Photo: Chelle Carr, Rock Shots Photography
About ten years of Absolutely 80s, the reformation of Kids in the Kitchen for Pure Gold Live and touring with Culture Club on their 2016 Australian Tour
The 80s is remembered for many things. Leg warmers, big shoulder pads and even bigger hairdos. It was a decade of excesses. Fortunately, the fashions and the hairstyles have faded (well, for most of us at least) but the music? Well now… that’s another story. There is just something about the music from that era that takes us back to a time when we could be footloose and when girls just wanted to have fun and the 80s soundtrack is the perfect backdrop. And we’re still shamelessly holding on to those times. If you need proof, go along to an Absolutely 80s gig and check it out. The songs are familiar, everyone knows the words, everyone wants to dance and remember those times of their youth. But even the younger music fans get in on the fun. It’s addictive really.
And to prove how much we still love that decadent decade, the Absolutely 80s show is in its 10th year and they’re celebrating with a national 10th Anniversary Tour. I caught up with founding member Scott Carne to talk about this tour and a couple of other big things he has happening this year. What can fans expect from these shows? “We change the line-up around, change the set list around a little bit to keep it interesting for ourselves too so there’s no two shows alike.”
Absolutely 80s is a rotating ensemble of artists including Scott, Brian Mannix (Uncanny X-men), Dale Ryder (Boom Crash Opera), Sean Kelly (Models), David Sterry (Real Life), Paul Gray (Wa Wa Nee), Fred Lonergan (Machinations) and Ally Fowler (Chantoozies), Paul Norton…. Just to name a few.
Brian has been a regular in the show since its inception but will be absent for most of this tour due to other commitments. He has landed a plum role in the stage production of ‘We Will Rock You’ which will keep him busy until the end of the year. “He will do some shows towards the end of the year where he can fit it in but he’s out for most of this year unfortunately because this offer came in and he wants to do it.” Brian will be returning to Absolutely 80s for some shows later in the year, including Cruise n Groove where Scott, Brian and Paul Gray will be performing, along with a long list of other artists including John Farnham. “There’ll be a lot of rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve never done it before but it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re on the boat for a week and in that time we do three performances. There are a lot of different bands on that ship and a lot of things to see and do.” Scott says that he has heard nothing but good reports from those who have played on the cruises.
In addition to the Absolutely 80s 10th Anniversary Tour, Scott has another reason to be excited this year. His highly successful band from the 80s, Kids in the Kitchen, will be reforming to do some shows. Next month they will be part of a massive line-up of artists from the 70s, 80s and 90s who will be performing their hits at Pure Gold Live at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre on Friday 13th May. Pure Gold Live is part of a concert series touring the country with an impressive line-up of some of our biggest artists from that era and featuring the hits that took them to the top of the charts. Scott believes that this reformation will be good for the guys. “We kind of owe it to ourselves to get together and have some fun because, after the whole thing sort of got to fever pitch, the wheels started falling off at the end. It wasn’t a very pleasant ending to it all and so we decided to do this for a bit of fun and therapy, I guess you could say so we’re looking forward to that.” The line-up varies a bit from city to city but, for the Melbourne show, Kids in the Kitchen will be performing with such great artists as Richard Clapton, Eurogliders, Moving Pictures, Sharon O’Neill and a few of his Absolutely 80s buddies like Sean Kelly, Dale Ryder and David Sterry with Real Life so there will be a lot of familiar faces on stage.
But the reformed band won’t be calling it quits after the Pure Gold Live concert. In June, Kids in the Kitchen will be touring with iconic 80s band, Culture Club when they return to Australia for the first time in more than fifteen years. The tour will take in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide and will be an exciting event for any fan of 80s music.
So will there be any more shows for Kids in the Kitchen after these tours? Scott is not sure about that but indicates that it is not entirely out of the question. “I don’t know,” he admits. “We’ll see how it goes. We’ll do a few shows and have some fun with it, doing these showcase shows. We don’t want to do the pubs and slog it around. We want to do showcase gigs and keep it kind of special.”
The line-up, he says, is pretty much all the original members. “Claude Carranza on guitar, Bruce Curnow on drums, Craig Harnath on bass and myself on vocals so it’s pretty close to the original line-up. We’ll pick up keyboard players down the track so we’ll see what happens with that. Some of the guys might put their hand up and want to do it as well so we’ll see. We’ve got a bit of an open door policy. We’re just having a bit of fun with it. The boys have started rehearsing, we have a rehearsal next week which will be interesting and we’ll take it from there.”
While Scott says he has seen the other guys occasionally over the years, their busy schedules have meant that those meetings are not as frequent as they would like but music still plays a big part in all their lives. “Everybody’s been involved in music,” he tells me. “Claude has been playing guitar with different people. He’s been with Joe Camilleri now for quite a few years and he’s been playing with Barnesy and Ian Moss so he has been pretty busy as a guitarist and bass player Craig Harnath has his recording studio Hothouse which has done quite well for him. He’s been kept pretty busy working on that so he hasn’t played much live so for him it’s a big deal playing live again. The drummer Bruce Curnow, has a music shop in Shepparton and he’s been playing around with a couple of show bands so he’s been actively playing music which is good. We haven’t strayed away too much from music. We’re just looking forward to getting out there and playing some music and having fun with it and see where it leads us. I call it ‘life after death’ really. All these years later we’re still doing it, playing music and trading off our past success and it seems to be what the fans want. They come to the Absolutely 80s show and they want to reminisce in the 80s and they seem to enjoy that.”
And, if that wasn’t enough, Scott is also reforming Priscilla’s Nightmare which is his ‘tribute to Elvis’ band. “I’m doing that for the anniversary of his death this year on 20th August at the Memo Music Hall in St. Kilda, playing the Elvis stuff. We do a few originals as well in the old Elvis style so that will be a lot of fun.”
“I think everyone enjoys the experience of doing these (Absolutely 80s) shows. We chat and we all get along really well, we’re all from the 80s and we all support each other a lot.” He admits, though, that it was a bit different in the 80s. “Back in the day, it was more like we were on the other footy teams. Now we’ve retired from the League and we’re just having fun with it. They are pretty high energy shows. There is a lot of wow factor in them so we’re not a tired bunch of old rock stars yet. It’s still pretty edgy and it’s still a lot of fun. We are mixing it up a bit with a revolving door of artists and changing set-lists and digging into the back catalogue a little bit more. It’s going to be a little bit fresher and a bit more interesting for everyone and it will be a lot of fun.”
Victorian fans can catch the Absolutely 80s show tonight, Friday 22nd April, at The Gateway Hotel in Geelong and tomorrow Saturday 23rd April at the Village Green Hotel in Mulgrave. For details on more shows and to book tickets, please see links below. And get ready to party…
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2016. All rights reserved
For further information on all shows and to book tickets,
click on the links below.