Men Without Hats

Men Without Hats

Canadian 80s pop sensation Men Without Hats are the headline performers at this weekend’s Mieliepop festival in Mpumalanga.

Music fans will fondly remember this quirky and innovative band and their huge hits Safety Dance and Pop Goes the World.

Their high-energy show features these favourites as well as material from their 2012 album Love in the Age of War.

Mambaonline caught up with Men Without Hats frontman Ivan Doroschuk ahead of their South African show.

You’ve said you’re a “one-hit wonder with two hits”. It’s cool that you own that but doesn’t it annoy you that people often don’t know the rest of your music?
Hey, one hit is better than no hits, and two hits are better than one. As far as I’m concerned, I’m ahead of the game.

Can’t argue with that! So what was the best part of those days when you guys were topping the charts?
Being 25!

Canada has often been at the forefront of gay rights and equality. Why do you think that is?
It’s very cold here, and people have to spend a lot of time indoors. So they have to learn how to get along.

One of your former band mates, Allan McCarthy, died due to AIDS complications. How did that impact you?
One of my closest friends died in the early 80s when it wasn’t even called AIDS yet, it was being called gay men’s cancer or gay men’s plague. Allan’s death was a very sad moment for everyone related to Men Without Hats. We miss him dearly. I’ve also had several friends outside the gay community who have died of AIDS, from tainted blood transfusions

You’ve recorded a cover of ABBA’s SOS. How camp! Why was that?
ABBA (and The Beatles) taught me how to write a good pop song.

What do you miss most about the 80s?
There was an explosion of creativity in the 80s that has yet to be equalled; in music, in art, in fashion, in politics – all of this coupled with the dawning of new technologies.

That era had a lot of gender-bending going on in the music scene – in clothes and attitude…
It was a reaction to the era that preceded it, and proved to be a stepping stone to where we are today

How would you describe the sound of your newer material?
We went into studio to try and make a record that sounded like it was written a week after Safety Dance, and from the reaction of our fans, I think we succeeded

What message would you like to give to your gay fans in South Africa?
You can dance if you want to!

The 2013 edition of Mieliepop festival (1 to 4 November) also features local favourites such as Albert Frost, Shawn Phillips, Crystal Park, Naming James, Kinky Robot, G Force, Valiant Swart, Riders From The Storm, Radio Kalahari Orkes, Nakhane Toure, Jonny Guy and many others.

Just two and a half hours from Johannesburg/Pretoria at the magical Tolderia Resort (Mpumalanga), Mieliepop is an unmatched festival experience tucked away safely from the hustle and bustle of city living.

Tickets start from only R550 per person for a full weekend pass or R350 for a day pass. Visit for more information and ticket purchasing options or visit the Facebook page.

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