Culture Club’s Roy Hay teases new songs ahead of band’s Newmarket Racecourse gig tomorrow

Culture Club performed at Newmarket Racecourse on Friday night

Culture Club performed at Newmarket Racecourse on Friday night - Credit: Archant

Culture Club’s Roy Hay is buzzing when I catch up with him at TalkSPORT’s studios.

“This is very bizarre, I spend most of my time in the car in California listening to TalkSport on the app and they do the English traffic updates. I call my brother in Essex and tell him ‘the road’s closed on your road to work’,” he laughs.

The guitarist and keyboardist is a Southend boy. I moved to London when I was 20 so all my youth I lived down there. I was did that for a couple of years before the band kicked off, that was fun. I actually stayed in Essex until I moved to the States in 1989. So I’m an East Anglian boy.”

In an UK exclusive, Culture Club will be performing at three racecourses this July; one of which is Newmarket tomorrow night.

They were one of the biggest pop bands of the 1980s, racking up seven straight top 10 hits in the UK and nine top 10 singles in the US.

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Lead by flamboyant front man Boy George, they won multiple awards including the 1984 Brit Award for best British group and Grammys for best new artist and best British single for Karma Chameleon. Selling more than 50million records worldwide, their hits include Do You Really Want To Hurt Me, Time (Clock of the Heart) and Church of the Poison Mind.

“It’s pretty mellow [on the road] these days, I think everybody’s hectic party days are behind,” he laughs. “I haven’t got any good Liam Gallagher stories for you I’m afraid.”

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Outrageous costumes are a thing of the past too.

“Well, they’re of an era aren’t they? I don’t think I would want to wear them now but at the time they were great,” he laughs.

One of those bands who have tailored their craft in the studio and on stage, when they started out it was all about playing live.

“There’s nothing better than playing live shows when you’re a musician man, it’s fun, great stuff. We’re a kick-ass band and we did 80 something shows last year so we’re pretty tight these days. A couple of days of rehearsals and we’re ready to go.”

Roy’s visited Newmarket Racecourse before when he was younger, recalling somebody he knew had horses stabled there. He’s never played a racecourse before but imagines it’ll be a very good day out.

“I’m assuming by the time we go on stage everyone is in a good mood having won lots of money and if they haven’t won lots of money they’re going to have a good time anyway. I’m hoping we get there in time to have a bit of a flutter ourselves.”

He’s hoping to repeat his success at Ascot a couple of years ago.

“I’m a bit of a golf fan and I was with all the boys from the European tour and we got an inside tip. We all went and put money on this thing which was like 14-1 and it came in first so we were all jumping around in the box, it was fun,” he laughs before being distracted by the arrival of band-mate Mikey Craig who Roy hasn’t seen since his wedding in May.

Newmarket fans can expect some surprises tomorrow.

“We’ve actually been working on a new record so there are a couple of new songs to throw in but we do all the hits and everything. We also do a celebration of the music we were inspired by as well, so look out for a few kick-ass cover versions of songs from the 1970s and 1980s as well,” he teases.

Future Newmarket acts include James August 4, a DJ set from Chase and Status August 11, Olly Murs August 18 and Jess Glynne August 26.

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