Sound Relief – Hunters & Collectors

An article about Hunters and Collectors reforming for Sound Relief.

Author: Patrick Donovan, The Age.

Date: 14 March 2009.

Original URL:–reviews/sound-relief/2009/03/12/1236447377004.html


Article Text

Rock, Hip Hop/RnB, Pop
Location: Melbourne Cricket Ground
Address: Jolimont Terrace, East Melbourne
Date: 14 March 2009
Phone Bookings: 136 100

While much was made of Midnight Oil’s decision to come out of retirement for tomorrow’s Sound Relief concert, many were even more surprised by Hunters & Collectors’ decision to perform again after 11 years.

While the public may expect the band to just walk out on stage and effortlessly reel off their hits, it’s not that simple.

But singer Mark Seymour said he was surprised at how easily the band slipped back into the groove when they performed two songs at their ARIA Hall of Fame induction in 2005.

“The chemistry is so tight that everybody just slips into the role that they were in,” Seymour says.

“We toured for 18 years, so the musical relationships were very well grounded.”

The band’s 30-minute greatest-hits set will probably include classics such as Throw Your Arms Around Me, Say Goodbye and the unofficial soundtrack to the AFL grand final, Holy Grail. They have obviously scrapped Everything’s on Fire and Inside a Fireball.

To understand why their one-off show is such a big deal, one has to appreciate why they split up. There are many reasons, says Seymour, as to why the band decided to call it a day, but personally, he wanted to keep moving forward.

“It was a pretty serious decision to retire, and all the guys in the band are heavyweight professionals in their respective areas of employment. Obviously we have to put ourselves first. There’s just no momentum in the idea (of reforming).”

Part of the difficulty in getting anything done in the band is that it was run as a collective, with the nine members having equal shares in the brand. These days, Seymour gets to make all of the decisions himself as a solo artist. In his brilliant autobiography, Thirteen Tonne Theory, Seymour explains the difficulty of writing songs “by committee”.

“A lot of bands are run like that – it’s not particularly unique,” he says. “I think the thing that ultimately made things more difficult was the sheer size of the band.”

Seymour says that barring another catastrophe, he cannot imagine the band ever playing again.

“This event is not about Hunters & Collectors,” he said. “It’s about contributing to the groundswell of generosity that has emerged in the community after the cataclysm that’s been inflicted on people simply because of where they live. It’s a very big Australian story and it’s got a cultural dimension. It’s a huge honour to be part of it.”

Sound Relief is being held tomorrow at the MCG and SCG concurrently.



This article appear in The Age physical newspaper of 13 March 2009 under the different title of “Hunters’ Reprise a Huge Surprise”.