FORMERLY REMEMBER THE EIGHTIES.COM
SPANDAU BALLET INTERVIEW [2009]

Spandau Ballet announced their reunion and their plans for their Reformation Tour 2009 at a special press conference held on the HMS Belfast in London on March 25th.

HMS Belfast was the site of one of the band's first ever shows some thirty years ago and the Press Conference featured a DJ set from their friend Rusty Egan (The Blitz/Visage) and an introduction to the media in attendance from journalist Robert Elms, who supported the band from the very beginning and came up with the Spandau Ballet name.

RememberTheEighties.com attended the packed press conference and what follows is a transcript of the event...

INTRODUCTION

TONY HADLEY - Thank you very much for coming along here today, we've had a fantastic morning so far, we've really enjoyed it and as you can see we are back together again! We're very happy boys! As you know we are embarking on a British tour in October and then on to the rest of the world which we're all very excited about. We've even had a rehearsal which sounded a million dollars. Once again we're very happy to be here and to answer any questions you might have... as long as they're not too embarrassing!

IS IT TRUE THAT YOUR FIRST TV PERFORMANCE WILL BE ON 'FRIDAY NIGHT WITH JONATHAN ROSS', AND IF SO DO YOU NOW WHAT YOU'RE LIKELY TO PLAY AND WHEN IS THAT GOING TO BE?

GARY KEMP - Are we allowed to say anything about that? I think we can say yes to that, but it won't be this Friday, it's not for a few weeks yet...

MARTIN KEMP - It's in a few weeks’ time and we're discussing what songs we're going to play at the moment.

YOU GUYS HAVE GONE THROUGH LOTS OF UPS AND DOWNS OVER THE YEARS, WHAT WAS IT THAT MADE YOU MAKE THE DECISION TO GET BACK TOGETHER?

TONY HADLEY - I think it's the realisation that time is a great healer, and there was also an announcement I did on the radio when I was a guest on Shane Richie's radio show when he just pushed me into it. I said we'd do it for the 30th anniversary, anything to shut Shane Richie up really! But before we knew it that was on the news in every major country around the world, and I think at that point we all realised exactly how powerful the band were, the songs, and what we did in the 80s... so we met in the pub, had a few beers, the stories came out, the anecdotes and all the old jokes that sounded so great twenty years ago, and we just realised that actually we are great mates...

GARY KEMP - This is my other family really and I've missed them over the last twenty years. At first I kind of just wanted to get together to have a chat about all those great experiences we had - because these are the only guys who can understand that - and I think to be able to make some new experiences is a really great opportunity, and that's what we're going to do.

MARTIN KEMP - We're just like any family, families go through some terrible times sometimes and they argue but in the end they get back together which is the most important thing...

TONY HADLEY - The main thing is that our songs are still played on the radio today, and you realise how powerful they are and what they mean to the fans out there. Plus, for years now, every time I get into a taxi the cab driver has gone 'Go on Tony, when are you going to get the band back together?'... So we've had a rehearsal which sounded fantastic and we were so happy to be back in a rehearsal room.

STEVE NORMAN - And it was good fun, we connected again to that place back in the early 80s when we were really good mates, really good buddies and that just sort of carried on. All the stuff that had been going on for the last twenty years just seemed irrelevant really.

WHAT WAS THE FIRST SONG YOU PLAYED WHEN YOU GOT BACK TOGETHER?

JOHN KEEBLE - 'I'll Fly For You'...

MARTIN KEMP - Which was a bit of a test for me actually because that was always a hard one!

GARY KEMP - And then we did 'To Cut a Long Story Short', the way it sounded in the original sort of garage version...

TONY HADLEY - It was very exciting. Very exciting for us to play and we hope you'll enjoy it too.

JOHN KEEBLE - What was funny was that some of the songs that we didn't think would really work, some of the early songs, were fantastic, they'd really matured...

TONY HADLEY - This is going to be a greatest hits tour, the one we should have done years ago!

WILL YOU BE RECORDING NEW MATERIAL?

JOHN KEEBLE - You never know... don't rule it out. If we can get this together and then come out at the end of the tour in good shape then there's no reason why not.

STEVE NORMAN - I think first people want to hear Spandau as Spandau sounded back in the day because there is that thing about the soundtrack of your life and we're going to try to sort of bear that in mind for now.

TONY HADLEY - And before anyone asks us we're not going to be wearing kilts, frilly shirts, our mum's blouses or anything else like that either!

SINCE YOU'VE BEEN AWAY WE HAVE MOVED INTO A DIGITAL AGE, WHICH WILL BE THE CHOSEN MEDIUM FOR YOUR COMEBACK?

GARY KEMP - Well the new website's pretty good, that just went live... we'll be selling tickets through there but yeah of course this is a completely different time now... in a way I kind of miss the early days where you could keep some of that mystique, I don't think the kind of thing that happened here thirty years ago could have happened if everything was available on the web the next day. The fact that those days have become legend is because people didn't get to see how tardy it was, but I'm sure there will be cameras and digital diaries... that sort of thing.

JOHN KEEBLE - I think my contribution to the digital age will be purely analogue, it will be hitting things with lumps of wood!

HAS ANYTHING CHANGED OVER THE QUESTION OF ROYALTIES?

TONY HADLEY - Yeah, Gary is going to give them all to me!

GARY KEMP – That’s a private matter I think...

JOHN KEEBLE - We're going to have a divvy up after this!

WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE CURRENT POP SCENE? ARE THERE ANY BANDS AROUND NOW THAT YOU RATE?

TONY HADLEY - There's loads... The Killers...

JOHN KEEBLE - The Killers, Kaiser Chiefs... actually they're not all that different to us, proper bands who play proper pop/rock songs

TONY HADLEY - The Spice Girls!

STEVE NORMAN - MGMT, Florence & The Machine, there's a lot of good bands but a lot of them do sound a lot like what we were doing years ago so I think that this is quite a good time for us to pop back out.

JOHN KEEBLE - I think that we will slot back in perfectly. I think people still like to see people go onstage and play instruments and we do that well.

TONY HADLEY - It might be the digital age but it's still about drums, bass, guitar and everything.

STEVE NORMAN - It's about energy, people feeding off that, and that's what we've proved to ourselves with the rehearsals, we're very excited about getting back out there.

WHAT DO ALL YOUR KIDS THINK ABOUT YOU DOING THIS? DO YOU THINK YOU'LL GET THE COOL FACTOR WITH THEM?

GARY KEMP - They all want to be the support band! There's about four bands among our kids...

MARTIN KEMP - They love it, but I think mine are just concerned about what we're going to wear!

TONY HADLEY - They love it, all the families...

JOHN KEEBLE - My daughter was born two weeks after the last Spandau Ballet gig so she's never seen and so she's looking forward to it, she's at uni and she's got a bunch of guys who always sing 'Gold' every time they see her!

GARY KEMP - Actually about two years ago my son and Tony's son got together in a pub and said how can we persuade our dads to do this...

TONY HADLEY - That's true!

WE WERE JUST WATCHING OLD DOCUMENTARY FOOTAGE BEFORE YOU CAME IN AND I THINK IT'S ASTOUNDING HOW CONTEMPORARY YOU LOOK, STILL LOOK, AND IT'S INTERESTING THAT YOU'RE LAUNCHING NOW IN A TIME OF RECESSION WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED ORIGINALLY...

GARY KEMP - I think that might be a bit of a slight coincidence!

TONY HADLEY - Actually we planned it, 'Gordon, can you sort out a recession for us?'...

GARY KEMP - I think that the thing that made that time happen was that at that time London was broken, it was a horrible place, Soho had nothing in it and a bunch of young kids who wanted to go somewhere just had to kind of make it all up as they went along... so maybe there's about to be some new creativity about to burst onto the scene, which would be good.

YOU'RE A LITTLE BIT OLDER NOW THAN YOU WERE WHEN YOU BROKE UP SO DO YOU HAVE ANY WORRIES ABOUT THE RIGOURS OF TOURING NOW?

TONY HADLEY - No...

JOHN KEEBLE - Not at all, we're musicians, it's what we do.

GARY KEMP - I think it's probably more tiring at home in our house right now because I've got a six-week old baby. But I do think we're fitter now...

STEVE NORMAN - We're fitter now than we were then.

GARY KEMP - Back then we were always just too hungover!

MARTIN KEMP - I think you're an incredibly lucky person if in life you can turn your hobby into your job, and being a musician music starts as your hobby, all you want to do is to play to people. That's what we're going to do, we're going to go out and play to as many people as we can.

JOHN KEEBLE - And have fun as well, that's really important.

PRIOR TO YOUR FIRST MEETING IN THAT PUB, WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HAD ALL BEEN IN THE SAME ROOM TOGETHER AND HOW WAS THAT?

JOHN KEEBLE - We hadn't been in a room together for eighteen years or whatever...

TONY HADLEY - We did it in bits and pieces, a few of us got together at a time, it was all about creating an environment where everyone was comfortable.

JOHN KEEBLE - It's taken a little while, probably about eighteen months of taking it very gently but eventually we got there...

STEVE NORMAN - There's respect there now, massive amounts of respect, which I guess wasn't there at the end, all bands do it but at the end of a relationship you lose respect for each other but I guess the thing that makes you appreciate something is when you lose it and when you get the opportunity to have that back again... well I don't think we're going to want to let it go again.

GARY KEMP - About three years ago I remixed an old live show into 5.1 for a DVD and I sat there watching it and I couldn't believe how exciting it was, I thought I want to be back up there, this is really good. I think we'd all been in denial about the band for so long. I phoned up my brother and he came and had a look, and I said I think I want to fly down to Ibiza and meet up with Steve who I hadn't spoken to for a long time - I'd seen him across a court room but that was all - and we had lunch together, but it wasn't right for John and Tony at that point. Then about a year ago John and I were like two heralds on a battlefield saying enough is enough and seeing if we could move forward...

TONY HADLEY - I have to say that John Keeble has been very instrumental in bringing us back together, so cheers for that mate!

JOHN KEEBLE - It was just a matter of ultimately getting to this point and I'm glad all that stuff is out of the way now and we can more forward and get onto the exciting bit!

WHEN WILL YOU BE TOURING ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD?

STEVE NORMAN - Well we're focussing on the UK right now, but yeah it is going to be a world tour. I think we're going to take it step by step...

TONY HADLEY - It is a world tour, although we don't have all those dates yet.

STEVE NORMAN - In the next month or so we should be able to give you some dates I think.

HAVE YOU HAD ANY GOOD WISHES FROM ANYONE ELSE? HAVE DURAN BEEN IN TOUCH AT ALL?

GARY KEMP - Funnily enough I bumped into Nick Rhodes in Soho yesterday and he was going 'When are the dates? When are the dates?'... He doesn't want to clash I think!

MARCH 2009

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