❚ SHOT ON TOUR somewhere in Europe last year for Jonny Kline’s video tour diary. Spandau Ballet’s bass player Martin Kemp clamped a camera to his guitar to grab this down-the-neck lesson in fingerwork…
➢ VIEW ♫ Kemp’s nine-minute clip recently posted at Vimeo
Somewhere in the background Tony Hadley’s unmistakable voice is giving us Fight For Ourselves. In the opening shots Steve Norman introduces the band members — and yes, that’s his saxophone trying to steal the limelight later.
Kemp’s instrument of choice is a British Wal bass and it’s surprising to recall that right from the start he maintained: “I learnt to play bass in order to get into the group, not because I liked music.” These days, as he grooves away onstage Martin steers his bass fondly like an old jalopy, nicely improvising and developing themes of his own, where many bassists think all they have to do is underline a thumping beat.
Back in the early 80s he said: “I hate bass players — most of them just blend in and don’t add anything. I’m a showman. Some bass lines I’ve written are really catchy: I’m proud of Lifeline because you hear people humming it, not the hookline! The essence of the Spandau sound is melody, Tony’s voice obviously, Steve’s sax lines, Gary’s top line, my bass lines. We all think in terms of melodies.”