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Where are Men at Work Now?

Formed in Melbourne in 1979, the band quickly earned a loyal audience at home, leading the group to sign a record contract with CBS Records Australia, which in turn issued its debut effort, Business as Usual, in 1981. Released the following year in the U.S., the album's lead single, "Who Can It Be Now?", hit the No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 on Oct. 30, 1982, and would spend a total of 27 weeks on the chart.


Men at Work founder and vocalist-guitarist Colin Hay would reunite the band on a few different occasions following their break-up, but never with the complete lineup -- Hay, multi-instrumentalist Greg Ham, guitarist Ron Strykert, drummer Jerry Speiser and bassist John Rees -- from the group's most successful era. The current incarnation of the band touts Hay as the sole original member.


So whatever happened to the members of Men at Work? Let's take a look and find out:


Colin Hay

Following the break-up of Men at Work, Hay dove head-first into a career as a solo artist and has gone on to release a dozen critically-acclaimed efforts, including his most recent full-length, Now and the Evermore.

Hay would also land a number of roles on television, namely Scrubs, and more recently, A Million Little Things, while also making occasional film appearances.


Greg Ham

Ham was undoubtedly one of the most versatile members of Men at Work, having played piano, saxophone, organ and flute. Following his retreat from the spotlight, the rocker reportedly become a music teacher while continuing to perform with various acts. In 2010, an Australian court ruled that Ham's iconic flute solo in "Down Under" had "reproduced a substantial part" of "Kookaburra," an Australian children's nursery rhyme written in the 1930s. The rights of the songs were purchased by a music publisher, which in turn sued Hay, Strykert and the band's label, seeking backdated royalties along with a share of future profits from the song.


"I'm terribly disappointed that that's the way I'm going to be remembered - for copying something," Ham said, following the verdict. The decision took a particularly devastating toll on the musician, who reportedly slipped into drug and alcohol abuse. Ham subsequently died at his home in 2012, at the age of 58. Colin Hay described his late bandmate as a "man with a golden heart."


Jerry Speiser

The Men at Work drummer, along with his bandmate John Rees, was unceremoniously fired from the group just prior


to the making of the band's third record following a reported dispute over their manager at the time, Russell Deppler.


Having earned a major in physics before becoming an international rock star, Speiser continued playing in bands following his departure from Men at Work and would go on to serve as a management consultant.


John Rees

Little official information can be found for Rees' post-Men at Work career. The band's former bassist reportedly lives in Gippsland, a rural area in Southern Victoria, where he performs in local pubs with his band Beggs2Differ.


As for Rees' tumultuous departure from Men at Work, Hay admitted regrets about the way the group's rhythm section was dismissed.


Hay said that while he was close to the group's manager at the time, he acknowledges Deppler should have done more to try to prevent the split.


Ron Strykert

By the time Men at Work's third album came around, their guitarist appeared detached from the group.


Things went downhill for Strykert following his Men at Work stardom. The musician relocated to Montana and joined the Church Universal and Triumphant, an organization described by MTV as "a religious cult." In 1998 he was arrested and briefly jailed for failure to pay child support.


Strykert was reportedly homeless for two years before returning to music in an effort to get his life on track. The musician released his solo debut, Paradise, in 2003.

Four years later, Strykert and Hay had a significant falling out over song royalties. And two years after that, Strykert was arrested after having made death threats against Hay, a charge the guitarist denied.


Source: UCR

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