Colin Hay on going indie

Lefsetz Letter from Colin Hay


Colin Hay to Bob Lefsetz:


In 1983, I played with Men At Work to 150,000 people at the US Festival. We broke up shortly  thereafter. After a few years of swanning around, thinking I was quite important, and drinking for Scotland and Australia, I realized I was slowly doing myself in, with the single malts and guinness chasers. Occasionally I had noticed my steel string acoustic in the corner, mocking me with it’s eternal patience and optimism. Eventually I picked it up, and ran away to live in California, to start again. I have been gainfully self- employed ever since.

Thirty-one days ago today I started posting my daily photo. I've never been great at these daily things for anything longer than thirty-one days, so we'll see if it keeps up. So far, it's been an exercise in patience and tolerance of my own work -- work not produced for a particular client, but a more simple celebration of the stuff I happen to like looking at.


Curt Siffert sent me the link to the Hay letter quoted above. We go round and round, me and Curt, about the nature of self-employment and freelancing and whatnot. And in all our late night mason jar wine talks, we've never gotten to the language that hit me so squarely above. "Occasionally I had noticed my steel string acoustic in the corner, mocking me with it's eternal patience and optimism. Eventually I picked it up, and ran away to live in California, to start again."


That's what it felt like for me, at least, August 1, 2007, when I quit the corporate job, finally succumbing to the call of the gear, the cameras, the computers. It felt like running away, somewhere new, to start again.


Last year, the fantastic Jake Oken-berg invited me to shoot his show at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. I didn't know when I agreed to shoot that Jake was opening for Hay that night. I've had Colin Hay's music in my head since I was about 8-years-old, so it's no stretch when I say I nearly swallowed my tongue at the opportunity, the chance to meet the guy, to snap a picture maybe.


Thanks to Jake, I made the picture. It's today's daily photo. I obviously can't begin to speculate what's going on in his head in this picture, but the look on his face? It captures every bit of what's going on in mine. I didn't know it at the time, but I like to think that had you asked me when I was 8 what picture I'd like to make of Colin Hay one day, this is the picture I would have described.


I also got this picture, with Hay, in which I look like a goofy South Park kid, the one who hasn't bathed, standing next to a celebrity who has taken note of the stench and is quite uncomfortable as a result.


Dammit.