Hawksley Workman reflects on growing up in the ’80s and theatre


After 20 some years in the business, two Juno awards, a couple theatre soundtracks and 17 albums including his latest –“Median Age Wasteland” and another on the way, you’d think  Hawksley Workman might have come down with a case of writers block somewhere  along the way.Hawksley Workman plays Lethbridge , Nov. 23. Photo by Dustin Rabin
 It s not the case, now that  he has resigned himself to never becoming rich and famous.

“Bob Dylan has a quote like being rich is having the freedom to do whatever you want. And I’ve been lucky enough to carve out a living doing just that, which is difficult in Canada. And Im really grateful for that,” said Workman, looking a at a grey, dreary London day, looking forward to a sold out show  in London Ontario, one of several shows which are already sold out on this tour.
 He brings his long time band the Wolves including keyboardist Todd Lumley aka Mr. Lonely, bassist Derrick Brady and  drummer Brad Kilpatrick, to the University Theatre to play  a special show for  the Geomatic Attic, Nov. 23.

“There was a time, when I was in Sweden, spending time in studios where the sound of American radio was born, when I still thought I could get rich. I thought I could write hits for other people, but that’s not how I work. My creativity dried up because I wasn’t giving it the respect it deserved,” he said.

“I was never meant for mass consumption I guess, I was meant for a small, select group of people. I think I’m playing stuff people like,” he observed.
 he has had a “banger of a Year” full of touring, recording his own music, recording music with folks like Sarah Slean, and theatre.
He composed a soundtrack for a musical version of ’80s movie “Never-Ending Story.”

“I spent three and a half months working on the soundtrack. It was an important part of my youth. it was the only VHS tape my small rural school had, so I must have seen it hundreds of times.. One time in the early ’80s, there was a solar eclipse, so they put as all in the gym and  showed us that movie,” he recalled.
 “For the soundtrack, we didn’t have access to original elements of the movie, so I went for a nostalgic feel to celebrate the movie,” he said, adding he enjoyed working with a director.

“I love working in theatre. In the theatre, the director is god, so my blue collar upbringing enjoyed having a boss to please rather than just pleasing myself,” he said.
 The play just finished it’s run on Stratford and is now moving to Ottawa at the NAC.

He was impressed with the actors after the three month run of the play.
“Nobody in theatre is doing it to make money. They’re all doing it for the love of it. In the music business, there is still some sense that making music is buying a lottery tickets, but that’s long gone in theatre,” he observed.

“ So it was exciting to see these young actors with just as much energy and enthusiasm during rehearsals as they had on closing night,” he continued, adding he tends to lose interest in a project after a while.


His audience has grown with him, so some older songs have fallen by the wayside.
“ When I was in my ’20’s a I had  a ‘hit” called Striptrease.”, it captured the gluttonous party energy of being in my early 20s that resonated with a lot of people. But it hasn’t aged well. And my audience has grown up with me.

Though he just released  “Median Age Wasteland,” he has already started work on  his next record with renown Montreal engineer and producer Marcus Paquin.
 He just released a video for “Around Here,“ which continues  on  with the reflective, introspective feel of the album.
He will be bringing long time band mates long time pianist Todd Lumley aka Mr. Lonely, bassist Derek Brady and  drummer Brad Kilpatrick.
“It feels like the right group. They are tight,” he said.

He noted he has a lot to choose from for the set.
“ It’s album  17. I’ll probably play six or seven from that, but I have 20 years of music to choose from,” he said.
 Hawksley Workman plays a special Geomatic Attic show at the University theatre, Saturday, Nov. 23. Tickets are $45 for the show a that begins at 8 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 November 2019 15:26 )