Hunna’s Bar Beat
Short interview during 1986 Canada tour about the H&C’s approach to their live shows.
Author: JM, Now Magazine.
Date: November 1986.
Original URL: N/A.
Aussie band Hunters and Collectors are on the road in Canada promoting their new album, Human Frailty, and heading toward a date here at RPM next Tuesday (November 18). Calling from Saskatoon, H and C singer/guitarist Mark Seymour reports grey weather, scrubby terrain and good houses as they make their way east. He also says that promoters here have been surprised by the band’s approach to their show, which is to treat every one like a major concert – just like they learned back home.
“They find it quite strange,” he says, “that we do this style of show because most club music here seems to be more on a cabaret level. But we approach our music live as opposed to recreating a record. We try and work an audience into a state.”
This tactic is one that the Hunters developed holding huge beer drinking crowds at bay back in Oz. To keep 1,000 or sow potential rowdies off their backs, the band kept them on their feet with a rough and tumble mix of stiff rock and roll backed by a “funk-influenced, very tribal beat.”
“They have these arenas called beer barns that exist throughout the suburbs of the major cities,” Seymour explains. “They can accommodate up to a thousand people and going out on a Friday or Saturday night and seeing a band is a fundamental part of people’s maturing period. Almost everyone from 18 to 25 does that – it’s a common denominator of everybody’s experience.
“One result is that there’s an almost guaranteed live audience for almost any band. All you basically have to do is convince the people in the space of 75 minutes or so that you’re telling them something that they need to hear about.”
And, goes the corollary, if you don’t convince them, the crowd lets you know about it. This contributes to what Seymour calls a common element to all Aussie bands – “a sense of urgency and struggle in how they express themselves.” Another trait in bands in Australia, he says, is the tendency toward a national inferiority complex.
“There’s this notion that the music that’s coming into the country has a lot more credibility than what we’re doing. The idea of competing with a Cyndi Lauper or Bruce Springsteen is something that most Australian bands wouldn’t even consider.”
But according to Seymour, Hunters and Collectors are at ease with their position. Human Frailty has been on the home charts for some 30 weeks, the band is big, raucous and know how to do their jobs. Their attitude is that they’ll play music as long as it stays fun. “We know we can cut it in the pubs,” he says, “and that’s the bottom line.”
“If Hunters and Collectors have achieved anything, it’s being the first Australian band to convince Australian audiences that the pub environment is as culturally credible as any. If we don’t make any inroads on this tour or even the next tour, the basic development of our music will continue because we’ll go back to the pubs to play and write new songs. If we succeed commercially outside the country, it doesn’t really matter – it’s just a bonus.”
Thankyou to Matt for typing out this article for us all to enjoy.