Pay TV pick: The Artist’s Story: Hunters & Collectors

A brief introduction to the upcoming Max documentary on Hunters and Collectors.

Author:  Brad Newsome, The Sydney Morning Herald.

Date: 6 March 2014.

Original URL:–collectors-20140305-345tn.html


Article Text

The Artist’s Story: Hunters & Collectors.
Thursday, March 13, Max, 9pm

Hunters & Collectors. The name evokes pounding, industrial percussion; songs that grab the guts and twist; beer-soaked rapture at heaving pub gigs. And, unfortunately, practically every footy promo and highlights package of the past 15 years. Hunters & Collectors are an extraordinary band with a long and eventful history. The story isn’t an easy one to tell, but the makers of this new documentary acquit themselves admirably. The doco sets out a clear chronology, allows each member of the band to share their recollections and sometimes startlingly frank opinions, and enlists a couple of well-chosen outsiders (Michael Gudinski, The Age’s Chris Johnston) to provide valuable insights and context. What emerges is a story of breakthroughs and setbacks, of an instinctive aversion to making compromises in pursuit of mainstream success, and of ill-fated attempts to do just that (one of the less egregious examples being the album What’s a Few Men?, which got the band dumped from Triple J playlists but didn’t get them picked up by commercial stations). Perhaps the most alarming revelation from a fan’s point of view is that two of Mark Seymour’s most widely loved songs, Throw Your Arms Around Me and Holy Grail, might never have made it to vinyl had the rest of the band had their way. And while some Hunters & Collectors albums met unenthusiastic reviews over the years, it turns out that nobody is more bluntly critical of their later work than the band members themselves. Happily, though, after they reunited for the first time in a decade to raise money for Black Saturday bushfire relief, it turned out that they still liked each other and the music enough to be touring again today. Refreshingly honest stuff.