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Good times on tour with Leo Sayer and friends

LEGENDS: Russell Morris, Leo Sayer, Marcia Hines, Brian Cadd and John Paul Young Perform at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre on June 7. Leo Sayer is turning 70 in May, not that you’d know it. He has a lust for life and a youthful exuberance that puts many a teenager to shame.

Leo SayerLove Is InThe Air, Brian and I were the only ones to make real appearances in the American charts.Whenever we get together we play blues and rock ‘n roll because he is just an ace keyboard player and I love singing with him.”

Marcia Hines? “I would always bump into her at gigs, often charity gigs. She is remarkably friendly, one of those easygoing people that you instantly feel comfortable with,” Sayer explains.

“You climb into the second question, as it were, when you’re with her. There are no formalities. We get along like a house on fire. And I love singing with her because she has a lot of personality in her voice. There are a lot of singers that sing well, but Marcia has always got a smile in her voice. Her personality shines through the way she phrases and sings words and I like that.”

Sayer laughs when Russell Morris is mentioned.

“Russ and I go way back. He was around when I was first doing Countdown with Molly.Russis an incredible practical joker –he’s the guy who comes up behind you and pushes the back of your leg and you kind of collapse, you know?

“He grabs you by the back of the throat without even warning you. He’s just terrible like that. But he is a lot of fun to work with. And the other thing is, you see, we both share the bass player Mitch Cairns. We know all the same people and have worked with all the same musicians and we are just mates. Old campaigners, you know?”

And last but not least, John Paul Young.

“Ah, JP –Mr Mischief. John is lovely and honestly I don’t know if he would agree with this but you could put us together and you’d think we were brothers,” Sayer says.

“It’s not only the height. We seem to think the same things and do the same thingsat the same moment. He’s a lovely affable guy but he’s not got much time for bullshit. You’ve got to be straight to the point with JP. If there’s a discussion going on among all the artists it will be me and JP that turn around and say ‘No, f ––– off, this is not going to work. This is how it’s going to be’.

“We were doing a medley of Good Timesone time and he spotted that I was singing it too high at the start, the ‘Mary Mary’ bit,” Sayer muses, singing it to me. “Anyway he comes quietly up and goes ‘Leo, you know on the original it started a lot lower than that.’I said ‘I can’t do it mate’ and he said ‘Well stay where you are then’ and walked away. There’s no BS with John andthat’s what I really, really like. He’s the least show-business of all the guys you’ll ever meet. Just a regular bloke, totally trustworthy.

“It’s a very evenly matched troupe, this one.”

As for Sayer, who gave us the timeless You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, he has been busy writing his autobiography. He has two storage sheds where he keeps 50-plus years of newspaper clippingsand memorabilia, and one has a chair and a lamp.

This is serious business.

“I am 33,000 words in. They say the dodgy part is the 20,000-word mark and you have to climb over that and then you’re all right. I’m about halfway through 1975 at the moment,” he says.

“My Mum and Dad kept every itinerary and postcard that I sent them so that’s been useful. They really describe how it was and what I was feeling, so they are an accurate map of my life at the time. I did so much, you see, that Ican’t keep up with myself.

“We were prolific back then, oftendoing two or three shows a night.”

This book has the potential to rival Tolstoy’s War and Peace in volume.

“Friggin’ hell, you could say that. One point, though –so many autobiographies are sob stories but not mine. I’m the happiest person in the world,” he says.

“Sure, I’ve had some really bloodyawful f –––ing situations but I’ve gotten over all of them.I think I have survived pretty well intact.

“I’mvery happy and still wanting to do my job and still enjoying it and thejob is still successful, so I can’t say that I’ve got anything to complain about.”

The APIA Good Times Tour stops at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre on June 7. Tickets are on sale through Ticketek or at the venue’s box office.

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