Hunters Still On A Roll

An article from Victoria’s The Age about the 2005 temporary reformation of Hunters and Collectors.

Author: Jo Roberts.

Date: July 14 2005.

Original URL: hunners-on-a-roll/2005/07/13/1120934300651.html?oneclick=true


Article Text

[Photo not included]
The Hunters and Collectors, with singer Mark Seymour, centre, rehearse for tonight’s ARIA Icons Hall of Fame ceremony at the Regent Theatre.
Photo: Paul Harris

In March 1998, Melbourne band Hunters & Collectors played their final gig at the Hi Fi Club on Swanston Street, bringing an 18-year career to a close.

“It was very emotional,” recalled trumpet player Jack Howard. “Everyone was side of stage, getting teary.”

The band decided to quit despite still enjoying sold-out shows. “We still felt like we were in our creative prime, and wanted to go out on a high, not become a cover band of ourselves,” said guitarist Barry Palmer.

But in the hearts and minds of Australia, it’s as if the “Hunners” never left, having carved a permanent niche in the national psyche with songs such as Throw Your Arms Around Me (which last year topped the list of karaoke favourites at the Melbourne Festival), Holy Grail and Say Goodbye.

Yesterday, on the stage of the Regent Theatre, it was as if they had never been away. “You don’t make me feel like I’m a woman any more,” wailed Mark Seymour as the band thundered through Say Goodbye. Then, as they played Throw Your Arms, Regent staff laying tables paused in silence, watching a piece of history unfold.

The band was rehearsing for tonight’s ARIA Icons Hall of Fame ceremony at the Regent, where members will play those two songs for the first time in seven years to celebrate being named among this year’s six inductees into the hall.

About 400 people, including guest presenters, musicians Peter Garrett and Billy Thorpe, and actors Jack Thompson and John Clarke, will attend the $440-a-head inaugural dinner and ceremony, which is shaping up to be one of the hottest gigs of the year, with all inductees either performing or having their songs performed.

The other dream reunion of the night is Split Enz, who will play two songs (odds are short for I Got You and I See Red), as will Normie Rowe with help from Melbourne trio the Living End. An Easybeats tribute will be performed by You Am I, Tex Perkins and Jimmy Barnes, and Renee Geyer will sing It’s A Man’s World, followed by a medley of her hits from her former backing singer Jade Macrae.

An emotional highlight will undoubtedly be the induction of 92-year-old country singer Smoky Dawson, who will perform with contemporary country luminaries Troy Cassar-Daley, Anne Kirkpatrick and Lee Kernaghan.

Smoky, bless him, has never quit music. As for the Hunters, could tonight ignite a reunion? Manager Michael Roberts says he’d “lay $1000 on the table” against it. “And I’m not a betting man,” he said. But Seymour was not discounting it. “But it’s got to come from someone else, it’s got to be addressed by the broader industry,” he said. “We’d need to be given some pretty solid reasons.”

Flame-haired, smoky-voiced jazz, blues and soul singer. Released her 21st album, Tonight, last year to rave reviews.

The Auckland-founded, Melbourne-nurtured band will be inducted exactly 30 years after moving to Melbourne.

Australia’s kings of rock ‘n’ roll from 1965-67, with such hits as Friday On My Mind, Sorry and She’s So Fine.

Electric performer of the 1960s, with such hits as Que Sera Sera and Shakin’ All Over.

At 92, country and western star Dawson is a living legend. Still records at the home he shares with his wife of 61 years, Dot.

From 1981 to 1998, this fiesty, blue singlet-wearing Melbourne band played, snarled, crooned and sweated their place into Australia’s psyche.