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David Sterry from Real Life chats to Jen about the past and the Totally 80’s tour.

TOTALLY 80’s Stars 7 International 80’s Superstars – MARTIKA, BERLIN, LIMAHL of KAJAGOOGOO, PAUL LEKAKIS, KATRINA (ex KATRINA & THE WAVES), MEN WITHOUT HATS & STACEY Q will be together – live in concert – to perform all of their classic hits. Sharing the stage with them will be 2 of Australia’s own Countdown Favourites WA WA NEE and REAL LIFE!

 It was great to chat with a fellow Aussie, David Sterry about this Totally 80’s tour. Nothing like a interview that is like a chat with an old friend.  We covered other topics as well, like World War 2 and Abbey Road studios and the clues about Paul McCartney being dead ……. it went well over time but David was kind enough to keep on chatting.

Hi David,

I have interviewed 4 of the other artists so far on this tour.

I am looking at who you have interviewed, I can see you have had a chat to Mr Limahl, Terry and Martika, I am at the bottom of the food chain! (both Laughing)

I interviewed Stacey Q this morning and she was lovely. She seemed a little shy but super sweet.

Unfortunately the music industry seems to kick the shyness out of you. I was too, but you don’t have much of a choice.

True. I guess you can’t afford to be shy. You have done some of the Absolutely 80’s tours,  did you enjoy those?

Yes, with Scotty Carne, (Kids in the Kitchen)  Brian Mannix (Uncanny Xmen),  the odd Chantoozie, Dale Ryder ( Boom Crash Opera), Sean Kelly (Models) does it and Paul Gray (Wa Wa Nee) who is on this tour as well. We are having fun doing that.

I watched a video from (Absolutely 80s) tour in 2014 and I got chills up my spine. TBH as a teenager in the 80’s I was a fan! I loved the way that you let the crowd sing Send me an Angel and then said thank you to them. How was that feeling that you could still sing a song written so long ago that had lots of people singing it back to you?

It just me right in the heart. It is amazing. It is overwhelming and a beautiful sensation. I can do that anywhere in the world, even where they can’t speak English for example a place like Lima, Peru a few years ago or the Philippines and they sing at me. They can’t speak English but they sing the song as loud as anything. All I can see is happy faces and feels marvelous.

That is awesome! I have a 17 year old daughter and I told her who I was interviewing and she said who? So I played her the song and she said oh that is one of my favorite songs!

It has had a life of it’s own and remember Limahl saying the same thing to you about songs that take on a life and for a while there in the 90’s we were all unemployable. I had this conversation with the Absolutely 80’s guys, we were all out of work, we could not get arrested and everyone turned their backs on us. When on this tours we look around and smile as if to say “Isn’t it nice to be here!”

The 90’s were completely different, most of my music that I listen to now is from the 90’s like Blink, Sum 41, that kind of music.

The music of the 90’s was great. It is just that they totally turned around and stomped on the music of the 80’s.  I loved the androdrogy of it, like I am not a Blokey Bloke, I can be a little wooze and I could go out in real New Romantic Style you could dress yourself up as a prince or a sheep whatever and go to pubs with like-minded people. We could listen to the New Romantic Music and many people have overlooked the fact that it was a release for some people as well, there was a lot of  unemployment, there was the Frazer Government, and the beginning of the Hawk Government. They were not exactly intertwined. The 80’s was such a fun thing to do, all your clothes came from the op shop so they were cheap, you could dress as outrageously as you wanted to and you can put Coca-Cola in the head and make it stiff.  (both laughing)

Classic. I remember dressing up as Madonna a fair bit, the was my thing.

I had a girlfriend that used to wear that bra kind of thing that she wore in Vogue, what was that called?

I don’t know but I know what you mean.

It was really funny, she had a lot of socks in it. (both laughing) and my socks!

So after I watched that video of you I watched the original film clip. I remember that it was shot just after my 13th birthday after the Ash weds fires as they came within a km of my house. Funny the things that stick in my mind.

What sticks into your mind when you think about making that clip?

Let me take you back even further to the writing of the song. It was written on Ash Wednesday, we had a gig at Phillip Island on Ash Wednesday and it is quite a long drive and there is a part of that trip when you getting towards Phillip Island and you can see the water on the right side and it is the first time that you can see across the bay to Lorne in the distance. This was at night and we got to this point and we could just see that Lorne was on fire. It was like oh what is happening, there were not news breaks on the radio at this time. On the way to the gig I had the music that Richard the keyboard player had written and I was listening to it in the back of the car and thinking what I am going to call this song and what I am going to write, this is a really important song, it is going to be our first single. So we did the gig and we finally got home and I had the title in the car on that Ash Wednesday, there were a couple of guys that made the video called the Rich Kids. The first video that they made ‘I have been contemplating suicide’ by the Birthday Party, then they made a sort of Mad Max kind of video and they where the hottest young blokes around and we were happy to work with them. They decided to do Beauty and the Beast and we were going to do it up at Mount Macedon where the fires were. I guess it all worked out perfectly in the end.

Yes it sure did.

Some things about it were, I think about of all the people working on it, the angel is Angela Howard, the sister of Rowland Howard from The Birthday Party. The horse had been in all sorts of Gallipoli films, the horse was quite famous, even before us. There is a little girl in there that shoots an arrow and that’s the girl from Nick Caves song in ‘Dogs in Space’ the movie, the little school girl one. The guy who made the monsters masks was the guitar player from Ice House, Bob Kretschmer and the guy riding the horse I believe was Nick Seymour from Crowded House. The guy who did the makeup won an Oscar for Braveheart!


Then Real Life went on to lesser things.

That is a classic lineup for a music video! (both Laughing)

It was one day at Mount Macedon, two locations, and we were all working our arses off going a bit strange all acting like a pack of idiots in front of the camera. In the end it was a long and pretty good day.

In your opinion why do you think that the 80’s music is so loved and not just by people who lived it? 

I think it was all good music, there were a lot of new technologies that came along, all the sudden there was synthesizers  and we are talking synthesized strange noises not like electronic organ or an electric piano all these things became smaller and more available,  everyone was really excited about the sound. Having all these others textures that you could use, there were synthesizers, there were drum machines if you want to go extremely left of centre. There was also an Australian invention called Fairlight, a digital sampling synthesizer which  really turned everything upside down, you could turn a dog barking into an instrument, it was a really exciting time, it was probably the most exciting time since the 60s when suddenly the Beatles broke out and changed traditional American rock ’n’ roll and English pop music. By the time the 80s came along we had gone through the 70s with heavy music like Led Zeppelin  and Deep Purple and there was new instruments and a new sort of attitude and a really fresh kind of approach to this stuff. All though things that happened and still live on today no matter who you listen to, there are always Synths and guitars and electronic music these days. The songs were great, like Duran Duran, Adam Ant, Depeche Mode, The Cure, David Bowie as well, it was an exciting time. There was Countdown as well.  I mean everybody watch Countdown on a Sunday night.

We certainly did, it was the highlight of my week.

Your whole life changed once you were on Countdown. I have this discussion with a few other guys before, the day after you were on Countdown your life changed forever, all of a sudden everybody knows who you are. Everybody watched Countdown, Mums and Dads, everyone!

We used to have dinner really quickly on Sunday night, then race to the  TV as we were not allowed to eat in front of the TV. Pretty sure my parents cooked Brussel Sprouts as I would eat everything!


I think everyone did it at that stage.

I was driving a cab that day, as I was a part-time cab driver, as we weren’t making any money at that stage.  I was driving around telling everybody I was going to be on countdown tonight.

  (both laughing) I’m pretty sure that people are looking at me thinking oh yeah sure you are.


There are many 80’s bands getting back together and making come back tours. What are your thoughts on Guns and Roses getting back together again?

haha, I am going to do what Limahl did! He laughed. It is fine. Whether you like it or not, when you have had success you are always defined by that initial success, I guess that Guns and Roses are defining themselves now who they are 30 years later like we all are. We made people happy and we made good music, so let’s keep on doing it while we can. Imagine the super egos in that sort of band, it would be awful! It would be awful to be a bloody rock star!

Absolutely! (laughing)

I was having a look at your website and you are donating money to The Palestinian Childrens Relief Fund .

Yes I have been doing that for years and years (small interrupted by Clive, David’s Cat) I have always been very wish they would hurry up and get that all sorted out. Especially for the children, it is shocking what is happening to those kids. I get so upset about it I can’t really talk about it to be honest. You need to be careful what you say as you could get into a lot of trouble, but a good way to draw attention to it is the Children’s fund because it is basically a bunch of international doctors who go and try and help. It is not just the physical damage every time there is an uprising there is mental damage. 

Yes, I like your quote “Stupid Stupid Stupid” about the whole thing.

Yes, I could talk to you all day about it but no.

Fair enough.

Do you use any social media?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

No! I would probably end up photocopying my are and putting it up there and I like my website. I paid for it about 25 years ago and it is mine. I can say what I want  and there is no like this or like that and no stupidity. If I want to be stupid I can and I can do what ever I like. I avoid Facebook, people tell me what is going on and I see celebrities doing stupid things etc.

I spent a fair bit of time last night searching for your Facebook page or twitter!

People try and make me do it but I just draw the line there. I love to promote the shows, I am happy to take to anyone. On my website if people contact me I am happy to reply to them. I know more famous musicians that have people running their Facebook page, it is not them at all! At least people get straight to me on my website.

Your website is very detailed even though it is very simple.

I promising that I will change it, I have not got a gig for a while so I am planning on writing some music and changing that bloody website!

You are still continuing to write music?

Yes, I still call myself Real Life. I  spend all day in my studio, messing about, I guess it is the whole business model has changed these days and if I was making a record I would have to be involved in Facebook or something like that to promote it. Yuk. It is so nice to make music these days without a horse race with other bands. We don’t have record companies, we don’t have managers, we don’t have any of that crap anymore. I like that people want to hear our orders songs. I am in a really happy place, it is nice.


I have this fantasy that I will make a record and just release it on vinyl. so I won’t put it on iTunes. I am a rebel!

My daughter refuses to buy anything but Vinyl. We go to op shops looking for albums, and find some real great ones. it is great as she is 17 and when I was 17 I was only listening to Vinyls.

We then had a great discussion then about Abbey Road, Volkswagens, Paul McCartney being dead.

I finished up by telling David how much I am looking forward to the show and thanked him for his time, as I went way over the allotted time but when it is like chatting to an old friend it is hard not too!

You can’t check David out on social media!

However you can keep up with his news here on his website here.

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