Iconic rhythm, blues and rock band, The Animals, are heading to Wollongong with their legendary lyrics for a live gig at Centro CBD on Thursday, 18 May 2017.
With music as relevant today as it was in the 1960’s, The Animals have provided anthems for generations with hit songs such as ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place‘, ‘The House of the Rising Sun‘, ‘It’s My Life‘ and ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood‘.
Formed in 1962 and 1963 in Newcastle Upon Tyne in England, The Animals were part of the legendary ‘British Invasion’ and entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
With great success in Australia with 9 Top 50 hits, we can’t wait to see them in the Gong.
Drummer John Steel had a chat with us and we soon discovered his still a cheeky English lad.
You went to art school as a teenager, and have previously described yourself as a ‘dropout’. Were you a bit of a rebel back in the day?
John: Yeah, I think so. The art school thing was the way to avoid doing a proper job I think. I did have a bit of an artisic streak but I was a terrible academic.
That first day at art school was when I met Eric Burdon and that was the first stirring of The Animals. Eric and I discovered that we had the same taste in music, movies and all kinds of stuff and next thing you know we formed a band.
What was it like to be part of the famous ‘British Invasion’ into America?
John: It was a really exciting time. Everything was a new experience. Suddenly we went from being fans of the music to playing it.
We were five working class Geordie lads from the North West of England. In those days that wasn’t a common thing in America.
All of a sudden it was these crazy kids from England charging over to America and having a great time. It was the first time we were able to stand and say this is our music. It was thrilling to be able to do that.
Who were your musical influences?
John: Great rock n rollers like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, early Elvis, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, there were so many great ones.
We started to delve down deeper and found where it all came from which was the blues with people like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Lightnin’ Hopkins. There were some fantastic blues artists which had been playing some amazing music without being recognised really.
‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place’ was an anthem to the US Armed Forces during the Vietnam War and continues to be an anthem to this day. Why do you think it is still relevant today?
John: Over the years it has developed into a universal anthem for just anyone who wants to make a change or go in a different direction.
Everyone has a moment in their lives where they think i’ve gotta get out of this place. It’s a perfect song for those kinds of situations.
You have previously described the success of ‘House of the Rising Sun’ as life changing.
John: It was a number one hit record all over the world. It opened doors everywhere for us. It was the song that put The Animals on the map.
The Animals music has withstood the test of time with new generations of fans. How does that make you feel?
John: It’s astonishing. It always gives me a lot of pleasure to see. When we are playing in a foreign country there are always kids in the front rows singing the songs and they know them better than I do.
We really have the great fortune to have some dark songs about real life rather than middle of the road kind of pop songs. These songs seem to have an effect on any generation.
You have an amazing list of hit music to reference. How do you go about putting a set list together?
John: Our set list is never the same. We always play the hits but we have such a large catalogue of material that we just shuffle them around.
We’re not a cabaret act, we’re a rock n roll band. We like to keep things fresh. It’s great to play songs we haven’t played in donkey years and it’s great to get the audiences’ reaction.
The band members have changed over the years. What keeps you performing with The Animals?
John: It’s love of the music, enjoying the travelling and performing in front of an audience that gives you great feedback. There’s nothing like getting a standing ovation at the end of your show.
We always close with ‘Land of the Rising Sun‘ and it never fails to get people on their feet so it’s always the last number that we play. I’m such a lucky fellow to just be able to do that for a living.
Original members John Steel and Mick Gallagher along with Danny Handley and Scott Whitely will bring The Animals live to Centro CBD (28 Stewart St, Wollongong) on Thursday, 18 May 2017.
Dinner (main meal) and show – $99.00
Show only – $65.00