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T’PAU (CAROL DECKER) INTERVIEW [2013]

YOU'VE RELEASED A CD/DVD PACKAGE 'THE STORY BEHIND THE TRACKS' WHICH COVERS THE MAKING OF 'BRIDGE OF SPIES', WHAT SORT OF PROCESS HAS IT BEEN FOR YOU TO REVISIT THE ALBUM AGAIN IN THAT MUCH DETAIL? WHAT SORT OF RELATIONSHIP DO YOU HAVE WITH THOSE SONGS NOW?

Ronnie and I had been asked many times down the years how our writing process worked and we thought that the 25th Anniversary of the release of 'Bridge of Spies' could be the right time to reveal that process.

It was with a mix of wistful nostalgia and pride that we reviewed our early demos. Most of the songs had to make a huge journey from 4, 8 and 16 track demos to the polished 80-channel SSL desk that we used in Wisconsin with Roy Thomas Baker. I think it refreshed my relationship with the songs to hear them again in all their naivety. It made me realise that I have got into a well-worn groove when I perform them now, so I think it has invigorated my live interpretations. It also reminded me how good they are!

THAT RELEASE ALSO INCLUDES THE ORIGINAL DEMO VERSIONS OF ALL THE TRACKS THAT WENT ON TO MAKE IT ONTO THE ALBUM, IN RETROSPECT ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE WAY THEY DEVELOPED INTO THE FINAL SONGS, OR LISTENING TO THEM NOW WOULD YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY?

With most of them I really like how they ended up, but with 'Thank You For Goodbye' I love the demo version on 'The Story Behind The Tracks', but that's about the only one that I prefer. What I do love about the demo versions are the early 80s keyboard sounds and drum machines. It takes me back to how pop was sounding when we wrote them, but by the time we recorded them both we and the sounds of the day had changed and moved on…

PRESUMABLY AS PART OF THAT WHOLE RETROSPECTIVE PROCESS YOU'VE BECOME RE-ACQUAINTED WITH THINGS LIKE OLD PHOTOGRAPHS, VIDEOS, COSTUMES AND STUFF. HOW GOOD ARE YOU AT REVISITING CAROL DECKER OF TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, AND WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE?

I didn't realise how I'd left that girl behind, you think you are the same person but as you move through your life it's almost like you shed your skin at times, like a snake, and there's a whole new you. Once upon a time, when looking through old photos, they were still part of my not so distant past and fond memories and then POW! there was a sudden gear change and it all shot back to 25 years ago. My daughter looks so much like me when I was younger that it is her face I see in them.

I guess if I were to counsel that young Carol Decker with hindsight I would tell her to relax and enjoy the journey as it will all too soon be over!

YOU ALSO HAVE A MASSIVE UK TOUR KICKING OFF SOON TO MARK THE 'BRIDGE OF SPIES' ANNIVERSARY, WILL YOU BE PERFORMING THE ALBUM IN ITS ENTIRETY WHICH SEEMS TO BE THE CURRENT FASHION TO MARK THESE THINGS?

Actually no, we've decided to cover tracks from all four of our albums, so that's 'Bridge of Spies', 'Rage', 'The Promise' and 'Red'.

I'M NOT SURE I ACTUALLY KNOW WHY T'PAU SPLIT UP. IT WAS AFTER 'THE PROMISE' WASN'T IT? WHAT HAPPENED?

To cut a long story short, it's the tale most bands will tell you. We imploded though a mix of being over-exposed, over-worked, with crooked management, and personal and professional differences.

BUT YOU'RE GOING TO BE REUNITED ONSTAGE WITH RON ROGERS ON THIS TOUR AREN'T YOU? DID YOU EVER LOOK INTO GETTING ANY OF THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE ORIGINAL BAND ON BOARD FOR THE TOUR AND EVERYTHING?

No I didn't. We have all moved on since the split in 1991 and haven't really kept in touch. I'm good pals with Tim Burgess, our old drummer, but he lives in Toronto these days and only plays now and again for laughs. Down the years I have played with dozens of great players and have put a kicking band together around Ron and me.

WHAT ARE YOUR STANDOUT MEMORIES OF TOURING THE ALBUM THE FIRST TIME AROUND?

Where do I start? Selling out five Hammersmith Odeons, and five Manchester Apollos. Our first solo Wembley Arena show was awesome as we had been the support there so many times. The great buzz of arriving at a new town with a big hit in the charts. Our first posh tour bus with all the bunks and lounges after years in crappy vans that broke down, and our very own tour caterers, cooking what I wanted!

YOU'VE PLAYED LIVE A LOT SINCE THE BREAKUP OF T'PAU, BUT I'M NOT SURE YOU'VE PLAYED A TOUR QUITE AS BIG AS THIS ONE FOR A WHILE… IS IT A DAUNTING PROSPECT?

Yes! I must be mad. I will be totally honest and tell you that yes I am nervous. I have had a nice career on the 80s multi-bill shows like Rewind and Here and Now, but they only take up a couple of days and I am just part of the show. I have fun, and then I come home and that has fitted in well with raising my kids who are now 10 and 14. But this… this will be an hour-plus set, and it's all on my shoulders to sell tickets!

TOWARDS THE END OF THE TOUR YOU'RE PLAYING THE ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL WHICH MUST BE VERY EXCITING. ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT ONE PARTICULARLY, AND WILL YOU BE PLAYING A DIFFERENT 'FESTIVAL' SET?

I can't wait to play the Isle of Wight, it was very cool to be asked. They've asked us to play a 40-minute set, and by then we should know what songs are running really well so we can make a decision closer to the date.

FINALLY, I KNOW YOU'RE SOMEONE WHO'S ALWAYS ON THE GO WITH ONE THING OR ANOTHER SO WHAT ELSE ARE YOU UP TO AT THE MOMENT, AND WHAT ELSE DO YOU HAVE COMING UP?

Well, I am just focused on the tour right now, and trying to keep well - I just had a shocking bout of flu! - but I'm looking after my voice and trying not to stress about my kids and the workload. But I do hope to start writing with Chris Corney, who is doing some support slots for me, when I have finished the tour. I really want to do a Carol Decker album…

Carol Decker will be on tour in April, May and June and all the details are available on the OFFICIAL T'PAU WEBSITE.

APRIL 2013

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