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INTERVIEW – JEFFREY HOAD, Kings Of The Sun/The Rich & Famous, July 2015

| 25 August 2015 | 1 Reply

INTERVIEW – JEFFREY HOAD, Kings Of The Sun/The Rich & Famous, July 2015
By Shane Pinnegar

There was a time when Kings Of The Sun, formed by Gold Coast brothers Clifford and Jeffrey Hoad, were the go-to Australian band in Hollywood for high profile tour supports and big-haired awesomeness.

jeffrey hoad - kots & traf

 

Then the music scene changed in the early nineties, and KOTS rolled with the punches: they moved back to Australia and recorded a fourth album, Daddy Was A Hobo Man, which remained unreleased until 2011.

Around 2001 they rebranded as The Rich & Famous, broadening their sound in the process and releasing another three albums before both brothers dropped off the radar amid rumours of a falling out.

Fast forward to September 2013 and Clifford Hoad’s Kings Of The Sun released Rock Til Ya Die, a solid Aussie rock album but without Jeffrey’s distinctive and charismatic vocals, in a different class to the Kings Of The Sun records which had come before. It also hammered home the point that the brothers weren’t on the same page any more.

That version of KOTS played Sweden Rock in 2014 amidst a line-up implosion, but still Jeffrey Hoad remained silent, tending to his own family and refusing to be drawn on the subject, until February of this year, when he started gigging again with a Sunday solo residency at the Surfer’s Paradise Hard Rock Hotel.

Jumping forward six months, Jeffrey Hoad has assembled a line-up of Kings Of The Sun to play a couple of ‘80s retro shows at Jupiter’s Theatre on the Gold Coast and Eatons Hill Hotel in Brisbane on 28 and 29 August, 2015, alongside 1927, Wendy Matthews, Sharon O’Neill, Eurogliders, Pseudo Echo, The Chantoozies, Mi-Sex, Swanee, Dragon and Gangajang.

Hoad jokes that it’s been “centuries” since he last played live regularly.

“Yeah, it was a while,” he says wistfully, “It was a fair while. Probably 2007, around that. Yeah… it was a while.

“What made me walk away from performing then? Just life I suppose, having kids and attending to things that I hadn’t attended to. Creating a life instead of living the dream. Yeah. And now I’ve got to the point where I can do both now, see?

“I felt like I needed to attend to some things that I hadn’t attended to,” he continued, “and now I’m ready to rock again – and it sounds ridiculous but it’s true, it all falls into place. [I looked back on] those years there in-between the point of Kings Of The Sun, The Rich & Famous and stuff… and I thought, ‘God, we wasted some freaking time.’ You know what I mean?”

Hoad laughs excitedly and a little nervously. This matters to him – rock n’ roll and performing is in his blood and it’s immediately obvious he has missed it and doesn’t want to blow the chance to get back out there and play his songs in front of people.

“I was looking at an old photo and I was actually – I wasn’t un-hip and I was kinda cool!” he laughs self-deprecatingly, a wisecrack never far from his lips, “but music’s a strange thing, it can wear you down in a strange way… and music’s changed SO MUCH. I grew up in the whole era of: you do live rock shows, get a following, play, people come out and see you, and it just changed so much. I was a bit lost I guess, yeah.”

There’s a slight hint of sadness in Hoad’s voice here. It’s obvious he’s being brutally honest – and when I suggest that there’s no shame in stepping back from burnout (even John Lennon did it, after all), he brightens up instantly.

“Oh, totally, yeah. And I’ve worked it out now. I used to look at roadies and think, ‘why are these guys so miserable?’ and now I realised – I’m the roadie for my kids!”

Having since spent social time with the guy and his wife & kids, there’s no way he’s miserable because of them: he’s just saying that priorities change and we move from one thing to another in life. Hoad readily admits that he missed performing for those seven-or-so years.

“I think anyone does, when it comes to it, if they play in a band – this is the funny thing about playing in a band – it’s getting the gig first. If you got the gig, and you’re there, I’m sure any musician in the crowd would be going, ‘I could be doing a better version.’ Or they’re watching and thinking, ‘I could do that. I could be up there.’

“The whole part of that is getting the gig, getting to the gig, playing the gig, and getting paid for the gig. The rest of it is just [being] like everyone else at that time – I think that’s why they invented karaoke!” he laughs.

Kings Of The Sun April 2015

Looking at the line-ups for the ‘80s shows next weekend, we see a lot of names that were pretty big in the ’80s and early ‘90s, and let’s face it: many of these bands had bigger hits here at home than KOTS. Hoad is excited about the chance to play the old tunes, and also realistic about what they want, even though it’s uncharted territory for him.

“It comes down to what people knew of us in Australia,” he explains, “which was Bottom Of My Heart first – which is Rolling Stone’s favourite. Black Leather, Serpentine – that’s the stuff that they want us to play.

“Then we might’ve feed them some death metal.” he deadpans. No doubt the Mums will be looking forward to that!

“I’ve never really done anything like this before, Shane,” admits Hoad. “I’ve never really looked at it like this. A friend of mine, the promoter, has always loved the band. He used to book the band years ago… he came up and said, ‘I’d like to see you guys in the show’, because he’s a huge fan of the band. And I looked at it and thought, ‘why not?’ To go out and do it as Kings Of The Sun, and do the whole thing on tour [after so long]… how many people would you get out there to see you?

“This is perfect opportunity for us to go out there, and sound great, look great, on a big stage and give ‘em what they want – which is the songs that they know. I’ve spent too many years of my life saying no to everything. I’ve now started saying, ‘yeah, why not.’ You know?”

As a re-launch it makes perfect sense – it’s not risking a huge financial commitment, and will hopefully serve as a reintroduction of the band to two good sized crowds. Comebacks have been started on far less.

One thing is for certain though: KOTS are flying the hard rock flag in that line-up.

“Totally, yeah. It’s funny, because if you played back in the ‘80s – we supported every one of these bands. We played with Dragon, Eurogliders, Swanee – Pseudo Echo we played with a thousand times. Even The Chantoozies, we played with!

“When you’re actually in that time frame, when you’re a young band, everyone’s in this stiff, competitive framework. As you get older, you realise that was part of your history and you played with these bands so many times over the years. I’ve known all these guys in these bands for so long. [So the gigs are] something I’ve never done, but I think it’s going to be really good.”

Talk veers sideways to the video clip for Black Leather from 1988 – the one with shadowed dancing girls projected onto a white foreground, and the band – especially Jeff – strutting, leather-clad, across a soundstage. It’s an old favourite of ours and I share with the singer that it used to be part of a small VHS selection guaranteed to fire us up before heading out on the town to look for mischief.

“It’s more a tribute to Elvis,” Hoad laughs, “because it’s funny with rock ‘n’ roll. I spend a lot of time on YouTube, watching videos of different acts and different people and [finding out] what they’re influenced by is very rarely what they play. Like watching Jimmy Page talk about Link Wray and that song Rumble. Led Zeppelin are one of the biggest rock bands in the world ever, and he loves listening to Link Wray, Rumble.

“It’s incredible. So Black Leather was my tribute to Elvis. That probably inspired some stories. I’ve got a few – so it was one of your ‘fire up’ filmclips? I like that, awesome.”

The new band Jeffrey has assembled are no strangers to the band either.

“We’ve got Glenn Morris on lead guitar, who was actually in Kings Of The Sun originally. Dean Turner, who was our second bass player. And a new drummer [ XXX ] so it’s basically a KOTS line-up apart from the drummer.”

Did we hear correctly that Quentin Elliot was going to play the Brisbane Show with you?

“Quentin may play the Brisbane Show, yeah, that’s exactly right,” Hoad clarifies, “but we’re still unclear there. He’s in Japan at the moment, and we’re still talking about if he’s going to be back on time or not and Glenn’s definitely coming up for it. We’re working out whether he can do the bass, so that’s up in the air. Maybe we’d get both of them on stage duelling leads?”

Quentin Elliot, of course, was last seen playing on Clifford Hoad’s KOTS album in 2013.

“Yeah, and he also played with Kings Of The Sun, when rock, what I consider rock, was dead – it was just the wrong time for what we were doing. Quentin was in the band at that point. That was around ’93. We were playing with Quentin, so yes, he has been in the band, on and off, for quite some time.”

Jeffrey Hoad in full flight in the early '90s

Jeffrey Hoad in full flight in the early ’90s

Casting our minds back to the ‘80s, when KOTS did relocate to America they really focussed on The States on and off for six or so years of solid touring and recording. Did they find that Australian audiences remembered the band, or was there some bitterness at being so long away?

“It’s funny, because this is how we looked at it,” Hoad recalls, “when we went to America… America is obsessed with America, as you know… and guns – that’s what Drop The Gun was inspired by, by the way – we toured Europe with KISS, did a massive tour there, got a really incredible response. This is like, ’89 and ’90. Our little record company and our manager were just, and I suppose we were all naive, but we had incredible response in Europe and England. They were like, of the [attitude] that ‘when America falls, they’ll all fall – once you guys make it big here, it’ll all go over there as well.’

“We felt like wherever you’re getting interest, you should go, but we never got back to Europe, and we never got back to England, where we had that great response from some big time rock writers and big time critics and stuff. The American management and record company was sort of like, ‘nah, we’ll get it in the end,’ but it just didn’t turn out that way when the music changed.

“Then we had internal problems with the record company and crap,” he continues, “but no-one wants to know about that stuff. We’ve had a few spanners in the works throughout the years, but I really wish we would’ve gone back to England and to Europe early on, because I think we would’ve had a career over there, you know?”

The jokes keep coming as I ask what is the long-term plan for his musical comeback.

“I’m hoping to nail a leading role on Neighbours,” he laughs, “or I’ll continue with The Rich & Famous, as I have been. This is a one-off thing [as Kings Of The Sun]. I’ll see how it goes from there… [but] I’m not saying no to anything.

“I thought to myself, ‘why not give this a go?’ This is something that I probably wouldn’t have done, at this point in my life, going out and done a Kings of the Sun greatest hits set… but why not. I’ve written a shit load of songs with The Rich & Famous, and we’re just going to pursue that mainly. If we get picked up by some major label because we’ve been on this tour…”

Well, we don’t know that that major label interest in any rock band exists any more – but obviously continuing as KOTS would be tricky, what with Hoad’s brother’s version of the band seemingly still an entity. Mind you – we’ve seen it before, with various versions of Sweet, L.A. Guns and Queensryche, amongst others, treading the boards.

“Well I’m sticking with The Rich & Famous direction, because my brother and I are a little estranged, and there’s been some dramas there, I thought this is a little way of me getting back a little bit of myself, and claiming something – that I was actually in the band.”

Has Jeffrey heard Clifford’s 2013 KOTS album?

“I have heard it, it’s a great record,” he says enthusiastically, before adding with a raucous laugh, “but our [material] sounds better!”

Jeff Hoad Kings Of The Sun 03

Clifford & Jeffrey Hoad back in the day

Does he think relations between the two of them are completely unresolvable?

“Oh, who knows, who knows? Maybe on our death beds we might come and see each other? The way I look on it now – and this is my final word on it, I don’t want to talk much more about this, ‘cos this is more about these gigs – is that musically, it was getting awkward to me to make music with Cliff in the end. And now I’m making music with these other guys and it’s more comfortable. Maybe ‘comfortable’ is not the right word, because you don’t want comfortable music. A lot of great music’s been built from angst but what I’m doing now is a lot easier and a lot more satisfying. That’s what I think.”

Don’t miss Jeffrey Hoad revisiting his classic Kings Of The Sun era at

GOLD FM LIVE – Friday, 28 August, 2015 – Jupiters Theatre, Jupiters Hotel & Casino, Broadbeach, Gold Coast, with 1927, Pseudo Echo, Sharon O’Neill, Eurogliders, The Chantoozies, Mi-Sex, Swanee, Dragon and Gang Gajang

And

97.3FM High School Reunion – Saturday, 29 August, 2015 – Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane, with 1927, Wendy Matthews, Sharon O’Neill, Eurogliders, The Chantoozies, Mi-Sex, Swanee, Dragon and Gang Gajang

Category: Interviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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  1. Dana Holmes says:

    This was a great article and awesome news to hear! Would love to catch the show Friday night but I am a little too far away here on the west coast of the USA. But play urban arse off Jeff! Good to see Glenn and possibly my brother Quentin on board as well!

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