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March 31, 2023

The Beautiful Girls in Byron – one last time?

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Summer has become synonymous with The Beautiful Girls. What better time for a laidback heartfelt gig that makes you feel good right down to your toes. Mandy Nolan caught up with Mat Mchugh ahead of their gig at the Great Northern.

Summer has just hit in Byron… what are the feelings and sounds that you associate with a Byron summer?   I associate surfing at Suffolk Park or the Pass, sitting outside the Great Northern drinking a cold beverage as the sun goes down, sun-kissed backpackers, smiles, catching up with a lot of greatly missed friends, amazing memories of some of the best times the band’s ever had, barbecues, whales and no sleep.

What were summer holidays like for you when you were a kid? Where did you go? I grew up on the beach in Sydney so I pretty much stayed home all summer and hung out and surfed with my friends. It just meant no school for weeks and no risk of getting busted for cutting class when the waves were pumping.

What are the stories that you most want to tell with your music? Overall it would be good to use art to point out that all of us are essentially the same. There’s so much division in the world through the media and religion and class divide that it’s good to have music to remind us that we’re all humans with beating hearts, loves, fears and desires. I would rather be a part of trying to bring people together rather than trying to tear them apart.

What movie have you seen this year that affected you the most? The movie that was made on the life of Ayrton Senna, the late Brazilian Formula 1 driver, was inspiring and very moving.

What are the issues – political, social, spiritual or personal – that you feel drawn to? I’m drawn to rallying against greed. I think it’s the cause of most of our problems and the most insidious of human conditions. It’s greed that causes banks to foreclose on housing loans but make record profits for their CEOs; it’s greed that causes countries to invade and capture countries for their resources; it’s greed that causes companies and governments to turn a blind eye to environmental damage when a profit is being turned; it’s greed that causes some people to have multiple ‘holiday’ houses while fellow humans can’t find a drop of clean drinking water. I think the most important skill for us all to learn is compassion and the ability to share. If everybody is only concerned about themselves then there is a problem.

What have TBG been up to this year? Not much actually; the year has been spent touring solo internationally. I supported John Butler and Chris Cornell. I also got to play at a couple of big American festivals, which was a lifelong dream of mine. TBG have done a few shows/festivals this summer and it’s been awesome to catch up with the boys.

What lies ahead for TBG? Nothing on the radar past these summer shows. I’m releasing a solo album early 2012 and spending the year touring behind that. My plan is to release music as Mat McHugh from now on so TBG will be on the backburner for a time.

Do you personally or TBG have any new resolutions for 2012? Be better people and learn Spanish.

What role will Kid Mac be playing on the tour? Whipping boy mostly but we’ll probably let him on stage to play a few songs sometimes too. He’s a good friend of mine and I dig his music and where he is coming from. He has my respect and I’m excited to get to go on the road with him for a few shows.

What should we expect for the Byron show? Any TBG song you want to hear – just come to the show and ask. We’ll play it. Or, at least, try.

The Beautiful Girls play the Hotel Great Northern on Tuesday 3 January. With Kid Mac. Tickets $30 +bf from www.oztix.com.au. Doors 8pm.

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