Life Goes On – Rewind 1982

Interview with Mark Seymour about events of 1982.

Author: Katrina O’Brien, Sunday Life (The Age).

Date: 2005.

Original URL: N/A


Article Text

Mark Seymour

The former Hunters and Collectors frontman who penned the melodic anthem Throw Your Arms Around Me, found success and stardom a struggle until he learned to find his own way:

My exposure to music growing up was a bit alternative. My mother encouraged my brother [Nick, formerly of Crowded House] and two sisters to sing and she believed music united us as a family. We were a leftie kind of family. Rock ‘n’ roll was considered capitalistic and evil. I always found Johnny O’Keefe quietly alluring and when I started getting interested in other music in my late teens, I was really excicted about it.

I spent alot of time in the pub bonding with my mates from Melbourne Uni. I was in a couple of bands with them early on. One was the Jestsons, which played sort of a B-52s pop music and lasted about a year. I went back to them in about 1980 and we started writing and rehearsing in the Crystal Ballroom in St Kilda, Melbourne. I was interested in soul groove and it was experimental.

I met Greg Perano [sixth from left, Seymour is at far left] at a party. “What about me coming along and trying out with percussion?” he asked. I went around to pick him up and he had a bag full of pipes. ” I just need one more thing to play,” he said and disappeared. He emerged out of this mist with the guts of a hot-water system over his shoulder. Later, he walked on stage and started hitting this tank with Talking to A Stranger. It created this instant demonic sound. We all looked at each other and went “This is insane.” We realized we had something.

The whole thing just literally exploded, I’m a fairly normal sort of human being and my ego resonded appropriately. I thought I was hot stuff. But soon I didn’t cope – the stardom and stuff was a struggle. I was shy and reclusive. I drifted from one disastrous relationship to another, drank too much. I wasn’t particularly wild or out of control – I just did all the things you’d expect a young guy to do.

I was 24 when this photo was taken and it was just before we went to England. It was an unmitigated disaster. We came back to Australia after six months, langusished for quite a while and a few of the members left. I went back to the others and said, “Let’s reivnent the band.” We toured our butts off for the next three or four years and the band broke up in 1998 after nearly 18 years.

I see the face in the phto and know what he’s feeling and the fundamentals haven’t changed. I was young – and definitely better looking than I am now – and it took me a couple of years to fully define my own way. I’m still discovering things about performing. I’m just a very slow learner.

Fast forward

I have a serious attitude to what role music plays in people’s lives but as time’s gone by, I’ve become a lot more relaxed in public. I’ve had the privilege to keep performing [his latest album is Daytime And The Dark] and there is always something new in every show. The essential thing for me now is that I’ve got a family [wife Jo and daughters Eva, 11, and Hanna, 8]. My No. 1 priority is to protect my family. I’d give up music tomorrow if it was putting their welfare at risk but, fortunately, I can still make money out of it. Both my daughters play musical instruments. I think music makes you a generous, more open-minded person. Eva loves Eminem and Green Day and I can see that she’ll want to play guitar. She’s a real rock chick.



Thankyou to Tammy for typing out this article for us all to enjoy!