Green, Gold and on the Go: Rock on the Road

An interview with Mark about rock and travel.

Author: Fleur Bainger, Qantas.

Date: 22 July 2009.

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Article Text

Former front man of the Hunters and Collectors, Mark Seymour, talks about music, life on the road and his efforts towards the Victorian bushfire appeal.

Q. You’ve been on the road for more than 20 years, both as frontman of Hunters and Collectors and as a solo artist. What’s the most remote destination you’ve played in?

A. A place called Oodnadatta in South Australia.

Q. What’s the longest trip you’ve taken for a gig?

A. The flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles, and then on to Canada is massive. It probably takes about 24 hours total.

Q. How much equipment do you travel with?

A. In this sort of a show (acoustic) it’s pretty lean and mean; it’s just acoustic instruments. I’ve just discovered that I really like acoustic; I still get the scale out of my voice, and I’ve found that using a folk approach is really dynamic.

Q. Which songs are always on your set list, no matter where you perform
in the world?

A. I’ve got about six songs that I always have in my show, at least four of them are Hunters’ songs that I can’t leave out, like Holy Grail and Throw Your Arms Around Me. The interesting thing about Holy Grail is that it got in radio top 10s in about six Commonwealth territories.

Q. Do you have a soundtrack for when you’re on the road?

A. I listen to anything by Steve Earle.

Q. What’s your favourite leisure spot in Australia?

A. Gunnamatta, it’s a surf beach in Mornington Peninsula National Park, an hour south of Melbourne in Victoria. It’s fantastic.

Q. What’s one place that’s still on your travel wish list?

A. I’d really like to go to Eastern Europe, particularly to what was once the Communist Block. I’d love to go to the Czech Republic, Poland, all the way through there.

Q. What are your travel plans for the rest of the year?

A. We’re in Canada in July, and in August we’re back touring in New South Wales and Queensland.

Q. You’ve written a new song about the Victorian bushfires, how long after the event were you compelled to do that?

A. Within a couple of days, it was such a huge event in my state. I don’t think many Victorians realised how huge that fire was if they weren’t directly impacted by it. I played some shows on the edge of the fire zone. At one gig, I had a view of the mountains behind Healesville and King Lake; it looked like a massive bomb had gone off. The song will be on my next album, whenever that comes out.