On 22 April 2012, for the first time in 21 years, all four original members of Sydney band, Sunnyboys, walked on stage at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre and performed as guests of the Hoodoo Gurus on their Dig it Up! Invitational.
From the opening chords of little known track As I Walk to the closing notes of the band’s biggest hit Alone With You, it was as though time stood still. Appearing under the pseudonym Kids in Dust, the band played with the same intensity, verve and joy as they had all those years ago. It was emotional and inspired and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
This weekend the ‘Boys will play the Coolangatta Hotel. The shows will be the first ‘hometown’ appearance of the original lineup of Sunnyboys since 1991 and will serve as the yin to the yang of the band’s performance the following week at Sydney’s Vivid Festival where, on June 2, they will headline the Concert Hall of the iconic Sydney Opera House. That’s a long way from their debut show as support to Sydney outfit Lipstick Killers at Chequers Nightclub on August 15 1980.
Has it been difficult to pick up where you left off 21 years ago?
No. It has been quite easy, we have all remembered the songs really well and I think the chemistry between the four of us is still there the same as it was back in the day.
Does it feel different having an older audience?
Well no, not really, as a large part of our audience is around a similar age to us and it is these people who have fond memories of our music from a time in their youth.
Is the audience response as emotive as it was in the 80s?
Absolutely; in some ways even more so now. People like to reminisce and I think we represent a more carefree and happy time for them, you know, the great pub circuit days. I also feel that as more people become aware of Jay’s health issue’s (Oxley suffers from schizophrenia) there is a certain level of emotional response tied to that, which is good because it really is an inspiration that he can still perform so well.
Are you finding a lot of new/younger fans along the way?
It has been a really nice surprise just to see how many fans there still are, and yes, I have noticed that the audiences are not completely made up of people from our age group. While perhaps not lots they are there and seem to have genuine interest.
How does it feel to be heading to the Opera House?
Fantastic. It has been a blast just to play again and the shows have been amazing; and now to get to play the Opera House really feels like the icing on the cake.
Fans will be wanting to know: is this a permanent reformation?
We’re just taking this one little step at a time and enjoying ourselves along the way. If it is fun and logistically possible we’ll continue to do a few shows.
Will there be any new material at the gigs?
No. At the moment we are really focusing on giving the people what they want to hear, Sunnyboys like they sounded back in the early 80s.
The Coolangatta gigs are being touted as the Sunnyboys’ coming home. Do many of the band still have strong ties to the area?
Well yes. I live in the area. Pete and Jay still have family here and obviously visit fairly often.
What can audiences expect at the Cooly gigs?
Two guitars, bass and drums, raw, loud and live in a pub gig environment just like back in the day. Our set includes a hefty selection of early tunes around the era of the Blue album plus snippets from our other two studio albums. Of course the fave singles are all in there too.
What are your emotions about ‘coming home’?
Excited. I will obviously know quite a few people at the shows and I know there is quite a bit of excitement/anticipation for these shows from the locals, so yeah, really looking forward to them.
Did you know that there is a YouTube clip of Alone with you tonight that has a huge bitch fight battle raging in the comments?
No, didn’t know that.
See the Sunnyboys’ homecoming on Friday and Saturday at the Coolangatta Hotel.