If I say the name Roy Hay to you, you probably have no idea who I am talking about. But if you are of a certain age and I say Culture Club to you, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Hay was the guitarist and keyboard player for the multi-platinum Culture Club band in the 1980s best know for their lead singer Boy George. Somehow, through a series of connections, at the Kraft Nabisco Media Day on Monday, I found myself playing golf with Roy Hay.
Hay now lives in Santa Barbara and is well past his Culture Club days. He’s done extensive work scoring films, had another band beyond Culture Club and has lived in Southern California since 1989. He was in the tennis this week to watch some tennis at the BNP Paribas Open, but was invited to the media day by a friend, Graeme Baxter, the noted Scottish golf artist and official artist of the Kraft Nabisco.
Now, it’s pretty easy to be a cheesy fan and want to ask Hay what Boy George was really like or if his favorite Culture Club song was “Karma Chameleon” or “I’ll Tumble four Ya.” I avoided those questions and instead ask a question I put to all rock star/golfers I meet. How did a big-time pop star (and there weren’t too many bigger than Culture Club in the 1980s) find his way into golf.
The answer was not that surprising. Hay said there are empty hours on the road that somehow have to be filled by pursuits that “don’t do damage to yourself.” You can fill in the blanks ss just what the other pursuits might have been, but we’ve heard other musicians say the same thing, most notably Alice Cooper. Cooper often talks about trading one addiction (alcohol) for another (golf).
It should also be noted that Hay is credited with helping Boy George kick a pretty heavy heroin addiction cold turkey.
I should have asked Hey why he never turned Boy George onto golf to replace heroin, but the time didn’t see right as he both had just hit poor tee shots on the par-3 14th hole of the Dinah Shore Tournament Course. But to demonstrate how big golf is for Hay, he was leaving the desert to get a chance to play the famed Valley Course in Santa Barbara, then trying to get back to the desert today for the night session at the BNP Paribas. You don’t pass up an invitation to The Valley Course, Hay noted.
Spoken like a true golfer/pop star.