Tony Hadley - Festivals are my favourite thing to do

Tony Hadley

Tony Hadley - Credit: Archant

Tony Hadley is enjoying a renaissance of fabulous proportions, and enjoying every moment of it.

I’ve been allocated ten minutes to talk to Tony; that’s how it works in PR. You get in, you ask your questions and you get out. This however is not an easy task on this occasion, as Tony is a gleefully happy, exuberant and bouncily chatty chap who would happily talk all day if the opportunity presented itself. He must drive his PR team mad.

He didn’t drive me mad. He completely charmed me.

“I LOVE festival season!” Tony laughs. (He laughs a lot). “Festivals are my favourite thing to do. There you are, up in front of 15-20,000 people all determined to have a great day. You’re guaranteed a brilliant reception!”

Tony is performing at numerous Festivals this summer, all around the globe, including Rewind North, at Capesthorne Hall, on 31 August.

“I’m really looking forward to it.” he says. “It’s a great line-up. Back in the 80’s we might have been a little more competitive, but musicians are funny: we gravitate towards one another whether it’s Iron Maiden or Level 42. We all gather and catch up, and of course we all still love playing music.

“Big festivals like this generate their own special atmosphere. Going right back to LiveAid [in 1985] there’s been this special feel backstage. You don’t want to get two lead singers talking! Of course now the conversations are slightly different…I’m 54, so life has changed since the early days, but my age isn’t an issue when it comes to my music!”

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I’m curious to learn how Tony dealt with the changes that came when Spandau Ballet went their separate ways.

“Implode. That’s the word I use to describe what happened. I rushed straight into a contract with EMI, without actually giving it much consideration. I just thought ‘Wow!’ and jumped in. The album died a death; in hindsight, it was totally wrong for me. It was very West Coast, a California sound, and that’s not what people wanted from me.

“After that I kept my head down and kept playing, re-building my reputation. And now I have this great life again!”

Does Tony have a theory as to why the music of the 80’s has made such a come-back?

“I think that period saw a massive economic and political sea-change. BandAid and LiveAid were pivotal events. Music was very diverse, and it was the last decade in which fashion was so intrinsically linked with specific musical genres. TV embraced music so strongly then too, they were all over it.

“There were some really clearly defined musical genres, but in each one you had really distinctive sounds; you knew instantly who you were listening to. Depeche Mode, Adam Ant, Human League, Duran Duran – signature sounds and distinctive voices.

“I feel so lucky to be doing it all again now. Being onstage is the ultimate; I feel like a kid in a sweetshop. I get to sing and show off in front of thousands of people. It is addictive!

“As long as I remain vocally strong I’ll keep doing it. As a band we’ve been together 20 years, the new boy joined 14 years ago! I’ve got a new album coming out this year that we’ve worked on together; two tracks are recorded already but I keep coming up with new songs. It’s hard to choose – I love them all!

“I’ve got a busy time ahead – UK, Italy, Spain, the Philippines, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore…a real summer of festivals. Then we’ll start touring again in October with the new album, and we’ve orchestrated Spandau Ballet’s greatest hits. There’ll be a 50 piece orchestra on stage; it sounds totally lush.”

Don’t you just love a man who loves life?

Rewind North runs from Friday 29 to Sunday 31 August.

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