Hunters & Collectors Not Quite Finished
Article and interview with Mark Seymour on the 2013 reformation of Hunters and Collectors.
Author: Jade Lazarevic, Newcastle Herald.
Date: 11 October 2013.
When Hunters & Collectors reunited to perform at the Sound Relief bushfire crisis fund-raiser in 2009, frontman Mark Seymour believed it would be the last time the band would perform together on stage.
After walking off stage, Seymour realised they still had an undeniable energy.
‘‘The impact of that on the band was quite big,’’ Seymour recalls.
‘‘The band was really blown away. It was such a big show and it worked really well that people just went ‘Shit, we can do this again’ but, again, there’s a big difference between half an hour and a 90-minute set.’’
In August, the iconic Australian band behind now classic songs such as Throw Your Arms Around Me and Holy Grail announced they would play a one-off show supporting Bruce Springsteen in Melbourne next February.
News of a tribute album featuring the likes of the Living End, Something For Kate and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder covering songs from the band’s back catalogue emerged last month, further fuelling speculation a tour might be on the cards.
After performing at the AFL grand final last month, Hunters & Collectors are preparing to hit the road for their first full tour in more than a decade to support the new album at a series of outdoor A Day On the Green winery concerts nationally, along with two indoor shows in Sydney and Melbourne.
Seymour says Crucible – The Songs of Hunters & Collectors – an album concept conceived by Mushroom boss Michael Gudinski – was crucial in the band agreeing to reform ‘‘for the right reasons,’’ having split in 1998 after a successful career that began in Melbourne in 1981.
‘‘The main concern has always been we had to have a damn good reason for doing it, not just going out and making money, which is what a lot of bands do – they need cash so they get out and play.
‘‘That’s the last thing I want to do.
‘‘The band ended and there were specific reasons why the band ended and they haven’t gone away. It’s a creative issue for me personally but that’s neither here nor there, really.
‘‘The band was a massive touring outfit, had a huge reputation and for good reason and that’s essentially what we are endeavouring to reignite, you know, that machine – and that’s what we’ll be doing.
‘‘The band’s sound, live energy – it’s all about that.’’
The album – which hit No.3 on the national ARIA chart this week – reaches out to a new generation of Hunters and Collectors fans.
Young Australian acts such as British India, the Rubens and Birds of Tokyo put their stamp on songs such as Do You See What I See?, Holy Grail and Talking To A Stranger alongside Eddie Vedder and Neil Finn’s version of Throw Your Arms Around Me and Paul Kelly’s duet with Emma Donovan on True Tears of Joy.
Seymour says the recognition from other artists is ‘‘very reassuring’’.
‘‘Toward the end of our career we kind of felt like we disappeared – even though we were doing these huge shows – that we kind of weren’t in the national conversation. The media weren’t that interested.
‘‘We’d been around for so long and we kept making albums.
‘‘We just didn’t go away even though we’d stopped being fashionable and it was like that for a very, very long time.
‘‘So there was a sort of sense of ‘Well, who knows about us apart from those in the room?’
‘‘What’s happened is there were a lot of people in the room, including young musicians.
‘‘This album has made me realise ‘Wow – people do know’ because when you do get that recognition from other artists, creative people, it’s really fantastic. It’s very reassuring.
‘‘It’s an accolade that you take very seriously.’’
The coming tour includes a concert in the Hunter – an area the band toured many times, including a handful of memorable shows at Newcastle Workers Club.
Seymour recalls once having a hot young band from the city support them in Newcastle – which he later discovered to be Silverchair.
‘‘They turned up and I had no idea who they were. I remember being at sound check and standing next to Daniel Johns who was just this little blond kid, a little grommet, and you could feel his energy.
‘‘So there’s me looking at all these blokes my age walking around in overalls setting up, thinking they’re the band and they’ve brought their kids with them – I’d constructed this whole theory in my head.
‘‘Later on I’m having dinner down the road and I see this poster on the wall ‘Silverchair’ and someone went ‘Who the f––k is Silverchair?’ and someone said ‘They’re the band supporting us tonight’
‘‘I go back to the venue and saw the last couple of songs and it’s him! [laughs]. I had this kind of out-of-body experience, like ‘How could I get that so wrong?’ Then their dads came and cleared up their gear afterwards [laughs]’’.
As for the future of Hunters & Collectors, Seymour says there are no plans to release any new material or re-form permanently.
‘‘No. I get asked that a lot and I’m not gonna do that,’’ Seymour says.
Is that because of creative differences?
‘‘Yeah. Yep. I don’t have negative feelings about it but it’s a definite line I’ve crossed and I won’t go back.’’
Hunters & Collectors, You Am I, Something For Kate and British India perform at A Day On the Green at Bimbadgen Winery on February 1. Tickets on sale now from ticketmaster.com.au and 136100.