Men Without Hats – Across The Ocean

Men Without Hats

Cult hit The Safety Dance made popular by shows such as The Simpsons and Glee will get the fans dancing on the Totally 80s tour. Joining a long list of international acts Men Without Hats make their way to Australia for their first tour in over thirty years. Main stayer Ivan Doroschuk talks to Across The Ocean about their resurgence and touring again.

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First time visit to Australia, must be exciting for you?

Yeah it is a first for me, I can’t wait to get there, it will be a blast for me.

Are you surprised that even in your hay day your tour never made it to Australia?

Yeah, we’re doing more touring now because we have reformed in the last five years. It is funny because we have got to more places than we did back in the 80s. In the 80s we pretty much focused on North America and that was it. This time around we’re hitting all the places that we haven’t done, so it is great.

Reading your bio it is interesting to find out that you took time out to be a stay at home dad. How rewarding an experience was that?

Totally awesome, I have a great kid and a great relationship with him now due to that. It was great to take a break and step back from what I had been doing. When I got back to it, it made it all the better for me.

Do you think that helped with longevity?

Yeah, exactly! When I got back five years ago I found it so exciting and still having so much fun doing it. I can’t wait to get back on the road and every time I’m off the road I just sit there at the door with my luggage waiting to get back on. It is a lot of fun and there is no pressure this time and that’s the thing that is different. Back in the 80s we had something to prove, we were the new kids on the block and now this time around it is a different story. Now we are touring to say thank you for listening to us for so long.

Does having hit singles create pressure or expectation nowadays?

For sure, it is the classic if I knew then what I do no! Basically, back then I could not understand why the record companies wanted to keep reproducing Safety Dance but now I get it. I don’t agree with but at least I get it. Like I said the pressure is off and I don’t have to come up with anything now. If I’m lucky enough that people still have been listening to my stuff for the last thirty years and the new generation of people listening to it through reference in pop culture that is great. I’m lucky to be still doing this.

Are you chuffed when you see this new generation of fans?

That is fine, 80s music will always be around and it was a continuation of disco anyway. People need disco, the 90s music wasn’t really for dancing and a lot of what is happening in this millennium I don’t know that closely but there isn’t really anything that has impressed me too much. People go with what they know and a good dance beat will always be a good dance beat. A big electronic drum sound will always be a big electronic drum sound, that’s how it goes!

Was there a trigger that rejuvenated your interest in music again?

We started getting a lot of offers because of shows like The Simpsons and Glee. A lot of different elements came together and I started getting all these offers to do tours. We’ve toured with The Human League, The B-52’s, Devo, Flock Of Seagulls and the list goes on and on and one. They have put on all the 80s line-ups in the States like the one we’re doing in Australia which are really popular. The people are of age now where they go out a couple times a year, like to have fun and their kids are away from home or grown up and can take care of themselves. These gigs are well produced and well done and the people have a lot of fun.

Did you keep writing?

I took a break completely, it gave me a total respect for motherhood. It is a full time job and I just concentrated on my kid. Like I said it made it all the more fresher when I got back and made me want to do it even more. The music came when I was back in a band situation. I wrote the new album in the back of the bus when we were on tour. It literally just flowed out of me, I bought my first iPad and was just fooling around with it and these songs just started coming out. I put them down and coming off tour I had an album’s worth of stuff. When we started doing this there was no album in the works, no project to do a record, it was purely to just go out there and play our back catalogue again on 80s tours.

The fact that the record came naturally we thought we would just put it out, which was great. We tried to make a record that sounded like it came out a week after Safety Dance. We wanted to update the sound a bit, we didn’t want to make a dub-step record or use any tricky vocal techniques but just a record our fans would have wanted us to make and I think we did. I enjoy listening to it and it fits in with our back catalogue. The fans can’t tell the difference between the old and the new, same instruments and similar arrangements. It’s done with pro-tools instead of 24 track tape machine.

Rob Lyon

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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