Music special

2 September 2010
Sat1 (Germany)

At 1.15am Sat1 broadcast the full length rockumentary, which was created by Starwatch to promote Kim Wilde and her new album ‘Come out and play’. Besides snippets from the tracks on the album, you can see Kim visiting the studio where she recorded her first video, RAK Studios and Grove Court, the first apartment she bought in the mid-Eighties. Rose and Harry are also interviewed, as well as Ricky.

The special, which lasts approx. 25 minutes, is subtitled in German.


Hi, my name is Kim Wilde. I’m here in Berlin, shooting a video for my first new single from my new album, ‘Lights Down Low’.

I like ‘Lights Down Low’ because I think it sounds like a proper Kim Wilde song. It’s got a really strong hook, it’s right in my register and it’s sexy, and I love sexy pop music with great melodies.

It’s not one of the songs I was involved in writing personally, but it was a gift from my record company, which I shall love them for forever. It’s very seldom that we’ve had any record company come to us with such strong songs as Starwatch had done. And they’ve done it on two or three songs on the album.

The video is set in a pole dancing club. A few years ago I did a gig in a very famous one in London. That was kindof a strange atmosphere of us and them, us observing them and them observing us. It was a very interesting experience. I thought it would be fantastic to recreate that particular night.

The video has been planned for quite some time. We needed to find a very big, empty industrial location that was private, but big enough for us to set up all this complicated light system that’s gone around the turntable. My band have flown over for today, it’s a one day video shoot. It’s gonna be really hard work. We all got up really early and then put up the make-up – that’s quite hard to do at 7 or 8 o’clock in the morning. We have a great team, a great camera man, great lighting, great director, everything. So I’m delighted. It’s a great team and everyone is working really hard.

Actually, ‘Come Out And Play’ is a line in one of the songs as well as being a motivation for the album. As we talked about it with Starwatch and also with my brother Rick was we wanted to make sure every single song would sound great live, that it would transfer from an album onto the stage and also all the other songs, all the hits we do from the past.

Ricky: Every song that’s on the album, it will be amazing live, and that was what we were thinking about when we were choosing the songs.

We’ve got a really good reputation on the live circuit. We’re always playing live at festivals and gigs all over Europe and the UK. We were in Hannover a few weeks ago. We’re gonna be in Vienna in two weeks time with Billy Idol, which is gonna be so cool.

With this album we wanted to take the great flavours of the Eighties and our sound, my sound, and revamp it for the 21st century. I think we’ve really done that.

The song ‘I Want What I Want’ I thought did sound very Eighties when I got sent the demo. And I didn’t want it to sound quite so, but it sounds like a song that could have been written by Nik Kershaw. A really strong melody and a really brash lyric. I’ve always been a big fan of brash lyrics. They’re great fun to perform. I would say that that’s a strong element of being Kim Wilde. A lot of posturing and posing.

I think after the ‘Never Say Never’ album, with a title like that, I didn’t discount the idea of making another album. I had such a positive experience with that. I did think another album would be great, but I wasn’t really in any rush to do it.

I’m a pretty busy person anyway. I have my own radio show and I also do a lot of consultation work in the landscape industry and of course I’ve got a family, two children and a home. There’s always a lot to do. It wasn’t until Starwatch came to me and said ‘We really want you to do it’.

It felt like a scary decision to commit to such a big project. All that time again, all that pressure, all that stress, all that travel, all that expectation, maybe all that scrutiny. I wasn’t sure and it was scary and I thought: ‘Hang on, this is starting to feel scary, this must be a good idea’. Jumping in at the deep end and putting yourself in scary places is a really good idea from time to time. Whenever I’ve done that only fabulous things have happened.

I write a lot about life. What would my final page be? That’s a question don’t even really want to think about. No-one wants to think about the final pages of their life. But in the song the final pages are that as long as they’re spent with people and the person that you love. And that’s sort of the bottom line.

I grew up in the Seventies. There was all that glam rock. A lot of it was very over the top. But also at home there were very serious singer-songwriter albums played like Joni Mitchell and Carole King and Paul Simon. So I was caught between really appreciating more serious, considered side of music but being completely infatuated with the more exhibitionist side of music, pop music basically.

‘Kids In America’ is the perfect piece of pop. It’s the holy grail, what people in the industry are looking for.

Ricky: I remember I wrote ‘Kids in America’ and I took it up to Micky Most, and Micky said, ‘That’s gonna be a smash hit’. And generally whatever Mickie said happened.

This is the building where we filmed the ‘Kids in America’ video. It was obviously the first video I’d ever made. I remember going in and I couldn’t believe that someone had painted this huge backdrop of American symbols, Sgt. Bilko and the statue of liberty and a few other pieces. And all this for me! It just seemed like this huge set. I was so overwhelmed, I thought ‘Wow’.

Video was very, very young, MTV really was going crazy at the time and really helped break the record.

Everyone has used this room: Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello… and when I first came here, when I was 20 years old, my brother Ricky was working in that studio on a song he’d written and I was doing backing vocals and Mickie walked into that studio and he saw me and he said to my brother: ‘Who is this girl?’, and he said ‘She is my sister Kim, she’s doing backing vocals.’ And he said: ‘Oh, she sings!’. He went back that night, because we were all living at home with my mum and my dad at the time, and he wrote ‘Kids in America’. I remember being in the bedroom and he was nextdoor in his room and I could hear this pulse going ‘du-du-du-du-du’. I thought ‘If he doesn’t shut up soon, I’m gonna go and punch his face in’.

Ricky: We finished up Kim recording one of the tracks that I was gonna be doing as my solo thing, it finished up being on Kim’s album and then the whole thing turned around and Kim was the artist and I was the producer, which is exactly how I wanted it.

So this is where you’d come in and have a cup of coffee in between doing your recording. There’s this really funny picture on the wall. Elvis Costello worked here, I used to really love this. It says ‘To Mickie with love, I’ll never work with you again.’

I remember coming into this office when I was 20 years old and being so overwhelmed by all the discs on the wall, by this chair, by this desk and by, of course, Mickie himself. He knew about promotion, got me on international trips straight away. I was spending months and months travelling in and out of Germany. Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Cologne, TV’s, Musikladen, Bravo. I just believed I could conquer the world, I was 20 years old, it’s what 20 year olds do. If you don’t think you can conquer the world when you’re 20, then you’re never gonna think it.

So this is my very first home. This is the flat that I bought after I did so well selling so many records with ‘Kids in America’. And all of a sudden I could afford to buy my own place. So I bought this place in Grove Court. This is very close to RAK Records, where we were recording. And really it was just a base, I used to stay here before I’d leave here to go to the airport, to come to Munich or Hamburg or somewhere. So it really was a stopping off point.

I think I really did need my own space. Everyone wanted a little piece of me. And also at that time my mum just had two more children. The house at home had babies in it. So it was kindof nice to find a place where I could really just quieten down a bit, listen to music, learn how to write songs.

This is Abbey Road Studios. I’ve done a bit of recording here in the past. Of course it’s an iconic studio. The Beatles did all their stuff here. Probably the most famous recording studio in the world. What people do here is they come and sign their names on the wall. And of course it’s graffiti, you’re not really supposed to do it, but everyone does it and every now and again they come and paint it all off. So I thought today I’d add my signature as a tribute to the Beatles. And hope we don’t get arrested (laughs).

Two of the most fantastic episodes of my career were working with Michael Jackson in 1988 and a little bit later on with David Bowie, two of my musical heroes. I remember thinking when I was working with Michael that we were in this incredible circus, it was a great ride. But there was something also kindof empty about a circus. It’s ephemeral and it’s all singing and all dancing and lights, but the tent has to come down and all the artists have to go away and all the kids go home. It did feel like when that would happen for Michael there wouldn’t be a lot left. It seemed to me like he had to keep the circus going constantly. It was a beautiful moment of perfection and it was just wonderful to be associated with that for that time, but I do remember thinking ‘My God, if this is what fame brings you, I don’t really know if I want to pursue it this much. It wasn’t very long after that, that I did get out of the business because of that. And I’m glad I did. And I wish Michael had.

‘The Greatest Journey’ is a song that I wrote with my brother. We’d been discussing all kinds of things to do with spirituality, the universe and the meaning of life. We try and express our belief that there is some greatest journey yet to be had and that it doesn’t just stop when you hit the floor. Ricky and I don’t often have conversations like this. They’re normally much more humdrum and usually end up with us laughing hysterically on the floor.

Ricky: We’ve always had a very close relationship and she’s great to work with, very professional. We just kept on going. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it.

This is some of my old record collection. Of course this album, ‘Penthouse & Pavement’ and ‘Fascist groove thang’ and of course Glenn Gregory is on my new album, so I’m really chuffed to get to work with some of my heroes. Both Ricky and myself are huge fans of Glenn Gregory and Heaven 17. And he couldn’t wait to come to the studio and he came down, did an amazing job. I get to work with Kajagoogoo, of course I work with Nick Beggs, he generally plays bass in my band and Nik Kershaw. He’s gonna be on the album, he sings on one of the songs as well.

I used to love working with Bravo. They were completely crazy, they always wanted a new story, and then I ended up getting all these Ottos.

All my gold discs and awards were kindof locked away. But now, I’m looking back retrospectively over my career, I’m finding myself becoming very proud of them indeed.

Nena gave me some of her discs when she sold so many records for ‘Anyplace Anywhere Anytime’, there’s another beautiful one down here, which is lovely.

These guys, the ‘Crazy Gang’, they used to follow me around when they were kids. They gave this book to me years ago. There they all are.

Jane Davalle: Well I’ve known Kim for a very long time. We went to school together and we just became very good friends. When you’re in your teenage years you do mad things. Really I suppose we’ve never changed. When she became famous that was the most important thing really, that she still had time for us here.

This exhibition is in aid of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer. This is our friend Patrick. Patrick is the guy who I wrote ‘King Of The World’ about, on the new album. I wanted the song to be a really great, positive celebration of this fantastic personality, he really was just great.

I had this idea it would be great to live in a barn that no-one had ever lived in before. And as it happened, one was for sale, this one was for sale. I walked in and I just fell in love with it. When I moved here, there wasn’t a garden here at all. I wanted to create a place when I got married, where the children could grow up in. Horticulture sort of replaced music for me. All my passion that had gone into music went into the garden. I went and studied horticulture at college, I had to get in assigments, had to do my homework and be a student again and take exams…

For me gardening certainly began as a therapy. It was totally different to the made lifestyle of airports and people… and then I ended up doing garden design shows and won some medals. I did so well at it on a professional level, but all the time that was never my ambition, all I wanted to do was create a paradise at home for my children to grow up in.

Music and creativity runs in our blood. My father is 71, he’s still performing, he still does a lot of concerts. He celebrated 50 years in rock ‘n’ roll a few years ago and I did a big campaign with him here in the UK. People love him here in the same way they love Cliff Richard, these are people, the pop pioneers. Amongst the first popstars that were ever on the planet. My mother was in a singing band, the Vernon Girls, she was part of one of the first girl groups. She fell in love with my dad and then she went on to manage the early part of my career and did a great job of that. My brother, he’s a great songwriter and a producer, and now my little daughter Rose, she sings beautifully and loves to play the piano, I’m sure she’ll end up going into the music world.

Rose: I find it inspiring that maybe when I’m older I can join her band maybe and sometimes play in her gigs. So I’m kindof excited about that as well.

Harry: William is in Ten Volts, the band, and he’s the bassist, this is Rose, our singer, this is Sebastian, we call him Tiggy for short, he’s the rhythm guitarist and they’re background singer. Mason is one of our guests who might be in the band, he’s my cousin. We’ve been like friends for a long time, we thought we could make a band, so we did.

I have performed with Ten Volts before of course, as a guest appearance. They’ve been together for quite a few years. It’s so fantastic, it’s very moving. I’m so proud of them, they play their instruments so well.

I was really proud of the song ‘This Paranoia’, because I created a space for my son Harry to do a guitar solo. And I had thought about it, and then I thought ‘Oh, everyone is just gonna think ‘Oh, roping in the family’. Then I thought ‘Oh sod it, I don’t care’. Sometimes you need to do it with people, not just your family. You need to give people faith.

Harry: When my mum asked me to do the solo on ‘Paranoia’. I wasn’t sure, then I heard it, it was a really good song so I went to Ricky’s studio and did the solo.

Rose: At first he didn’t do a great job but when he heard it he really liked it. He didn’t really know we were going to squash all the really good bits together.

They haven’t really been exposed to me as a famous person, ’cause a lot of what I do happens over the sea. It’s not like they’re confronted with my fame on a daily basis. Now and again.

The last few years we’ve had such a great experience being on stage. I’m a very different performer now than I was back in the Eighties. I’ve grown into being me. I wish I could have done it earlier but I was doing some other things, like having babies and doing a different career. But better late than never.

Ricky: She’s come back and totally refreshed and loving it more than she’s ever loved it. We’re all really excited about it, especially for the live side of it, we’re doing a lot of shows. We have a lot of fun doing that.