1 May 1981
Hofstad Radio (Netherlands)
Interview conducted by Frans Versteeg. Transcript of the interview broadcast in May 1981 on Hofstad Radio, a local pirate radio station in Den Haag (Netherlands)
What’s the fun of being in showbusiness?
To me, I get a lot of fun out of doing a lot of work, you know, what I do. I love what I do, so all of it is fun really. So I can get paid to go on holiday or something. That’s what my dad said, that’s how he felt about it and I feel the same way.
Mostly a career in the music business doesn’t last too long. Have you got any plans at all after your career? Are you thinking about it now? What would you like to do?
I would like it to last not just two, three… a good long time.
‘Kids in America’, was it your first studio experience?
No, I’ve had a lot of studio experience in the past. Mainly vocal backings and things like that for other people. Just helping them out with their sessions. People used to ask me ‘cos they knew I wanted to do it ‘cos they knew I wanted to be a singer. So being in the studio was a very natural thing for me. It’s not a strange experience.
What people were they?
Ricky when he was younger I used to sing on some of his records. We used to demo songs that dad might have written. And friends of dad have asked me to demo songs for them. Just as favours, not professionally.
How did you meet Mickie Most?
Last year Ricky started writing songs, he was writing a couple of songs, which again I was doing vocal backings on and he was singing. He went up to RAK and he produced them and written and sung them and everything. Mickie Most heard them and was very interested in Ricky. He asked them to go back to RAK and remake the two songs he’d written, re-do them at RAK. So that meant I had to go back and re-do my vocals again. And that’s when he first saw me and met me. He what he was interested in then was what I did with vocals and everything. And it sort of snowballed from there. Then he heard ‘Kids in America’ and made up his mind. He asked if he could signed me up and here I am.
Are you writing songs yourself?
I’ve written a few but I haven’t really gotten down to it seriously ‘cos I don’t really feel that way inclined at the moment. I can play the piano and write down certain things but nothing I would class as a song. I don’t find it an easy thing to get done, otherwise I suppose I’d have written a few more. At the moment I’m just concentrating on my voice and my singing and the album, things like that. I’m twenty, I’ve got some time, you know. I want to write one day, maybe when I’ve got some time. Most of my spare time is devoted to drawing and just relaxing, you know. There’s not an awful lot of time left, and I do need to relax ‘cos I’m such a lazy person, you know.
You recorded this one single, the next one as well, are you going for an album?
Yeah. Yeah. The next single is out in England in a couple of weeks time, called ‘Chequered love’. We’re currently making the album, so I think it should be out late summer.
What can we expect on the album?
There’s a variation of music. It’s not all like ‘Kids in America’ or even the next single ‘Chequered love’. There’s a few reggae tracks. A lot of different kind of music. It should be very interesting.
What sort of music do you like yourself?
I’ve got a really wide scope of music. I love reggae music, Steel Pulse, Elvis Costello, soul and r&b, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra’s voice. All sorts of music, I could go on and on and on. I’m an appreciator of all sorts of music, country music, classical music. I like them all at certain times, you know?
What do you play most?
I don’t know, I guess I don’t get to play much at all anymore. I still keep up my collection even if I don’t get to play them maybe I will soon. But usually I put on a Dusty Springfield album, some soul albums. Don’t know really, it depends… Sometimes an Elvis Costello… It depends…
What is your big influence, musically?
Mostly what I just said there. All of those things. I should think my voice and the feel I have for music is more a soul sort of thing. Like Aretha, a great talented soul singer like Stevie Wonder, Randy Crawford… All these really good soul singers… I think singers like that influence me quite a lot.
Being unable to write your songs yourself, who’s doing it for you?
My brother. My father’s doing the lyrics. He’s quite good because he talks to me what he’s writing about. And I talk to him what he’s writing about. That way I don’t feel so detached. I feel like we’ve talked about it, he asked me what I think and when I don’t like it he can perhaps make it better and he listens to me. He’ll change it if I think it needs it. So we have a steady working relationship. It works very well.
Musically speaking, what sort of records do your father and brother listen to?
Ricky likes Adam and the Ants, the Skids, and Devo and things like that. Good old rocky punk music. Noisy stuff. Which I really like, you know, I think it’s fantastic as well. He doesn’t listen to so many records, he doesn’t have so much time as I perhaps do, and I hardly have enough time as it is.
Doesn’t that give conflicts? He’s writing in a particular way, you like to sing it in a way. Doesn’t it give any conflicts between you two?
Well, rarely. I haven’t had conflicts so far. He seems to have a very versatile approach to writing songs. I don’t think he lets the styles of other bands influence so much as he starts writing like they do. He listens, but he doesn’t copy. He translates it into his own way. A few people in England are saying ‘You definitely have your own sound’. That’s Ricky. It’s his own sound, it’s not like anybody else’s. We sort of capture that together. And there’s no conflict about that at all. We’re very similar in our musical taste.
How old is he?
He’s younger than you? And already working in the studio before you did?
Well, he… (wondering) What did he do years ago? Years ago, when he was quite young he made a few records, when he was ten or something. Singing teenybop stuff. He’d really rather forget about that now. And I used to do backing vocals then. I was about ten, I suppose he was about nine. And really both of us have been brought up in the studios, singing in studios, you know.
So the studio is your second home?
In a way, yeah, it is.