It’s safe to dance

Popular 80s group Men Without Hats play Kingston with new album

Men Without Hats had huge success in the 80s with hit songs “Safety Dance” and “Pop Goes the World.”
Men Without Hats had huge success in the 80s with hit songs “Safety Dance” and “Pop Goes the World.”
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Photo: 

While some bands may become increasingly frustrated if they’re defined by their greatest hit, Men Without Hats is just the opposite.

Frontman Ivan Doroschuk said the fact that his hit song “Safety Dance” is still so popular today makes him smile.

“I love it, man. Just the smile on people’s faces when we play it, that could keep me going forever,” he said.

It seems things haven’t changed too much for the creators of “Safety Dance,” Men Without Hats, since the 80s — and that’s the way they like it.

“For me it’s a blessing. To have people remember me for ‘Safety Dance’ and ‘Pop Goes the World,’ it takes a lot of pressure off. It’s freed me up to do what I want,” Doroschuk said.

It’s incredible to me that such hits are still relevant today.

“I was just sent a video of an Argentinian football stadium where there was 80,000 people singing ‘Pop Goes the World, and it’s a soccer chant. I’ve got a nine-year-old son, and he found out about safety dance through the Disney channel.”

While the band will always be known for its beloved roots, that doesn’t mean Men Without Hats isn’t coming out with new music. In fact, you might be interested to hear of the band’s unorthodox methods.

“I was sitting in the back of the bus and I started putting down ideas on my iPad in garage band. By the end of the tour, I had a dozen songs ready to go,” he said.

Fortunate for fans of the classic sound, the band knows what they’re good at, and they’ve stuck with it.

“We tried to make a record with a sound that was like it was made a week after we came out with ‘Safety Dance.’ We went back and got the same gear, and last year we played one of the songs at a show, and only the really die hard fans could tell it was a new song,” he said.

It seems Doroschuk had the right idea.

“One of the best comments I’ve heard about our new record is that we didn’t try and re-invent the wheel, we didn’t come out with a dub-step record. We stick to what we know,” he continued.

But you might be surprised to know, however, that there is another dimension to Doroschuk’s musical influence.

“I was classically trained. My mother was a voice teacher at McGill University for 25 years,” he said.

Men Without Hats plays the Merchant Tap House on Nov. 14 at 8 p.m.

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