Look at what just landed at the Powdered Sugar Offices... A sample of the Dog Tag that will be selling on the Official Merch Stand at Darren's 'The Secret's Out' tour this month.
Look at what just landed at the Powdered Sugar Offices... A sample of the Dog Tag that will be selling on the Official Merch Stand at Darren's 'The Secret's Out' tour this month.
We've posted info for VIP ticket holders & details of final tickets remaining for Darren's September UK on the landing page at www.darrenhayes.com .
Literally down to just a handful of seats left in each city.
At this stage, the GA Dublin show is the only date with plenty of availability but we expect even this will sell out.
If you're planning to attend don't leave it to the last minute. On the final night, the 'Secret Codes and Battleships' era will come to a close. Click HERE for all the details.
(Thanks to TabloidJunk for this great Darren pic from the first leg of the tour)
Fanclub Members dont forget to register for Soundcheck HERE
I was asked to give a quote or two regarding the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's 'Bad' album. If you know anything about me you'd know this is virtually impossible. I have years of good things to say about this album and so I decided instead to write a blog about the record, from which I'll let someone else try to snip out a few relevant sentences!
Bad is without doubt my favourite Michael Jackson album of all time. It evokes such strong and bittersweet associations for me. While on one hand it was an astounding musical hurricane of smash hit singles and dazzling visuals - it also occupied that awkward space of being the album that had to follow up the biggest selling album of all time; an expectation I don't think even Michael himself could ever escape. It's a shame because the album WAS a phenomenal success. It spawned 5 Billboard Number One singles (a world record) and went on to sell in excess of 35 million copies - it ranks as the 5th greatest seller of all time. Still, it seemed to this fan that at the time, Bad was unfairly judged simply for not being Thriller. The irony is, I'm so glad it wasn't.
I didn't own Thriller at the time. Shock! Horror! But it's true. It was a matter of economics - we couldn't afford it. By the time I saved up enough money to buy Thriller, the massive moonwalking Grammy Award winning world dominating wave of 3 years had finally passed. So I waited patiently for the 'next' album.
By the time Bad started gearing up to crack open the sky - I was the prime age to appreciate music. The year was 1987 and I was 15 years old. On August 31 that year there was a massive pre-release hype for the entire project and the premiere of the music video was no exception. It was a prime time television event - 'Michael Jackson : The Magic Returns' and featured the full 17 minute Martin Scorcese directed video for the single 'Bad': Michael's 'sequel' to Thriller - the most successful music video of all time. No pressure! Granted, we'd already been treated to the ballad 'I Just Can't Stop Loving You' - but that was not really the big first single. It was like a teaser. Almost a way to take the pressure off. In the business we'd call that a 'soft release'. No, the real event was the first big pop song and the accompanying music video for 'Bad'. So the pressure was there! I even applied some as a fan.
What would it sound like? What would he look like? Most importantly - would I love it as I adored Thriller?
The answer was a big massive YES! Musically - the title track Bad, was FUN. It was up and energetic and I did not see the funk or soul coming. I did not expect Michael to look the way he did. I loved his androgyny and his new slick black leather and buckles image. His hair. His makeup. He was a proper pop star. A hero.
I was also being bullied quite badly at high school during that time so you can imagine the impact Michael's video for 'Bad' had. His character was taunted and what did he do? He only shot up into the air and dropped down as a super hero in black leather and buckles. Then he danced up a storm and sang like an angel spitting out rhetoric and confidence.
When I finally got the album, listening to it was a religious experience. I still remember the paper stock of the album cover, the smell of the ink - the incredible liner notes and of course that amazing Matthew Rolston inner sleeve photo spread with Michael in black sunglasses and turtleneck and through a distorted lens as he contorted for the camera.
The sounds - well they were surreal. The percussion and aggressive vocals of 'The Way You Make Me Feel' in sharp contrast to the honey sweet harmonies of the backing vocals. The insanity of 'Speed Demon' - the joy of Stevie Wonder Duet 'Just Good Friends' and of course that goose bump inducing global anthem 'Man in the Mirror'. It has the violence of 'Dirty Diana' and finally the jewel of Bad's crown : Smooth Criminal. Forget Billie Jean, keep Thriller. I wanted to see a music video for this adrenaline rush of a song! As a collected works - the songs were a million miles away form the brilliant Thriller. Where Thriller was sparse and conservative in its punches, Bad was a techincolour of sound. Brooding, angry or sexy. Nothing on there sounding like a repeat of where he'd been before.
The rest of the campaign unfolded with equal amounts of mystery shock and awe. Who could have seen 'sexy Michael' on the horizon? But there he was in the video for 'The Way You Make Me Feel' converting even my rock loving sister into a fan. This previously harmless elfin like child man was suddenly the confident lead in his own West Side Story musical - puffing his chest and chasing the pretty lady down the street. Every music video was an event. MTV had just come to Australian television (albeit a 2 hour show 3 times a week late at night!). But I sat there for every single video premiere at midnight - fumbling with the controls for the VCR to record them so I could watch them over and over again. Studying the dance moves and obsessing over the details. Then there was the tour. Long standing fans of mine would know about the transformative experience I had seeing Michael live for the first time. Brisbane Entertainment centre - November 25 and 28 1987. Famously and rather embarrassingly, the Australian press launched a pretty aggressive negative campaign about Michael back then, informing locals that he would be performing behind a plastic screen to avoid catching germs from Australians. Ridiculous. But it worked: ticket sales virtually halted. MJ was supposed to play in stadiums but due to the poor ticket sales in my home town he was downgraded to arenas. Instead of one night in a 40 thousand seat stadium he played 2 nights at a 9 thousand seater. It's unfathomable now to imagine the King of Pop couldn't sell a concert ticket - but in that moment in time, that was the reality in my home town.
The tour book was extraordinary. It featured photographs of Michael in a mysterious white pin striped suit with a white Fedora. Had I missed something? What video was this from? I had to wait a year to find out (see the end of this story!).
I've written numerous accounts of this night but suffice to say I ended up almost front row by complete accident (my cheap seat field tickets for the stadium randomly exchanged for floor seats right near the stage) and the performance changed my life: it made me know what I wanted to do for the rest of mine. It was a spectacular show, and I managed to buy tickets to the 2nd show as well - where I saw both Stevie Wonder perform a duet with Michael but also the debut of choreographer and local Brisbane resident Wade Robson as he made his debut on stage at 5 years of age, dancing with Michael during the encore.
During the course of the promo period for Bad, I had all the 12 inch singles on vinyl. For the record, Man In The Mirror was my favourite artwork - this incredible black and white portrait of Michael with silver ink and black. The boots from Dirty Diana were also fawned over and I may have worn a pair just like them complete with a Triumph motorcycle buckle belt to my high school prom that year .
Bad filled up 2 years of my life at high school. It saw me go from bullied teen with no allies to lead in the school musicals full of confidence and a purpose in life. It gave me a hero to look up to. Someone strange, marching to the beat of his own drum and someone proud not to fit into the mould.
By the time Bad promo finished up - and the magic felt like it was about to drain out of my world, I saw an ad in a movie magazine that stopped me in my tracks. 'Moonwalker' - starring Michael Jackson.
There he was in that white pin striped suit in a movie poster reminiscent of a George Lucas or Steven Spielberg film. What did it all mean? I had to wait until the movie was released. Luckily because I worked part time in a record store - I managed to score tickets to a press screening and I marked the date on my calendar. Soon enough the mystery of the white suit was revealed - it was the outfit Michael famously wore in the music video for Smooth Criminal and I embarrassingly and proudly wore a replica version of it to the screening myself. I felt a bit of a fool catching a bus in the middle of a humid Australian summer day - in full white suit complete with suspenders and blue socks! I was one of two people dressed up. The other, the now 6 year old Wade Robson. He was in a perfect replica of the white gangster suit complete with identical dance moves. I said hello to him after the screening. No one else realised who he was but I said to him 'Are you the little boy who danced with Michael Jackson at the concert?'. He looked up with his big wide brown eyes and smiled knowingly, 'Yes'. He and his family would eventually be moved to the U.S with Michael's assistance, and under Michael's mentoring, Wayde would grow up to be a choreographer for Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. But back then, in 1988 he was still a baby. I said goodbye to him, and to the Bad era and caught the bus home with my own white fedora in my hand. Wayde was off to Neverland and I was off on a journey that would put me on stage at that same arena in my home town just 10 years later.
It was the best bus ride of my life.
There's some shots inside the Sacre Coeur, The Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries. It was a magical day and as some people pointed out on Facebook - the statues are indeed the same ones featured in the 'Truly Madly Deeply' video.
Truthfully, whenever I'm in Paris something will give me that dejavu feeling and then I remember 'Oh, it's because I stood here in *that* video!'. Still makes me smile.
I know this is going to sound insane, crazy even - but I'm writing this to you from the future. 25 years in the future actually. Where I come from it's the day before our 40th birthday.
If my calculations are correct (and let's face it we've never been any good at maths and this never changes) you are reading this the day before your 15th birthday on May 7 1987. There are 25 years separating us and I am dying to let you know what will happen to you in the time between then (now) and now (then).
Of course, I can't tell you what really happens. Not specifically. We've both seen Back to the Future and we both know if you have too much knowledge of your future you risk ruining it. I can tell you this much; if you doubt the existence of your future self there will be a sequel to Back To the Future released in a couple years time that is only half as good as the original and a few years after that, Part 3 which really solidifies the notion that, apart from the Star Wars movies (the first three - oh don't even ask!) most sequels pale in comparison to the originals. But if that's not proof enough that I am the real deal perhaps this much will be: I know you are in a lot of pain. You hide it from your friends and from your family, but I know you're having a rough time.
I know for example that the first two years of high school were hell for you. In May 1987 the bullying should be just about winding down by now. If it makes you feel any better, that group of boys who called you 'faggot' and 'gay boy' - the ones who beat you up and harassed you so much you sometimes wanted to die? Well they end up getting the futures they deserve. Right about now I imagine you are just starting to realise there is something special about you Darren Hayes. What I want you to know is, the thing that made you a target is the thing that makes you beautiful. There will be times in your life where you will try to dull down your magic because it draws too much attention. But please don't do that. Please remember to shine because one day people are going to pay a lot of money to see you light up.
Right - so what can I impart upon you that might help you in the journey from here to there? And what can I tell you about 'there'? Let me start with some helpful tips.
You're too young to have regrets and your future self doesn't believe in them anyway so please go forward knowing that you will never be given anything in your life you can't handle. There will be obstacles and terrible moments more terrible than your childhood. But you will overcome them. So don't waste any more energy worrying about the bad things to come. They come. You win.
Don't get too hung up on whether you like boys or girls. I know right now you're confused because you have a crush on a boy in your Maths 1 class and you had a crush on a girl in your French class. I know it is probably confronting but right now not a lot of people can admit to feeling like you do. Even you can't admit it to yourself but you can admit it to me. You have a pure heart and you love without judgement or classification. But the world is a rigid place for a while and you're going to waste many years feeling guilty about your emotions. Please don't. Trust me when I say one day you will work out the answer to your questions and you will know exactly who you are and which sex you're attracted to. You're still working it out and that's ok!
Stop thinking you have AIDS. You haven't even kissed a boy. Go ask your doctor to explain to you how you get it but I can tell you right now you can't catch it from watching Bruce Willis movies.
Don't worry about the future. I know that seems crazy since I'm taking the time to contact you from that very place - but trust me. Right now you're conflicted because you love to sing and you love to dance but everyone around you keeps telling you that you'll never make it. You dream of becoming a big star but you think the odds are so stacked against you its impossible so you're squashing it all down. My advice to you? Take that position in the girl's choir. Your voice will stand out and Mrs. Landsdowne is going to realise you have a gift for singing. The rest will take care of itself but go to that choir audition. It will change your life.
Listen to your instincts. The only times you have ever messed up in your life are the times you've ignored your gut. Imagine you're Luke Skywalker. Being true to yourself is really no different to using the force. Just quiet your mind and you'll always know the right thing to do.
Please remember not to take any of it personally. You’re going to get a lot of insults and a lot of compliments in your life and I urge you to be suspicious of both.
Remember that money changes everything. It's not just a Cyndi Lauper song. Some people will do anything for money. I know that's hard for you to understand because right now you have none. You've never been motivated by money and you never will be. But some people will change when they are around it and your kind heart might not see this until it's too late. So please remember that the people who love you, won't expect you to pay for your own birthday dinner. This will make sense in the 90's trust me.
Now I can give you a little glimpse of the future I'm writing to you from.
Well this will trip you out but in the future you live in London.
Yes I know this is insane. You're thinking 'But I'm obsessed with America!'. Don't worry this never changes and you will live there for 7 of the best years of your life. But like all the great journeys you will undertake, it is love that brings you here. And it's so worth it.
Today, in the future, you get a train to Paris to spend it with the love of your life who also happens to be the person you are married to. It is a hell of a journey (not the train, the road to finding your true love) but trust me when I say it will be worth it. You've got a keeper. More than a keeper. You end up with someone who makes you laugh every single day of your life. Someone who loves every part of you, even the bits you hate. Someone smart and funny and loving and your equal in more ways than you can possibly imagine. So don't worry about love. I took care of it!
Ok I've tried not to spoil too many secrets - but something pretty amazing is about to happen. You're about to go to a Michael Jackson concert. November 25th 1987 am I right? Well just to prove to you I know what I'm talking about - the show is supposed to be in a football stadium but soon due to a ridiculous rumour about him performing behind a bubble, ticket sales are going to be so bad that several concerts in Australia will be cancelled and yours will be moved to two nights at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Through a twist of fate, your cheap field ticket will be randomly exchanged for a seat 4 rows from the stage and you'll witness a performance so spectacular it will inspire you to do what you do for a living in the future. Hint: it's not teaching.
Anyhoo (this phrase will also make sense soon) - more than anything please just enjoy yourself. It's a hell of a ride. You’re not always going to know what you want to be when you grow up. As I write this I've already achieved many of the dreams we set out to achieve and I still don't know if I'm where I wanted us to be. In Paris I'm going to sit back and have a really good think about what we might want to do for the next 25 years. And isn't that something to look forward to!
Finally - write me a letter sometime.
There are days when even your future self could do with some of that boundless optimism. Never give up!
I love you, Darren Stanley Hayes!
London May 7 2012.