With long hair and dark clothes, and perfectly timed deadpan delivery metal drummer turned standup Steve Hughes is an unusual hybrid.
“Music and comedy are both languages beyond words and culture,” he says. “Music is a wonderful thing which is why it’s so disturbing that Simon Cowell’s in charge.”
Music is a gift from the Gods enabling people who don’t speak the same language to resonate on the same vibrational, emotional and cosmic field. They’ve turned it into Happy Meals!”
He’s glad to be doing comedy now though. “I don’t know why I bothered dragging a drum kit around. Too much of a pain in the arse,” he laughs. Relieved of equipment and band members he’s come a long way in his new career. All the way from Australia to Manchester, in fact. “Australia is so isolated. Nothing ever happens. There’s no one there!” He says of his home country.
He’s enjoying the buzz of the UK’s condensed population and constant gigging has established him on the national circuit. He’s been able to cross pollinate metal and comedy audiences who love his no-holds barred material.
On his current tour ‘While It’s Still Legal’ he’s exercising his right to freedom of speech while he still can. “Comedy that pokes fun at the establishment or is portrayed as controversial or offensive will be outlawed eventually,” he claims.
“Political correctness implies that somehow an ideological structure that protects against you ever being victimised is noble. I see it as a form of subjective fascism.”
Hughes doesn’t set out to offend. He just doesn’t try not to. “How arrogant would it be for me to curtail my material by staring at an audience from behind the curtain and making a subjective judgement about their moral basis?” he argues. “I stand in front of the general public most of the year and they’re enjoying it” he insists.
He extends the rant with an attack on what he calls ‘global colonialism.’ “David Cameron says, ‘I want to export gay marriage to the world.’ It’s none of your business if the Middle East have gay marriage, or Jamaica. Your country’s not perfect either.” He considers Stephen Fry’s campaign to get the Winter Olympics banned in Sochi well-meaning but hypocritical. “They had the Olympics in The UK and they illegally went to war in the Middle East. They had them in Australia and they’re one of the most racist countries to their indigenous people on Earth.”
He admits his material is not to everyone’s liking, just as not everyone likes Country music. “I tell audiences, ‘don’t boo or jeer people who leave. They’ve got their own beliefs and ideologies.”
But with several sellout shows on the tour already he must be doing something right. Whether you agree with what Hughes says or not he certainly makes an impact.
Steve Hughes is appearing at Brighton Dome Corn Exchange on October 19th.