They were one of Australia’s most beloved bands in the 80s, touring the country and recording hits like ‘Heaven (Must Be There)’, ‘We Will Together’ and ‘Can’t Wait to See You’. And next month Eurogliders will be bringing their hits to the famous Spiegeltent at Melbourne’s Docklands for a special ‘live and intimate’ acoustic show. I caught up with the band’s guitarist, Bernie Lynch, recently to talk about the show and the band’s new album, ‘Don’t Eat the Daisies’, which will be released on 6th March, just a day before their Speigeltent gig.
According to Bernie, the band has been trying to get a show at the Spiegeltent for about a year now. “Back in the 80s, Eurogliders went on what we called ‘The Tent Tour’ and we actually took a circus tent around the country,” he explains. “We were supported by Wa Wa Nee and it was a great experience because we were able to go out into country towns that really didn’t have a big civic hall and we could put on a show in an environment that was kind of different and it was great fun. But this Spiegeltent is a much more beautiful tent than the plain mundane circus one we had. It’s a very beautiful colour and a really nice environment. It travels all the way around the world.”
Of course, things have changed a bit since the days of the band’s ‘Tent Tour’, as Bernie concedes. “You look out into the audience and you recognise people you saw at your shows back in the 80s but they’re all grown up now and they’ve got kids of their own and they bring their kids. One of the exciting things, I think, is that people are coming along to our shows now and they’re being much more over the top and exuberant and happier than they ever were back in the 80s and they’re twenty five years older! They are definitely having a great time and when they come up after the show and we sign CDs and have a chat with people, they really do recount some of their memories from the 80s and they temper them also with their memories and life experiences that they have now. They’re taking pictures out of their purses and wallets and showing you their children and, in some cases, they’ll bring their children along but they’ll also bring their parents who are in their eighties! It’s really very funny. Back in the 80s, some of the people were young parents who were listening to Eurogliders and their kids would have been two or three but they would have to listen to the Eurogliders as well and so they know the songs just as well as the parents do. It’s a very special feeling really.”
The band has been working steadily over the last couple of years and, as Bernie points out, “We’ve been notching up a few Frequent Flyer points out there playing full-on almost every weekend for eighteen months now, around the country, and doing some of these new songs every night. Seventy percent of the songs, people know but the other thirty percent are completely new songs and we’re very much enjoying playing those to people. It’s always a little bit scary because you think ‘Oh, they don’t know the songs,’ but that was pretty much what it was like back in the 80s because you were performing new songs from the new album and you had to just hope that people liked them. We’re just very lucky that we have audiences who appreciate both the old and the new. Our audiences seem to realise that we need to move on as well. After the show, they’re coming up and saying ‘We love the new music,’ so we’re really happy about it.”
While it’s true that the band was more or less off the radar for some years, Bernie says that Eurogliders never really broke up. “We just sort of had periods of time in between where Grace and I went off and did different things. Obviously, she went off and developed a very strong jazz career and she became very much involved in that and she also had a boy who is now about twenty four or twenty five. I got involved in doing musical theatre and also the fashion industry for quite a while there and had a barrel of fun just continuing to write music and be involved in music.” He laughs and says that, these days, his only involvement in the fashion industry is ‘wearing very loud clothing on stage’, most of which is made by Grace. “She’s quite the whiz with the Bernina, by the way. She makes all of our clothing. In the last week, she’s made herself a new outfit, made me a pair of trousers and made the bass player a pair of trousers as well.
Bernie is the groups’ songwriter, responsible for all their hits and I ask where he gets his inspiration.
“You know, my mother actually asked me this,” he reveals. “I was driving my mother somewhere the other day and she said ‘What caused you to start writing?’ and I had to think about it and I’ve got to say, it’s a very strange answer but it has to do with church music because I was part of choirs. A lot of musicians actually say that being in choirs and singing church music is one way where you develop a fairly melodic approach to music. In my case, I used to sing in choirs in church at weddings and things like that. It’s always been a strong influence on my ability to write songs but I can’t quickly point to anybody in particular who provides me with that inspiration these days. I write rock music and I write pop music but I listen to a lot of classical music so who knows? I’m not sure I can answer that one. I’m just lucky that it comes straight off the top of my head. I’m writing the new Eurogliders album as we speak. We have another one coming out before the year’s out. It never stops.”
“The one that’s coming out on 6th March is the one I call Baby Eurogliders,” he says with a laugh. “And it’s a very different way of listening to Eurogliders but you can still recognise the songs and you can just as easily sing along with them.” The new album features acoustic reworked versions of some of their big hits but also includes some new material. He says that performing the songs live in this new format is a different approach and it allows them to have a different relationship with the audience. “It’s a more intimate environment and we can sort of tell stories a little more and people interact with that. We’ve had people just sort of stand up and say ‘That was the year when this happened in my life’ and it can be quite funny sometimes. I get a lot of people who can hear a song, say, ‘We Will Together’. They’ll hear that song and they will think of the boyfriend they had at that time when that song came out because that was the age they were at. It does trigger memories. People got married to those songs; they had babies to those songs and they made babies to those songs, I guess! One particular lady said that she gave birth and immediately played ‘We Will Together’ on her ghetto blaster with her husband.”
Bernie admits that he does have a few favourite songs of his own when it comes to performing live, for different reasons. One is ‘Heaven (Must Be There)‘. As Bernie points out, “‘Heaven’ was a watershed song for Eurogliders. It was so incredibly popular and audiences just know all the words to it. You look out into the audience and you can see them mouthing the words if not singing them out loudly and I look at them and think ‘How do you know those words?’” And, of course, there is another song that he has a soft spot for. “‘We Will Together’ is also a very special one because Grace and I sing that together and it was a very interesting time in our relationship. I think we’d broken up. Grace and I were married. We broke up and then had to get together and sing these songs that were essentially love songs and there were times there when we’d look across at each other and one of us would have a tear rolling down our cheek. That’s because there were plenty of memories and even though we’d broken up, we loved the music too much. We’ve got to keep carrying on and songs like ‘We Will Together’, every time we sing it on stage, it will bring back those kinds of memories for us. We’re very lucky. A lot of marriages that break up, there’s a bit of animosity and in some cases, you just never talk to that person again. Grace and I have been friends for a very long time now. It is quite obvious on stage that we still love each other a lot and enjoy what we’re doing and the smiles on stage really are very reflective of that.”
“We’re enormously lucky to be doing something that is just so much fun,” he acknowledges. “And we’re very lucky to have people coming along to our shows.”
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2015. All rights reserved
Catch Eurogliders ‘Live and Intimate’ in Melbourne
Saturday 7th March 2015 | 8.30pm
Wonderland Spiegeltent, DOCKLANDS VIC
For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/Eurogliders