STACK‘s Roving Reporter stops in at JB Hi-Fi Morayfield (QLD) to chat music with Music Coordinator Simon Hempenstall.
If Simon Hempenstall wins Powerball, he isn’t going to buy a solid gold house. “Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to work so I could just sleep all day and go to gigs all night,” the Music Coordinator smiles. “It’s the best thing, man: live music.”
That’s not to say he doesn’t adore his job; Simon has been with JB for 16 years, and worked across four stores. The scene has complemented his love of live music over that time, with one of his most recent accomplishments being seeing Cher twice in 12 months, in two different countries. “I was in Vegas in November last year and I got to see her there – that was incredible,” he says. “72 years old! I never thought in a million years she’d be in Australia less than a year later. She brought the whole kit out, she changed outfits 10 or 11 times during the show, all sorts of different wigs, different costumes, different stage sets. It was just ridiculous – pure entertainment. And to hear [Turn Back Time] live? It’s pretty rockin’, great fun. Wish she played it twice! She was killer.”
Simon currently works at JB Morayfield in Queensland, and the clientele matches his own musical loves pretty closely. “We’re very much in the classic rock vein,” he says. “A lot of Zeppelin and Queen, Guns N’ Roses, Kiss, Iron maiden, Cold Chisel. I could name a million of ’em! That’s the kind of DNA out this way.” He’s not surprised the Cold Chisel Best-Of has topped the vinyl chart (see right) this month. “At the end of the day, it’s all about good songs,” he says. “Let’s face it: if it’s a good song it transcends decades. Most of the songs on that Chisel Best-Of are 40 years old. And the fact that people still love them and still listen to them? It’s testament to the fact that it’s great music.”
Simon’s #1 band is Kiss, and his top solo artist is Prince – and the most beloved two LPs in his personal collection reflect those favourites. “The very first record I ever owned was an album called Kiss Unmasked – I was six years old. And secondly, probably Prince’s Purple Rain. I know, I know: completely classic and very, very old school! But at the same time, bloody awesome.”