Tag Archives: Interview

➤ Another emotional gem on Spandau’s long walk to freedom

Soul Boys of the Western World, interview, Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Austin, premiere, movie, pop music,

Spandau Ballet’s post-gig interview at SXSW in Texas: Steve Norman finds the humour in St John Keeble’s healing homilies

❚ NOT TO BE MISSED! Freshly posted at YouTube is yet another heart-on-sleeve prequel to Spandau Ballet’s promised Reconciliation and Redemption tour. A group interview on video unexpectedly becomes a very moving and positive expression of the band’s solidarity as friends. Famously “sticky moments” from the kamikaze wrecking of the band at the height of its success and the atomic fall-out during the 90s are glancingly referred to in the spirit of mild self-flagellation. The five musicians who defined Britain’s New Romantic movement are discussing Soul Boys of the Western World, their warts-and-all documentary biopic premiered last month at SXSW, the cool new-media festival at Austin in Texas.

“The film is pretty honest and hard for us to watch at times,” says songwriter Gary Kemp. “You can see in the film I was a bit precious.”

“That Kray twin moment [a reference to the Kemps making a feature film about the Krays in 1990]: for me that’s really embarrassing cos me and Gary’s answer is really conceited, but that’s who we were at the time,” says brother and bass player Martin. “The film lets us examine where we went wrong.”

SOUL BOYS SET FOR CANNES

The Spandau Ballet documentary that proved a hit at SXSW in March, is to be screened to buyers at the ➢ Cannes Marché next month, handled by UK sales company Metro International

“We’re human, we didn’t always get it right, we were young kids thrust into the limelight,” says singer Tony Hadley.

“We went through that terrible time facing each other in court at one point,” says instrumentalist Steve Norman. “It was awful. I put my saxophone on the top shelf and didn’t want anything to do with it for about four or five years cos it was symbolic of Spandau.”

Throughout the interview St John of the Drums emerges as the Kentish Town savant with a healing prayer for the sins that destroyed lifelong friendships between the five soulboys. “You can’t be revisionist,” Keeble observes. “It was a major thing when we got back together five years ago. You cannot unknow stuff that’s gone on but I think everyone felt in their hearts that it was now better to focus on the future. The whole world’s still in front of us.”

Click any pic to launch slideshow

➢ Why the trailer for Soul Boys of the Western
World stops you in your tracks

What’s sad from a fan’s perspective is that the live gig in Texas which followed the film’s screening was the first and only time Spandau have played together since their year-long Reformation tour ended in 2010. That comeback tour was a sensational success, just as this gig has proved to be. The video interviewer, writer Lori Majewski, called Spandau a formidable live band: “I was surprised how tight you guys were, how great the live show was!” Entertainment Weekly reported the gig exuding “a rare atmosphere for a very youth-centrict fest, and a truly inspired musical moment – not bad for a bunch of fifty-somethings”.

The documentary has received keen reviews for its sole use of vintage footage and director George Hencken’s intelligent deployment of the band’s hit tunes from the 80s. The SXSW interview also reveals that at the 1985 Live Aid concert Steve Norman shot some under-cover footage backstage where cameras officially weren’t allowed. John Keeble remarks on the amount of original footage in their movie which the band themselves had never seen before – much shot by Martin Kemp as a Super8 enthusiast – while there’s plenty more footage that didn’t make the cut. So come on, lads. Let’s stage a premiere for the Spandau out-takes.


Click on video title above, then scroll to No 7 in the playlist

❏ This meeting of travellers at a crossroads in Austin has all the signs of a mystical resurrection sent from heaven, yet we’re told a Spandau tour is unlikely to happen this side of New Year. How patient must fans be? They had to wait three years for this film to be finished, having evolved naturally from a gifted film-maker recording the Reformation tour.

Two superb books on Spandau have been in preparation for years: one, a smart limited edition photobook, still awaits a strategic publication date to support a career jump-start.

The other was commissioned ten years ago, yes ten, in a wishful gesture of reconciliation while band members roamed the wilderness of solo careers. The showbiz writer Paul Simper was rightly deemed the only person qualified and trusted to capture the fascinating inside story of Spandau Ballet. His manuscript was revised five years ago to boost the Reformation tour, then publication was postponed in order to embrace the selfsame Reformation tour. His gripping text is far more thorough than many rock biogs because of the extraordinary times it describes and the wide-ranging context his research has captured. Currently, Simper is re-retuning his words which could become the book-of-the-film – once the film is given a release date. “Hearing the band talk so eloquently and emotionally gives me new impetus,” he said today. “It’s thrilling to hear them looking to the future.”

For the fans camped at the tiny Oasis of Hope, the road to truth and reconciliation for the band who’ve been pals since schooldays is a long one, as it has been for post-apartheid South Africa, and for Ireland since partition. But y’know, those two were nations with histories riven by British politics. Not a chart-topping pop group. Why doesn’t somebody ask Jerry for his Final Word then we can all get back to the music?

SPANDAU BALLET LIVE AT SXSW 2014

AND AT THE LOU REED TRIBUTE AT SXSW


➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Curtain up on Spandau’s rollercoaster saga of war and peace

CHEEKY CHAPPIES: THE WAY THEY WERE IN ’81

FRONT PAGE

1955–2014 ➤ Frankie Knuckles, the Godfather of House Music, is gone

Frankie Knuckles,house music, tributes, deejay, Chicago,

2012: an Evening with Frankie Knuckles at Smart Bar, Chicago (© Tasya Menaker). His final live deejay set was at Ministry of Sound in London on Saturday. He had been scheduled to return to the UK for shows at Gatecrasher in Birmingham and The Arches in Glasgow later this month


+++
➢ Today’s tribute to Frankie Knuckles at Rolling Stone,
by Michaelangelo Matos:

Nobody can agree on who invented the blues or birthed rock & roll, but there is no question that house music came from Frankie Knuckles, who died Monday afternoon of as-yet-undisclosed causes at age 59. One of the 80s and 90s’ most prolific house music producers and remixers, Knuckles is, hands down, one of the dozen most important deejays of all time.

 Chicago, Warehouse,clubbing

The Chicago block where the Warehouse stood

At his Chicago clubs the Warehouse (1977-82) and Power Plant (1983-85), Knuckles’ marathon sets, typically featuring his own extended edits of a wide selection of tracks from disco to post-punk, R&B to synth-heavy Eurodisco, laid the groundwork for electronic dance music culture — all of it.

Knuckles made an abundant number of dance classics, including early Jamie Principle collaborations Your Love (1986) and Baby Wants to Ride (1987); Tears (1989), with Satoshi Tomiiee and Robert Owens; The Whistle Song (1991); and his remixes of Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody (1989), Sounds of Blackness’s The Pressure (1992), and Hercules and Love Affair’s Blind (2008) … / Continued at Rolling Stone

Frankie Knuckles Day, Chicago, Barack Obama

August 25, 2004: declared Frankie Knuckles Day in Chicago by the then-senator Barack Obama

Barack Obama, Frankie Knuckles, condolence

Update April 17, 2014: letter of condolence from the Obamas

➢ Knuckles, the man I knew, by Clive Morgan in the Daily Telegraph

➢ Priest of the dancefloor, by Alexis Petridis in The Guardian

tom johnston, frankie knuckles, cartoon

VIDEO INTERVIEW IN LONDON 2012

FRONT PAGE

2014 ➤ Curtain up on Spandau’s rollercoaster saga of war and peace

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Vulcan Gas Company, pop music, Tony Hadley, concert

Hello America! In Austin, Texas, 28 years after their last vsit, Spandau Ballet return to play live

➢ UPDATE – First official review of SBWW from Mel Brown at Facebook:
I’m a very lucky girl. Got to see the worldwide premiere of Soul Boys of the Western World. Truly amazing. An emotional roller coaster. This film is not just for Spandau fans, it’s for anyone who loves a good story of friends growing up together. Can’t wait for its UK release. Thanks guys! Looking forward to the first US show in 28 years tonight.

❚ AUSTIN, TEXAS, IS SIX HOURS BEHIND THE UK so any minute NOW the curtain is going up on the world premiere of Soul Boys of the Western World. The documentary movie made entirely from vintage footage follows the rise and fall of the five london schoolpals who became one the the world’s half dozen pop supergroups of the 80s. And in two hours’ time we’ll know how much of a tearjerker it turns out to be. Take it away, Tone!

Spandau Ballet, reunion, TV, interview, Soul Boys of the Western World,movie,pop music, SXSW

Spandau Ballet all together on the Austin TV breakfast show: first public reunion since the Reformation tour ended in summer 2010

➢ Tony Hadley on Facebook early today:
A tiring but extremely successful day 2 at SXSW. We spent pretty much the entire day from 7.30am to 6pm doing promotion for the movie. The feedback from all the journalists that interviewed us was fantastic and there will be some reviews online later. In the afternoon we had a couple of hours to head out and check our back-line equipment for today’s show at a rehearsal facility here. In the room next door there was Kanye West and Jay-z rehearsing. 
Last night I had a chance to go and see London Grammar, Imagine Dragons and Coldplay playing at the iTunes Festival here. They all put on a great show.

“ Today is the main Spandau Ballet event…the premiere of Soul Boys of the Western World at the Paramount Theatre at 1400hrs. Very exciting!
 Tonight we play our first show here in the US for 28 years at the Vulcan Gas Company and we are all really looking forward to it. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it went!!

FIRST SNAPS AFTER THE SCREENING

Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Austin, premiere, movie, pop music, George Hencken

After the screening of Soul Boys of the Western World: Spandau invite a Q&A from the Paramount audience… Far left, the film’s director George Hencken

Today’s Tweet from Gary Kemp ‏@garyjkemp
On stage with band and director @georgehencken for Q&A post screening. Thank you @sxsw, it was emotional.

Spandau Ballet, Vulcan Gas Company, concert, pop music, SXSW,Austin

Soundcheck for tonight’s live gig: Spandau onstage together for the first time in almost four years at the Vulcan Gas Company in Austin. Photo by Spandau’s first record producer, Richard James Burgess

Today’s Tweet from Spandau’s film director Henckenstein ‏@georgehencken
Tonight is going to be about this: #SpandauBallet #VulcanGasCompany

 Richard Burgess , Spandau Ballet, Steve Norman, film, Soul Boys of the Western World, premiere,SXSW

Another reunion! Steve Norman meets up with Spandau’s first record producer Richard Burgess today at SXSW

Today’s tweet from Spandau’s first record producer Richard James Burgess
I haven’t seen them in a small room since 1980

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Vulcan Gas Company, pop music, Tony Hadley, concert

After the soundcheck for tonight’s Spandau show: Tony Hadley relaxing as Steve Norman takes the snap

Today’s tweet from Steve Norman ‏@SteveNormanReal
The big man post sound check, pre gig madness @TheTonyHadley #SXSW

Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, SXSW, premiere, movie, pop music

Marquee of the Paramount in Austin, Texas: Soul Boys of the Western World premieres today

➢ Today’s SXSW 2014 print interview with Spandau Ballet and their film director George Hencken

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

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

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

2014 ➤ Reunion in the air for Culture Club – again

Culture Club, reunion, 2014,Mikey Craig, Roy Hay, Jon Moss, Boy George, pop music

January 2014: George with his old band-mates from Culture Club – clockwise, Roy Hay, Mikey Craig and Jon Moss (photo from Facebook)

➢ Boy George posts a new pic at Facebook Jan 31, and says:
Had a little writing session with the Club last week. Four degrees of pout! The plot thickens.” … His website adds: “Expect a new album and a tour from Culture Club by the end of 2014.

❏ The last time George announced a Culture Club reunion (2011 New Year’s Eve gig in Sydney, Australia) Jon Moss was also photographed in the studio rehearsals, but he couldn’t be there on the night. Update Feb 2014: In an entertaining new interview on YouTube (below) Jon explains why at around 12 minutes…


➢ 2014 George adds six new UK dates to his This Is What I Do tour including London Indigo

➢ George announces his new website, Jan 29 and Club Culture Radio, his new monthly podcast

Culture Club, 1982,Mikey Craig, Roy Hay, Jon Moss, Boy George, pop music

Early incarnation of Culture Club in 1982: described by George at Facebook as Mikey’s difficult “jumper” period

➢ Boy George at Facebook, Jan 24:
A lot of people don’t know I’m a DJ but I’ve been doing this for 30 years! They say, Oh you’re not the Boy George from the 80s though are you? and I say Yeah, there’s only one; it would have been dangerous to make two! The fan comments are even sharper, eg, “Do you do private weddings?”

FRONT PAGE