David Campbell


David Campbell is one of the busiest men in Australian entertainment. In between preparing for his new morning talk show and rehearsing for his upcoming national concert LET'S GO tour, David found time to talk to Australian Stage Online.



David CampbellCongratulations on the Let's Go album. It's sounds like it would have been a joy to make.
Thanks. Let's Go was such a labour of love. The album is full of great songs from the eighties. It was made to be a party album. That was the plan from the start. I wanted something completely different from the On Broadway album. We just wanted to have a great time. Mix it up a bit. We added a big band sound to some tracks and strings to others.

What was your life like in the early eighties?
So much was happening. At the time I was finding out about who my dad actually was (Jimmy Barnes). And I was living with my Nan and my aunty and they were very British. They introduced me to awesome UK bands like Madness and Duran Duran. I was very influenced by them. I guess that's partly why we recorded so many British pop songs. Also the album was a little dedication to (my wife) Lisa. Each song we recorded for Let's Go brings back certain vivid memories of my childhood.

Do you have any contact with any of the original artists?
No unfortunately, I don't have any connection to the artists. I wish I did. I've admired them all for a long time. On the Broadway album, it was great to work with one of the composers (Stephen Schwartz).

Which song was the most fun to record?
Tainted Love was probably the easiest to record. It was a blast and we did it in about two or three takes. The two tracks that were the hardest work, were I'm Your Man and Come on Eileen. They took days to record. But I love the different time and tempo changes those songs included. And we added fuller sound layers to the recordings.

I loved that I can understand the lyrics of some of these songs for the first time. Did you find any revelations when you choose the songs?
Come on Eileen was the only song that caused a few surprises. I finally realised what he was singing about. A dirty young man, coming back to his hometown. Trying to pick up a young girl.

You have referred to something in the Eighties called Suit Rock. Was this to do with the music?
No, it was more about the clothes. All these guys were wearing suits at the time. Spandau Ballet, Dan Hartman, Wang Chung. It just seemed the cool thing to do. They had a cool Miami Vice type attitude. Stylish. Huey Lewis did it very well. I don't think Robert Palmer or Hall & Oates would have the same success these days. With the focus on youth these days, they would be seen to be too old. I think that's a pity. There was a legit respect for these songwriters at the time.

The Let's Go tour kicks off very soon – what can we expect?
We are going all out. For the first time I have hired a set designer. Should be fantastic. Like Countdown Spectacular sort of feel and all the band are in costumes. We are dressed in all white and neon colours. It's very bright and very out there. We have quite a big band, for the capital cities especially. Two brass, five core members of the band. And the wonderful Josie Lane doing vocals. It's going to be a full and large sounding show. And it's going to look sensational!
We are travelling extensively through to July. The songs will be predominately 80's classics. It's sort of a themed based show. Towards the end we are going to throw in some Good Lovin stuff, a little bit off Swing Sessions and some Shout. But about three quarters of the night is going to be eighties stuff. Reminiscing on not only my life back then, but all of our memories.

What do you look forward to when you go on tour?
I like getting out there and watch people hearing the new songs. And singing the stuff live. Every show is different. I think it's something I get from my theatre background too. That even though you may have a structure to the lineup, the audience brings something to each show. I love that. It makes it ever more exciting. There's never a dull moment.

After three years as Artistic Director of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, was it hard to call it a day?
I think it is always hard to say goodbye to something that is all-encompassing. We were exhausted by the end of it. Lisa and I had a child in the middle of the three year tenureship. And I continued to tour and make albums. And our production company Luckiest Productions started to take off as well. It was time for us to let go of it. And it was time for the Festival for us to let go, so it could continue on in another way. We are so grateful for the opportunity of doing it. I can't wait to see what Kate's vision is.

And what projects does Luckiest Productions have in the pipeline?
We are continuing with a revamp of Britney Spears The Cabaret with Christie Whelan. It's just finished an extended Melbourne and Brisbane season, and will be playing in Sydney (Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre 15-25 Feb). Gillian Cosgriff is also starting her tour, doing the same dates and venues in Brisbane and Sydney before launching into the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. We are also looking forward to working with Bert Labonte again with When I Fall In Love. We have started Luckiest Records and produced Gillian's first EP. So we are continuing to work with artists and trying to make shows up. Really it's Lisa's baby now and she has taken the reigns of Luckiest Productions. Lisa and Richard Carroll are taking it out to the world. I have just started co-hosting with Sonia Kruger on Mornings on the Nine Networks. The next six months are going to be a thrilling ride.


David Campbell LET'S GO Tour. Further details»


Most read features

Zuleika Khan

Welcome to the first in a series of interviews, Artists in Isolation, our first guest is cabaret superstar and front-line worker Zuleika Khan who shares her experiences as a theatre maker stuck in isolation and a nurse protecting the community.

Kearna Philpott

This week, Heather Bloom chats to professional dancer, Kearna Philpott who was on board the RCCL Spectrum of the Seas when the pandemic began.

Jake Matricardi

This week Heather Bloom chats to Jake Matricardi, an usher for the Marriner Group on his thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis unfolding in the theatre world.

Petra Kalive

After five years as Artistic Director of Union House Theatre, Petra Kalive joined Australia’s oldest professional theatre company in early 2020 having previously directed BeachedMelbourne Talam and Hungry Ghosts for the Company.

James Zala

As we continue our series investigating how artists and the arts industry is coping throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I travel (virtually of course) to the UK and speak with Flying Director James Zala from Flying by Foy.

Most read news

Cirque du Soleil postpones Melbourne performances

Cirque du Soleil has decided to postpone Melbourne performances of its show KURIOS until 15 April, 2020

Adelaide Festival Centre COVID-19 update

Following the declaration of a Public Health Emergency in South Australia, Adelaide Festival Centre venues will close to the public and all performances will be suspended from midnight until the 30th of April.

Theatre Works to Close Until May

In response to the unfolding health situation, Theatre Works have made the difficult but necessary decision to temporarily close our venue until 1 May.

Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2020 cancelled

Scheduled to be programmed this winter, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF) in its current form will be cancelled in response to ongoing developments regarding the threat of COVID-19.

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour cancelled

Opera Australia has regretfully cancelled the upcoming Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, La Traviata, in line with the government ban on static public gatherings of more than 500 people to try to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Sign up for our newsletter

* indicates required