Haircut 100 with ABC, Howard Jones set to light up Sandy Amphitheater for 2 dates in August

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 21, 2024 (Gephardt Daily) — Music from the 1980s is back with a vengeance and Utahns apparently are eating it up.

When it was announced that early ’80s pop-funk and soul masters Haircut 100, along with ABC and Howard Jones, would be playing Sandy Amphitheater on Saturday, Aug. 17, at 6 p.m., tickets sold out so fast that a second show has been added on Friday, Aug. 16. For tickets and more information on the shows, click here.

The performances will feature a dazzling array of beloved hit songs from “The Look of Love” to “Things Can Only Get Better,” sure to delight any ’80s alternative music fan. What’s more, Haircut 100 will be playing to North American audiences for the first time in more than 40 years with the original band lineup. Founding member Nick Heyward will be on lead vocals and guitars, with Graham Jones on guitars, Les Nemes on bass, and five additional players rounding out the show with brass and percussion.

Haircut 100 will begin its summer tour at the infamous Glastonbury Festival in Pilton, England, next weekend, then continue on with dates at festivals and events in the U.K. The band will then begin the U.S. tour with the other boldface 1980s groups on Aug. 14 in Redmond, Washington, then will wrap up that leg on Sept. 6 in Huntington, New York, before heading back to the U.K. to play a couple more dates.

This follows a huge 2023, when Haircut 100 played the BBC Radio 2 Piano Room and a sold-out London reunion show at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, and also undertook a tour of Great Britain. Heyward will also set off this fall on his first solo tour since the critically acclaimed “Woodland Echoes” album release tour in 2018, playing hits from across his entire 40-plus year career with a preview of new material.

Heyward and school friends Jones and Nemes started bands together as far back as 1977. They were first known as Rugby, then the Boat Party, then as Captain Pennyworth and finally as Moving England, before they settled on Haircut 100. The band signed with Arista Records in 1981, then released its debut album, “Pelican West,” in 1982 to worldwide acclaim. That cherished LP contained their trademarks “Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl),” “Love Plus One” and “Fantastic Day,” all U.K. top ten singles. Soon they added a fourth, “Nobody’s Fool,” by which time the album was already platinum certified, only three months after release. “Pelican West” spent 11 consecutive weeks in the British Top 10, and also charted in the U.S., Australia and beyond. The songs on the album were almost all written by Heyward; he was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award in the Most Performed Song category for “Love Plus One” in 1982.

Haircut 100 Photo FacebookHaircut 100

Heyward left the band early in 1983 and went on to have a successful solo career that saw him release singles “Whistle Down The Wind,” “Take That Situation” and “Blue Hat For A Blue Day,” all from his debut album, “Whistle Down The Wind.” His last album, “Woodland Echoes,” was released in 2017.

Heyward chatted with us by phone from his home in Henley, in Oxfordshire, England. In a wide-ranging, quirky conversation, he told us more about this year’s tour, what backstage looks like for the band now compared to in the 1980s, what music he’s loving, and his thoughts on the timeless nature of stripes, which became a fashion staple for the band along with chunky fisherman’s sweaters tucked into pleated trousers. Heyward has even recalled one occasion where he went on stage in a cable-knit jumper, oilskins, waders and a sou’wester; that was apparently a one-off.

We asked him first if he could tell us more about the summer tour.

“Well, I think we’re just going to be hits all the way really,” he said. “And a new song, called ‘The Unloving Plum,’ which is going to be released soon, so all the hits, and a new one.”

Heyward also talked about the last time the band toured the U.S. 42 years ago.

“Yeah, it was such a brilliant tour last time we were in America; it was 1982. I can remember, it really was such a vibey tour, and we haven’t been back since, so this is why, when we got back together, over the last 20, 30 years, we’ve always said our the dream was maybe to go back to America, and it looks like we have,” he said.

Nick Heyward in New York in 1982 Photo FacebookHaircut 100

We asked him what were some of the highlights of that 1982 tour.

“There were so many,” he said. “I mean, there were kind of musical ones, you know like, Ralph Ravenscroft, who played [saxophone] on [Gerry Rafferty’s] ‘Baker Street,’ [he sings the tune], he got up at the Country Club in L.A. and jammed with us. If you’d have said to me three or four years before that when I was in a messenger in an art studio, taking parcels and delivering them around London, and going back to the art studio and hearing ‘Baker Street,’ that’s such a huge record, I never would have believed or thought that that would have happened. So there’s loads of pinch-me moments like that. They came to pick us up in a limousine; we’re lads from Beckenham, South London, and we’re suddenly in a limousine. We’re staying in the Gramercy Park Hotel, a rock ‘n’ roll hotel, with all the history, and they said Robert De Niro’s is upstairs. We’re like, ‘What? This is mind blowing.’ Plus every TV program that there’s ever been is coming alive. We heard the songs on the radio and they sounded bigger and better.”

We also asked him if the band has played Glastonbury Festival before, as they are set to take the stage alongside around 3,000 acts, including Dua Lipa, Coldplay, SZA and Shania Twain. Around 200,000 people attend the festival yearly. “Yes, yes, we’re getting ready for that now,” he said. “No, none of us have been there, it’s exciting.”

We also asked him what backstage looks like now for Haircut 100 compared with in the 1980s.

“Well there’s watermelon,” Heyward said. “Where there was no watermelon before. And we have green tea, green decaf tea, so it’s evolved. It’s a bit more holistic now, there’s a lot of meditating going on. It’s calm, it’s quite peaceful, then it goes bonkers as soon as you get onstage, you can’t help it, because the music kind of takes you over and its got an energy of its own, you’re kind of swept along, like a huge wave of good vibrations. So I look forward to it. Even when you say to yourself, ‘I’m not going to go with it tonight, I’m going to pace myself,’ and then it’s like, you just go flat out. That’s Haircut, it’s just this thing. I mean Les, Graham and I have been in rehearsals since 1977. Three guys from Beckenham, and then there was ‘Top of the Pops,’ all these cultural waves coming along. And now when we stand on stage, we look at each other and, there it is, we’re connected.”

Graham Jones Nick Heyward and Les Nemes Photo Jan C Photography

We also asked Heyward what life looks like for him when he’s not on tour, and whether he is in the recording studio a lot.

“We are actually,” he said. “Everything we didn’t have last time, we’ve got this time. This brilliant manager, they look after Del Amitri, the Manic Street Preachers, Wet Leg. So we’re just playing and being a band and that’s the glorious part of it all. Being in a band; it’s a great job.”

We asked Heyward what music he’s excited by at the moment and if he has any dream collaborations.

“I like all the music off NPR, I love it,” he said. “That’s where all the new music is for me now. I don’t seem to find it in the charts, chart music doesn’t seem to be all that creative, but NPR does. They’ll play bands like White Denim, stuff I really like, Cory Wong, Joe Dart, a bass player, the music is off the scale, it’s so good. There’s always crazy stuff going on — Tiny Desk Concerts.”

And as for who he’d love to work with: “I suppose it’s people I really resonate with, and I mean, that’s anyone, anyone I really resonate with,” he said. “When you know it’s right, it’s right, it could be anyone. I think about it, my heroes obviously. But I’m not sure. I’m not sure whether you’d want to work with them because you just respect them so much. David Byrne, Elton John, Paul McCartney, I mean there’s a list of people that you would, but you don’t know whether they’d … I mean you just don’t know. On paper you think wow, but you never know until you … because you just start collaborating and that becomes kind of another thing that goes on.”

Nick Heyward Photo FacebookNick Heyward

He touched a little more on his admiration for The Beatles. “I mean they’ve made music that … I mean to have made ‘Penny Lane,’ what a thing,” he said. “I got to work with [sound engineer and record producer] Geoff Emerick, who made ‘Penny Lane,’ and to work with somebody who has made that record, I mean that’s wizardry, it’s full of raw optimism, I mean it’s so beautiful.” Heyward explained he worked with Emerick on his first solo record, “North of a Miracle.”

Heyward said that going forward, he plans to focus on solo work and also on Haircut 100, alongside each other. “But right now I’m just dedicated to this [the band], it’s too much fun,” he said.

We asked Heyward if he takes family out on the road with him. “I take a chicken with me,” he joked. “There’s a chicken in our garden at the moment and it won’t leave me alone. We’ve become friends so I might have to book a flight. What do they call it when you’ve got a special animal?” I say it’s an emotional support animal. “Well, I think that’s what a band is like, like emotional support animals,” he added. “Les and Graham are my emotional support animals. I’m sure I’m theirs too, because we go back so long, like we lived together before the band, so we know how it is. That’s why it’s gonna be easy on the coach, the bus. Because we know what we do. The three of us just get on.”

We asked him finally if there will be any nods to ’80s fashion on this tour.

“Well we’ll definitely tip our hat to that period,” Heyward said. “I mean I’m wearing stripes today, stripes have never really gone out, they’re always lingering in the basement of life. Sometimes they’re on the top floor, sometimes they’re in the roof garden, sometimes they’re on the front doorstep, they’re just always around; they were all over living rooms for a while, now they’re in bathrooms, stripes are so in.”

For more information about Heyward, click here, and about Haircut 100, click here. For tickets, click here.


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