A quick disclaimer before we start. I am Individual 118 of the Sunnyboys Fan Club, and have been going to see the them since I was almost 17. Now celebrating 40 years since their first yellow EP (only 2000 pressed and yes, I have one) the guys are back on tour and chatting all things Sunnyboys. We caught up with guitarist Richard Burgman ahead of their stop at Miami Marketta.
The first time I got to see you guys play was 38 years ago at the Playroom when they let an almost 17 year old kid in the door with a pre-sold ticket. My first real gig, and I loved it. How was playing in those heady days of the 1980s?
You were there when we were firing on all 8 (cylinders), and especially in 1982, things were going really well. It was great to be in the band back then, just doing what we were doing and enjoying ourselves, having fun, and at the Playroom! You’re kidding? That was one of the best places in the world to play! It was pretty special.
Like myself, many Sunnyboys fans have had your music as the soundtrack of their youth, and life journey. You have recently stepped up your contact with the audience, and you seem to have a great feel for the fans. How is from your side?
It has been absolutely wonderful, we have been so, so lucky to play again. We have been so fortunate to perform and especially at the level at which we are performing, it’s extraordinary. So many bands from our era have gone away, or they can only play little pubs or whatever, and we have managed to maintain an interest in the community and a level of attraction from our fans and that’s what causes the interaction which we make when we play live, it’s just incredible. We want it to be good, we want it to be fun, we want people walk away and know they have got their money’s worth, we want to make people happy, and we are overjoyed to do it. We are not pretending to be something we are not, we are not standing there and saying look at us. No, no, no – we like to say to people we are in this together, and we’re here for you, and you have the best time you can. That interaction is really important these days, we don’t work on it, it is spontaneous, but I think it is a really important part of what we do.
It really comes across that way too. Now Sunnyboys ‘40’, the album is the re-release of the yellow EP, plus the Fisherman song ‘Can’t You Stop’, ‘Lovers on Another Planet’s Hell’ (From Get Some Fun), the Live Classic ‘Strange Cohesion’ and the new one ‘Way After Five’. What was it like to re-work and record these songs?
We had no real intention of making a comeback, and “we have a new album” like so many bands do, but it’s not what we really wanted to do. We wanted to give our fans and us something to look forward to. Something to talk about. So we thought we would just go and record a few songs, so we did “Strange Cohesion”, “Lovers on Another Planet’s Hell”, which we had a go at before. But the other two were Jeremy’s songs, so we hadn’t, so the idea of reworking them and making them work as Sunnyboys songs was really interesting, and it turned out to be a really good thing, and heaps of fun, we recorded at Airlock, just outside of Brisbane, it was fun, it was engaging, it wasn’t too hard, and what you hear now is what we did.
Seeing the Sunnyboys live, I have always placed myself between you and Jeremy on stage, and over the years you always seem to be having such a good time when you are playing. How is your time on stage now, and what are your favourite Sunnyboys tracks to play after 40 years?
It is really fun to play, and I really love playing with Jeremy, he is a joy to be on stage with. The man is up there because purely loves being up there, he lives for it, it is a really big part of who he is, it is so good to be up on stage with Jeremy and the Sunnyboys, and that’s not an egotistical thing, he loves to sing and play and it is just him celebrating that. So when I’m up there with him, it’s just fun, he’s cheerful, he’s fun, he’s open to things we do, he has a sense of humour, it makes it all enjoyable, and when you do spontaneous little things, he is right there with you, so it’s great fun.
Favourite songs, now that’s a hard one, there are so many. I love playing ‘Trouble in My Brain’, ‘Let You Go’, ‘Shakin’, ‘The Seeker’, ‘Tomorrow Will be Fine’, and ‘Guts of Iron’.
Hey just to wrap it up, what can fans expect on this tour? You know 40 years and all?
Well you can expect us, to do what we have been doing for the last eight years, that’s where we start. Basically we have added a few songs to the repertoire, because of this new record, which we weren’t playing before, so we will be playing the bulk of them, and we want to make it a celebration, we want to make sure everyone has a good time as they possibly can.
Well if there are any tickets left for Sunnyboys at Miami Marketta on Sunday 23 February, you better hop on over to Oztix and grab them fast, as it will be one hell of a party. They will be supported by Melbourne rockers Rocket Science.