Jon Stevens On Tour With Rod Stewart & Cyndi Lauper…

Jon Stevens is on tour with Sir Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper which is working its way around the country at the minute having rocked Adelaide in fine style. As front man of Noiseworks, he was part of four Top 10 albums and twelve Top 50 singles, including the classics No LiesTake Me BackTouch and Hot Chilli Woman. He then fronted INXS for more than three years, which included a gig at the Sydney Olympics’ closing ceremony. Stevens grew up listening to Sir Rod Stewart, and his 2011 album Testify! included a cover of Open To Ideas, co-written by Rod Stewart and one of the last songs the Faces recorded. Jon Stevens spoke to Hi Fi Way about the tour.

You must be really pleased with how 2023 is going so far with so many great things happening?
We’ve been out there working hard and getting people’s minds back on living after the two years we all had. Last year in 2022 I did one hundred shows getting to every nook and cranny around Australia and New Zealand. This year we finished off the Noiseworks tour a couple of weeks back jumping straight on the Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper tour. The first show in Perth was amazing and I was so honoured to be a part of that.

Is it a huge buzz playing those big arena and did it feel unusual being the opening act?
Yeah, it’s a choice. When I was speaking to Michael Coppel from Live Nation he said would I be interested, I’m not known for doing supports for international artists. I haven’t done that kind of thing in about twelve years. I did an acoustic thing with Chris Isaak about twelve years ago, maybe more. I have done a lot of festivals with a lot of other artists but this is the first big tour that I have been asked would I be interested in doing. I jumped at the chance, I’m a massive Rod Stewart fan and I’m a massive fan of Cyndi Lauper. Having met Cyndi Lauper back in ’89 in Italy, hanging out with her, we always catch up when she is in Australia and she is a long time personal friend. Very happy to be a part of this tour and honoured as I said. I don’t care where I play! It is a greatest hits tour and Rod has already indicated he won’t be playing these songs again because he has got a jazz band with Jools Holland that he is doing once all this touring is finished. To be a part of his last tour is pretty amazing as well.

Playing side shows is a huge bonus fans as well?
Yeah, I wanted to do some side shows because it’s more fun. When you play these short shows you’re just warming up then it’s all over and then it’s like what do we do now? So, let’s go and play another show, let’s do it! I love playing these smaller rooms and they are such great supporters of Australian rock ‘n roll and Australian music. These little rooms that were empty for a couple of years, I’m always happy to go back and help and play in these smaller rooms.

Congratulations on the Noiseworks album Evolution. It must be a great feeling to be making music with these guys again?
It was a great tour, it was in honour of Stuart Fraser, our guitar player who passed away in December 2019. It was one of those things where the record was all fit to come out in 2020, Stuart passed away, Covid hit, for a couple years there we were in the wilderness. Here we are at the back end of 2022 and I had done one hundred shows at that point. I said to my Noiseworks boys lets go out and play some shows, get this album out, honour Stuart and have some fun. That’s what we did, we had just finished that tour a couple of weeks ago, it was great, we got an amazing response, some people love the album and I think it is a great body of work and Stuart’s last body of work. Noiseworks, we aren’t back together and we have no plans to do anything else again, we may do down the track but who knows. It was great to be able to put a full stop to that project and honour Stuart.

How was the process of making that album?
The album was made over quite a few years as everyone was doing other things. We’d catch up every now and then, go in the studio and put down some ideas. I wrote some lyrics, sang some melodies and we would be back and forth. It took a wee while and Stuart was very instrumental in the whole record. It’s just one of things as it took a long time to come out but there was unfinished business and now that is finished we move on, we carry on writing songs, we never stop.

Do you feel like the spotlight still deserves to shine on that album a little bit longer?
Yeah, who knows, I’m just doing my own thing, I’ll always play the Noiseworks songs that I wrote even Heart & Soul which was the first single from the Evolution album. I’ll start playing that to, people want to hear that and I’m all about giving people what they want because I’m not a fluffy kind of guy that fluffs around just doing this because I can, I love playing the songs that put me where I am today.

At the end of the tour was there a moment of reflection knowing that the songs resonated with fans and that you were able to honour Stuart?
Definitely, that was actually there from the beginning of the tour. We were amazed by the love that people coming out for Noiseworks and to hear those songs. I have been playing those songs for a long time and I get that it is such a part of people’s lives. I respect that and I’m honoured by that and I’m humbled by that in the same way I stand side of stage watching Rod Stewart singing those songs I grew up with. I just go, oh my god, it’s real, I’m still a fanboy. I understand how people feel when they come to see us. I’m humbled it.

What’s next for Jon Stevens beyond this tour? Another solo album?
Always! I want to have a big holiday actually, I haven’t stopped since January last year and we have been going hard. I’ll have a bit of a break after this tour and that’s about it really. I’m always writing and doing something, I have studio time booked and see what we come up with.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch Jon Stevens on the following dates…

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