HERALD SUN ARTICLE --- November 2005
Track Record.......by Cameron Adams
DARREN HAYES relives the hits and memories of Savage Garden's brief but phenomenal career in this track-by-track best-of album preview
I Want You
The first Savage Garden single, one of the songs rejected by every record company in Australia. Also the song that broke them in the US, made No. 4 in Australia and the US, and No. 11 in Britain.
Hayes: ``That song changed my life. It was originally a song called Sundays Seem to Come and Go. I was obsessed with U2's Numb and Janet Jackson's If; they inspired it, as well as Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire. I hated the chorus; I thought it was totally throwaway. Daniel (Jones) said it was a hit and he was right. That was the great thing about our partnership; you had someone to edit you. I don't really like the line about `chic-a-cherry cola' any more, but it's famous.''
I Knew I Loved You
Second US No. 1 (made No. 4 in Australia, No. 10 in Britain). Hayes was too nervous to kiss Kirsten Dunst in the video.
``I know it was a massive smash hit, and I still love singing it, but I still remember why we wrote it. Which was that the record company didn't like the album, so they said `The album is great but there are no hits on it; go and write a hit'. So my memory of that song is writing it out of rebellion, and then falling in love with it anyway. I know they were both massive hits, both No. 1 in America, but Truly will probably stand the test of time. I Knew I Loved You sounds calculated. I can't believe I'm the songwriter saying that but I prefer the innocence of Truly. I was a kid.''
To the Moon and Back
Their first Australian No. 1, it peaked at No. 24 in the US after I Want You went Top 5, but, when reissued after Truly Madly Deeply, became their biggest British hit, making No. 3.
``It flopped in America big time and I remember thinking `Oh, it's all over'. It's a gorgeous song about a friend of mine who's now happily married with a kid, but then she was miserable, always picked on, always jilted in love. There's a happy ending.''
Supremely painful lyrics detailing Hayes's marriage breakup (``we don't live, we exist, we just run through our lives so alone . . .'')
``I was talking about the breakup of my marriage at the time, but it kind of mirrored what was happening with the band. I didn't realise that 'til afterwards, but if you look at the video, it's just me in the video; it was our last single. I remember in the concert it was very prophetic. It's a song about me saying I've failed as a husband, as a partner, a lot of self hate actually. I look good in the video. I remember that.''
Album track from their debut. The lyrics came from Hayes's first trip to the US.
``I was obsessed with America. I only reluctantly left America. My American honeymoon was based in this childhood '80s innocence of America being where pop stars and movie stars were. It's an amazing country, especially for songwriting.''
Crash and Burn
Fourth single from Affirmation, the album Hayes and Jones wrote on separate sides of the world, peaked at No. 16 in Australia, No. 24 in Britain and No. 14 in the US.
``The beginning of Daniel and I writing songs across the ocean. We'd send tapes back and forth. I couldn't admit to anyone I was lonely living in New York, so I wrote the song in the third person, talking about myself, but it was about me. I wasn't coping and I thought, `I wish someone would say this to me'.''
Break Me Shake Me
Australia-only single; peaked at No. 7.
``I adore that song. It's one of the two moments in my career I thought I was Michael Jackson -- that song and Dirty (from solo album Spin).''
Truly Madly Deeply
Popular ballad -- you may have heard of it. No. 1 in Australia and the US, No. 4 in Britain.
``It's extremely innocent. I hear somebody else when I hear that song, I hear me before it all began. There's something beautifully nostalgic, that person I hear is completely untainted.''
The Animal Song
Between album single, the lyrics were written for the movie The Other Sister.
``We had two films on offer, one was The Other Sister, the other was some tiny film with Julia Roberts called Runaway Bride. I hated it, didn't think it'd be a hit. We chose to write the song for the film that flopped.''
Hayes's manifesto, tackling everything from sexuality to low self-esteem to the trust v monogamy debate. They performed it at the Olympics, with Hayes wearing a T-shirt with an Aboriginal flag on it.
``I still adore it. Still close my shows with it, probably always will. It was great to give people a bit of my personality. I wasn't afraid to say things that were controversial at the time. It's the fastest ever Savage Garden song. There's a scary video of us performing it live where I'm wearing a Day-glo orange mesh top. You won't find that video on the DVD either.''
New Darren Hayes solo track, this album mix is his preferred version, mixed by Mark Spike Stent.
``I always loved John Lennon and Yoko Ono and that period of Woman. I always wanted to write a song that simple. So Beautiful is how I actually experience love. I Knew I Loved You is how I thought love would be. I think it's better than that. Real love is better than those Hallmark card moments, which even I have been a part of.''
The other new track, written solely by Hayes.
``It's one of the first songs I ever wrote on my own. I wrote it after my first piano lesson so you can hear the chords are very basic. I always thought it sounded too much like a Savage Garden song so it was perfect for this record.''
I Don't Care
B-side to Affirmation, the lyrics are set on a train.
``I was a substitute teacher and I'd walk home from the train station and I'd write the song to the pace of my walk. I love public transport.''
I'll Bet He Was Cool
B-side to Break Me Shake Me, it's arguably the weirdest Savage Garden lyric: Darren ponders if Jesus was alive whether he'd smell nice, whether he'd appear on Oprah and bets his beloved Star Wars figures ``he'd be a movie star''.
``It's my favourite Savage Garden song ever. Maybe. It comes from Kate Bush's Why Should I Love You? where she says `Have you ever seen a picture of Jesus laughing? Do you think he'd have a beautiful smile?' And it got me thinking. Catholicism always portrays Jesus as this miserable victim but I thought he was probably really charismatic. So I thought, what if he was around today? These are the thoughts that occupy my mind.''
Love Can Move You
B-side of Universe, which is one of several singles that didn't make this compilation, including All Around Me, Chained to You and The Best Thing.
``This song was written directly after having experienced New York for the first time. There's a lot of hope there, after having come back from the clutches of the monster and all that opportunity and fame promised on that first visit to Manhattan. There's a naive sort of optimism in the lyric that I'd somehow survive the deal with the Devil and return a hero, with my soul intact. It took me many years to realise that I did, indeed, survive.''
Fire Inside the Man
Savage Garden go reggae. Bad move. B-side of I Want You.
``I hate it. It's on there because it's popular. I didn't want to be one of those poncy pop stars who reinvent their past. I hated the fact George Lucas changed the Star Wars films. I'd never change Savage Garden's history. Except the videos? Yeah, but it's not like we went back and reshot them. At least I was thinner then.''
This Side of Me
Also a b-side of Universe -- Darren reveals his dark side.
``It was the first time I got really dark, really came down on myself for being a human being and having desires. I'm always torn between thinking I'm in U2 and Coldplay and doing folky acoustic stuff and thinking I'm Prince and Madonna. I wish I was the kind of artist who could play around with image, but every time I change my hair colour it's a drama.''
Darren Hayes is finally at peace with his Savage Garden past, writes CAMERON ADAMS
DARREN Hayes has reclaimed his past. Almost.
He's spruiking a Savage Garden best-of, Truly Madly Completely. They only had two albums, you say? Hayes agrees.
``I hate best-ofs,'' he says. ``As an artist it's hard enough carrying on after being in a band as successful as Savage Garden. But having a Savage Garden best-of out the minute I put out a solo record would have sent out a really awful message.
``Initially I tried to distance myself from Savage Garden, but I've made my peace with the past now. I'm embracing it.''
Selectively, it seems. The album comes with a DVD featuring their international videos -- all the videos except the early (and, it must be said, dodgy) ones made for Australia then reshot for the rest of the world.
Remember that one on the back of a car -- I Want You -- or the budget sci-fi To the Moon and Back in which Hayes was suspended in space as someone threw glitter in his face?
``I want to embrace my past but I don't want to embrace it that much,'' Hayes says of airbrushing Savage Garden's visual history.
``I don't want those dodgy old videos on there. People can find them on the internet if they want them. What was I thinking with my hair? I don't know. I looked slightly Rastafarian in the I Want You video. And in To the Moon and Back I had hair like Winona Ryder.
``In the treatment it sounded like 2001: A Space Odyssey. In reality it looked more like the clip for Video Killed the Radio Star.''
Truly Madly Completely exists because Hayes got his way and selected the final track listing.
Two new Hayes songs are on the compilation. They were almost Savage Garden songs. Almost.
Hayes and Savage Garden partner Daniel Jones planned to write songs together to include on the compilation. Hayes had a two-month window during which he was free, but the timing wasn't right for Jones, working as a producer behind the scenes.
``We sent emails back and forth,'' Hayes says. ``My take on it was they were going to put this record out anyway, I wanted it to be something special, not some dodgy thing that would get thrown in the bargain bin at service stations.
``We entertained the idea of working together for a while. It just became too difficult. In retrospect, I'm glad it didn't happen. It would have sent out the wrong message, that the band were getting back together.
``I don't have any plans to get the band back together, I never have. It would have been a nice thing for karma. I'm sure Daniel will pop up on stage with me some time.
``It would have been nice, but even for me it would have been hard. I've changed so much in the way I've written songs. Daniel thought it might not work, so fair enough.''
Hayes says not attending Jones' recent wedding to Hi-5 star Kathleen de Leon wasn't a major issue some have made it out to be.
``Obviously I'm not in his life,'' Hayes says. ``Why would I go to his wedding? There's no falling out. Honestly, my relationship with Daniel lately is not unlike what it was when we were in the band. It's kind of beautifully dysfunctional.
``Think about the way the band broke up. There was no confrontation. We didn't talk about it for eight months on tour. I did an interview and it came out. If Daniel walked in a cafe now, I'd throw my arms around him, but even in the band it's not as if we went bowling or to the movies together. We're just such different people. I'm still in touch with the people we used to work with and he has a very separate life now.
``It's very weird. I'm sure it must be weird for the public, because even I can't define what it is. But I love him and have a lot of respect for it.''
Hayes says a Savage Garden reunion tour is unlikely, except perhaps for a charity.
``My music has gone off on such a different tangent. It probably rebelled as much as it ever will on the last record (The Tension and the Spark). I still feel very protective of what we achieved. I don't want to sound mean and say never, but I can't imagine it.''
So protective that Savage Garden refuse all (lucrative) requests to use their big ballads -- Truly Madly Deeply and I Knew I Loved You -- for movies and advertisements.
``We've never licensed them for commercials or compilations,'' Hayes says. ``Those songs we've always felt protective of. They wanted Truly Madly Deeply for Scooby-Doo, but I said no. It's just too good. It was `my' song before it became `our' song for people.
``I want people to associate Truly with a relationship they've had, rather than a pair of sneakers. Maybe I'll have other songs I'll want people to associate with sneakers, but it will never be Truly Madly Deeply.
``I know I'll sing those songs for the rest of my life, and that's fine. They're the reason why I'm still here today.''
It's those two songs that have made Savage Garden millionaires. They still get regular play on American radio, which means hefty royalty cheques for Hayes each year.
``I've never really known how the money works, I just get a statement every year that breaks down radio play. And it's mainly those two songs. It wasn't (solo single) Pop!ular, I'll tell you that. I wish it was.''
Hayes is in an interesting position. His last solo album, The Tension and the Spark, was the musically cutting-edge album he'd always wanted to make. But it confused fans who were wanting to hear ballads and soft rock.
Hayes received the best reviews of his career, but the worst sales.
``I got critical acclaim, but at a cost of sales, definitely,'' he says. ``But there are no regrets. I wouldn't change a thing. Best thing I ever did.
``I adore that album. It's just one of those records people will rediscover one day.
``I'm glad I did it. I've always wanted to make a record with that mindset of `if it sells, it sells'.
``I always said `I want to be Bjork', then someone sat me down and said, `Do you realise how many records Bjork sells?' It's not that many.
``I've sold enough records to be in the position to make those kinds of decisions. Believe me, I haven't been scared back into any kind of shell.''
He says he was concerned people might think releasing the ballad So Beautiful (from the best-of) was a damage-control move.
``People might think, `Oooh, he's been rapped over the knuckles and gone back to ballads', but not at all. I want a lot of people to hear my music.
``I'm trying to work out the common thread, what do I do that works? People don't care if I'm cool or not. I'm apparently not cool. You can't really change that.
``People care if the song becomes part of their lives.
``I want radio to play my songs and have my songs heard by people, but not at the cost of me being miserable. I'd rather sell no copies than just be some imitation of what I used to be.''
Hayes says his third solo album, which he's still working on, will be a balance between the music he wants to make and the music people expect him to make.
``I want to touch people, I want to work out how I can say what I want to say and still make it relatable. I won't dumb myself down.
``I don't want to call it going back to my roots, but maybe it is.
``Madonna's doing it now, Kylie's done it. It can be difficult as an
artist. You think `Just let me grow, let me be something else', but then you think `Actually, what I did wasn't all that bad'.
``Singing is my soul,'' Hayes admits. ``I'd love to work out a way to be tremendously commercially successful, but not at the cost of my soul.''
Truly Madly Completely - The Best Of Savage Garden will be in stores Nov 20th.
Source: Herald Sun
Thanks to Moonlight for article
Darren Hayes Articles 2005
DARREN HAYES NET 2005