MARC HUNTER  1953 - 1998

"I'll miss you, Marc"

Writing about a person you have known, admired, been loved by, hurt by, taught by, let down by, been infuriated with, puzzled by, saddened by and created absolute magic with, is a task I don't rise to so well.

    Marc Hunter was a person who was never predictable, never boring and when he sang from his heart, there was no one who had a tone and sincerity like him. I am sure he was not even aware himself of how beautifully he sang.

    I recall when I first joined Dragon, in the vocal warm-ups before the show we sang old R 'n' B, everyone harmonising together. It was a soul-stirring experience for me. Marc could sing everything from Sinatra to Prince, and even some great western themes. He loved good singers and could often be heard singing at the top of his voice to a Sinatra tape in the car as we pulled up for another Dragon gig.

    I first got to know Marc and his brother Todd on the "Body and the Beat" tour in 1984. At that time, I was playing drums with Sharon O'Niell. I watched Dragon every night. They were a strong band with great songs and Marc's showmanship and charisma were irresistible. The crowd sang along with every song. I knew then that I wanted to work with them. It was 4.30am, I was walking through the streets of Kings Cross on the way to get a cab home. I happened to glance into the window of a restaurant and there was Marc and another Dragon member, Paul Hewson, tucking into a huge meal. Marc waved me in and put his arms around me and squeezed me strongly. He said "Thomaso, come and join us." We shared a couple of glasses of red wine and they asked me to join the band. I said yes immediately and gave them my phone number. I was aware of his reputation as a heroin user, but I could see that he must have won that battle. Unfortunately Paul Hewson did not.

    When Marc met his wife, Wendy Heather, I remember how happy he was. However the picture was not always perfect. There were nights when he would drink too much, he would get agressive and lose the plot. That is when Todd and I looked across at each other in dissapointment as the show crumbled around us - nothing we could do could save it. So we would just stay away from him after the show. He was a caged animal, a spoiled child, an uncontrollable monster and yet, at times, as soft and caring as a person could be. Kind gregarious, and cruel.

    With Marc, I feel his life could have gone on forever but for the influences of drugs and alcohol. I have been down that road and would admit that it is still an every day battle to put it behind you. If Marc had never abused himself I wonder what would have happened? We can only speculate.

    Some people like Marc have a flame that just burns so brightly they are restless and insatiable. They are relaxed, yet on the edge at the same time. They do not know that to survive long term, the flame must become a pilot light, that can be turned up when it is needed but must remain under control.

    My fondest memory of Marc was on the day of my birthday, May 31, 1987, when we were on tour with Tina Turner. We had a couple of days off in Paris. None of us were flush with money, especially Marc and Wendy. I'll never forget when they handed me a small present. As I opened up the gift, I was genuinely happy with a really nice pair of socks. He obviously could not come to terms with not being able to shower me with gifts - that's the kind of generous person he was. I still love the socks and I still love Marc and Wendy.

    There are so many stories I could tell, but I think I would like you to know that Marc Hunter and Dragon were some of the most important people in the music industry. They gave Australia and New Zealand a taste of what good songs, good singing, playing and in-your-face attitude is all about.

    Marc, I thank you for all your music, for the thousands of performances, and for all the miles we travelled. You'll always be in our hearts and minds.

Tommy Emmanuel

This article in its entirely appeared in the "Advertiser" newspaper 20th July 98.

For more information on Marc Hunter & Dragon visit this site: Goldmine

This page created 21st July 1998

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