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Philip Oakey of the Human League Thinks They Shouldn't Have Gotten Political

by Paul Cashmere, Noise11

Philip Oakey of The Human League now wonders if getting political with his song ‘The Lebanon’ was a mistake for his band.

The song was written about the Lebanese civil war of the 80s fuelled by the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon in 1982. While the world today is in far worse shape that it was back then, he is in no hurry to make another statement.

“I think the world is so confused that I didn’t even think you can make a statement. I have often wondered if ‘The Lebanon’ was a mistake,” Oakey tells “I’m not so sure groups should do political songs because I write a few lyrics and then one day the drummer is walking along the road and asks him whose side he is on and starts a punch-up. I sort of think that politics is more for solo artists. Anyone who can make sense of what is working in the world today would be doing better than me”.

While it was once common for the stars to make a political statement in song, today's big acts like Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran never do. “The platform for recording music has shrunk and probably that’s people being desperately commercial and not wanting to say much,” Philip says. “I went out and saw a guy called Miles Hunt from The Wonder Stuff the other night, he was doing a pro-immigration song. Britain at the moment is cutting links with Europe. There is that political current but I don’t know if its where people are talking about things. Maybe its in TV that people are doing now”.

The Human League will tour Australia in December and Philip says he has no health concerns after a last minute cancellation in August. For the record Philip did not have a heart attack as rumoured then.

“I had gastroenteritis and it hit when I was in a bus on a way to a show,” he said. “I just suddenly thought I don’t know if I am going to get diarrhea or vomit or twist and I just couldn’t do it. I did feel like I let people down, I’ve got to say. I am actually a pretty healthy person. We hate letting an audience down. There is nothing I like less than that”.

The Human League Australian dates
  • 12/09 - Perth - Perth Arena
  • 12/11 - Adelaide - Thebarton Theatre
  • 12/13 - Melbourne - Palais Theatre
  • 12/15 - Sydney - State Theatre
  • 12/16 - Gold Coast - The Star
  • 12/17 - Brisbane - The Tivoli