Best known for leading the classic 80s band Spandau Ballet and belting out hits like “Gold”, “True” and “Through the Barricade”, Tony Hadley is also an actor, radio presenter, writer and beer maker. He’ll be hitting Oz in October for the Rewind Festival so we called him up…
So you’re coming back to Australia?
Yes, I love it there. We were there in 2010 with Spandau, after 20-odd years of not talking to each other, we finally made up, kissed and cuddled and got ourselves back on track again. We always have a good time in Australia.
You’ve done music, film, theatre, radio… what do you enjoy the most?
The best thing is getting on stage and singing, by far. I’ve acted on stage, done a bit of film work, but they’re kind of diversions, the main thing is being on stage, with an audience, singing your heart out and getting a response. Having photos done is tedious, making videos are pretty boring, but going on stage is the best thing in the world.
You’ve also got your own beer line?
I do, and we’re talking about exporting beer over to Australia which is a bit weird but yeah, Hadley’s Gold – of course, Hadley’s Blonde and Hadley’s IPA. Things are going well.
There’s a fan club that says “Gold” should be played at the Olympics…
Well, I think it should be. My manager has been talking to various people about an orchestral version of the song for the games. I mean doing “Gold” with an 80-piece orchestra would be amazing. I would be so proud. If we’re going to get to the Olympics sorted, well, that’s another story.
Why do you think “Gold” suits the Olympics? Beside the obvious…
Well, because it’s about self-belief. On the surface it’s about this precious metal that we all want to achieve outside of our lives. But really it’s about finding that it is actually within us. “Gold” is that kind of anthem at the end of the night that everyone wants to sing along to, it’s almost like a football anthem. I’ve had people say, “I’ve been in hospital and the song I played every night was ‘Gold’ to get me through to the next day.”
Who parties the hardest on the Rewind Festivals?
Bananarama. They’re always good fun, they’re big party animals, hardcore yeah. People often ask if there’s rivalry backstage. Absolutely not, even in the past. Maybe for the journalists there was, but actually when you get a bunch of musicians and singers together backstage everyone is like, “really great to meet you”. So you can have the Iron Maiden boys, Duran Duran and Michael Schenker Group all drinking in a bar together and everyone just gets on famously. Backstage at the Rewind Festival is going to be heaps of fun, there will be a huge bar and we will visit it very cautiously before the show and then not so cautiously after the show.
Do you think there is an 80s revival at the moment?
Yes I do and I think it’s been happening for bloody ages. I mean 10 years ago if you’d said the 80s, you’d be like “leave it out, that’s a real naff decade”. But people do become nostalgic and also young people are delving back into their mum and dad’s back catalogue, as I did as a kid with Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Now there are kids discovering Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Culture Club. As time goes on, people view decades more sympathetically.
Will Spandau Ballet tour again?
I don’t know, it was only ever meant to be a one-off, after 20 years of squabbling we buried our differences. But after our last show in 2010, you know, I had a band waiting around for me on a retainer for six months. I’ve had no time off and I’m trying to finish the new album so at the moment there aren’t plans to do Spandau again. You could be waiting 20 years.
Will you still be doing it in 20 years?
Well, yeah, you know look at Tony Bennett, I saw him at the Albert Hall last year, he was fantastic. He’s 82 and still doing it, still loving it, still a great performer. I thought, if I can look as cool as he does, wearing the suit, looking sharp and singing as well as he can when I’m 82 then I will be a happy boy.
What’s next then?
I’m doing some writing with Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees for the new album. I went round his house and had a little cup of tea and said, let’s get together and do some songs. For me, that is a major wow.
Tony Hadley plays the Rewind Festival on the New South Wales south coast (Oct 28-30). Day tix start at $115.50 http://www.moshtix.com.au[www.moshtix.com.au]