Making A Video
[Here are Kate's contributions to the second issue of the Newsletter (summer 1979).]
I must start by thanking you all for the masses of wonderful letters, and for all the slips that were left on the theatre seats that you took the time and trouble to send in. And the drawings, paintings, and poems have been great, too.
The tour was an incredible experience, and I'll never forget it, nor the reception we got from the audiences. In a way, the first night at Poole [this was the preview show held in Poole, near Liverpool, where the official premiere was given the next evening] was the most important, as it was the first real test as to whether it was going to happen or not, and the reaction really surprised me--it was lovely, and the greatest encouragement I could have possibly had. In fact, they all surprised me. I never expected such warmth. Some audiences wanted to be convinced, but that's only fair. In Europe people were a bit more reserved to start with in some places, especially where I wasn't well known, like France, but it was lovely--too good, really.
I really hope people understand why I didn't talk to the audience during the show. It would have been out of place. On stage I'm not me, I'm trying to create a mood and character, and to speak is, I think, unnecessary. I was speaking in so many other ways that words were not really worth their money. I'd rather something complete and tight, than a few words that couldn't be heard clearly anyway because of the sound system. I was really thrilled that so many people have commented on the dancing, and I loved the things that were thrown on stage, especially the green frog that landed at my feet at such a perfect moment in Peter Pan, and a UFO t-shirt that I've been wearing a lot. It was a lovely surprise when people clapped when they recognised a song, especially the album tracks. Normally it's an honour to have the singles clapped, and it's great that people recognise the songs and know the music so well. All the audiences were very respectful, and that's the most one can expect. In the solo numbers I wondered if they were still there, they were so quiet.
A lot of people have wondered why they couldn't use their cameras at the shows. I can understand why people want their own shots, but when the flash bulbs go off it's seen all over the auditorium and destroys the lighting effects on stage, spoiling it for everyone else. It's a bit selfish, like someone getting up to go out in the middle of a number, or shouting out.
I'd like to be able to answer all your queries about live recordings and the video film, but at the moment not enough is known for me to say anything. But I'll let you know when something definite happens.
What I really hated were the ticket touts. I wish something could be done to get rid of them, and I'm sure it could, as you don't see them on the Continent. It's really sickening to hear of them selling forged tickets at obscene prices. Everyone was really upset by their disgusting presence everywhere we went.
But that was the only negative thing about the tour. I was so sad when it was over, it was such a great time I never wanted it to end. Although it was right that it ended when it did, because we'd all paced our energies to that timing. I couldn't imagine a greater group of people to work with, and I think we all felt that it had been really worthwhile.
Now I want to write some new songs and get together with my piano again--I feel I've neglected it for too long. I also want to learn how to cook pizzas, something I can't do at the moment, and want to be able to do.
I'll end by saying thank you to all the people who came to the concerts and made it such a wonderful experience, and to all those of you who couldn't come--I wish you had.
Lots of love,
Wow is a song about the music business--not just rock music but show business in general, including acting and theatre. People say that the music business is about rip-offs, the rat race, competition, strain, people trying to cut you down and so on, and though that's all there, there's also the magic. It was sparked off when I sat down to try and write a Pink Floyd song, something spacey; though I'm not surprised no-one has picked that up, it's not really recognisable as that--in the same way that people haven't noticed that Kite is a Bob Marley song, and Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake is a Patti Smith song.
When I wrote Wow I didn't envisage performing it--the performance when it happened was an interpretation of the words I'd already written. I first made up the visuals in a hotel room in New Zealand, when I had half an hour to make up a routine and prepare for a TV show. [I have found no other record of Kate performing Wow in New Zealand or Australia. I only know of a performance of Hammer Horror in New Zealand and Australia. If anyone has information about a TV performance of Wow in these countries, could he/she please alert Love-Hounds?] I sat down and listened to the song through once, and the whirling seemed to fit the music. Those who were at the last concert of the tour at Hammersmith must have noticed a frogman appear through the dry ice--it was one of the crew's many last-night "pranks", and was really amazing. I'd have liked to have had it in every show. Luckily we got a picture of it for you, which also gives a view of the stage set, for those who didn't see the show.
Is it true that you are a vegetarian?
"Yes, and I have been for some time now, and I feel a lot better for it."
What do the initials K.T. stand for in the K.T. Bush Band?
"It's a sound thing, really. If you speak the initials, you get Katy, my name."
What does "O.D.'d" mean on Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake and "2-D" in Kite?
"'O.D.'d' means 'overdosed' in the sense of someone taking a drug overdose, and '2-D' means 'two-dimensional', in the way that the kite appears to be."
Is the child in the picture sleeve of The Man With the Child in His Eyes you when you were younger?
"Yes it is, and the photo was taken by my brother John, at the same time as the picture of me and 'someone' in this issue's competition."
Did you use the first of Eric Satie's Trois Gymnopedies to lead into Symphony in Blue in your concerts, and if so, why?
"It's really marvellous that people have recognised this, and it is so. At the time, some of us were really into the piece, and Paddy and the band were working on a version of it. We all really liked it, and as it seemed a good way of leading into the song, I decided to use it. I'm glad you liked it. Funnily enough, at the same time the band were working on it, several other versions were coming out, so it seems a lot of people were discovering him at the same time."
"The videos seen on TV in the U.K. were made by Keef MacMillan, a fantastic man who I really enjoy working with, and who's now a good friend. It starts when he comes for three or four hours in an evening, and we sit and talk about what we want to do. So far, at each stage our thinking has been on the same level, which is very good. I tell him what I've got in mind, and he says that that was what he was thinking too. I then show him the routine, and he thinks of different camera angles and possible effects. Then we go into the studio and do it, and each time we've taken a whole day. His camera crew are the most amazing guys, and all work hours of overtime because they want to do it well, which is really unusual.
"To start with I sit and listen to the song, and think of the personality who is in it. The easiest was The Man With the Child in His Eyes. I was sitting listening, trying to figure out who was singing it, and my brother John suggested I do it like that, sitting down. Then all I had to do was think about floor exercises I had done in previous lessons. I had the idea of someone sitting down and telling someone something rather secret, and put in human, rather nervous habits, like pulling hair, rubbing the nose, looking up to heaven, and that sort of thing; trying to characterize it that way. Then when I've listened once, I put the track on again and start moving, keeping on to the end. The ideas come to me with the words, and then I try to refine it. It's hard to get as much variation as I'd like, but that's a lot to do with the fact that I'm not a dancer. When we did the filming on that song, a lot of time was spent on the lighting, which was very complicated, and the perspex box that i sat on to give a floating effect, with lights underneath, got very hot. By the end of the day I had an incredible rivet-mark where I was sitting, which stayed for about four days. Every time I moved, it sounded like sandpaper. I really enjoy doing the videos, but by the end I really ache, and it gets very hot, especially under the thick make-up. But there's a nice tired feeling with a good day's work behind you. It's a real team effort, with everyone really enthusiastic and interested in helping me to enjoy it."
KaTe's Newsletter Writings Table of Contents
©1990 Andy Marvick