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Chris Park chats to Tony Hadley

Chris Park chats to Tony Hadley

Tony Hadley needs very little introduction, he rose to fame as the front man for Spandau Ballet, bringing us classics such as True, Through The Barricades, Chant No 1 and of course, Gold. He recently left the band and is concentrating on his solo career with new album and tour on the cards.

Tony spoke with Canal St Online about the future, the past and talking to the moon. 

1. Tell me about the album

It’s been out for a few weeks. I’ve been talking about doing it for so long and I was like “I’ve got to complete it”. I had to wait until I was happy with it. I’ve worked with Gary Stevenson and Matt Lister. There are no fillers on this album, every song could be a single. I’m in a good position now and I put it out there independently.  We got album of the week and single of the week and the second single got playlisted so I’m really happy with that.

2. Where did the name Talking to the Moon come from?

I talk to the moon occasionally. We all look at the night sky and look up and ask the important questions. The moon is so beautiful. 

3. How different is it being on your own in the studio

I’ve been a solo artist longer than I was with Spandau. We were only a proper band for about ten years. I call my band the Fab Tony Hadley band and I write with them and collaborate but ultimately the decision is with me. Being with Spandau Ballet was cool. I find I get less obstructive as I get older. But we were doing a song for our Greatest Hits and the others didn’t want a line but I was like “It’s my song, I’m doing it”. I like to experiment and listen to new stuff, you learn new techniques.

4. Who is on your playlist?

I like the 1975, they are a great little pop band. I like Shaun Mendes, he is a great writer. I like Ariana Grande, the Chainsmokers, 21 Pilots, The Killers, The Kaisers and Panic At The Disco.  I have a diverse playlist. I do like Spotify but I buy records too.

It’s interesting, for the new album I’ve sold all the vinyl, the CDs are doing well but a lot of the forty plus group are massively into Spotify.

I go round to friends and we have a glass of wine and pass the Ipad around to choose songs.

Kids these days are listening to the songs not the album. I remember we used to save up for the latest Bowie album or whatever and it was yours to treasure. My kids can’t believe that we just had three TV channels and that was your fashion and music. Nowadays we have it all on this little machine and everyone is obsessed with their phones.

I was listening to LBC earlier and kids are getting neglected at home because of this. I think there should be a rule that after 6pm all machines are turned off. Kids were saying that there is a bleep and their Dad is straight on the computer checking his emails. We need to be more disciplined with this. I don’t know where it will go. 

But I am getting a fantastic response for the album, the more I can get across the better.

5. What can people expect from the tour? 

I’m only doing seven shows so will pick what I really want to concentrate on. We’ve got a lot of ideas at the moment, maybe having an acoustic section, maybe a medley. There are lots of ideas. A lot of the new songs went down well at festivals but I won’t be doing a Springsteen and doing three hours.

6. Why do you think the early 80s was such a golden time for music

Every decade has a naff period and then it all comes around again. The 70s music was slaughtered at the time, Abba are probably bigger now than they ever were. In the 80s it was the same, there was some godawful music to brilliant music. The diversity was massive. But every record you knew who it was. All singers had distinctive voices. Now it’s very homogenous. I like John Newman because he is so distinctive. I like watching the X Factor because I like to watch people sing but it is past it’s sell by date now, it’s interesting to see the young kids imitating their idols. There isn’t much individuality. 

I think the 80s were the last decade to have fashion and music linked. What is fashionable today? I saw the horrible high waisted jeans that we used to wear are back in. We live in a different age now, identity is difficult. In the 80s you picked your tribe. 

7. Was there rivalry between bands

We were all good friends. I know all of them and we didn’t take things too seriously. Things would come up in the press, I remember saying to John Taylor, “Did you say this?” and he was like no, I love Spandau. 

8. What has been the highlight for you since leaving the band?

Leaving the band was necessity, I have never said publicly why I left and I’m not going to get into it now. I wanted to remain dignified. You don’t leave without a good reason and at 58 I thought to myself that I just didn’t need the aggro, life has to be simpler than this. A lot has been said by them, not particularly true. I might say one day. 

People have empathised and are really receptive to the new stuff. I did a show recently at Exeter Cathedral and everyone stood up and clapped and I was really taken aback. Spandau have got a new singer and I genuinely wish them good luck. I thought it would be nice to do both, do a bit with the band then do solo stuff and then get back together but that isn’t what they wanted. 

9. Do you have any plans to do non-singing work such as acting?

I was asked to tour Chicago and it was around the time of my swing album but I don’t really want to do more musical theatre. That’s unless they want me to do Broadway. 

I love what I do, I get to be in Munich in two weeks, next year is looking ridiculously busy. I like doing festivals, going to different places. The theatre can be a bit like a job. I have spoken to people who say they have been in a production for two years, I couldn’t do that. In the band we have a great bunch of musicians, a great catalogue and can keep it new and fresh. 

I did a cameo in Benidorm which was good fun. I’d love to do a gritty cop drama.I recently watched the Unforgotten, it had superb acting. I’d love just a small part in something like that. 

10. Will we be seeing him on the Strictly dancefloor?

There was a rumour that I was going to do it but no. I’d be the Ed Balls. No, Tone does not do lycra or spray tan. Brendan Cole is a good friend, he lives a couple of villages up the road and he told me it is a lot of work, the training is incredible, up to 7 hours a day. I have no desire to dance or the time to do it.

11. What is next for you?

I am working on the next album. I will release four singles from this album but I had more songs than I knew what to do with so I’m reviewing songs that didn’t make the cut. Then I’m going out to America to work with Beyonce’s writer on new music. 

Tony Hadley’s album Talking to the Moon is out now. He will be performing at Manchester Opera House on Saturday 13th October 2018. For tickets visit via the link below.

By Chris Park for Canal St Online

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Published: 13-Sep-2018

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