Tag Archives: Colin Hay

Where should I sign?

Autographed Taylor Swift folklore CDs at the Exclusive Company in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

This is quite a story if you haven’t already heard it.

Delivery guy drops a box of 30 autographed Taylor Swift “folklore” CDs at a record store 15 minutes before it opens. A young woman signs for it. She’s sitting on the sidewalk, waiting for the store to open. She realizes what the package likely contains and protects it as if it were gold. She hands it over to the record store manager when he arrives to open for the day.

Well, that happened right here in Green Bay a week ago. The record store is The Exclusive Company, one of my regular stops. The store manager is my friend Tom Smith. The Taylor Swift fan is Brandy Baenen, who’s 26.

“‘Taylor would not have wanted me to walk off with this,” she told Tom, who later that day told the story on social media and watched it go viral.

Which got me to thinking about autographs. I’ve never been a big autograph guy. Not athletes, not celebrities and not musicians. I’d rather chat briefly with them, say I enjoyed their performance, and leave it at that.

That said, I do have a few signed records and CDs.

The late, great Steve Goodman signed his “Artistic Hair” record for me after I saw him play at the old Madison Civic Center in the spring of 1983. I vividly remember Goodman sitting at the table, looking up and asking my name for the inscription. Either I mumbled or he misheard me. As you see, he signed mine “JOE / Hello / Steve Goodman.” I was vaguely disappointed at first, but have long since enjoyed it as another delightful gift from Goodman.

Colin Hay Man @ Work autographed CD

After Colin Hay played a solo one-nighter at our local casino lounge in the summer of 2005, I queued up for his autograph on his “Man @ Work” CD. Our son Evan was 10 at the time. He was just getting into music. One of the songs on that 2003 record, “Beautiful World,” was one of his favorites.

Sleepy LaBeef Nothin' But the Truth autographed LP

Sleepy LaBeef, the human jukebox, was one of my all-time favorites. I pulled out “Nothin’ But the Truth,” his 1986 live record, for Sleepy to sign when he played a rockabilly festival at our local casino in 2007. At some point, I managed to crease a corner of the album jacket, and that bugs me to this day.

Carlene Carter autograph on Stronger CD

Carlene Carter autograph on Carter Girl CD

Though we saw Carlene Carter live in 2009, my autographed CDs came by mail. She has the best penmanship and nicest signature of any of my autographs. Fun fact: Ray Nitschke was a close second.

(I also have a CD signed by all the members of The Ides of March, circa 2011, but that was a post-show assembly-line deal rather than a face-to-face meetup. The Ides’ Jim Peterik signed his book for me three years later. I have a 12-inch single signed by all three ladies in The Three Degrees, circa 1978. Bought that for fun.)

(Found while rounding up those autographs: Autographed CDs by blues guitarists John Cephas and Phil Wiggins — a birthday gift in 1993 after we saw them earlier that year — and by country singer Danni Leigh from after a 2004 show at our local casino lounge.)

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Filed under August 2020, Sounds

After Ringo, what’s next?

So anyway, we saw Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band in Milwaukee last month.

Ringo is surprisingly elfin and nimble for a gent of 78. That’s him in the striped pants in front of the drum kit with the star on it. He bounced from center stage up a few steps to his drum kit and then back down and back up and back down with ease. Peace and love, everyone, peace and love.

The show was exactly as billed. A greatest-hits show by Ringo and his bandmates — Colin Hay from Men At Work (only Ringo got bigger cheers), Graham Gouldman from 10cc (a polite reception for his elegant songs), Steve Lukather from Toto (with a nod to those Weezer covers) and Gregg Rolie from Santana and Journey (“Oye Como Va” is still damn near a showstopper).

Of course, everyone was there to see and hear one of the Beatles. Ringo did not disappoint. Still irreverent, still cracking wise. Your favorite uncle sang his Beatles songs. Peace and love, everyone, peace and love.

Ringo opened with “Matchbox,” “It Don’t Come Easy” and “What Goes On,” noting that the latter was the only Beatles song credited to Lennon, McCartney and Starkey. “The credits should be reversed!” Ringo insisted, smiling. After one song each by his bandmates, Ringo did “Boys” and “Don’t Pass Me By.”

Then Ringo played “Yellow Submarine,” the 10th song of the show. After singing along like everyone else, I turned to Janet, smiled and said “OK, we can go now.”

But Ringo wasn’t done. There was “You’re Sixteen” (even the Ringo faithful at the show agreed it’s inappropriate now as then, and they’d prefer “No-No Song” to that) and “Anthem” (a polite reception for that one, too). “I Wanna Be Your Man” was dropped into the middle of a long set of songs by his bandmates.

The show wrapped with “Photograph,” “Act Naturally” and a wonderful sing-along medley of “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “Give Peace A Chance.” Peace and love, everyone, peace and love.

Which leads us to the question posed above. After Ringo, what’s next?

Our local record show, the Green Bay Record Convention, is coming up on the last Saturday of October. That night, there are two shows I’d like to see, each a distinctly different genre in a distinctly different venue. What say you?

Update: Thank you for your votes. But as it turns out, I did neither of these things after the record show. We went to see our niece play hockey instead.

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Filed under October 2018, Sounds

In search of Batman

Time to finish a thread started back in May, when I wrote about an unexpected encounter with Jerry Kramer, the former Packers guard whom I admire more as an author than an athlete.

As I said then, I’ve worked in the media for a long time, enjoying the occasional access that comes with it. Meeting people, famous or not, comes with the territory. It’s not that the thrill is gone, but the list of famous people I’d like to meet is pretty short.

Which brings us to Batman.

“Batman” was must-see TV in the mid-’60s. I was in grade school, and role models didn’t get much better than Batman. Back then, Batman was more like Superman — truth, justice and the American way — than the brooding Dark Knight we’ve come to know in the last 25 years.

So, all these years later, I still would like to meet Adam West.

I’d like to thank him for two things. First, for being that role model for a kid from Wisconsin. Second, for being a role model in the years since “Batman,” for showing how to handle career disappointment with grace, and how to embrace it and turn it into an asset.

I could meet Adam West this weekend. He’s appearing at the Comic Con convention in Chicago. But that wouldn’t be much fun. I’m not into autographs, nor into getting my picture taken with celebrities. Which is why West was booked for the show. I get that. It’s just not my thing, and especially not after reading this Chicago Tribune story, which makes certain aspects of those shows a little sad.

So maybe someday I’ll be waiting for a plane with Adam West — as we once did with Robert Urich. Or maybe someday I’ll ride a hotel elevator with Adam West — as we once did with Sam Kinison.

Those encounters also were completely unexpected, completely informal, as it was with Jerry Kramer this spring. That’s way better than forking over admission and queueing up for hours.

And if not Adam West, then … let’s see … Bart Starr or Ringo Starr or Paul McCartney.

“Pleased To Almost Meet You,” Colin Hay, from “American Sunshine,” 2009.

Oh, I’ve met Colin Hay. He’s as gracious and good-natured as his songs suggest.

Who’s on your list?


Filed under August 2010, Sounds

For those about to rock …

This text turned up on our son’s Facebook page last Saturday night:

“in the front row at the survivor concert with ben and troy!”

Evan rocked his first festival last weekend.

Evan is 15. He rode his bike down to the Memorial Day weekend festival to hang with whoever was going to show. Somehow, he made $15 last on a hot, sunny day when he went coast to coast, arriving shortly after the park opened and leaving when it closed at 11 p.m.

There’s music all day long at the festival, along with food tents, a midway, and of course, hanging out. That — and a fair number of girls — was plenty to keep three high school freshmen boys occupied.

Apparently, the fellas worked their way through the crowd and parked themselves in the front row for the last two bands of the night. Pretty exciting, but just the beginning.

They were showered with guitar picks. That was cool. They were surrounded by “crazy old people,” including one guy who stuck an extra beer or two in the pockets of his shorts. That was not quite as cool.

The fellas rocked it through a set by Johnny Wad, a popular cover band in our corner of Wisconsin. That was followed, of course, by the headline act — Survivor, albeit a Survivor fronted neither by Jim Peterik nor Jimi Jameson.

So, Evan was asked, how were the bands?

“Johnny Wad was way better.
At least we knew some of the songs they were playing.”

Ouch. No respect for Survivor, even if Evan knows “Eye of the Tiger.”

That said, “Eye of the Tiger” came out 13 years before Evan was born.

Johnny Wad has more than 80 songs on its cover list. Here’s one.

“Down Under,” Colin Hay, from “Man @ Work,” 2003. It’s a laid-back acoustic cover of the Men at Work smash that also came out 13 years before Evan was born.

That said, this has long been one of Evan’s favorite records. Chock full of Men at Work covers and wonderful originals, it’s one of mine, too.

Evan is going to another festival later this summer.

The story of that adventure to come.

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Filed under June 2010, Sounds

I got the fever, too

Our pal Kevin over at Got the Fever is out with a fine post on one of his obscure faves, the sizzling Latin group Cecilia Noel and the Wild Clams.

That got my attention because Noel is married to one of my obscure faves, Colin Hay. That’s right, the guy who was the lead singer in Men at Work back in the ’80s.

Lest you think I’m wallowing in nostalgia, let me assure you that Colin Hay is a terrific solo artist these days. I had a chance to meet him briefly after he (and Noel) played a wonderful show at our local casino lounge a couple of years ago, and he is gracious and good-natured.

Hay still plays some of the Men at Work tunes, going acoustic with some, tweaking others and doing it all with a smile. Some of his newer tunes are just as good. (That reminds me. I still haven’t gotten around to getting the album he released last year, “Are You Lookin’ At Me?”)

Here, then, is the best of both worlds, one of those old Men at Work tunes redone energetically by Hay, Noel and the Wild Clams.

“Down Under,” Colin Hay with Cecilia Noel and the Wild Clams, from “Man @ Work,” 2003.

Here’s a video of Hay and Noel doing another wild version of that tune.


Filed under August 2008, Sounds