Episode 143: Colin Hay
“All you really want to do is get yourself excited, get your wife excited, get your friends excited,” Colin Hay explains with a smile. “Beyond that, who knows? You want to say to someone who’s upstairs, ‘hey, come and listen to this. This is cool.’ ” The crowds, the fans, the radio play, the record sales are secondary. Thirty-four years after the release of Men at Work’s debut, Business as Usual, Hay is a songwriter first and foremost, having settled in to a seemingly zen-like approach to the craft. Distribution methods and record industry nonsense be damned. Write a great song and it’ll find an audience. A decade and half after putting his band to rest for good, Hay has never failed to find an audience. Where many of his contemporaries have relied on nostalgia or quit the game altogether, Hay’s work has managed to attract new generations of fan through thoughtful, straightforward songwriting. Hay and I sat down at the bar in his hotel lobby ahead of a New York City show to discuss growing as a songwriter on his new record Next Year People, coping with loss, and why writing the perfect three minute pop song has never gotten any easier.