Speaking in between shows from his country NSW home, Todd was feeling refreshed and ready to hit the road again. Touring since March, Dragon has been playing to excited audiences nationwide who have been enjoying the shows and singing along to the bands hits.
Formed in 1972, Dragon are in their third incarnation with Kiwi singer Mark Williams stepping up to the microphone in place of the late Marc Hunter, Todd’s brother. But age doesn’t seem to be slowing these guys down, and Todd emphatically says that it’s getting much easier to play these days. ”We just turn up with our guitars and play nowadays. Everything’s all set up and we basically just go and do our stuff”.
This is the third line up since Dragon’s formation and they have deemed those periods as The Young Years, (1973 to 1979) The Glory Years, (1982 to 1998) and The Phoenix Years, from 2006 on.
“This is the most stable lineup so far,” says Hunter. “We’ve been together for the longest of any other lineup. Between the four of us we’re musically literate and cover a lot of bases- we’re having a lot of fun- it’s a great vibe.”
Being in the music business for so long, it’s inevitable that audiences change significantly. Hunter says that they tried the acoustic thing for a while but decided to plug (instruments) back in and the audiences, whether younger or original fans, went crazy. “We played in Christchurch not long ago to 15,000 people, and I couldn’t see one person over their mid 20’s- these kids were all leaping up & down singing along, it’s amazing. Another aspect to these young crowds is that we see them on their smart phones at our gigs, and they’re not taking videos of the show, they’re looking at the lyrics to sing along to our songs!”
It’s no surprise that Dragon’s music has a timeless essence to it. The band have always remained hardworking and come from a time when bands did it tough. But Hunter has a more philosophical approach to music these days and sees it as a necessary alternative to sitting in front of the TV for example. “People want the immediacy that a live show offers, live music is very healthy as is music in general. There’s some great stuff around now that you’ll never hear on CD or radio- so the news is good!” says Hunter
Dragon have had a string of hits over the years, and instantly recognizable songs such as ‘Rain’ are anthems of the carefree 80’s that have a life of their own. They are the kinds of songs you can’t help but sing along to as Hunter experienced one night many years ago. “I have a lot of affection for this song ‘Rain’), it restarted the band in the 80’s and the best time I ever heard it performed was when I was walking on a beach north of Cairns. There was a huge fire ahead with about a hundred people there, and they were all singing ‘Rain’- it was completely thrilling- & that song has a life of its own,” he says.
Hunter fondly recalls his late brother Marc, the frontman during the Golden Years who passed away 16 years ago. “There was going to be no other incarnation of Dragon after Marc’s passing, I went to work on composing film & TV like ‘Heartbreak High’ but started to miss playing live. So we got our music together after several years. I remember the first time we played with a new lineup, we weren’t sure how it would go but once the first chord was struck the whole crowd just relaxed into it and started singing along. I went OK, here it is for the next 20 years”.
Thank goodness for that!
With the majority of the tour complete, Todd is loving life and speaks fondly of Adelaide. “It’s a great city with a fabulous theatre and arts scene -I love it!”
And finally, Todd Hunter assures us that Dragon are here to stay and he has no plans on retiring- ever!
And thank goodness for that too!
Interviewed by Darren Hassan
For remaining dates and to check out the new Trilogy CD, go to www.dragononline.com.au