Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bonus Q&A with Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet

Here are more excerpts from my interview with Tony Hadley...

Q: You’re still in the process of putting together your next solo album and planning to collaborate with Barry Gibb. What can you tell me?
We were in Miami a few weeks ago and a friend of a friend knows Barry. His son Ashley picked us up from the hotel. We went over to Barry and his wife’s house and had a cup of tea. Barry works with Ashley. As soon as we get an opportunity, I’m going to go over to Miami and spend a week writing with them. Really lovely guys. Barry’s a music legend.
Q: Speaking of collaborations, you were involved in an unusual one not long ago with Italian rapper Caparezza. How did that come about?
Basically, Universal Records, who we’re [signed with] in Italy and Caparezza is as well. He said he wanted to work with someone different on his record...So we met up and wrote the song together. It went really well. He really cares about things like social justice. We got on great. One of the things I’m doing for the new album is take the music, flip it and re-write a majority of the song in English, with him rapping on the end. He’s a great rapper and entertainer. His album is fantastic. If anyone out there gets a chance to, get it. It’s in Italian, but you don’t have to speak Italian to like it.
Q: You also appeared in the song’s video, singing in the clouds and later picking him up in a truck.
These opportunities come along and you say ‘yeah.’ The main thing is I loved the song. It’s kind of dancey. Especially during the ‘90s and 2000s, I was involved in a lot of techno and trance music. I could probably release a whole album of Tony Hadley dance tracks.
Q: Last year, you had an acting role in the independent film “Shoot the DJ.” What character did you play?
Kim Wilde [of ‘Kids in America’ fame], her brother Ricky is a good friend of mine. He said, ‘we’re doing this film and Kim’s going to be in it. It’s going to be a fun project. Do you want to do it?’ It’s got quite a lot of attention. The idea, obviously, is to raise money for the next project. I play a club owner...If anyone in Hollywood is reading this, give me a great big film and I’ll come over there for a few months.
Q: In 2009-2010, you reunited with the original members of Spandau Ballet for the first time in nearly 20 years for a successful world tour. It didn’t come to America though. Why?
I don’t really know the answer to that, actually. I think there were logistics and costs involved and worries about how well the band would be received...It’s crazy. You have to tour America and get across and prove yourself to people. There’s a lot of fantastic musicians and artists in America. You can’t just think that it’s all going to happen and everyone is going to love you. You’ve got to come over and prove yourself. That’s the way you have to do it.
Q: Did you go back and listen to the old albums as preparation for the acoustic reunion album “Once More?”
I try not to listen to the old stuff too much. I’m not a terribly nostalgic person, so I don’t get a kick out of revisiting old albums. Normally, all I do is criticize them. It’s best I don’t go there. That’s the same with my solo albums as well. Once I’ve made an album, it’s like ‘thank you very much. Ta da.'
Q: During Spandau Ballet’s heyday, you were at the forefront of the New Romantic music movement. What was being in the band like in those days?
We were lucky enough to be the musical godfathers of it, if you like, of that New Romantic thing. It was brilliant. 
Q: Was there a sense that the band was being a trendsetter at the time? Or did that realization come much later?
We kind of realized it at the time. There were certain people, including ourselves, who were setting in motion what was happening. We were right at the front of it. It was great fun dressing up and making music.
Q: Back in the day, I’d read Smash Hits and they’d often play up a rivalry between Spandau and Duran Duran in various articles. Was there any truth to that?
You know what? I think there were a couple time when Duran and Spandau started to believe the snippets that were being said about each other inside the press. But in the cold light of day? Listen, when we got together at festivals, we’d get the Jack [Daniels] out and all have a good time. I think we all respected each other’s music. I’m certainly a fan of Duran Duran’s music. They’re good guys. Don’t believe everything you read.
Q: You’ve even covered “Save a Prayer” on one of your solo albums and do “Rio” regularly in concert.
For me, I think ‘Rio’ is one of the classic pop songs. ‘Save a Prayer’ is a great ballad. Simon [Le Bon] kindly came up and did all the backing vocals on the track when I recorded it. Simon's a cool guy – all the guys are.

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