Q&A Scene: Hap Hayward

Tell us about your upcoming Melb Fringe show….

In the early 90’s I supported Loudon Wainwright when he came out to Australia. I was in an acoustic duo called The Dead Salesmen. I became spellbound by his performances and I found myself laughing out loud and bawling like a baby on a nightly basis. It was life changing stuff. The years went on and I started listening to the music made by his (ex) wives and children and I couldn’t get over how incredible all this stuff was! They (over)shared so much and my show is my little attempt to give people a sense of this – there is something universal in these songs but also deeply personal. I just want to share a fraction of it all because I think it is fascinating.


What’s your favourite song by one Loudon Wainwright III and why? The song ‘Sometimes I Forget’ is about when his father passed away. It captures something that could resonate with everyone who has experienced a very deep loss. It won’t be part of my show – I couldn’t do it to people! I wouldn’t get through it anyway.


Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote from your Dead Salesmen days..In late September 1993 the band told me that we were leaving for Melbourne from Ballarat for a gig at the Lounge that night. But Carlton was playing Essendon in The Grand final and I said I want to keep watching and I’ll jump on a train to the gig after the game. I got to the station after my beloved Blues had been smashed, only to find there were no more trains going to get me to the gig on time. I checked my bank and my dole had come in so I caught a cab to Melbourne and smoked and drank and listened to Loudon Wainwright on a tape I had in my pocket. I probably should have called in sick in hindsight, but I felt like a weird king of something for a couple of hours. I won’t tell you how I went that night but let’s just say the venue refused to pay us for our services. I remember crying at midnight, finally. Poor old Carlton.


What, or who, inspires you? I love my singer songwriters but I think of Rik Mayall whenever I’m feeling all worked up and worried. I just think of how silly, rude and free he seemed to be in everything he did. If I’m losing my shit I think of Rik. If I’m not losing my shit I think of Rik. I’m nothing like him but god I loved him.


Which song do you wish you wrote? ‘Somebody’s Forgetting Somebody’ by Paul Kelly. It killed me as a kid and it kills me still. And also ‘Borrowed Tune’ by Neil Young for the same reasons.


How would you describe your sound in food form and why? I think of old people’s chocolate – probably dark and not very sweet. It may end up half eaten in the part of the fridge where you keep the cheese. But someone will eventually sniff it out and enjoy it again. These things take time.


What’s next for you? I want to sing a treat for this upcoming show. I’ve done lots of comedy and I teach during the day and even play drums a bit but I want to impress people with my singing more than anything for these ten nights. And then I can pat my throat on the back so to speak and go back to the day job with a little more sparkle in myself, simple as that.


What’s your scene? My scene involves listening to The Smiths alone in my shed with a cask from Aldi’s and some heavily salted peanuts. And telling everyone how I’m feeling about it on Facebook. This is almost every single Friday night of my life now. It’s just sad really.

About Hap Hayward

“…I hate happy families – we were happy for a while…” So sung a seventeen year old Hap Hayward singer/lyricist for The Dead Salesmen on their Bumper Bar Stickers song. At Forty Seven, Hayward thinks he may have been overstating things a little, but the family dynamic and all that comes with it has always been “a well of inspiration” for him to explore through song. Discovering Loudon Wainwright the Third in his early twenties was a gamechanger for Hap, a man who would teach him a thing or two about lacerating the ones you love (including yourself) in songs both happy and sad, sometimes at the same time. Fastforward to 2017 and Hayward launches his first ever caberat Open Season on A Broken Heart – Stories and songs from a fan of Loudon Wainwright The Third and Family’ for Melbourne Fringe Festival.

The show is Hayward’s truly sincere attempt not only to honour Loudon Wainwright but also his amazing musical kin, including The McGarrigle Sisters, The Roches, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche. Delivered in a tight fifty minutes running nightly from September 22nd to October 1st in the Jury Room of The Courthouse Hotel, North Melbourne. According to Hap: “I pointed these songs at each other on stage and realised that they had spoken to each other before. These were family conversations with really interesting melodies all about regret, celebration, pain, anger and what it is like to be in an oversharing and incredibly talented family.”

Each night the singer will alternate special guests for the ten show run and promises some laughs and tears. He hopes this for the audience as well. Hap’s musical collaborators for this event are his incredibly talented friends Brodie Glen (guitar) and Daniel West (piano).

Hap Hayward, singer/lyricist for The Dead Salesmen, a duo he created in 1988 with guitarist Justin Ryda, became a much loved four piece in 1991 with Lenny Hyatt (drums) and Pat Bath (bass), morphing into a five piece from 1997 onwards with Julitha Ryan (keys), released four exquisite albums and some EPs. The band finished up in 2002, but they still reunite on special occasions – funerals and the like.

Hap claims his two biggest highlights as a singer/songwriter have been Spencer P Jones recording The Dead Salesmen song When I’m No Longer Poor (released on his 2007 album Fugitive Songs), and The Dead Salesmen Duo supporting Loudon Wainwright III at The Continental Café in Greville St, Prahran, over a series of four nights in 1993. When the boys asked Loudon if they could support him onto his Adelaide show, he agreed and having watched them perform said to Hayward and Ryda later that he enjoyed the songs, “especially the shorter ones”. Wainwright would refer to the duo on stage that night as “the future…”.

Hap has also played in bands The Nulty Grips, Gus &  Bags, and The Vests, and recently enjoyed a comedy career (winning the Victorian leg of National Raw Comedy Competition perfoming in front of over 2,000 people  at Melbourne Town Hall filmed for ABCTV. Hap released a book of song lyrics crowd funded via Pozible in 2012 entitled Songs about You, the title taken from a lyric in a Loudon song (So Many Songs).

Don’t miss the extraordinary talent of Hap Hayward during his Melbourne Fringe Festival run of ‘Open Season On A Broken Heart – Stories and songs from a fan of Loudon Wainwright The Third and Family’ nightly from 22nd September – 1st October in the Jury Room of The Courthouse Hotel, North Melbourne. 7.10 pm starts except Sundays at 6.10pm. Tickets available now for $20 via melbournefringe.com.au  or 03 96609666. This event is proudly brought to you by White Buffalo Productions.

More info : www.melbournefringe.com.au/event/open-season-on-a-broken-heart/


About Mandy Hall 838 Articles
Mandy is a music photographer & writer. She runs Mandy Hall Media, which includes Photography, Social Media marketing, PR & Graphic Design for the music industry. She is also a web developer - she created and supports this website.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.