Colin Hay will, of course, always be known for his work with Men At Work.
But nearly 30 years after the band's dissolution, and after a dozen solo album -- including the new "Next Year People" and one called "Man @ Work," Hay feels confident that he's built his own career past hits such as "Who Can It Be Now" and "Down Under"
"The band Men At Work was very, very successful commercially," Hay, 61, says by telephone during a tour stop in Iowa. "It was an internationally successful band. No very many bands get to experience that. But having said that, after I started touring by myself it didn't really matter how big the band was. Unless it was called Men At Work, it didn't have any traction. When I went out by myself I played to very few people.
"So it's taken me 20 to 25 years to actually build up an audience of people who come and see me not only because they know me from Men At Work, but they know me from what I've done since then."
The Scottish-born Hay, who plays solo and performs both Men At Work and his own material, adds that his inclusion on Barenaked Ladies' Last Summer On Earth tour is proof of what he's accomplished. "I'm under no real illusion I'm bringing in as many people as Violent Femmes or Barenaked Ladies, but if I wasn't actually bringing, or helping to bring, some people into the shows, I wouldn't be here."
Hay also has the daunting task of opening the show solo, with an acoustic guitar -- not a stretch when he's playing the smaller venues he headlines, but a potential stretch at amphitheaters.
"It's great, actually, for all different kinds of reasons," Hay contents. "It's a really good way to start off a night of entertainment, if you like, because you have two bands after me, so you get plenty of loud music. But I provide, I suppose, what you would call some live walk-up music for people who arrive as I play. And quite a lot of people do arrive early, so I usually have quite a large audience to play to.
"And it's nice to have a big amphitheater and fill it up with just one guitar and voice. It's quite rich-sounding. So I have no problem with that. It's good."
Colin Hay with Barenaked Ladies and Violent Femmes
7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 20.
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $28.50-$68.50 pavilion, $25 lawn with $80 lawn four-packs.
Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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