Features Interviews NXNE 2011: Men Without Hats - Ivan Doroschuk Without Inhibitions

NXNE 2011: Men Without Hats - Ivan Doroschuk Without Inhibitions

Men Without Hats
Men Without Hats

Interview by: Natalia Buia

It seems every year during the NxNE Festival, there's that one band that have risen above the ashes of the 80's to come rock the socks off of Toronto. This year, NxNE embraced both Devo and Men Without Hats with open arms.

The latter band hasn't quite found its way back into the charts since 1987 with their album Pop Goes The World. June 18, 2011 marked the night Men Without Hats would reunite to bring pop back into our world. With hats on.

Lead singer Ivan Doroschuk, now at the tender age of 49, has spent the last decade being a stay-at-home dad in Victoria, British Columbia. The idea of reuniting the band to play the most wanted off the Men Without Hats catalogue was highly appealing.

"It's nice to see that we have some influence on the sound of today. Every time I turn on the radio I hear 80's influence on music that's happening today. It gave me the cue that the timing is right," says Ivan.

Having been 30 some odd years since he’s danced the safety dance, Ivan sincerely appreciates the new legion of fans that have discovered his music through shows like Glee, The Simpsons and even movies like Hot Tub Time Machine.

"My eight-year-old son found out about me through Crazy Frog doing the safety dance on the Disney channel," he admits.

Hundreds of townies and tourists filled out Yonge and Dundas Square last Saturday night to catch their once beloved Canadian band rock out again. Many weren't expecting any new material. Judging from the atmosphere, the audience just wanted to be taken back to 1982, when the band released their first studio album.

"We didn't go into this project with the goal of making a new record. We went in with the goal of doing a Greatest Hits tour," Ivan says.

The crowd was treated to such popular songs like "Living in China" and "Antarctica". Since Ivan has been tending to family matters for many, many years, he says he feels detached enough to now start singing such old tunes again with passion and enjoyment.

"Being in the band again has sparked my creative juices and I'm writing stuff as if I've picked up exactly where I've left off 20 years ago," he says, hinting that the band may be stepping back in the studio at some point in the new year.

For now, Men Without Hats are without borders as they plan to continue their reunion tour throughout Canada and in the States where they'll join forces with quintessential 80's bands The Human League and The B-52s starting in August.

Ivan says there's only one thing on his mind when out on the road now.

"The main agenda is to have fun. So far, that's worked for us."