Category Archives: Media

➤ Life inside the head of Big Frank and Little Frank will make you weep

Chris Sievey, Frank Sidebottom, Domhnall Gleeson,Michael Fassbender,Maggie Gyllenhaal,Lenny Abrahamson,Frank the film,

Frank the film (2014): Fassbender and Gleeson

❚ O.M.G! ANOTHER WACKO TRAILER for a feature film. This is one everyone born North of Macclesfield will want to see – Frank, a fictional story loosely inspired by the brilliant life of eccentric Mancunian musician Chris Sievey, who built a comedy career as Frank Sidebottom, the man in the giant papier-mâché head. He died in 2010 aged only 54.

A young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), finds himself out of his depth when he joins a band that includes the terrifying Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and is led by the enigmatic Frank, played by the Irish actor Michael Fassbender. (Why?) And what goes on inside the giant head? The trailer alone reveals weirdnesses you never knew before. He never takes it off. When bandmates try to force him to remove his head, Frank says: “I have a certificate.” Sob.

Click any pic to launch slideshow


➢ View a rather more heart-warming clip at the website for Frank the film, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, UK release 9 May 2014

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: RIP Big Frank and Little Frank who had a Fantastic Funeral

SIDEBOTTOM’S FIRST TV APPEARANCE (1985)

FRONT PAGE

➤ Warts-and-all revelations now that Spandau want the truth to be known

Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, trailer, SWSW, premiere,biopic, pop music, New Romantics, Blitz Kids,

The defeated Norman, Keeble and Hadley outside the law court 1999: “You can see on our faces Spandau Ballet had just come to an end”

Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, trailer, SWSW, premiere,biopic, pop music, New Romantics, Blitz Kids,Gary Kemp, Tony Hadley

Hell freezes over as an interviewer asks: “Gary, you’ve been referred to as the driving force. What is the input of the others in the group?” Tony Hadley: “Ah-ha-ha!”

❚ WHAT A HAIR-SHIRT OF A TRAILER! Nettlesome would be a good word for the first glimpse we’ve been given this week of Soul Boys of the Western World, the warts-and-all biopic about the rise and fall (and rise again) of Spandau Ballet, which premieres next week at SXSW in Texas. The trailer rattles through the glorious birth pangs of a new fashion-and-music scene in the 80s and screeches to a standstill at the gaping open wound when the band decided in 1989 they really didn’t like each other any more.

➢ Click to view the trailer of
Soul Boys of the Western World

For 20 icy seconds hairs rise on the back of your neck. A direct question in a TV interview blows a hole in Spandau’s credibility – Tony Hadley simply laughs. Before a another interviewer, the Kemp brothers dissemble about their acting ambitions. After a battle over money, three band members leave the law court defeated. And lifelong friendships wither before our eyes. John Keeble said this year: “It’s very honest and very difficult. It’s a film about redemption.” By God, it had better be.

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Spandau confirms live reunion gig in Texas – for a tiny elite!

Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, trailer, SWSW, premiere,biopic, pop music, New Romantics, Blitz Kids,

“These guys talk funny, right?” – Best of friends since their schooldays, Spandau Ballet star on Soul Train in 1985, at the height of their American fame

FRONT PAGE

2014 ➤ Tweets that tell the tale of Spandau Ballet’s road to Redemption

Spandau Ballet, film, Soul Boys of The Western World, pop music, George Hencken, SXSW, premiere,reunion,

Director of the Spandau movie, George Hencken, tweets: “No better way to spend Wednesday afternoon than watching @SpandauBallet in rehearsal. Texas here we come!”

❚ REUNITED FOR THE FIRST TIME in three years, the five men who fronted the New Romantic sounds of 1980 started rehearsals this week. Spandau Ballet were gearing up for their return to the live stage in the US on March 12 as part of the promotion for the biopic about their rise, Soul Boys of The Western World, which is being premiered at the SXSW Festival in Texas.

Click any pic to launch carousel

Martin Kemp – What an amazing way to spend a day! SpandauBallet rehearsal room was rocking today!

George Hencken as Henckenstein – First time I’ve been in a room with all the boys together. I can’t lie. It was emotional.

John Keeble – My irreplaceable Paiste 3000 24″ Ride. Over a quarter of a Century of Grooves!

Steve Norman – Another fab day at the office.

Gary Kemp – Looking forward to playing in the Lou Reed tribute concert on 14th March in @sxsw. Spandau delivering a peach from Transformer.

SPOT THE LEITMOTIF… ‘REDEMPTION’

Spandau Ballet, film, Soul Boys of The Western World, pop music, SXSW, premiere,reunion,BBC 6Music, interview, Matt Everitt

News hound Matt Everitt interviewing Spandau in rehearsals last Monday – “Such great hair going on in that photo”. (Where’s Big Tone? Hadders was unwell that day)

➢ Listen to this morning’s Spandau feature on BBC 6Music – Matt Everitt interviews band members on their return to the live stage (scroll forward to 1h 44m)

Songwriter Gary Kemp on the documentary film: “It’s warts and all. There are some tough bits because we went through a smash-up, and that’s all there on the screen. But there’s also redemption.”

Drummer John Keeble: “It’s very honest and very difficult. Life comes at you. There was no point in telling the story and airbrushing it. We grew up together, we explored the world together and we fell out – badly. It’s about redemption.”

What next, Martin? “We’ll see! There’s a couple of surprises along the way, coming up.”

redemption / rɪˈdɛm(p)ʃ(ə)n: “The action of saving or being saved from sin”

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Spandau confirms one-off live reunion gig in Texas – for a tiny elite!

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Video gems unearthed by the Spandau Ballet movie Soul Boys of The Western World

Spandau Ballet, film, Soul Boys of The Western World, pop music, George Hencken, SXSW, premiere,reunion, John Keeble

Rock god and his gong: John Keeble twit-picced by sax man Steve Norman

FRONT PAGE

➤ The Voice’s rock god Lovatt surprises Britain and shocks himself

Jamie Lovatt

Moment of triumph on The Voice Feb 22: Kylie, Will, Ricky and Tom (in there somewhere), all wanting a piece of Jamie Lovatt. Screengrab © BBC

➢ Watch Jamie’s Voice performance in full plus the judges’ verdicts on BBC iPlayer until April 12 (scroll to 58 minutes)

❚ “I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS GOING to turn round and see this rock god dude!” said Kylie Monogue on The Voice UK on Saturday night. The dude in question had delivered his own steady but highly emotional and emphatically rock reinterpretation of Rozalla’s acid house smash Everybody’s Free to his own twangy Rickenbacker guitar. By his hollering climax the studio audience were on their feet and two of The Voice’s four celebrity coaches had spun their chairs in hopes of recruiting him: superstar Kylie Minogue and Ricky Wilson (“the bloke from Kaiser Chiefs”). Within minutes the dude had opted to join Ricky’s team as its final member, before the BBC TV talent contest’s real battles begin next week.

An hour after transmission he posted on Facebook: “Who saw me then eh? SURPRISE.” Jamie Lovatt, cocky 24-year-old face about Shoreditch where he runs a bar, was back. The frontman for the once glam-goth band Romance, since restyled as tribal “cabaret rockers”, had definitely stolen the show, even though the acts auditioning blind on Saturday were a cut above previous weeks, because most proved to be seasoned performers with terrific voices. This dude also looked like nobody else within miles – an eyeful of androgynous 80s glam, Jamie sported long blond hippy hair and eyeliner, a gold crocheted clingy top, snakeskin trousers and cowboy boots. His style is a fusion of Prince, Billy Idol and the 80s postpunk shamanists Death Cult, though the TV audience was spared his usual stage gambit of performing shirtless.

Click any pic to launch carousel

For those of us who’ve known Jamie since he deejayed in London’s fashionable Neo Romantic clubs, the fierce TV act was a surprise metamorphosis from the once shy teenager (off-stage!), through the frenetic vocalist onstage with Romance, to this assured showcase cover version bursting with intense feeling which Kylie and the other coaches sensed immediately. Almost 90 seconds into the number, Ricky hit the voting button and six seconds later Kylie followed.

She was full of admiration: “I liked the emotion in your voice. I don’t know if you always sing like that but the fact that you have the ability to sing like that is very moving.”

What set Jamie’s interview apart was the sadness that brimmed within him as he told how Romance’s first lineup had been torpedoed by ill health and their four-album record deal was cancelled when the label dropped the band in 2011. “I lost management, I lost everything.” But not his faith to carry on.

The coaches rallied. Will-i-am said: “As far as getting dropped, guess what? They lost.” And the audience cheered. Tom Jones paid a couple of quiet complements that were evidently heartfelt. Ricky had been there himself: “I know what you’ve been through. I’m in a band… and we lost a record deal.” Lucky Jamie was able to pick which team to join and as he stepped from the stage it was noticeable how all four coaches crowded in for a piece of him. He’d been dignified, determined and, incredibly, said “Thank you” more times than you’d expect from a self-declared “lone wolf” rocker.

Some think a shiny-floor TV talent show might undermine a rock singer’s credibility, but Jamie is a 21st-century man and believes it’s the only way to crack the industry these days. He told The Sun: “People don’t think of someone like Jagger or Jim Morrison going on these shows but if you were to take them at the age they were discovered and have them living now, would that happen?”

Today was spent doing the rounds of the media as a hot TV property. What’s the question they were all asking? Answer: “How did it feel?” Jamie told Shapersofthe80s: “All I can say is it was surreal then, and from all the support I have received, it’s even more surreal now! Absolutely overwhelming, humbling and shocking. I can’t thank everyone enough… Didn’t think this would happen at all. I’m really moved!”

➢ Catch Jamie Lovatt and his new “glam-noir” lineup Romance Mk2 playing live in London during March and April

EVERYBODY’S FREE: BRIEF CLIP FROM THE VOICE

FRONT PAGE

➤ Spandau confirms one-off live reunion gig in Texas – for a tiny elite!

Spandau Ballet,1984,pop music,reunion,Blitz Kids, New Romantics,, Parade, album

Parade’s 30th birthday celebration! In 1984 the fourth studio album by Spandau Ballet yielded two UK Top 10 hits, Only When You Leave and I’ll Fly for You. It introduced the imagery of artist David Band which became the band’s leitmotif

FEB 12 – UPDATE FROM SPANDAU BALLET

Spandau Ballet (Official) – “Awesome Spandau meeting yesterday! 2014 and 2015 are shaping up rather nicely”

FEB 14 – BIG TONE TO HIT THE ROAD

Tickets go on sale for Spandau singer Tony Hadley’s 10-stop UK tour in October, once again with a full orchestra, climaxing at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane

FEB 20 – LIVE REUNION GIG CONFIRMED

Gary Kemp says – “We’re in rehearsals next week!”

❚ SPANDAU BALLET WILL PLAY TOGETHER on March 12 – their first live date in North America since 1985. On the same day that their biopic Soul Boys of the Western World premieres in Austin, Texas, the five Angel Boys will later perform at the Vulcan Gas Company on E 6th Street, a refurbished new entertainment space named after a psychedelic venue from the hippie 60s. It will host 20 gigs during the massive SXSW new-media conference and its music and film festivals.

entertainment

The new Vulcan in Austin: a steam-punk interior and cutting-edge sounds

What will stymie hordes of Spandau’s hopeful American fans is that a registered Music Badge to attend SXSW costs $750 and, even then, does not guarantee admission to specific events.  Platinum and Gold conference delegates are given priority admission before Music and Film Badge holders. Also, the new Vulcan with “an industrial steam-punk feel” is a modest venue – with a typical capacity of 535 – so spare tickets are likely to be thin on the ground. The Festival operates a Queue Card system with updates online, via Venue Status Boards and @sxsw on Twitter. However, before travelling to Austin, Spandau fans are advised to ensure they have secured a ticket (see the comment from SXSW, below). Hints from the Spandau team suggest there may be more news soon.

Elsewhere on the same evening the UK singer Damon Albarn is performing at one of Austin’s 100 venues that stage live music nightly – the town does claim to be the “Live Music Capital of the World”. For three years from 1967 the Vulcan Gas Company on Congress Avenue became its first successful psychedelic music venue, featuring Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat, Muddy Waters and other greats, then morphing into the Armadillo World Headquarters with a broader musical bill that embraced Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, blues and jazz.

Jimi Hendrix , Johnny Winter, music, Vulcan Gas Company

The original Vulcan on Congress Avenue with its notorious drainpipe backdrop: Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Winter playing in 1968

Now in the 30th anniversary year of Spandau Ballet’s fourth album, Parade, one of Britain’s iconic supergroups of the 80s returns to the States.

Tony, Gary, Martin, Steve and John will be flying in to attend the 2pm premiere of their archive-only documentary film, Soul Boys of The Western World. Songwriter Gary Kemp says: “We had the idea because we have a good story and the story has a real arc. It’s about friendship, kids who come from the shadows of the Second World War growing up in the 60s and 70s, a period of great rock music from David Bowie and glam rock. They go through the whole punk experience and then had the experience of the whole New Romantic scene of working-class kids dressing up and doing things that were outrageous against a recession.”

ENTRY TO SXSW EVENTS CANNOT BE GUARANTEED

❏ SXSW says: “As far as films go, tickets will be for sale at the door after delegates with badges and wristbands are seated, if there is room. For the music portion of the event, the situation is very similar. There will most likely be tickets for sale at the door but it varies from venue to venue. After badges and wristband holders are admitted, tickets may be sold if capacity allows. Our best advice is to get to the venue early or contact them to see if they will be selling tickets at the door and also see how long the wristband/badge lines are to judge if you could even get in.”

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Video gems unearthed by the Spandau Ballet documentary movie

Spandau Ballet,1984,pop music,reunion,Blitz Kids, New Romantics,, Parade, album

2014… Spandau Ballet’s next parade is about to begin!

FIRST REACTIONS FROM THE FANS

Jennifer Schmaltz Robbers Aw, this is so bittersweet! It would be great if you guys could add another show outside of SXSW. It will be hard for a lot of your US fans to swing the SXSW pass.

Ricky Resurreccion $795 for a music badge???? My wife and I huge fans from California and she’d die to see you guys perform. Come on, Gary, help us out here!

Molly Fanton It better be a US tour. Come on guys come to Buffalo, Boston or NYC. I so want to see you guys.

Shell Stringer When are Spandau Ballet going to tour round more local places? Come to The Dome, Doncaster please :-)))

Carlos Hidalgo Regular Sud America

Christine Turner Hopefully another tour Down Under.

Tony Baker Get your sens darn to the Echo @ Liverpool lads

Brigitte Supercan We want you in Italy very soon please

Catriona Stokes Please come to Dublin again, you were fab in 2009 xx

Gregg Daniell Toronto. Canada would live to have you.

Debbie Meyers Praying for anywhere in the USA

Cecy Blue Pax We want a Spandau Ballet concert in South America too

Cristina Martínez Queralt Barcelona waiting for you

Layne Wheeler ok, about that meeting. when are you coming over to the states, anywhere over the atlantic, the wife and I AND our friends will come see you… here is a incentive… I will cook!!

FRONT PAGE