•Men at Work singer was only with popular 1980s band for 4 years.
It’s a sad bit of irony that Colin Hay is still known mostly as the lead singer for Men At Work.
Yes, the Australian band had enormous commercial success and released a series of sing-along chart-toppers in the early 1980s. Who doesn’t know the chorus of “Down Under” or “Overkill” or “Who Can It Be Now”?
But Hay was only with the group for four years.
He’s been writing, recording and touring as a solo artist for close to 30 years.
“You have to have an amazing amount of tenacity,” says Hay, who is in Fresno Sunday, March 15, for a show at the Tower Theatre.
His career post Men at Work has been fulfilling and frustrating.
In the late ’80s he was signed to, and made records for, both Columbia (“Looking for Jack”) and MCA (“Wayfaring Sons”). He was dropped when neither album proved commercially successful.
In 1992, he started Lazy Eye Records and has since released 12 solo albums. His latest, “Next Year People,” was released in February in a partnership with the Nashville-based independent label Compass Records.
Hay doesn’t have much to say about the music industry these days, other than he tries to avoid it as much as possible.
He’s still just “messing around” on the guitar, whiling away the time as a way to avoid joining the regular workforce. It’s the same as when he started playing at 14 years old.
He does gets some good gigs. Hay toured with Ringo Starr’s All Starr band in 2003 and 2008, and he took part in the All Starr TV special. He’s also had songs featured on TV shows like “Dawson’s Creek” and “Scrubs,” and in film. You may remember “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” from the Zach Braff film “Garden State.”
These days, he spends half of the year on the road, playing to audiences that continue to grow. He’ll be on tour, in spurts, through November.
At times he wonders if that growth can happen fast enough.
“Sometimes you think you’re going to run out of life,” he says, in a way that isn’t exactly a complaint. “Life is good. I’m not about to change lanes any time soon.”