An article on Mark’s upcoming gig in Canberra.
Author: Cecillia Pattison-Levi, BMA Magazine.
Date: 24 July 2008.
Original URL: http://www.bmamag.com/?p=708
It’s safe to say Mark Seymour is an Australian music icon. Formally the singer and frontman for Hunters and Collectors, one of Australia’s greatest ever live bands, Mark has enjoyed a long solo career, releasing six albums and performing all ’round the country – with less band drama now, as he only has himself to worry about!
For fans of Mark Seymour, a real highlight of one of his concerts is right at the very end, where he invites the entire audience to join him in a sing-a-long on his classic songs. His songs have become anthems; the likes of Holy Grail, When the River Runs Dry, Throw Your Arms Around Me, Talking to a Stranger, Say Goodbye, Do You See What I See and so many others are now Australian staples. Hunters and Collectors lasted for an amazing 17 years as a band, breaking up in 1998 after sell out farewell concerts across Australia. But Mark, ever prolific, refused to merge back into the shadows like the rest of the band. With six solo albums, work for films, a new book, environmental activism and a hard work ethic, he continues to tour, focusing on a mix of full band and acoustic performances.
“The show in Canberra will be a more acoustic type of set,” says Mark. “I will probably decide what I will play on the night. I like to mix it up a little, no real setlist or anything, but I include the entire last new album, then a mix of songs from my older solo albums and songs from the Hunters era.” And what a back catalogue to choose from. “Yeah,” says Mark, “I must admit to being very lucky with having a big choice of songs to pick from. I know people want to hear the old Hunters songs as well and I am proud I wrote songs that people really relate to.”
Mark has just written a book about his 18 years on the road with Hunters and Collectors called Thirteen Tonne Theory. It is about the energy and the mysteries within a band’s dynamics: dynamics that bore wonderful songs, but forces that, in the end, caused the band’s disintegration. “The book is doing really well,” says Mark. “The publishers were a bit worried about who or what type of people would buy this type of book. But it is into its second print run and I always get good feedback on the book and get told it’s a page turner. I guess the real reason people are interested in the story of Hunters is why it all ended. But, it is important to realise that it’s the little things within a band that are difficult to control and without central values that everyone holds, it can all fall apart with too much diversity in views and values. It was all so slippery.”
“For me, the important part of my life is my family, solo work and the environment we live in,” says Mark. “I mean look what is happening with the desalination plant in South Gipsland. It will be an environmental disaster unless we do something to open up the debate about water, climate change and the type of power we use. We just need to be more aware of our actions and try to live a more sustainable life.” Mark’s values really shine through in his awareness of social action for social good, and it becomes apparent that there is only one Mark Seymour – one of the true innovators of the Australian music scene.
Mark Seymour plays at Top of the Cross, Southern Cross Club Woden on Thursday August 7. Dinner and show from 7pm, show from 8.30pm. Bookings on 6283 7288. His book Thirteen Tonne Theory is out now on Penguin and his new album Titanic is out now on Liberation music.