❚ MARTIN IS THE YOUNGER BROTHER of the two Kemps, the good-looking one with the easy charm that has opened doors into a television career that included EastEnders. Gary is the older one with such a strong sense of self that as recently as 2017 it wrecked the last of several reunions for Spandau Ballet, by shedding their talented and popular singer Tony Hadley who now thrives with his own band. In 1978 Gary had invited Martin to learn to play bass then join his former school band the Makers 18 months before it was renamed Spandau Ballet and went on to international success.
Today The Guardian interviews Martin Kemp aged 61 about his third book, Ticket to the World: My 80s Story (HarperCollins £11), which sounds more cosy than you might expect following Kemp’s distressing surgery to remove two brain tumours during the 1990s. He can’t stop telling us how much he loves everybody in his life, even after fist fights with Gary. What does he have to say about why Tony Hadley left the band in 2017, after several previous break-ups? ➢ The interviewer Paula Cocozza reports:
“ “It’s something that I’d never spoken to him about. But I do feel guilty when I look back.” In the book, Kemp stops short of an apology. “Oh, listen,” he says immediately. “I would apologise to Tony, absolutely, for the way that he was treated. I think it was really poor.”
Why doesn’t he pick up the phone and say all this to Hadley? He really sounds as if he wants to. But he says: “I haven’t spoken to Tony for ages. I reach out to him, but I rarely hear back. I send little messages” – he mimes texting – “if I get two words back, I’m happy.
“Tony is lovely,” he says. “He is a lovely man. I will always, always love him, in the same way I love all the rest of the band. But you drift apart, don’t you?” ”
Nowhere in the interview does the name of Ross William Wild get mentioned, the singer who succeeded Hadley during 2018 following Martin Kemp’s recommendation, and was silently dumped after a trial series of concerts and subsequently contemplated suicide. When might he, too, expect an apology from the band who blanked him?
➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: 2020, Singer Ross reveals how Spandau drove him to try ending it all