Longing To Join The Men At Work And To Visit The Land Down Under – For Greg Ham

My fondest memories are of performing, which makes NOT working as an actor that much harder.  It is quite literally a part of my soul and a huge piece of who I am.  I miss it immensely and look forward to getting back to it at some point.

Rejection in any field hurts, but as an actor and writer or any creative being, being told no is a personal dagger.  But we bear the pain because we love the art… love the creation and creativity.

My love started in high school under the guidance and inspiration of a man named Okey Chenoweth in Glen Rock, New Jersey.  He was one of those rare teachers who “literally” inspired kids to learn and be active through literature, spoken word, plays and improv.

I was a fairly shy and awkward kid until I discovered the power of being on stage and finding my own sense of humor.  Okey helped me develop this, and thus develop myself as a person.  For me, a sense of humor is key to my happiness and defines who I am… It is so much a part of me.  I went from high school to Northwestern University to study theatre.  Of course, my parents hoped and assumed that I would outgrow it, but I didn’t.  And for a short while I actually thrived in the arts.

One of my most special memories is being in the high school cafeteria for performances of Nights of Drama.  This was the evening of theatre we would put on, and it would usually be a short play or two and then a longer piece.  We would get our energies up by blasting music and dancing around… and the areas that usually served cruddy lunch food (except pizza day) would become our personal dance floor and dressing rooms.  ’80s rock reigned supreme… and Men At Work was always playing!  I will never forget those magical nights.

Men At Work – The Essential Men At Work

I do also long to go to Australia… LONG TO GO!  I just need to figure out a way to pay for it… and deal with the way too long flight… Sigh…

Yesterday we lost Dick Clark and today Greg Ham.  While everyone knew who Dick Clark was by name, the same might not be said of Greg Ham… but all I need to say is the flute solo in “Down Under” and the sax solo in “Who Can It Be Now”.  Aaahhh!

Colin Hay said: “We played in a band and conquered the world together. I love him very much. He’s a beautiful man…”

“The saxophone solo on Who Can It Be Now was the rehearsal take. We kept it, that was the one. He’s here forever.”

Greg was a multi-instrumentalist, and when I say that I mean sax, flute, percussion, keyboards, organ and synthesizer… You know just a few…

This greatest hits collection has 14 tracks and reminds you that the band was SO MUCH MORE than just two songs… They were so great, the quintessential ’80s band who has endured.  If you ever get a chance to see Colin Hay do his solo stuff and acoustic versions of Men At Work, RUN!  Seeing him alone on a stage with just a guitar is one of the most incredible evenings I have ever had.  Seriously.

In addition to those two monster hits, there are also “It’s A Mistake”, “Be Good Johnny”, “High Wire”, “Blue For You”, “Maria”, “I Can See It In Your Eyes”, “Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive” and my actual favorite song, the amazing “Overkill.”  Smokin’ sax on that one… and Colin’s solo version of this kills me!

Sadly, there was controversy with “Down Under”.  It was written in 1978, but in 2010 the band was sued, saying that Ham’s solo was too much like a “children’s campfire song, “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.” 

The publishing company of that song was awarded a percentage of past profits.

Ham said:   “It will be the way the song is remembered, and I hate that. I’m terribly disappointed that that’s the way I’m going to be remembered — for copying something.”

It won’t, Greg, it won’t.  It will be remembered by all of us as a great song, and so much a part of our youth… our life.  You will be remembered, too!

I would also be remiss if I did not say that today is Yom Ha Shoah… Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.  We must NEVER FORGET.  This is something that affected ALL PEOPLE… It must be remembered by ALL PEOPLE… and never, ever repeated by ANY PEOPLE.

We must also remember all of those who fought for our freedoms.  The fact that we are here, listening to whatever music we want is not something to take lightly or for granted.  Thank you!

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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me, The News Blues

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