originally from Scotland. I went there when I was 14. I became an Australian if you like.

WCT: Where is the strangest place you have heard "Down Under?"

CH: Apart from my own head? I think the strangest was in LA at a Jewish wedding. It is because a man many years ago stole the music and wrote new lyrics to it. It has become another song but is still "Down Under" but called something else. I have never done anything about it.

WCT: You have mentioned in the past that Men at Work was not built to last.

CH: Well, it was but it didn't.

WCT: Was there something you would have done differently to keep it together?

CH: I think because the personalities that were involved it wasn't destined to stand the test of time. It kind of imploded. If we had done some things differently it might have lasted but I don't really think so. It just didn't feel good anymore creatively.

Sometimes in bands there is a creative tension where people don't necessarily get along but they write together and it becomes something magical. We had that for a little while.

There were six people involved with Men at Work, five musicians and one manager. A couple of people in the band wanted to sack the manager, the one person didn't like another person. It was a big thing that was kept very small.

I had been on my own for many years before. I felt comfortable by myself, so I just kept going.

It was a great time. We had a couple of great records and a couple of great tours. It was a short and explosive career. We toured for six more years as Men at Work with Greg Ham and I, but even that got tedious, He passed away.

WCT: Was there a gay member in Men at Work?

CH: Not as far as I know. We had lots of gay audiences though, especially when we started.

WCT: Are you related to the singer Sia?

CH: She is not my blood niece, but I have known her since she was two years old. I used to play with her father. He is a great guitar player and her mother is a talented artist.

WCT: How amazing is her career?

CH: Stratospheric, all of a sudden there was an explosion. I went to see her at the Hollywood Bowl and it was an extraordinary performance.

I hear the performance she did at Coachella was life-changing for a lot of people.

WCT: What have you learned from making 13 albums?

CH: Not a lot. [Laughs] I have liked making them. I learned that this is what I like to do. I like to write songs, be in the studio, and create music. It gives me great joy. I go out on the road and play it. Sia even asked me why I tour so much, but my approach is a bit old fashioned. My life is like a traveling salesman. I entertain folks and it makes me feel useful. It is like providing a service.

It can be my least favorite part because it is reproducing what you have created. It is not as exciting as when I am in the studio.

WCT: You recorded the album Fierce Mercy in Nashville?

CH: I recorded most of it at home in LA. After I went and recorded strings in Nashville.

WCT: What is the track "Secret Love" about?

CH: I was sitting on the sofa one night watching David Letterman. I always loved Gene Pitney and Roy Orbison. I loved operatic pop. I didn't know how to do it but wanted this sound for it.

I am hoping for a gay anthem. Whatever you can do I would appreciate it!

WCT: I will do my best. It seems like a very sad song.

CH: Visually, you can treat it in different ways. It struck me after it was written that a gay anthem was applicable. A song develops a life of its own.

WCT: Zach Braff is fan of your work, I read.

CH: He helped me get on the show Scrubs, then in the movie Garden State. It helped me a lot in terms of visibility.

WCT: Did someone come to you with the idea of the documentary or did you come up with it?

CH: Both. Nate Gowtham and Aaron Faulls came along with a proposal and off we went.

WCT: Did it cover things well or would you change it?

CH: I think it has a nice arc to it. There are always things to change but it was time to move on. You can't spend time second guessing what you do.

WCT: I watched the video for "It's a Mistake" today. It is still relevant and doesn't sound dated.

CH: It is a very we'll put together song and video. There was tragedy involved with that as well, because Melbourne and Victoria had just gone through Ash Wednesday. There were horrific bushfires. We went down to film after that and it looked like a war zone. The trees were still smoldering. Visually to make that video it was perfect, but it was under tragic circumstances.

WCT: When you come back to Chicago do you have any fun plans?

CH: I basically perform and eat at a few places. It is never a holiday, but I play there all the time.

Visit for his doc or to purchase tickets for Thalia Hall, 1807 S Allport St., on Friday, March 10, at 8 p.m.

This article shared 1231 times since Tue Feb 14, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Chicago Cabaret Professionals make a gift of their free gala concert 2020-11-30
--From a press release - For over twenty years the Chicago Cabaret Professionals' (CCP) annual Gala has been a festive live event. This association of over two hundred singers refuses to be deterred by the pandemic and will make a gift ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Singer Justin Utley, Gus Kenworthy, video game, 'Jackplot' film 2020-11-30
- OUTMusic Award winner Justin Utley has released the single "All Is Bright"—his first holiday release, a press release noted. Utley described the song as a little-bit of Lumineers/Mumford & Sons mixed in with a lot-a-bit of ...

Gay News

MUSIC (Colton) Ford tough: Singer is back and 'Stronger' than ever 2020-11-28
- Colton Ford has been an actor (in mainstream, off-Broadway and adult features) as well as singer, but he had see out of the spotlight for a few years—until now. Ford (who's openly gay) is back with ...

Gay News

'The Prom' out Dec. 11 on Netflix 2020-11-27
- The Prom—a musical-comedy film directed by Ryan Murphy and adapted by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin (from their and Matthew Sklar's 2018 Broadway musical of the same name)—will be out on Netflix on Dec. 11. The ...

Gay News

New narrative podcast offers lesbian rocker slice of life 2020-11-26
Podcast attached below - For audiophiles in search of punk rock tongue-in-cheek lesbian dramedy-driven narrative storytelling, look no further: "Tampon Rock" is here. The podcast, from Anthem and iHeart Radio, focuses on lesbian bandmates Deja and Chloe as they navigate ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ: Awards, 'Bebop,' Andy Cohen, Mariah Carey, Revry 2020-11-23
- The American Music Awards aired live Nov. 22 and some of the biggest names in music took home awards; Taraji P. Henson hosted. According to, Doja Cat won new artist of the year and Becky ...

Gay News

MUSICALS 1997 version of Anyone Can Whistle out Dec. 4 2020-11-17
- On Sunday, Dec. 4, Jay Records will release a 1997 recording of the musical Anyone Can Whistle, which originally had music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim as well as a book by Arthur Laurents. The production ...

Gay News

Jim Verraros: From 'Idol' to now 2020-11-14
- It may seem just like yesterday when Jim Verraros was among the finalists who performed on the very first season of the reality-competition show with the likes of Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson (who won). However, ...

Gay News

Theater community to offer online plays, musicals, dance, comedy for holidays 2020-11-10
--From a press release - Chicago, IL (November 10, 2020)— The Chicago theater community will produce a wide variety of online festive plays, musicals, dance and comedy offerings this Holiday season. Theatre venues in Chicago and across the world remain closed ...

Gay News

57th Street Art Fair to return next June 2020-11-10
- The 74th annual 57th Street Art Fair is slated to return June 5-6, 2021. The free event is the Midwest's oldest juried art fair, featuring nearly 200 artists, live music, kids' activities and a food court. ...

Gay News

The African American Arts Alliance announces 2020 Black Excellence Awards 2020-11-05
--From a press release - Chicago, IL—The African American Arts Alliance (AAAA) will host the 20th annual Black Excellence Awards, an evening celebrating Black artists, Black voices, and Black stories across artistic disciplines, on November 10, 2020 at 7pm. The 2020 ...

Gay News

American Blues Theater to present 19th production of It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago 2020-11-01
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — American Blues Theater will produce its 199h Annual Production of It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! from Frank Capra's film and directed by Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside with musical direction by Michael Mahler ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Being Earnest 2020-10-29
- Playwright book and lyrics by Paul Gordon, music by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska At Skylight Music Theatre online at Tickets: $25. Runs through Dec. 31, 2020. Two things to remember when proposing to transform a ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Viola Davis, Tyler Posey, Elton John, Tegan and Sara 2020-10-26
- Ma Rainey's Black Bottom will premiere on Netflix on Dec. 18, a press release noted. The movie—based on the August Wilson play—will star Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman and Colman Domingo. In the film and ...

Gay News

'V for Vendetta' at Music Box Oct. 30. includes talk with Wachowski 2020-10-22
- The 15th-anniversary theatrical re-release of V for Vendetta, which now includes bonus content—a 13-minute, pre-recorded conversation with director James McTeigue and writer/producer Lana Wachowski—will run at the Music Box Theatre ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.