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KID CREOLE & THE COCONUTS (KID CREOLE) INTERVIEW [2007]

HOW MUCH OF YOUR TIME IS SPENT BEING KID CREOLE THESE DAYS?

Not much these days, we don't tour as much as we used to because not many people can afford us. It's still a large band - thirteen on stage - and a large entourage (personal assistants, food specialists, physio-therapists, soundmen, lighting designers, personal journalists to document our story, a film director - who has been filming a documentary for six years - and a resident psychologist! It's a very expensive circus. Consequently we have to turn down a lot of offers. We do more corporate parties these days than concerts. The corporations can afford us. We would prefer to do real shows again. We do charities when we believe in the cause but Mr Creole only comes out of the closet once or twice a month.

IS THE KID A SEPARATE PART OF YOU - A CHARACTER YOU CAN PUT ON LIKE A COSTUME - OR IS HE PART OF YOUR PERSONALITY?

Kid is definitely a separate part of me. He was once part and parcel of my being because my entire life revolved around recordings, live shows, interviews and TV performances; he was once much more important than August Darnell. Now he is a character that I play extremely well. He has absolutely nothing to do with my real life which revolves around my children and my family and my girlfriend.

YOU ARE A MAN OF MANY TALENTS AND PROJECTS... WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT BEING KID CREOLE?

When I'm not being the Kid I lead a very normal life. I live with my girlfriend, Imogena, sometimes in London, sometimes in Suffolk, sometimes in Sweden, sometimes in New York. I'm a real cinema buff, I adore the old black and white films. I love parks and the great outdoors. I worship nature. I abhor traffic. A walk in Central Park or Hyde Park is my idea of heaven. I don't do pubs and I don't do football games. I enjoy swimming - thanks to my girl - and row-boating and travelling. I love hanging out with my children, the youngest is 5 and the oldest is... I can't remember!

AM I RIGHT IN THINKING THAT IT'S 25 YEARS SINCE YOU RELEASED YOUR MOST COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL ALBUM 'TROPICAL GANGSTERS'? IF SO ARE YOU UP TO ANYTHING TO MARK AND CELEBRATE THE ACHIEVEMENT?

Yes, it is our 25th anniversary. We are celebrating by doing shows we would never do otherwise. We are playing for prices we'd never play for before... just for the thrill of the event! We did London's Jazz Cafe a couple of months ago and we recently did the St. Alban's Arena. Great shows. We loved them. We are also doing shows in France and Italy and Switzerland and Greece and Spain and the USA this summer to mark our survival in the fickle music business world. I think it's a miracle that we're still alive!

The only original member to grace the stage with me these days is Bongo Eddie. In the early days he was just the percussionist, but nowadays he is the co-star and my right hand man. I'm glad he's still aboard - who else could I turn to if he weren't there and say 'Hey, Remember when we played the Hammersmith Odeon in 1982?'!

THE SINGLES FROM THAT ALBUM - 'STOOL PIGEON', 'ANNIE I'M NOT YOUR DADDY' AND 'I'M A WONDERFUL THING BABY' - ARE PROBABLY YOUR BEST KNOWN SONGS... IS IT FRUSTRATING THAT MOST PEOPLE HAVE SUCH A NARROW VIEW OF WHAT IS SUCH AN EXTENSIVE CATALOGUE?

I am never frustrated by the overshadowing of certain compositions, these songs have made me wealthy, why should I resent them? In my opinion, if you have one song that people remember you by you should consider yourself very fortunate. Entire careers have been based on one song! I won't name names. The geniuses who manage to have many, many, many hit records - like The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Beyonce - are the exceptions not the rule. These are rare human beings who are not only very gifted but very lucky. These are people who could walk into a casino and play a slot machine that seventy-six million people have played before and suddenly win the jackpot... I'm not that lucky, but I am lucky!

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN RETROFEST?

I got involved in Retrofest because of my drummer, Toby Goodman who I met when I was doing the musical 'Oh What A Night' - I met my lady then also - who has a friend who is involved in the festival. Toby asked me if I wanted to get involved. At first I didn't like the idea of a retro title being connected with my being. After all, I am still here. I am current. But then I saw the line-up and realized this will be a fabulous day. Then Toby told me what they were paying and I said "Are you joking?' but I looked at the line-up again and said 'Well, what makes me think I'm worth more than these guys and girls?' so I decided to do it. I'm really looking forward to it. I haven't seen some of the other participants in 25 years! I wonder if they still look as fabulous as I do!

IS IT STILL TOO EARLY TO ASK WHAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM YOUR SET, FROM YOU AND FROM THE COCONUTS?

Expect greatness! It's still the best show to be seen anywhere on earth. Now that my idol, James Brown, is gone we are the only contenders... and maybe Prince... for the title of the greatest band in the world!

You ask about the Coconuts? Well, naturally the original girls are not with us. They were goddesses. The new ladies are deities as well. Expect beauty and grace and a lot of sex. Expect scantily-clad sirens who move with the precision of a Swiss clock. Expect style. Ladies, expect your guys to be in awe, expect their jaws to slacken and their eyes to bulge! But don't get jealous, there's plenty of eye-candy for you too!

IT'S BEEN A FEW YEARS SINCE WE HEARD ANY NEW MATERIAL FROM YOU... IS THERE ANYTHING IN THE PIPELINE?

New material? Let that be a surprise but I predict that before the year is up Kid Creole and co will be at the top of the charts again!

JUNE 2007

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