Bring back the ’80s! Remember Scott Carne, from Kids in the Kitchen; Brian Mannix, from the Uncanny Xmen; and Dale Ryder, from Boom Crash Opera? You can see them live, altogether in the one fantastic show, at Club Taree on August 10. It’s Absolutely ’80s!
Where did the idea come from to form the Absolutely ‘80s show?
Scott Carne: Brian Mannix and I did the 2006 Countdown Spectacular tour, which ran right around Australia, and we had such a good time doing that tour that we thought we should go and play some shows together. Hence, Absolutely ‘80s was born!
We’ve been out touring, sometimes with Dale Ryder from Boom Crash Opera as well, on the pub circuit. It’s a 2-hour show, playing our hits the way they’re meant to be heard … back in the time machine. It’s a full ‘80s experience, for the young and young at heart!
How did you and Brian originally meet?
Scott: Back in the day – the ‘80s – we didn’t really have that much to do with each other. It was like we were playing on the other football team; there was this kind of competitive sportsmanship going on. So, back then, we didn’t really hang out.
But since doing this show, we’ve realised we’re the same kind of people from the same era and have some really good stories to share with each other. It works really well … we all really dig each other and what we’re doing. We don’t take ourselves overly seriously, but we are serious about the music and about putting on a good show, and showing our personalities and having fun taking people back …
Brian Mannix: We knew each other from the ‘80s – we didn’t like each other very much in the ‘80s! The ‘80s were pretty competitive. Then we did a gig in Sydney, and we had to share an apartment together. We became friends, and it grew from there.
The show sounds spectacular, and the atmosphere on stage must be electric!
Brian: It’s a big thrill for Scott and Dale, I’m sure (laughs)! It’s great fun. We all bring something different to the show. Scotty has an amazing voice; he’s very ‘80s. Dale has an amazing voice too, but he’s a different style … and I’m just a dirty old rock jock! It works really well; we all get on really well, and we have a lot of fun.
The ’80s was a fabulous era for so many reasons. What do you miss about that particular decade?
Scott: The ‘80s in the western world was kind of about the birth of the yuppie. Everybody was flying high … we won the America’s Cup; we were a growing nation, and it was all about positivity and lots of fun and self-expression – hence the ‘80s style clothing! I liked the naivety … back then with music, you didn’t have to play in a band; you just had to play keyboard and have a good hairstyle!
Brian: Lunch was tax deductible – I think that was great! We could have every meeting in a good restaurant, and then claim it on tax. I have fond memories of the ‘80s – but I don’t think I sit down and pine for the ‘80s … we had great adventures and I’m grateful for them, but I’m enjoying my life now. I don’t want to live in the past … I’m saying that and playing in an ‘80s band; how about that? (Laughs!)
It’s such a nostalgic era too, for so many people. Why do you think so many people love ‘80s entertainment – ‘80s shows − so much?
Scott: It’s more to do with the people who grew up through the period. They attend our show, love the music, and had the life-sized posters pinned up on their walls. I just think it was just such a positive era, before times went a bit dark. I call the ‘80s “the end of innocence”. Back then people went out; you didn’t stay at home – there were only 4 channels on TV, and they were all pretty s***t! We socialised more …
Brian: Everyone seemed to have lots of money in the ‘80s. It was about high fashion, high glamour – we all seemed to dress up a lot more.
Kids in the Kitchen and Uncanny Xmen had quite a few popular songs from the era. Personally, what was your favourite?
Scott: Probably my favourite song was Say It, which was recorded over in the States with Madonna’s management. You can’t go wrong with Change in Mood either, which was our first hit and a great song from the ‘80s. These songs just take you back into a special place.
Brian: 50 Years, probably, because it has great lyrics, and I really like the song. I think it still stands up as a really good song. Everybody Wants to Work I quite liked too; I think it’s the only song written about enjoying not working! I don’t think anyone tackled that subject before. But in saying that, I like a lot of the Xmen songs that weren’t hits. Some of the B-sides were fantastic − songs like You Say That or Pakistan.
How’s the tour going so far, and are you looking forward to visiting the Mid North Coast?
Scott: We’ve kind of never stopped touring, really; we’ve just never got to the North Coast of NSW. We’re really looking forward to coming there. We’re like weekend warriors, you know … this show is kind of like our version of golf!
Brian: I haven’t been up that way probably since the ‘80s. We play Sydney and Queensland quite a bit, but I’m pretty excited to come up there. As long as it’s not cold weather!
Thanks Scott and Brian.
Interview by Jo Atkins.
This story was published in issue 65 of the Manning-Great Lakes Focus