FOUNDING member of Dragon Todd Hunter spoke to the BDN in the lead up to the much-loved band’s Trilogy Tour concert in Merimbula.
Dragon was formed in 1973 in New Zealand, spending the next couple of decades touring and releasing such popular songs as April Sun in Cuba, Rain and Are you Old Enough?
After singer Marc Hunter died in 1998, there was no band for 10 years and Hunter became a composer for the TV show Heartbreak High before re-forming the band in 2006.
“In the end I missed the immediacy of playing, whatever happens only happens now,” Hunter said.
Since then Dragon has been playing shows across Australia and New Zealand to audiences of all ages.
“Reception has been great - it’s a real joy to play every weekend,” Hunter said.
“The crowd always sings the songs back at you.
“It keeps you young - I play with more energy now than I did when I was 20.”
Hunter said he wanted to be a musician for as long as he could remember.
He recalled how his uncle played in a “great band” in the ‘60s, and once when they let Hunter play with them he thought, “this is it”.
When the band members first moved to Sydney, he said the city was “like the Wild West”.
“There was hardly anywhere to play,” he said.
“The late ‘70s were a weird period - there were a lot of bands starting off.
“In the ‘80s we were a very different band, but the band now is a much better playing band.”
It was difficult being a band back when they were starting out, and Hunter recalls much time was spent in the studio.
“[But now] the value of songs are back, ideas matter more than what kind of equipment you’ve got.
“If you make a great song in your bedroom, you can conquer the world.”
Dragon has taken its music overseas, touring the US in 1978 where it “screwed it up” by being too wild, but toured Europe with Tina Turner, which was “really good”.
Hunter has faced tragedies while being in the band, such as the death of his brother Marc, and other band members Paul Hewson and Neil Storey.
“You just have to take everything in your stride,” he said.
“As you lose people, it just makes you more determined to move on.”
The chemistry between the current line-up of band members - Mark Williams, Pete Drummond and Bruce Reid - Hunter described as “stable”.
“Everyone has an incredible role to play,” Hunter said.
“For instance Pete plays the drums, then keyboard with the other hand as well as singing – he’s a complete ninja.
“They are very musically literate.”
Hunter suffers from hearing loss, so if the background is too loud then he can’t hear what’s in the foreground.
Nowadays he uses hearing aids for iPhones called ReSound LiNX - for which he is an ambassador - which he said are great because they mean he can sing again.
The future of the band includes releasing a new album in August, then touring until the end of year in Australia before performing in NZ during summer.
Hunter sees himself as a custodian of the band, and his personal future is managing the band, including bookings, as well as continuing to play.
“I’m having more fun now, this is my favourite time,” he said.
“I’m having the good old days now.”
Dragon will be performing at Club Sapphire in Merimbula on May 24.
Tickets are $30 presale or $35 at the door. Doors open at 8pm.