The Models

The Models are making another resurgence this time going on tour with The Machinations on a big run of dates taking in major capitals. There’s a lot to look forward to if you’re a fan of the Models with the fortieth anniversary in 2018 with lots of awesome things planned as Andrew Duffield explains to Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.

Touring with The Machinations makes for an awesome double bill and a bit of nostalgia for everyone?
It’s been fantastic, we first played together in 1984 when back in the day we would play pretty much every night of the week and we did a month with those guys. The Models and Machinations tour of 1984 yeah, we know those guys pretty well. At the time they were the happening band in Sydney and we were always this Melbourne band that were on the verge of something. We were compliable at the time and it is a tour I remember affectionately. It is great to be working with them again. When we were in Sydney they were actually top of the bill because it is their hometown, we went on first and it was a heap of fun.

I don’t want to use the word “old” but it is awesome that the Models have been doing it this long?
Well, yeah, it’s going to be our fortieth anniversary next year as the band formed in 1978 so by the time it was 1984 and we were playing with the Maccas and I hope they don’t mind that abbreviation, we’ve been around a while already and been through a lot including line-up changes and so on which was before those really big singles came out, Barbados and Out Of Mind Out Of Sight. It was that period before the band really had some major success. I don’t know, we’ve been doing this for a while and now I’m able to look back more affectionately than at times in my past if that makes sense. Other times you think it was good, it was hard, it was difficult and you wish you had that self confidence that you have these days that you didn’t have back in the day.

Do you enjoy it more now than you did back in the day?
I think I’m able to be a bit more objective about it and a bit more clever and kinder to yourself with your health and all that stuff. Now that we are not playing every night of week you don’t let it run away with you. It is fun to play, we know what we are doing and everyone’s egos have levelled out a bit more. It is great to be doing a big run of shows and the more you play together the better you become really building on what we have done.

It is fantastic to be having a solid run of shows and really hone it. Mark Ferrie plays in the Rockwiz Orchestra so he is playing all the time with all sorts of people so he is always ready to go, Ash Davies who we have on drums is very in demand but when we get together especially when we played these two shows in Sydney we knew there would be people coming to both nights we knew we would have to change it up a bit.

Essentially we reversed the set list on the first night playing it completely in a different order and it worked. We have a lot of songs to play from a ten year life span of the band that most people know and came to it at different intervals with the radio hits or the early stuff or seeing the band on different tours such the Bowie tour or with The Police or whatever we had done. We found we are able to mix it up and get inside the material a bit more rather than it being, all the songs are quite episodic in some ways, they are not drawn out psychedelic jams, they have a pop focus.

Is there anything planned with the fortieth anniversary coming up? Special tour? Reissues? Documentary? A Book?
There is talk of all those sorts of things and there will definitely be some reissues. I want to work in some film stuff as well whether that eventuates in to a documentary or not I don’t know. We have some plans for the anniversary and we are always recording new stuff. There is a new EP of recorded material which is now up to me to polish off which I have been avoiding as it is difficult to be objective about your own material I’m finding.

This will be our third EP in as many years and we’re hoping for a new LP next year and we’ll release it on vinyl as people do. We’ll go back to vinyl where it started, it is still a great format. Have you got back in to vinyl yourself? [Shit yeah!] It is about getting our sense of ownership back rather than this mass production thing you would find on YouTube.

Reissues are great as all I can find is the Best Of?
That’s an awful package and Warners have dropped the ball, they inherited the Mushroom catalogue, was it Murdoch who bought the catalogue initially then it went to Warners? Hopefully the fortieth anniversary can sort out some of those things otherwise we’ll release some of that stuff ourselves. There was a really good reissue of the first two records and that was the first time the band a quality remaster of any sort. Even the album Pleasure Of Your Company was taken off vinyl masters, they weren’t designed for CD. It would be nice for that stuff to be taken more seriously.

At least with our EP’s we have a bit more say over our destiny rather than it having to be accompanied by a $50,000 film clip! I’m not nostalgic for those parts of the industry where those things are bit out your control. They talk about the eighties being excessive, the hair was very excessive, the expenses of producing the record and the video clip with big international producers took a long time for those things to recoup themselves so you can make any money out of it. Keeping it small and doing it yourself feels like a full circle to us.

Interview by Rob Lyon

Catch The Models and The Machinations at The Gov on Saturday 9 September.

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