Pop legend focused on state's forests

HE'S DUE to grace Tasmanian stages next month, but it is the status of our World Heritage forests that has Leo Sayer's immediate attention.

The former British pop star, who became an Australian citizen in 2009, said it was his duty to speak out against the federal government's plan to delist 74,000 hectares of protected forest, suggesting that preservation would reap greater rewards for the state in the long run.

``It distresses me to see that our esteemed Prime Minister sees it fit to let the loggers go crazy down there,'' Sayer said. 

``I love Tasmania. I've been right down the bottom, seen it all. The forests are just mega. They are huge. 

``It is an example that we've got to start appreciating the wildernesses we've got. 

``We want to make sure we've got a great country for our kids - and also because that's why a lot of people want to come here.''

Sayer has form when it comes to environmental commentary, recruiting an all-star cast to record an anti-coal seam gas number,  No Fracking Way,  last December. 

The song was penned in support of the organisation Lock The Gate, and featured the likes of Doc Neeson, Steve Balbi of Noiseworks, Deni Hines, Jeff Duff, Mark Gable of Choirboys, Kevin Borich and Jade Hurley, along with Casey Burgess, Mitch Anderson, Connor Cleary, Alex Gibson, Graham Wilson and Jarmb-Jo Githabul.

``Yes, fracking is a nasty business: it is a bit of unnecessary greed,'' Sayer said. 

``Australians are always going to support mining, and we've got some very useful minerals, but to dig them up willy-nilly, using nasty chemicals and impact on our water supply - it just seems  sheer madness.''

Sayer is well known to Australian crowds, having toured more than 40 times since his golden run of the 1970s  before deciding to become a permanent resident. 

He hit fame in the UK with his second single  The Show Must Go On  in 1973, while in 1977 he had number one hits with  You Make Me Feel Like Dancing  and  When I Need You . 

He will play alongside fellow veterans Richard Clapton, Joe Camilleri and Russell Morris in Launceston and Hobart as part of the APIA Good Times Tour series, with an extra show added in Launceston to cater for demand. 

``Last year Jo (Camilleri) toured with Daryl Braithwaite, James Reyne and Ross Wilson, and I heard they had an absolute ball,'' Sayer said. 

``So the idea of forming another   collective was a really good idea. 

``We've all got a million stories behind us.'' 

Sayer said he was particularly looking forward to performing for the ``oldies'' in the audience who are proud of their musical heritage. 

``I'm 66 in May, and I know there are plenty of oldies like me out there who still love to dance and have a good time,'' he said.

``I think my generation  stands for music lovers, and that is the principle behind the tour. 

``The success of people like the  Rolling Stones and  Bruce Springsteen proves that we are  very proud of our music heritage. And we want to show it.''

WHAT:  APIA Good Times Tour featuring Leo Sayer, Richard Clapton, Joe Camilleri and Russell Morris. 

 WHEN:  May 9 and 11, Country Club Tasmania; May 10, Wrest Point Casino.

 COST:  From $74.50 via http://tixtas.com.au/. (May 11 show sold out.)

Email adruce@examiner.com.au or Twitter @AlexDruce1987 

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