Choirboys all about having fun

MARK Gable’s approach to playing live is all about one thing these days.

Having fun.

It was not always the way though, according to Gable, who recalls taking it all too seriously fronting The Choirboys in the ’70s and ’80s.

‘‘When we were younger we’d do a show and it was all very serious, you know, we’re playing the music and [adopts sulky voice] we wanted to be taken seriously,’’ Gable says..

‘‘Now it’s not so serious. And I revel in that. I don’t like people who are serious. I love the opportunity to get up and entertain.’’

The Choirboys formed in 1976 with Gable up front alongside Brad Carr (lead guitar), Ian Hulme (bass) and Lindsay Tebbutt (drums), and played their first gig at Dee Why’s Time & Tide Hotel.

It was a throw-together gig, with the crowd mostly consisting of friends and family they had roped in to lend support, and it’s a show Gable won’t forget.

‘‘We had massive amounts of amplifiers – massive – and I remember the manager walking through the bar, up to the stage and grabbing Brad in a headlock just as we started the next song,’’ Gable says.

‘‘He was saying something to him in his ear and I’m thinking ‘This is really wild. What the hell’s going on there?’

‘‘After the song finishes, I go over to Brad and I go ‘What did he say?’ and he said ‘Turn the c--t down’ – sorry about the bad language – but that’s exactly what happened,’’ Gable laughs.

‘‘Things were done so professionally back then,’’ he says, tongue-in-cheek.

‘‘Everything was so well organised and everyone conducted themselves with such decorum.’’

In 1983 the band signed a deal with the legendary Albert Records in Sydney to release their self-titled debut album which includes the single Never Gonna Die, the first in a line of big hits for the band in the ’80s followed by Run To Paradise and Boys Will Be Boys.

The Choirboys have endured several line-up changes over the years but Gable and Hulme have always stuck around.

Gable said they discuss recording new material but asked ‘‘who’s going to buy it?’’

‘‘That’s the problem you’re presented with,’’ Gable says.

‘‘You get these older bands that were big back in the day and is it relevant any more?’’

So is he glad The Choirboys found success in the ’80s rather than trying to find a break now?

‘‘I think it would be terrible to start up now,’’ Gable says.

‘‘My son’s in a band – a very good band – and I tell him the situation has changed. You no longer have the live scene, you can’t get out there and just work.

‘‘You have to focus on other ways to present your band. You’ve got to record your songs and make film clips. This is the way bands break now. 

‘‘There’s no live scene left in this country any more so it’s very difficult.

‘‘It’s really a question of persistence and absolutely a whole lot of luck thrown in there.’’

Gable, who welcomed a son Sullivan into the world in August with partner Melinda Schneider, is looking forward to playing three shows with the band at Lizotte’s this month.

He  enjoys the intimacy of the venues.

‘‘I love ’em because, look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the audience is captive because they’re sitting down, so they can’t run away from you so they invariably have to get sucked into it or die,’’ Gable chuckles.

‘‘I connect with the audience because they’re right there and they’re so much fun when they’re like that.’’

The Choirboys play at Lizotte’s Newcastle on December 23. Tickets  at the venue or online at lizottes.com.au

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