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The Rich and Famous

Five minutes with the Gold Coast rockers.

The Gold Coast is set to rock out this weekend with Under the Southern Stars making its way to Broadwater Parklands headlined by the big man himself, Jimmy Barnes.

Local band The Rich and Famous will perform alongside Ian Moss, Diesel and Richard Clapton, bringing what’s sure to be a banger of a concert to the Coast.

We sat down for a chat with Jeffrey Hoad, the bands front man, on touring with rock royalty KISS and their plan for world domination.

How long have you guys been Gold Coast locals?
Long enough to remember silly cycles, the magic mountain chairlift and the mecca of all live music venues ever on the Gold Coast – THE PLAYROOM.

What do you love most about living here?
We love that we live “on the Gold Coast” as opposed to in the Gold Coast. That distinction only comes from years of experience and commitment to ever-changing road works. If I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand. How’s that for cryptic?

How did The Rich and Famous Band come about?
Coming off the end of my previous band Kings of the Sun, The Rich and Famous was conceived as a way for us to immediately jump the queue of hard work and paying dues in the music scene. I had wasted the best years of my youth as a struggling artist in creative angst and thought deception and lies seemed to work well. Everybody is transfixed by this thing called fame so we reinvented ourselves, added a few extra credentials and have been operating illegally on seven continents ever since.

What can we expect from your performance at Under the Southern Stars?
I would say an organic musical eargasm. We play au naturale which means our music is cooked in the pot there on the stage, not prepared earlier. Add a little abominable showmanship to the mix plus the staples of colour and movement and you should leave well satisfied.

What was it like to tour with KISS?
Very surreal, they treated us well and really liked our show. Standing next to them backstage before they went on was like a fantasy movie come to life.

Tell us about the major highlights in your music career…
I have always been a rock n roll devotee and getting to record in studios like Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios in New York and the Record Plant A&M in Santa Monica California, in the same place as many of the greats recorded their music (AC/DC, Prince, U2, Sound Garden, Blondie and Sting to name a few) seems to last longer than any live gig. It’s like Dave Grohl’s Sound City documentary, you somehow feel you are part of that rare group of people even if you aren’t as well known.

What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
World Domination. We set out to catch and release some new fans, and then we would like to go on a world tour and make millions of dollars, which we will then give away to charity. In all seriousness, we will be recording a new album this year…all the songs are written and the riffs are down. Anyone got a studio?

Got any life advice for us?
If you learn the guitar and you keep playing, you’ll have a friend for life.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Beach: Miami
Cafe: The Pantry, Burleigh Heads
Restaurant: Kiyomi at The Star Gold Coast – I love Japanese food.
How do your weekends usually look: I don’t make breakfast (you’ll find me at The Pantry breaking the fast), I don’t drive too far, eat, drink and be merry!

Billy Cross

He’s the Coast’s very own Manpower star turned nightclub owner and entertainment guru and now, local legend Billy Cross is in the business of six-star rooftop bars.

Billy has joined forces with The Star Gold Coast and Hellenika’s Simon Gloftis to bring the Gold Coast a next-level (literally) restaurant and lounge bar with sweeping city views and a sense of sophistication the likes of which our city has never seen.

We chat with Billy about what we can expect from the game changing venue and how he’s gone from King of the glitter strip to co-creator of what he calls the best rooftop bar in Australia.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve lived here for 35 years; I came up quite young so I’m a true Maroons supporter, and I’ve lived here long enough to qualify.

What are your thoughts on the Coast’s growing entertainment scene?
I suppose the thing I love most about being in the entertainment and food industries is seeing how they’ve changed. 10 years ago we had cafes and a restaurant here and there but now when you look at what we have, especially from Broadbeach to Burleigh, there are some absolutely amazing establishments. That’s the part that’s excited me most. 10 years ago you could go to one or two restaurants that were quite good but now there are so many options and so many amazing operators that have really put us on that national level.

What do you love most about living here?
Where I started and created my business was with the Manpower show – Thunder Down Under – which is in Vegas now but also travels the world. I had an opportunity to live and bring my family up in the US but I didn’t because I’ve always loved living on the Coast and everything our city offers. I then got into the nightclub and festival industries, started Summafieldayze and am now involved in events so when you look at those businesses, the Gold Coast is probably one of the best places in the world to work but there’s also a relaxed lifestyle where you can bring up a family. We also have the best beaches in the world and the hinterland, the Coast offers so much. We’re quite spoilt.

Tell us about your latest project at The Star Gold Coast, what can we expect?
It’s going to be a lounge bar, there’ll be a pool and an amazing restaurant. I think Simon and I together are just a dynamic force. In the late 90s I ran the nightclub strip in Surfers when it was powering. I got out of the industry and thought I was done but being asked by The Star to get on board with this investment was so exciting for me. What we’re going to create is not just something the Gold Coast will love but also something that will appeal to people Australia-wide and all over the world. Having a rooftop at The Star Gold Coast is going to be incredible, it’s a serious player and I think it’s going to be the best rooftop bar in Australia. It’s gotten me so excited to get back into the industry. It’ll be a place for the over 25s market to really enjoy. I’ve been involved with it now for the past two years and we’ve needed this on the Coast for a long time. We’ve got some great places but this one is going to be a six-star tower, a really classy place.

How do you think the venue will change the Gold Coast’s entertainment scene?
What it will create is a very high-end restaurant that’s going to have one of the best views on the Gold Coast. As a lounge and bar experience it will have an amazing atmosphere of pure class. You can come up and relax with a beautiful view, enjoy some amazing drinks and some cool old school music. It will have an edgy but classy feel, which I think is something we don’t really have at the moment.

How did you and Simon come up with the idea for something so extravagant?
It was collaboration of course. A big part of the design and the creation was between Simon, myself and The Star. They’ve got an amazing team of people on board and that makes our job easier. It was just everyone putting in their ideas and their two cents to see what it became. For the last five years it’s been something I’ve touched on. For those over 25, after you go to dinner, where do you go? This is going to be a place where of course the restaurant will be busy too, but it will be somewhere you can also go after dinner to have a lounge experience. I feel like this will be the place to go to dress up, enjoy drinks with your friends or partner and have a great time. The bar will be open until 3am so you can go and have a dance after dinner, which is something I think we really need here.

When will we find out the name?
The name will come out in the next couple of weeks; we’ve got a big campaign starting soon. To show people photos just doesn’t do it justice, I can’t wait for people to experience it. 

You’ve done so much throughout your career, what have been the highlights?
I’m quite fortunate that I’ve had such a great career in the entertainment industry. When I built my first club, the Berlin Lounge Bar, back in the late 90s we were one of the first to bring house music to the Gold Coast so that was definitely one of the highlights. Creating Summafieldayze was a highlight because there was only Big Day Out back then. Having a diverse career in entertainment, from running a successful show in Vegas to the nightclub industry to creating one of the biggest festivals in SE QLD and now being involved in what’s going to be one of the best restaurant and lounge bars in Australia, I can’t complain. The highlights keep coming.

Any chance you might want to bring us another local music festival?
We’ve always talked about that. I’m involved with the Hangout Festival called Sand Tunes on Coolangatta Beach which will happen on December 1st and 2nd this year so that’s going to be huge. The guys that run Hangout Festival in Alabama have a great lineup so that will be quite diverse and exciting for the Gold Coast. It will have that Splendour and Falls feel and will be a great tourism push for the southern Gold Coast.

Best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Do what you love and love what you do. A lot of people in this world will tell you, you can’t do something but you’ve just got to believe in yourself.
Being a Gold Coast local we have to ask your favourites on the Coast…
Beach: We usually go down to First Ave in Broadbeach but I do love Currumbin, you can’t really beat it
Cafe: BlendLove, Goji Bar in Clear Island Waters and I definitely love Elk Espresso
Restaurant: Definitely Hellenika is my favourite
How does your weekend usually look? My weekend is usually spent with the kids who are right into their basketball at the moment. I’m quite involved in that and the Gold Coast Rollers basketball team, I love my basketball and I love my Titans aswell. I spend a lot of time at Riverstage at the moment too.

Morgan Walsh

She’s the brains behind two of your favourite local venues, Bonita Bonita and Poké Poké, and now the busiest gal on the Gold Coast is at it again.

Get excited gang, Morgan Walsh is opening a Chinese diner called FuFu and it’s going to blow your minds. It’ll taking up the (rather large) Mermaid Beach space where Burger Fuel, Bernie’s and Ashby Bines Clean Eating Kitchen once lived.

We sat down for a chat about Chinese bento boxes and in-your-face pink velvet.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
It has been nearly 12 years now, time goes so quickly these days. I moved over here from Auckland because I’m not really a big city girl. I like the sun, the beach, warm weather and I think once you get a taste of this lifestyle, it’s hard to go back to the hustle and bustle when you can do the same things in a beautiful place. 

What do you love most about living here?
Definitely the lifestyle, it’s just so relaxing. I think being in this industry, there are lots of great opportunities to open venues that have a point of difference and suit the Gold Coast market. Gold Coasters have a certain style; you don’t really find places like Poké Poké in Melbourne and Sydney. People like that restaurant vibe here so it works perfectly with the style of businesses and direction I want to go in.

Tell us about your latest venue, FuFu…
Yes FuFu. Originally the idea was to go Chinese but you always start somewhere and things change. It’s now more of a Chinese diner in style. The fit out is going to be a little bit crazy, definitely in your face and will definitely stand out from the crowd. There’s lots of great modern Asian inspired restaurants already, so rather than compete with that market, I want this to be in the same vein as Poké Poké with that casual feel to it where you can walk off the beach and come grab a quick bite. Nothing fancy just really laid back and fast food made friendly. So the food will be things like bao burgers and cheeseburger spring rolls and a little play on bento boxes. So Chinese style bento boxes which will be a meal for one that has say sweet and sour pork, wonton, fried rice and all as a package, so you don’t have to share and at a really good price. Dining has gotten so expensive so having places that people can come to more often is where I want my businesses to head. We’re going to have Chinese inspired cocktails and some ridiculous milkshakes, all in the same diner vein.

Your venue interiors are always beautifully quirky, any insight on what FuFu will look like?
Think pink velvet because I like the ridiculous. We’ve got a really beautiful service window so we’ll be bringing that out into the middle of the seating area and it’s all very casual. So you’ll go up to order and it will be similar to what you’d see at a market stall. There’ll also be a really beautiful spot to take a photo.

Why Chinese?
All my food tends to lead back to Asian influences. I’ve always wanted to do an old school type of Chinese restaurant. Growing up in New Zealand we always used to go to a little local takeaway and it had all your dirty classics. I didn’t really feel like anyone was doing that style of venue so it’s very much going to play on my childhood. It will be old-school Chinese dishes made funky and fresh.

What inspires you to come up with such unique ideas?
I have a crazy brain. I want to do things other people aren’t doing so I see ideas from lots of different places and try to mould them to fit food that I can cook and food that I think will suit Gold Coast people and what they’ll like. You always start somewhere and it ends up taking a different direction. I thought a Chinese diner was definitely something no one else was doing so let’s do it.

How did your foray into the restaurant biz come about?
I’ve grown up in the industry, my parents have always had little cafes and restaurants back home in Auckland. It was never something I grew up wanting to be as a kid but I got stuck doing it and realised I’m okay at it so I’ve run with it. It’s really rewarding building something and watching it grow from scratch and I’m really proud of all the styles of venues I’ve opened but being in the restaurant game made me realise other passions and things I want to get into too. This will definitely be the last restaurant, there’s no more.

What are your thoughts on the Coast’s rapidly growing foodie scene?
Four years ago when Bonita opened there really wasn’t too much around which is why I got the idea. I wanted the style of venue people my age could go to that was affordable, casual and fun. Since Bonita days, the growth has been a bit crazy. It’s great because it always forces you to stay on your game and you can’t ever become complacent. It forces you to always be better and be pushing to try new things. Competition is good for everyone I think.

Best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
I think these days what probably resonates more is having balance. It’s good to be driven and want to achieve more but to have down time and really appreciate that is important too. Life isn’t a competition but as you get older you realise you don’t have anything to prove. For me, this year is definitely about down time, spending more time at home, cooking at home, going to the beach more and having more of a life. Just finding some balance.

Being a Gold Coast local, we have to ask your favourites…
Café: I love All Time Coffee, Background – I’ve started going there heaps and they’re really lovely people and Alfred’s has been one of my favourites since day one.
Other than Bonita, I love the crew down at 8th Ave Terrace, they do everything so well
Beach: I live in Mermaid Beach so that’s definitely my favourite
How does your weekend usually look: Really busy. My weekends are usually Monday and Tuesday, which is nice because there are usually less people around and it’s a little bit more chill. I prefer to be at work on the busier days, I like it when it’s chaotic

Mitch Crews

He’s the local lad best known for his pro surfer status but Mitch Crews is a guy with his fingers in a few pies. Strange saying that one but let’s move on.

Recently he, along with his mum and sister, opened West Brew Coffee in Tweed Heads, bringing their passion for beans to the quality-coffee-starved southern folks.

We sat down for a chat with Mitch about caffeine, living the salty life and qualifying for the 2018 World Series.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I moved up here when I was about 14 with my family and I’m 28 this year so awhile. I was born on the Sunny Coast but I’ve been in Currumbin ever since.

What do you love most about living here?
For me obviously being a surfer, the good waves, the warm weather, I think the Coast pretty much has everything you need in terms of living a quality lifestyle. You’ve got the great beaches, the awesome hinterland and a great nightlife and café culture developing now. You can’t really beat that. I’m fortunate enough to travel a lot through what I do but coming home, I feel like this is the best place I could live.

How’d you go in the Burleigh Pro on the weekend?
I got quarters so I guess that’s fifth. It was good fun, I was a bit disappointed I didn’t go further but it’s all good. For the past few years, the conditions haven’t been that good but this year was one of the better years. It’s a great event, I’m glad they have it, it’s always a bit of fun.

How did this pro surfing thing come about for you?
I started doing it when I was 10 but nothing was ever really planned. I surfed every day, mornings before school and after school and slowly but surely it evolved into competing then I got noticed by brands and sponsored and it just sort of happened. I’ve been really fortunate.

You had a massive set back a couple of years ago; can you tell us about that?
In 2009 I was 19 and had some really bad pain in my lower back, swelling that kind of came up abruptly in my wrists and ankles, it was really strange. I thought I’d injured myself but in the end I was diagnosed with a type of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is inflammation in the spine and sacrum. It was a bit of a shock because obviously I need to use my body to do what I do. It was strange to go through that journey of figuring out how to fix it but I got on a good routine and found a way to combat it. That was eight years ago now and I went on to a have pretty successful career after that so it was a blessing in disguise really. At first the doctors said I wouldn’t be surfing and I don’t think they realised the magnitude of what that meant to me, which was everything. I was pretty determined to prove that wrong. It took about six months but I did the last year of the junior series and ended up winning that year. It was a really cool, eye-opening experience.

How did it change your approach to surfing and life in general?
I’ve always looked after myself, I’m into holistic lifestyle training so it just opened my perspective a bit more and taught me not take things for granted so much. Obviously when you’re in your early twenties you want to go out and carry on with everyone but it made me a bit more mindful of the bigger picture and being able to do whatever I want to do every day, which is surf.

What do you get up to around here when there’s no waves?
I recently opened a coffee shop with my mum and sister so that little side project has been keeping me busy. I like to go out to the hinterland and shut off every now and then. I think that’s really important right now, everyone’s so wound up so it’s good to go chill. I do travel a lot as well but it’s looking like I’m going to be around home a bit longer than usual early this year so I’m stoked about that.

Tell us about West Brew Coffee…
I’ve always loved the coffee culture and when I’m not surfing I spend most of my time around cafes drinking coffee with friends. An opportunity came up where a little space down in Tweed West was available and I thought it would be nice to bring the coffee culture to that area. I don’t really have the experience in hospitality but my sister and mum were very passionate about getting involved. I’m good friends with Nick Pearce at Blackboard so I decided to open up a little coffee shop. We’ve had a great response from the local community and everyone’s really excited. Also with KC opening Hymn down the road, I think it’s brought a lot of attention to the area now. It’s so beautiful down there and it hasn’t really been recognised. In Tweed West there’s some of the most beautiful waterfront property you can get and I think it’s got lots of potential to be a nice new suburb for young families to move down too. It’s been an awesome experience, I’m learning every day about coffee and what people want.

Most importantly, what kind of food can we eat there?
We do a small breakfast menu, we’ve got this Brew Muesli dish, it’s got coconut cream, with Paleo activated muesli rather than your stock standard that’s everywhere else. Basically the philosophy we’re trying to go by is supporting local farmers surrounding the area so like Piggabeen, Murwillumbah, Kingscliff and we’re trying to use organic produce where we can. I’m a really big believer in supporting local. I got to meet some farmers from around the area who are doing it all the right ways, all organic and it’s really cool to see. They’re doing business the old way but they’re really passionate about their products and it gets me so psyched.

What’s the plan for 2018?
This is the first year that I don’t have everything fully structured. I’m going to a few of the Qualifying Series events so I’ll be jetting off the Japan and South Africa just before June. I’m doing a bit more free surfing stuff, maybe some video projects for magazines. No real huge goal for the World Tour but the next month has a bunch of Australian events that I’m doing so that’ll dictate if I’m going to have a good hard slog at the QS. It’s exciting, I’m so fortunate to get to do what I do and being involved with the coffee shop is really exciting, I’ve found this new passion.

Got any life advice for us?
I definitely live every day to it’s fullest. I believe you’ve only got the one moment to shine so there’s no use in taking the safe road.

Your favourites on the Coast…
Surf break: I’m into Burleigh at the moment; my last few surfs there have been really fun
Café: Obviously West Brew but I live in Tugun at the moment so I do regular Good Day coffee a lot
Restaurant: I like The Collective, I think what’s happening in Palmy right now is awesome. I like baskk in Kirra and Justin Lane is always fun
How does your weekend usually look: Over the holidays I found myself going to all the places I just listed a bit but recently it’s just been surfing a lot because the waves have been really good. I’ll usually hit Currumbin Markets on a Saturday morning then no doubt surf, hang out at my house and have a few mellow beers in the afternoon, nothing too complex

Photos 2 and 5 via Surfing Queensland.

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