The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE & LOUD -

Rick Astley is still rolling on, thanks to one of the most vi­ral memes in the in­ter­net’s brief his­tory and the not-so-guilty plea­sure of his fans.

But as he re­turns to Aus­tralia after a suc­cess­ful 2012 tour, the Never Gonna Give You Up singer says it is not only his own mu­sic that has brought him back to the con­cert stage.

Astley re­veals he also in­dulges his own guilty plea­sure, play­ing in a rock cov­ers band called The Lud­dites. He calls it his “mid-life cri­sis” band.

“We play Sex Pis­tols and the Clash, stuff we learned as kids, to The Killers or Biffy Clyro,” he says. “It’s a fun thing.”

It might sur­prise some, but Astley started on the drums be­fore he was a front­man.

“I fell into singing be­cause I started to write songs and I showed them to the band and they said ‘OK, big­head, you sing them then’,” he says.

It was that band that per­formed in front of Pete Water­man, of Stock Aitken Water­man. But the hit-mak­ers were only in­ter­ested in one man. Sure enough Never Gonna Give You Up was an in­ter­na­tional hit and suc­cess fol­lowed.

Then, in 1993, he gave it all up. Astley was 27, with three hit al­bums and 40 mil­lion record sales when he quit.

“I just got to a point in my life where I wasn’t re­ally en­joy­ing it,” Astley says. “I be­came a fa­ther and I wanted to be at home.”

Astley had made enough money in the 1980s he was able to de­vote a decade to rais­ing his daugh­ter Em­i­lie, his only child with his wife, Dan­ish pro­ducer Lene Bausager.

He did get back on stage and he en­joyed it.

Then a lit­tle thing called Rick­rolling hap­pened. Some­one sent a link to a video which, in­stead of play­ing the ex­pected clip, switched to Astley’s song Never Gonna Give You Up. It was a “bait and switch” joke that be­came a phe­nom­e­non.

Singer Rick Astley plays the Coast this week­end.

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