Cloudbusting -- Kate
Bush In Her Own Words
Kate has just returned from recording a show in germany.
- A fascinating experience, SHE ENTHUSES, TWEAKING AN EARRING. NERVOUS
HABITS DIE HARD. The show was filmed in Cologne - a great place. The actual
studio was an old tram shed with an enormous stage. I did two songs. One with
my newly formed band and the other I mimed in backing tapes. For `` Wuthering
Heights'' we had backdrops which helped to set the scene. All these black
rolling hills with lightning bolts painted in and in the middle of it all this
dirty great big volcano.
- Yes, SHE GIGGLES. Still they did their best. Obviously they're not
that familiar with the scenery on the yorkshire moors. (1978, Record Mirror)
- Well, the video we made for `` Wuthering Heights'' was probably
amongst the first ever made, certainly here in this country in terms of a
video, and I was very influenced at that time still by Lindsay Kemp. So it was
very much the dance influence that I was expressing. So it was really working
out choreography that would just look interesting, that would kind of create a
persona of Cathy. (1989, VH-1)
How did you react to the, quote, ``sudden success'' It must have
come as a bit of a surprise at least.
- Yes. Oh it was an incredible surprise. You know, you think, ``Well
I'd like it to get in the charts,'' and it gets in the charts and you think,
``Great! It's in the charts!'' And next week it's still in the charts and it's
going up. And I mean the last thing I thought was, ``No, it will never do it...
you know - top five - noooo.'' Top five! And each time you think, ``My God,
it's just not going to do it.'' In fact the morning it got there someone I
hadn't met for a couple of years rang me up and said, ``Congratulations!'' and
I didn't understand what he was talking about and he said, ``Oh, you're now
number one,'' and I just went, ``Wow!'' [Laughs] (1980, Profiles In Rock)
surprised at the quick acceptance you won in this country, with the first
single going to number one and also the way you became instant fodder for
parody of artists who tried to duplicate the ``wuthering heights'' video?
- I think it's wonderful actually how warmly I was received by the
English people and I think especially then, because there was very little going
on with the females artists, for instance at that time there was probably only
Blondie and myself that were sort of happening. So, yes I was very surprised at
the way I accepted and very, very grateful for it, because, of course it's that
acceptance that has made all that I'm doing now possible. (1982, Pebble Mill At One)
 was really definitely your year, wasn't it, sort of hit records,
you won practically every award going, your first single went straight to
number one. Were you sort of prepared for the success to happen as quickly as
- How can you be prepared for something like that?
I mean, did it sort of... Did it stun you slight that everything
was going was going so well?
- Oh, yeah! Absolutely, I'm still stunned by that. I obviously can't
believe it. It never really sunk in. It's something that you don't expect to
happen and I'm just so lucky that people chose me. (1978, TisWas)
success had its pressures. Suddenly, I just had no time to myself any more. I
couldn't be with my friends and watch TV. Or just do silly things like have my
bath when I was used to having it. (1983, Sunday
- I find it
very interesting to watch all the things that happen when you get a hit record.
- Because my craft is more commercially oriented, it gets more
attention than that of somebody else, like a bank clerk, perhaps. I still find
it amazing. (1978, A Tonic For The Doctor's
At the time, what were your feelings on the success of `` wuthering
- I was very surprised. It's not something you really take in. I was
obviously very excited. It was such a wonderful thing to happen after having
just finished my first album - when you're not sure how things are going to go.
- No, I don't
think anyone could ever by ready for anything like that. I mean, you don't
really expect things like that to happen, and as far as I'm concerned that's
the only time that will ever happen. I think it was very strange, very
wonderful though. It was incredibly unreal and I still find it hard to believe.
And do you feel that it was an advantage to you or a disadvantage,
that that happened to you so early?
- I think it's been a big advantage. I am doing what I want to do, I
really want to be involved in this business. I don't think... If I hadn't
started so young, I probably wouldn't have my own recording studio now, I
probably wouldn't have the kind of control that I have over the situation at
such an early age. So I think it's been really beneficial for me. (1985,
- My first Top of the Pops I didn't want to do. I was
terrified. I'd never done television before. Seeing the video afterwards was
like watching myself die. That was when things started getting very difficult
for me because until then it had all been very creative work, writing,
recording, learning to dance. BUT NOW WHAT SHE WAS INVOLVED IN WAS PROMOTION. I
was talking to press, talking to television, and I couldn't express myself
easily. I was up against a different beast. (1989, Q)
Disasters were her first television appearances in germany and
england, on top of the pops. It was like watching myself . . . Die. It was a
bloody awful performance. (1978, July, Melody Maker)
Kate insists that she isn't exploiting her sexuality: That's a very
obvious image. I suppose the [Early
promo-] poster is reasonably sexy just 'cause you can see my tits, but I
think the vibe from the face is there. The main thing about a picture is that
it should create a vibe. Often you get pictures of females showing their legs
with a very plastic face. I think that poster projects a mood. (1978, NME)
- I never really understood the power of photography. As a dancer, I
was incredibly at home in my body. I simply didn't see it the way other people
did. Pictures give such immediate impressions. In all the early photo sessions
I did, we experimented with dancers' clothes, discovering how interesting and
versatile dance garments can be. This was all well before the leotard era.
- Subsequently, EMI produced a large poster of me in which you can
clearly see the outline of my breasts through a rather skimpy vest. It seemed
innocent enough, rather nice, even - at the time. But with hindsight, I
completely understand why people said I was overtly sexual. It stood out a
mile. Then it didn't seem the least bit suggestive. Now, I would definitely
have the picture cropped. (1989, You)
From an observers point of view, an amazing year last year, but you
were dubbed by lots of journalists as the voice of '78, the singer of '78.
[Kate laughs] is that a problem, do you think that you made such an
impact, do you feel that that could become a little bit of a burden? I've no
idea. I think possibly I could get a problem with the fact that most people
associate me with just one song. Then again I'm so lucky that people even
remember me for anything, you know. I've been so lucky in this last year and
really all I'm concerned about is just carrying on doing what I can and hoping
that people will still like it.
- That's all you can do, you know, just take it as it comes.
True. I was lucky enough to be on your first top of the pops and
- It was my second one actually, if I remember.
Was it the second one?
That was with that song.
I remember you being incredibly cool when things were getting a
little bit heavy [Kate laughs] because you couldn't get the timing right
with johnny pearson's orchestra and johnny was trying to be sympathetic and
sort it out.
- That's right.
And the terrible time problems recording top of the pops. You
really kept calm about the whole thing, I thought that was quite amazing. Have
you found it difficult to adapt at all to some of the pressures of television
or live appearances.
- Well, it's such a strange process the whole thing, you know. Like
you get very nervous before you come on, and then when you're actually doing it
you're so concerned about giving your best that... I was quite happy to say
``Um, 'cuse me, can we just stop and do it again.'' THERE WAS A PROBLEM WITH
ORCHIDS ALL OVER THE PIANO, WASN'T THERE?
- Oh, yes! Plastic orchids. They were worried that they were going to
blow up, you see, and the whole place would go up in flames.
Well you carried it off absolutely brilliantly. [Kate
laughs] (1979, Swap
Suddenly a five-minute mime on an italian pop programme became
imperative because it was to be beamed around europe. Kate tried to defend
herself by setting what seemed to her impossible conditions: Ok, if they got
her there and back inside a day. A private jet was chartered, no problem.
- To me it was bizarre. Up in the morning, over to Verona, I think it
was, and walk out on this stage. I'm facing the cameras and a few hundred
people who I assume are the audience. Then the stage and the whole set starts
to rotate and I realise that it's a huge circular stadium and out front there
are thousands and thousands of people. I've never seen so many people in my
life! Anyway, I mimed ``Wuthering Heights,'' bowed, and flew off home again.
- The things that I hope for the future are that I continue to write
songs and sing and that they progress. That they become more purposeful - that
they have a purpose there all the time. One of the most important things to me
is that I expand as a human being. So really any other sort of other levels
that would take me onto a different plane, I'm welcome to if it's right. I'd
love to get into the film media sometime, but I don't know if I as an actress
can act. I don't think I could. I don't know. I'll just wait and see what comes
and hope that I can expand and grow. (1978, Self Portrait)
- It's always a great challenge. There's always something good in
whatever pressure is around. There's an incredible challenge and if you can do
it and if you come out the other side and even if you lose, you've done it. I
think that makes you stronger.
- The songs for the first album were written over a two to three-year
period, and now I've got a two to three month period for this one. It's
ridiculous, and my admiration for people like David Bowie, Elton John and
Queen, although I'm not into their music, grows all the time. It's incredible
how they do it. They do it all. They record and tour and promote.
- That's awesome to me. Incredibly so. I mean, I'm on a little level
compared to that. It amazes me that they can keep their brains in a logical
order without their speech getting all tangled because there's so much going
So what happens when you reach that situation? (there are plans to
tour next year.)
- I don't know how I'll cope, but when you're in the situations it's
very different. I would have thought it impossible to do what I"m doing now a
few years ago but now I'm here, it doesn't seem that amazing because, really,
it's just doing your work on whichever level it is and I'm really lucky for all
the work I've been given.
But you've not had to struggle?
- Yeah, that's true and it's a little frightening. There was only a
struggle within myself. But even if your work is so important to you, it's not
actually your life. It's only part of your life, so if your work goes, you're
still a human being. You're still living. You can always get a job at
Woolworth's or something.
- I suppose I would find it very hard to let go because for me it's
the only thing that I'm here to do. I don't really know what else I could do
that I would be particularly good at. I could take a typing course, loads of
things, but I wouldn't actually feel that I'd be giving anything.
- I think you can kid yourself into destiny. I have never done another
job. It's a little frightening sometimes because it's the only thing I've
really explored but then again, so many things are similar. They all tie in. I
really feel that what I'm doing is what everyone else is doing in their jobs.
- It's really sad that pressures are put on some musicians. It's
essential for them to be human beings, because that's where all the creativity
comes from, and if it's taken away from them and everybody starts kneeling and
kissing their feet and that, they're gonna grow in the wrong areas.
Everyone associates the whole star trip with material gains.
- But it's wrong. Again, the only reason that you get such material
gains from it is because it's so media-oriented. If it wasn't, you'd get the
same as a plumber.
- I worry, of course, that it's going to burn out, because I didn't
expect it to happen so quickly and it has. For me, it's just the beginning. I'm
on a completely different learning process now. I've climbed one wall and now
I've got another 15 to climb and to keep going while you're in such demand is
very hard. It would be different if I had stayed unknown because then it would
be progressing. (1978, July, Melody
- The sex symbol thing didn't really occur to me until I noticed that
in nearly every interview I did, people were asking: ``Do you feel like a sex
symbol?'' It's only because I'm female and publicly seen. The woman is tended
to be seen on that level because it gets them through quicker, like the actress
who sleeps with the producer makes it.
- That seems so dated because we're all shifting to a different level
now. The woman's position in music is really incredible now. It's getting more
and more accepted, if not more than men at the moment. God, there's so many
females in the charts
- I felt very flattered that those people should think of me in those
sex symbol terms. That was my first reaction but it can be very destructive.
For a start, there are so many incredibly good looking women around and their
craft is in that. They're either models or acting, so their physical image is
important. What I really want to come across as is as a musician and I think
that sort of thing can distract because people will only see you on a
She would like to think too, that being female has nothing to do
with her success and that she is being judged primarily as an artist. She has
very strong views on the matter.
- When I'm at the piano writing a song, I like to think I'm a man, not
physically but in the areas that they explore Rock 'n' Roll and punk, you know
they're both really male music and I'm not sure that I understand them yet, but
I'm really trying. When I'm at the piano I hate to think that I'm a female
because I automatically get a pre- conception. Every female you see at the
piano is either Lynsey DePaul, Carole King... that lot. And it's a very female
- That sort of stuff is sweet and lyrical but it doesn't push it on
you and most male music - not all of it but the good stuff - really lays it on
you. It's like an interrogation. It really puts you against the wall and that's
what I'd like to do. I'd like my music to intrude. It's got to. I think that
anything you do that you believe in, you should club people over the head with
- Not many females succeed with that. Patti Smith does but that's
because she takes a male attitude. I'm not really aware of it as a male
attitude. I just think I identify more with male musicians than female
musicians because I tend to think of female musicians as... ah females. It's
hard to explain. I'd just rather be a male songwriter than a female. What it is
basically is that all the songwriters I admire and listen to are male. (1978,
July, Melody Maker)
She seems to have forgotten that in the middle seventies she was
one of only a few women to break into the male-dominated domain of pop and get
taken seriously. I was only a symptom of the change, like coming out in spots,
she giggles. There was a tendency to patronise women as though if they were
attractive they weren't talented, which I fought against, but my principles
weren't entirely feminist. I find it flattering if people like the way I look,
but I don't have the sex symbol's sense of style. (1985, What Kate Bush Did Next)
- I always felt that ``Heavy People'' should be a single,
but I just had a feeling that it shouldn't be a second single, although a lot
of people wanted that. Maybe that's why I had the feeling - because it was to
happen a little later. (1979, KBC
- I so want `` The Man With The Child In His Eyes" to do well. I'd
like people to listen to it as a songwriting song, as opposed to something
weird, which was the reaction to `` Wuthering Heights'' That's why it's
important. If the next song had been similar, straight away I away I would have
been labeled and that's something I really don't want. As soon as you've got a
label, you can't do anything. I prefer to take a risk. (1978, July, Melody Maker)
Strangely, very strangely, the pressure and frightening newness of
the music business hasn't upset her at all and she reveals shyly that she
somehow feels she has been through it all before. I wonder if it has to do with
the concept of time in some way in that everything you do you've done before.
(1978, july, Melody
And it was sort of onwards from there, I suppose. I mean, it must
have encouraged you [The success of `` wuthering heights"], obviously,
to do a lot more. Did you immediately set to work on the next album?
- It was very difficult, that whole stage because being so new to the
whole business and starting with such a successful song, it meant, really, the
next year of my life was nothing but promotion. And I think it was quite early
on, during that time, that I decided that promotion was something that had to
come secondary to the music or I was going to spend my whole life promoting and
never ever making another album. so, it was a very busy period for me then.
(1985, Profile 6)
You were in - was it in japan, or hong kong, or tokyo? Were was it
last year , the big film, the big festival. Tokyo wasn't it?
- Yeah, Tokyo.
Where you got the silver award. And that was in front of a vast
audience, wasn't it?
- Yeah, there were a lot of people, yeah.
Did you enjoy that?
- Yes, I did. It was a fantastic experience.
How did they organize they organize those international song
festivals, I've never been to one. Is it at all like the eurovision song
contest, as we know it?
- Well, I wouldn't be able to compare because it's the first thing
I've done like that. But the amount of organization was phenomenal, because
there was so many artists involved. And it was in a very big hall, with a live
orchestra, and the preparation must have been incredible.
Yeah, but you had a good time anyway?
- Yeah. (1979, Saturday
- My only view of Japan was from Tokyo, which is all skyscraper blocks
and technology. It's like coming to London for a week and trying to describe
England. But the people were so, so
friendly. They're a very controlled race you know. (1978, RM)
of reaction do you think you've got from the japanese because you have been
talking to them, haven't you?
- Yes. I must admit I think it's sort of hard to tell because they're
very different people from us and I'm not sure if they actually say what they
feel. But the reactions I have been getting are very nice, very good. (1978,
BBC Coverage of Japanese Trip)
ever sung in any foreign language other than french?
- Yes, but only once, when I was in Japan at a Japanese business
conference. I sang a well known song of their country, in their language.
(1983, KBC 14)
- I wanted
people to like my music. It was fantastic that people received it so well. My
schedule was full, and I had so much to think about. I went to Australia,
Japan, Europe. In between from coming back from Japan and going to Australia, I
recorded the second album. (C.1983, Kate Connection)
on her choice to record a second album hot on the tracks of her initial smash,
that's the only time I'd ever been in that situation, though that's how I
wished it to be. I feel it's not good to be releasing an album between
promoting another album. The success of the first album was so great, that I
couldn't ignore the opportunity of pushing that success. When you've got
something like that, you can't remain there. (c.1983, kate connection)
- I'm working on my second one [Album] at the moment in France.
(1978, Self Portrait)
- We'll be living at the studios as well as living there.
But why france?
- Because the sun is great for my voice. The rays seem to assist my
vocal chords. (1978, RM)
- I feel I know what I'm talking about in the studio now. I know what
I should hear. The reaction to me explaining what I want in the studio was
amusement, to a certain extent. They were all taking the piss out of me a bit.
(1978, November, Melody
- I want to
perform some of the new songs in Australia.
- I'm really looking forward to the trip and to hearing some of the
local talent. (1978, TV
will you be touring?
- Well, in February we're hoping to start in England, and then go on
- I don't think that's actually be thought of yet, I think we'll play
it by ear as we often do when the time comes. (1978, Lionheart Promo)
got plans for the third album yet, or is it....?
- Oh, no. No, I think, that has to be written yet. I never think of it
in those terms really. When we're still very much involved in this one, I think
it would be unfair to neglect it. I think all the attention should be focused
on it, until the very last fader has been lifted. (1978, Lionheart Promo)
And a single, any idea of a single?
- We've got a short list. And I'm sure we'll know which one it is,
it'll tell us in a few days. (1978, Lionheart Promo)
Now your first single, `` wuthering heights,'' was a success
straight away. Did you do anything excessive with the money it brought you.
- Well, I think the main thing I've done is try to use it. Because
it's so rarely that you're in a position where you can have money, you know,
especially for your work.
So what did you do?
- Well, we built a studio at my parents place, so we've actually got a
demo studio and we can use it for recording and helping the band and all sorts
of things. Pretty useful.
And a really good piano.
- Yeah, a really great one, terrific. (1978, Ask Aspel)
Ok, and I guess finally, could you just tell us about your one
performance in America?
- Saturday Night Live?
Yeah, that one.
- It was a lot of fun! It was really good. I was asked to come over
here by Eric Idle from Monty Python, who was hosting the show. And it was a
great honor for me and a real pleasure to do. Complete madness!
Oh, yeah? What did you do, what songs?
- I did, `` The Man With The Child In His Eyes'' and `` Them Heavy
People'' That was a while ago now that was '79. [Actually 1978]
That's right, that's a long time ago already.
- Hmm. (1985, MTV)
In response to a question about future plans, kate sounded weary:
I'm actually pretty heavily committed until late autumn. The trouble is that
the records moved so quickly and I don't think any one expected it. I found
there are commitments already that are going on and on. Or, when asked about
her reception here in the us: The only people I can talk about are the people
in the company and the interviewers. They're all great. I figured they would be
anyway, because when you're talking to someone about themself you're usually
nice. (1978, Trouser
Cloudbusting / Somewhere / 1978