James Reyne is thrilled to enter his “Vegas years” as he sets up a 12 month residency at The Palms at Crown Casino for 2019.
“They came to us and I thought about it and thought I’d give it a try. It’s my version of “going Vegas”, James Reyne tells Noise11.com. “Last year we did eight of them. Not consecutively, a three, a two. This time it will be a show every month on the first Saturday of each month”.
The show draws similarity to the deal Billy Joel did with Madison Square Garden. Joel has a lifetime residency to play one show a month at the New York venue. “He is a New Yorker, I’m a Melbournian so there are vague parallels,” James says. “The Crown shows will be similar to the shows we are doing now. It’s a killer band. We have all been playing together for a long time. It will be a mixture of Crawl, my stuff, other things I’ve done. The shows are going over really well”.
Since forming Australian Crawl in 1978 and then launching his solo career in 1985, Reyne has generated a songbook of what are now considered iconic Australian songs. “I don’t look at it like that,” he says. “I don’t think about myself or the songs, its hard to think of it objectively. I appreciate a lot of them seem to mean a lot to a lot of people but I can’t be objective about those songs”.
When Australian Crawl first entered the studio for the first time to commence work on ‘The Boys Light Up’, James says he never once considered they were creating an Australian legacy. “You don’t think about things like that at all,” he says. “You are young and in the studio and we didn’t think that anyone would buy us. It’s hard to be objective about your own situation. We were vaguely ambitious and wanted to make the band as good as we could. We looked up to other bands. We never thought about longevity. We were just glad we got a record deal”.
We still talk about ‘The Boys Light Up’ nearly 40 years after it was released. 40 years before it was released the number one song of the year was ‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby. “People still talked about White Christmas and he would have thought “can we get off White Christmas”. I think it’s extraordinary that the cultural change and changes in society from 1940 to 1980 have quantum accelerated from 1980 to now. I never thought about it at all, still don’t”.
James doesn’t really have any plans for a new album “I don’t have a record deal. I can get a distribution deal. You go in the studio, I pay for making the record and it is relatively expensive once you’ve made the while thing. You put it out, someone like me gets a two week window of opportunity and you go around and do press for it. Radio isn’t going to play a new song from me or my peers. I am happy writing songs for myself. I just like doing it”.
James doesn’t see the point of making albums anymore. “Maybe you just record four songs for a streaming service and don’t do a physical thing, with the cover and everything. I think the album format is probably by and large a thing of the past. There are so many alternatives now how you enjoy your entertainment. The HBO/Showtime binge TV thing. That’s the new album”.
I did it once at MEMO. Two nights of my first solo album. I look back at my old records and think there are maybe five good songs on an album and the rest is rubbish. I don’t want to do the rubbish. Other bands are good at it because all of the album sounds up. Even on my first solo album there are a couple of songs I think “awww this isn’t too great now.”
Tickets are on sale now for the first three Crown shows on January 5, February 2 and March 2, 2019.