Colin Hay is Still a Man at Work

| September 10, 2011 | 1 Comment


Colin Hay performs at Sycuan.

by Richard Cone

Although Colin Hay, the lead singer and songwriter (“Who Can It Be Now?” “From The Land Down Under”) for the 1980’s Australian band “Men at Work,” is billed on his own website as “The Man at Work from Men at Work,” he charmingly tells me that “People who come to see me don’t come to see me as Colin Hay from ‘Men at Work.’ When they shout out songs at shows, it’s for my solo songs. My audience is mostly in their 20’s and 30’s and they know me from my solo work.” Indeed, Hay has a stellar solo discography, starting with 1987’s “Looking for Jack,” and continuing to this year’s “Gathering Mercury,” his 11th album and Hay’s favorite in his body of work. “It’s the best album I’ve ever done, I’m happier and happier with my music over the last two records,” he says. Hay will be appearing behind that CD in a solo concert at 8 p.m., Friday, October 8 at Sycuan Casino.

Hay has also appeared as a troubadour in the “Scrubs” episode titled “My Overkill.” Star Zach Braff was a dedicated fan of Hay’s music and when Braff got the part in “Scrubs” he endeavored and succeeded in bringing Hay’s music into the show, introducing it to a wider audience than ever before. The creator of the series, Bill Lawrence, was also a fan who couldn’t understand why Hay’s music wasn’t getting more radio play. His solution was to put Hay’s songs into the show, and Hay has said “It made a huge difference – especially to my live shows. It has led to some kind of resurgence in people’s interest in what I’m doing.”

Hay is also known for his two stints as a member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band on their eighth and tenth tours in 2003 and 2008. I was interested in how Hay met Ringo Starr and what it was like playing onstage with him. “Well, first you have to understand, to be in the band you have to have hits of your own. I hadn’t met Ringo, but when he’s going out on tour, he and his people have a list of musicians who might fill the bill, and I assume I was on that list, no one ever said so.” In any event, Hay got the call, and says that touring with Starr’s band was “like a great cover band, it was exciting to play with all these other musicians, it was, you know, the top of the food chain and at some point you look over, and there’s Ringo. It was very special.” Tickets for the Colin Hay solo show at Sycuan’s “Live and Up Close” venue are $35 and $45, and can be reserved online at

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