Colin Hay coming to Beaver Creek
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – Men at Work made him a star, “Scrubs” kicked his solo music and acting careers into high gear, and “American Sunshine” sheds light in his life.
Former Men at Work front man Colin Hay is back on the road with some old friends playing some new music. He’ll be at the Vilar Center Thursday as part of the Underground Sound series, a a showcase of some of the fastest rising stars in roots music today. It’s also a great place to catch stars like Hay.
These days, he’s a singer-songwriter-rock-star-Australian-Scotsman-Los-Angelino. He’s making compelling music, playing it with his big hits. It’s an equation that equals an enjoyable evening.
Men at Work made its last album in 1985. What’s a rock star to do?
Well, if you live in Los Angeles, you write sensitive material and get a little lucky when Zach Braff includes it in his movie “Garden State.”
“Men at Work had opened all of these doors for me, and I had become successful,” Hay said in an interview. “I had to take that opportunity when it came.”
Hay was born in Scotland and landed in Australia as a teen. In 1979, he met most of the musicians with whom he would form Men at Work. Columbia Records signed them in 1981, and his life changed.
Men at Work’s debut record, “Business as Usual,” sold 6 million and give the music world two No. 1 singles, “Down Under” and “Who Could It Be Now?,” and earn a Grammy Award.
Two follow-up albums later, the band had run its course, and Hay headed for the Golden State and a solo career.
The abridged version has him working solo for years until Braff found a spot for him in his independent film. It brought his music to a much younger audience.
An appearance on the hit television show, “Scrubs,” also with Braff, helped push Hay back into the spotlight and back out on the road.
It’s not stadium rock and it’s not Men at Work, but music is his art, his trade, and it’s worth doing right, he says.
Most of his shows are in venues about the size of the Vilar Center, 500 to 900 people.
“It’s enough people to inspire one to keep going. You know you actually have an audience,” Hay said.
His latest studio album, “American Sunshine,” is nothing short of art, inspired by Hay’s experience in the U.S. in general and Southern California in particular.
“The United States is home to the people I grew up idolizing,” Hay said. “There’s a lot of extreme behaviors here, but I always thought there was something kind of valiant about Australia and America.”
Even though he’s grateful for Men at Work’s success, it was not going to last forever. He’s back to his roots, playing guitar in small and medium-sized venues.
“Maybe something else will come up that changes the direction of things, but at the moment, this seems to have some good energy attached it,” Hay said.