Known for his time as the frontman of iconic pub-rock band Noiseworks, Jon Steven’s powerful pipes and electric stage presence have made him a drawcard for audiences across the world. His solo The Noiseworks & INXS Collection tour will stop off at The Playhouse, Civic on 10 November; canberratheatrecentre.com.au
1. What was the experience like to create this set list of all these smash hits?
It was born from working with Andrew Farris again last year, when we both shared the stage raising money for Rural Aid. We played a couple of INXS songs together, and he said to me ‘you need to play more of them in your show because you’re the only one who can do them justice’, so here we are. People are just loving hearing those songs, and it’s a fantastic set list.
2. How have you seen the music industry change since when you started?
In my day we came from old school where you had to learn the instrument long before you even dared get on stage, you were practising the instruments in your bedrooms. Today they have whole orchestras at their fingertips. The technology is a creative tool that, when used properly, is wonderful; there’s a lot more artists out there and that’s fantastic.
3. How is a theatre gig different to a stadium or a pub gig for you as a performer?
It’s 100 percent from us every time, we hit the stage at 100mph wherever we are. The music is like that, the Noiseworks and INXS music was born in the pubs of Australia and then graduated out. There’s a whole generation of people who grew up listening to these songs, but never got to experience the real deal who come and see this show in droves.
4. You’re a successful New Zealander who Australians claim as their own. Where do you weigh in on that phenomenon?
I am a proud New Zealander and also a proud Australian. I’m an immigrant like 99.9% of Australians. My children are Australian, I’m an Anzac mate, I’m a true Anzac and I would die for both countries but I go for the All Blacks because it’s the country of origin (laughs); I’m half Maori.
5. How do you reflect on your time with INXS?
I came in as a friend and as someone that was very familiar with them to help my mates out, and that’s all I did for the next four years. We all tread the same boards, we were fans of each other, and friends. When Michael died, my brother did the same thing six months prior so I was very aware of the emotional side of things, because I had gone through exactly the same thing.