Photos courtesy of Tony Hadley’s official site.
If you grew up in the 1980s like I did, you remember when Spandau Ballet ruled the world. Smash hits like “True,” “Communication” and “Gold” dominated MTV and were played on the radio constantly – and for good reason – they sound just as great now as they did then. Spandau Ballet front man Tony Hadley has continued making music, both with and without the group, has appeared on the West End stage as crooked lawyer Billy Flynn in “Chicago” and has spent a lot of time working with charitable causes. He even has his own brand of beer! This week, Tony Hadley is embarking on a new adventure – his first ever solo tour of the United States! (Tour dates are below).
Last week, I had the great privilege of speaking with Tony Hadley while he was in Mallorca, Spain, as he got a little rest and relaxation in while in preparation for the tour. During our conversation, he opened up about everything from an upcoming collaboration with another musical icon to the status of Spandau Ballet. It was absolutely delightful to speak with Tony. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to talk with one of my musical heroes and to find out some of the answers to the questions that both myself and my readers have been burning to find out. Thanks to everyone who sent in questions via Facebook and Twitter and extra special thanks to Tony Hadley for his sincerity and for all the great music he’s given the world – past, present and future.
Before you read the words of a musical god, here are Tony Hadley’s 2011 US Tour dates. You will not want to miss these shows! Tickets can be purchased on Ticketmaster.
2011 US Summer Tour:
13th August Irving Plaza, New York
14th August Northalsted Market Days Festival, Halsted Street, Chicago
16th August House Of Blues, West Hollywood, Los Angeles
18th August Ramona Mainstage, San Diego, CA
20th August Fremont Experience, Freemont Street, Las Vegas
21st August Red Devil Lounge, San Francisco
According2G: What are your thoughts on the current state of the music business?
Tony Hadley: It’s going through a massive transition at the moment. It’s pretty scary actually. We’re in a position where anyone can basically make a record in their bedroom whereas years ago the only way you could make a record was for the record company to give you the money so you could go to a proper studio and record. The ray of light is that people still like to play music and go see live shows.
A2G: Speaking of live shows, you are embarking on your first solo tour of the United States. What can fans expect to hear on your upcoming tour of the US?
TH: I am a great believer in giving people what they want, so we’ll definitely play some classic Spandau Ballet songs plus some songs that I like to sing as a singer. We might throw one song from the new album in there, a track called “Imagination,” which is a bit of a rocker. I think the tour will surprise people in that it’ll be a lot more rock than people might expect. There’ll definitely be “True,” “Gold, and “Through The Barricades.” The band I have now have been together for 20 years and this is our first opportunity to play in America and we are really excited. We’re hoping to play some shows, have a great time, gain some new fans and plant the seed so we can keep
A2G: Is there any chance of playing “Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)”?
TH: Yeah, we could throw that in.
A2G: You’ve sung pop, dance, swing, rock and performed show tunes in “Chicago” on the West End Stage. With such a diverse spectrum of sound to choose from, what direction is your music heading in?
TH: The last album I did was a swing album (2006’s “Passing Strangers”) and I grew up listening to my parents’ records which include Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Jack Jones. I’ve always wanted to do a swing album because I love swing. The new album is going to be the first album where the songs are all written or co-written by me. It’ll be a classic pop/rock album. I was in Miami a few weeks ago and I met up with Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees and I am going to come back and we’re going to do some writing together and I am really looking forward to it. He’s such a nice guy.
A2G: What was your strangest fan encounter?
TH: There’s so many. Ok. We were playing the Liverpool Empire in 1983. The dressing rooms were on the second floor and there were just screaming girls outside going absolutely ballistic. So all the windows were shut and we’d just done the show. We were sitting there enjoying how great the show went and suddenly there was a strange tap on the window. We opened the window and 2 fans had climbed up a drain pipe and shimmied up two floors just to get to us! If they’d have fallen, they would have been killed. We invited them in, signed all of their stuff and gave them something to drink. It was pretty wild.
A2G: Can you share a memory from Live Aid?
TH: Live Aid. It would have to be standing on the side of the stage with DJ Janice Long and there were 80,000 people there, the sun was shining and the band Status Quo had just taken the stage and started rockin’. Janice and I looked at each other and said “This is amazing” and the hair on the back of our necks stood up. Such a fantastic moment for me. It was such a brilliant place to be. I can’t think of anything better.
A2G: Do you still have all your clothes from the 80s?
TH: Good god, no! I do have some stuff that I’ve held back to auction off for charity. I’ve just moved house though so all my stuff is in storage. I still have my coat from Live Aid, though. Perhaps I can donate it to a rock and roll museum or auction it off for charity. I am not a very nostalgic person though. Maybe my kids will want it?
A2G: Any guilty pleasures?
TH: Too many! I never did the drugs thing. I can’t understand it. I used to smoke for 14 years and now I realize it was the stupidest thing I ever did. Especially as a singer. Luckily it didn’t affect my voice. Smoking is just ridiculous. I love good food. I love Spanish, Indian, Chinese, Italian, which can be a problem! I have to watch what I eat all the time. I also love good wine.
A2G: I read that you have your own blend of beer. Can you tell us more about that?
TH: I actually have my own brewery in England. We’ve got Hadley’s Gold, Hadley’s Blonde and Hadley’s IPA (India Pale Ale). We’re in about 400 or 500 pubs in London and the South East. It’s going really well. It started off as a joke and it’s doing very well as a business. We’ve expanded to Australia, Ireland and hopefully we’ll soon be in Hong Kong.
A2G: Shifting back to music, what did you think of the film “The Wedding Singer” when they sang “True”?
TH: I thought it was brilliant. I think when anyone takes one of your songs, and a lot of rappers have gotten into “True,” for example, and makes it even more famous and more recognizable, that’s good in my book. I love it. Adam Sandler is brilliant anyway. I thought it was fantastic.
Stay tuned to read the second part of this interview with Tony Hadley. You’ll find out who he listens to, his views on fame, what projects he’s got coming up as well as the status of Spandau Ballet. You won’t want to miss it, so stay tuned!