“Hi all, Colin Hay here,
This is a Men At Work desk tape recording from a live show in Christchurch in 1982. It was on cassette. I loved cassettes. Nice hiss. The monetary proceeds of however you consume this music, great or small, will go to help those in our industry who need it the most.
In 1978, Ron Strykert and I started playing acoustic shows together, and writing songs. Not always together, but I found Ron to be a totally unique and inspiring person to play with, so he brought out the best in me. We played meandering, exploratory music often in open tunings, and my mind was exploding.
We worked together as an acoustic duo for quite a while, a year or so, before one day Jerry Speiser, a great drummer friend of mine, appeared and said he was joining forces with us. We were now a band. A three piece, but a band nonetheless.
I had been watching Greg practice the sax and flute for the better part of the 70s. He had what all great musicians crave, he had a sound, and it was his own. I asked him to join the band. He hesitated for a minute, he was still at college, finishing a music degree. A few weeks later he came to see me. He wanted in. Bless his sweet heart.
Ron was playing bass, myself on guitar. Although Ron was a inventive bass player, he really needed to get back to playing guitar, he was a much better guitarist than I was. More than that, his playing gave everything a beautiful unpredictable quality, which I treasured.
Jerry being a drummer, knew a guy, John Rees, predominantly a brilliant jazz bass player, but also an excellent all-round musician. That was it. Off we went. It was a fertile period. It is an amazing feeling coming up with a song in the morning, rehearsing it in the afternoon, and playing it the same night in front of an audience. That happened often.
As with many bands, there were always disparate energies within Men At Work. Over the next two years or so, we played lots and lots of shows. We were somewhat of a hippie jam band really with songs, which were becoming more and more defined. We were unhip, we were never going to be the darlings of the rock press. I didn’t care, I knew what we had, it just had to be brought into focus.
Peter McIan was the American record producer who did just that. CBS Records had offered us a deal. A bad deal, but it was a deal, and we wanted to make a record.
One night, Peter Karpin brought McIan to see us at the Manzil Room. He immediately knew what we had, and what he could do with us. I think he captured the best we had to offer. Just listen to Ron’s guitar solo in “It’s A Mistake”. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. Or Jerry’s drums on “Down By The Sea”, it’s a more than inspired performance.
So the record was done in a few weeks, and we were on the road. We hadn’t been off the road in two years, but now we had a record behind us, and we were empowered, to say the least.
I started to notice something about the audiences during ’81, going into ’82. They were becoming incredibly energized at the shows, fiercely responsive. It was like a mutual, deep recognition of the electric beauty and pure energy that music can create. It was one of the happiest, most creative and exciting periods of my life. It stays with you. Always.
This tape was recorded during this period. I hope you enjoy it.
In Peace and Love,