Interviews & Articles


"The Blossoming Ms. Bush"
by Donna McAllister

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Date: Mon, 25 Feb 91 15:36:55 EST
From: Andrew B Marvick <abm4@cunixa.cc.columbia.edu>
Subject: Interview 1978 by Donna McAllister

Old Kate Bush Interviews

Unknown source: "The Blossoming Ms. Bush", 1978 by Donna McAllister

<This is one of the earliest print interviews. It probably comes from an Australian source. Kate's answers are refreshingly naive and unguarded, especially to readers familiar with her more recent, heavily armored and formulaic responses in interviews about "Hounds of Love" and "The Sensual World". She has since radically changed the way she discusses such topics as flying, the occult, even vegetarianism. Below you can see how closely the teenaged Kate Bush associated herself with the Sixties idealism and mysticism which she had absorbed from her two elder brothers--attitudes which these days she seems to hold less firmly, or at any rate to internalize more completely--IED.>

Kate Bush first came to our attention with "Wuthering Heights", the song which confused everyone as to what she was about. The fact that she is only nineteen has caused a lot of attention. Her new single is "Man With the Child in His Eyes", also from the debut LP "The Kick Inside".

Her story is not one of "overnight success". She was discovered by Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour who managed to get her a record contract two years ago. Despite success, she still lives in a three-storey flat near London which is owned by her general-practitioner father and whose other two storeys are occupied by her two older brothers.

Here, she talks to Donna McAllister about stardom:

Despite the fact that she has been wrongly promoted as a mere child, Kate Bush is surprisingly aware of what is going on around her, and is accepting the entire shindig with a pleased air of disbelief.

"They keep telling me the chart numbers, and I just kinda say, 'Oh, wow!'" (she sweeps her arms). "...It's not like it's really happening. I've always been on the outside, watching albums I like go up the charts, and feeling pleased that they are doing well, but it's hard to relate to the fact that it's now happening to me..."

"Wuthering Heights", Kate's self-penned song, inspired by the Emily Bronte book of the same name, literally catapulted into the UK charts (it made number one there, as it did here--Ed.) and looks as though it will be one of those classic worldwide smasheroonies.

She recently took her first airborne flight to Germany for a television appearance, as the single, apparently, has been chosen as whatever the German equivalent of "pick-of-the-week" might be.

"It was mind-boggling," she said euphorically, in reference to flying. "I really want to do more of that..." Wonder how she'll feel about it in two years time.

She writes songs about love, people, relationships and life...sincerely and emotionally, but without prostituting her talents by whining about broken hearts.

"If you're writing a song, assuming people are going to listen, then you have a responsibility to those people. It's important to give them a positive message, something that can advise or help is far more effective than having a wank and being self-pitiful. That's really negative. My friends and brothers have been really helpful to me, providing me with stimulating conversation and ideas I can really sink my teeth into."

For as long as she can remember she has been toying around with the piano, much, I reckoned, to her partents' chagrin. Can you imagine living with a nine-year-old who insists on battering away on said instrument, wailing away at the top of her lungs in accompaniment?

"Well, they weren't very encouraging in the beginning, they thought it was a lot of noise. When I first started, my voice was terrible, but the voice is an instrument to a singer, and the only way to improve it is to practice. <Kate didn't begin "battering away on" the piano until age eleven or so--IED.>

"I have had no formal vocal training, though there was a guy that I used to see for half-an-hour once a week, and he would advise me on things like breathing properly, which is very important to voice control. He'd say things like 'Does that hurt? Well, then, sing more from here (motions to diaphragm) than from your throat.' I don't like the idea of 'formal' training, it has far too many rules and conventions that are later hard to break out of..."

It is quite obvious from the cover of "The Kick Inside", her debut album, that Ms. Bush is Orientally influenced, but apparently it was not meant to take on such an Oriental feel. "I think it went a bit over the top, actually. We had the kite, and as there is a song on the album by that name, and as the kite is traditionally Oriental, we painted the dragon on. But I think the lettering was just a bit too much.

"On the whole I was surprised at the amount of control I actually had with the album production. Though I didn't choose the musicians." (Andrew Powell, producer and arranger, did.) "I thought they were terrific.

"I was lucky to be able to express myself as much as I did, especially with this being a debut album. Andrew was really into working together, rather than pushing everyone around. I basically chose which tracks went on, put harmonies where I wanted them...

"I was there throughout the entire mix. I feel that's very important. Ideally, I would like to learn enough of the technical side of things to be able to produce my own stuff eventually."

Kate has a habit of gesturing constantly with her hands, and often expressing herself with unspellable sounds and grimaces.

Though this make tape transcriptions difficult, it does accentuate something which is very much a part of her--'movement and expression.' She has studied under the inimitable Lindsay Kempt, mime artiste, an experience shared with Kate's favourite musician, David Bowie.

"I admire actresses and actors terribly and think it's an amazing craft. But singing and performing your songs should be the same thing. At this point, I would rather develop my music and express it physically, as opposed to having a script. I think I'm much better off as a wailer..."

She is, indeed, a beautiful woman. Carved ivory, with nary a nick. So obviously there is no way she can avoid becoming the target for sexist minds. Although she does not advocate this reaction, she's not flustered by it. After all, it is a compliment.

"As long as it does not interfere with my progress as a singer-songwriter, it doesn't matter, I just wish people would think of that first. I would be foolish to think that people don't look. I suppose in some ways it helps to get more people to listen..."

"The Kick Inside" suggests a keen interest in mysticism. "I try to work on myself spiritually, and am always trying to improve my outlook on life. We really abuse all that we've got, assuming that we are so superior as beings, taking the liberty of sticking cement stuff all over the place. I think there is a lot to astrology, and the effect the moon has upon us all, but I hate the way it's becoming so trendy now.

"I'm a vegetarian, and now that's trendy as well...but what annoys me the most is the way people are so automatically cynical about astrology. I mean, the Greeks put an incredible amount of hard work into carefully planned geometric charts, based purely on mathematics. People just shrug it off. It's the same with coincidence, as I said in the song 'Strange Phenomena'."

At first, Kate was opposed to having any sort of management, feeling strongly that fewer mistakes are made if you deal with situations yourself, directly. But she quickly found out that this sort of idealism does not work, and now has Peter Lyster-Todd handling her business affairs.

"He has worked more on the theatrical side of entertainment than music. I like that. I think most managers are crooks--greedy and nonmusical; and that mixing with other music managers is contageous. I think Peter is amazing..."

<Ironically, Kate and the Bush family almost immediately set about the difficult business of severing connections with Lyster-Todd, who, according to at least one unofficial source, was suspected of dipping into the till. Lyster-Todd was replaced by Hilary Walker, who is still connected to Kate's current holding company, Novercia, Ltd.--IED>

Just as I'm about to leave, a pile of fan mail arrives, and she gapes, amazed. "Cor...Is all this for me ??? This is amazing!"

From her "Kite":

"I got no limbs, I'm like a feather on the wind. Well, I'm not sure if I want to be up here at all. And I'd like to be back on the ground..."


From: Geoff Clare <gwc@root.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 91 17:47:57 GMT
Subject: Re: More KT interviews

> Unknown source (anyone know it?): "The Blossoming Ms. Bush", 1978

> "If you're writing a song, assuming people are going to listen, then you have a responsibility to those people. It's important to give them a positive message, something that can advise or help is far more effective than having a wank and being self-pitiful. That's really negative."

Is "wank" a typo or did Kate really say that?

(For those outside the UK who haven't encountered the word before, it's slang for "masturbate").

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