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Lloyd Cole

Lloyd-Cole

Touring in support of his new album, Standards, Lloyd Cole will perform at the Fly By Night on Tuesday, June 24. PETER HODGSON reports.

From his time as frontman for The Commotions and their arena tour of 1986, through to his Small Ensemble tour of 2011 and the many solo tour he has performed in between, Lloyd Cole is no stranger to Australian stages, bringing his uncannily beautiful and personal songwriting to audiences in various formats. 

This year he returns for a man-and-guitar tour that will take in material from across his career, including acoustic interpretations of material from his predominantly band-driven album, Standards.

There seems to be a bit of a trend lately for bands to play longer, more expansive Australian tours than usual. We’re seeing less of the ‘Sydney and Melbourne only’ shows and more ‘staying for a month and hitting regional areas’ shows. Cole’s tour will take in 15 shows between June 18 and July 12.
“But I’m still not getting up to the far north,” he says. “I asked them to book me into places I haven’t been to before, getting up to the jungle. But I’m looking forward to seeing places I haven’t been. I haven’t been to Newcastle before. Typically I’m going to get to Newcastle on a day that there isn’t time to play golf, even though I know one of the best places to play golf in Australia is in Newcastle. But I’m getting to a few extra places. It takes so long and it takes so much energy to get there that I might as well stay for a bit of extra time.”
Ah, golf. It’s surprising, in a way, that so many musicians seem to have an appreciation for the noble sport. Alice Cooper even called his autobiography Golf Monster. Cole puts this down to the Zen-like nature of the sport.

“When I’m playing golf I’m thinking about getting the ball in the hole, I’m thinking of beating the person I’m playing with,” he says. “I’m not thinking of the songs I’m writing. I’m not thinking about my finances, I’m not thinking about my family. And it works.”
In addition to the concerts, Cole will appear In Conversation for shows at the University Of Adelaide and MONA in Hobart. It’s a first for Australian audiences.
“I’m going to Australia as a visiting fellow at the Hawke Institute in Adelaide, which is part of the University of South Australia,” Cole says. “They basically wanted me to come over and take part in presentation talk/seminars. Anthony Elliott (Director of the Hawke Research Institute, University of South Australia) is going to be onstage with me asking questions. We can talk about the quandary of trying to be an independent artist competing in the market that the internet now is.
“Social media for someone like me is a Catch-22,” Cole continues, “because if I hire somebody like you to do it, people know it’s not me. Pretty much straight away they would know it’s not me. You’d never know to put that I ate Eccles cakes for breakfast this morning but I did and I hadn’t had them for several years so it was a fun thing to put on my Facebook. And people know it’s me, so they do follow me. Y’know, I followed The Clash for about a month until I realised I was just getting fanzine reports, and I don’t understand why anybody would do it, but people do it.
“But the quandary is that I need to keep doing it, and I need to be the one who does it, but maybe not all of it. Things like putting up the tour dates, anybody could do that. I’m working towards a situation where I keep it personal, but I don’t have to put in all the hours to make it work as it needs to work.”

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