Astley on his feet again
NGLISH ’80s icon, singersongwriter Rick Astley, is touring Australia for the third time – his first visit here in more than 20 years.
Astley has released six studio albums and sold more than 40 million records since launching his career in 1987, clocking up hits along the way with Together Forever, Never Gonna Give You Up, Whenever You Need Somebody, Cry For Help and a cover of When I Fall In Love.
Fresh from performing as part of the entertainment program at the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Astley and his band, including Wa Wa Nee’s Paul Gray on keyboards, launch their Australian run with a show at Twin Towns tomorrow night.
Astley has undergone a new wave of popularity in recent years due to the efforts of internet pranksters and his hardcore fans. The phenomenon of online ‘‘Rickrolling’’, where fans trick YouTube users into watching videos by posting fake links, saw Astley win the 2008 MTV Award for Best Act Ever.
With hits including Together Forever and Take Me to Your Heart, the British star is the only male solo artist to have eight consecutive singles in the UK Top 10.
Astley retired from music in 1993 but made a comeback in 2004.
‘‘I think what’s happened, with any decade it kind of comes around again for a little bit,’’ he says.
‘‘For that generation of kids were perhaps seven or eight when their mums were the ones buying my records, it’s rubbed off on them a little bit.
‘‘I think a decade finds its feet again, in a cool way, an ironic, cool way.’’
On this tour, he’s driving around Australia, but not, he says, because of any fear of flying.
‘‘I don’t think anyone wants to get on a plane any more, do they?’’ he says.
‘‘It’s not like it used to be where you could just roll up 20 minutes before and pile on. It’s a whole palaver now. So I’m driving around Australia myself.
‘‘I’m a bit of a control freak. Plus you get to see the country.’’
Astley says he never tires of singing his signature hit, Never Gonna Give You Up.
‘‘I don’t get butterflies when I hear it start, but I don’t hate it either. I’m comfortable with it. It feels a bit like karaoke sometimes,’’ he says.
While he’s been asked to write an autobiography, he is yet to put pen to paper.
‘‘I had some great times, but they’re the boring bits. No one wants to read how great it was. They want the horror stories,’’ he says.
‘‘I never had any rehab issues, but it’s a shit business. I definitely got depressed. ‘‘The music business really destroys people’s souls.’’ Astley says fans can expect to hear a new song or two on his current tour.
‘‘I’ve made a new record, not that many people will hear it. It won’t sell, I understand that,’’ he laughs.
Rick Astley plays Twin Towns tomorrow at 8pm. Tickets are $69.90.
Rick Astley is driving his way around Australia on his first tour here in more than 20 years.