To the Reaching Out (Interviews) Table of Contents
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (ronald hill)
Date: Fri, 07 Aug 92 14:46:27 PDT
Subject: Record Mirror by Tim Lott October 7 1978
Tete A Kate
by Tim Lott
Record Mirror, October 7 1978
[Transcribed By Ron Hill]
The rock and roll business usually brings up its fair share of prima donnas, ready to grab what they can and cast off their friends and roots. The hit singles and fame happened very quickly for KATE BUSH but she remains a human being.
Enough of her flesh, her bones, her erogenous zones. Physical obsession has become redundant. Kate Bush is, as she never tires of emphasising, a member of the human race, not a musical hybrid of the girlie mag fantasy woman. She's clinging onto that humanity with obsessional determination despite her circumstances sliding further and further away from that "normality" she holds desperately and dearly.
Her abnormality has never been more apparent than in this setting: a L100 at night, two floor leather-and-flowers suite at the Montcalm Hotel, Marble Arch.
She has just been interviewed by "Ritz" and "Vogue". Attended by two press officers, she is, despite her protestations, a star, a true star, by virtue of her immense success, her pink skin and her Page 3 curves.
A number one single (an international hit) a number one album and immense publicity: Kate Bush is a phenomenon. The fate that befalls such animals - arrogance, self-indulgence, mania - has yet to manifest its symptoms, partially because this particular phenomenon is dedicated to the preservation of her personal reality.
"I'm not really aware of being subjected to any starmaking machine."
She tap her fingers on the chrome and glass table in the only nervous gesture she possesses.
"I know that might sound odd, but I've really no idea about it. The record company thought this hotel would be practical. I thought it would be nice. It's quite a trip for me to be here.
"I didn't walk in here and say 'where are the flowers? Where is my champagne?'
"I hope I haven't become a prima donna yet. I really mean that. I really, really resent that a lot.
"It's nice if you're on the road that you should have somewhere nice to sleep. But I'm not into the 'Oh, Dahling!' bit, and everybody having a Rolls Royce."
It sounds almost defensive, but one subject that Bush is totally convincing about is how critical she considers her grasp on her own situation.
She has reached a point already of being such a valuable property to EMI Records that she is at the point of being able to control her immediate destiny.
The interviews she does are her own choice - "I want to get into as many areas as I can. So I did the fashion magazines and "Vegetarian" and "The Sun". I'm testing the water.
She says that she is, quote, into people. People, of course, reciprocate, and therein lies the danger. A surfeit of attention killed Janis Joplin and, more lately, put Ply Styrene into a mental home.
"I have some person principles I stick by, though they are pretty free. They don't just apply to the press. They are my way of living.
"I have tried to avoid an 'image'. If you have an image you intend to maintain, it's going to be very difficult, because you're going to get holes in your image. I may be that animal 'Kate Bush' a bit when I'm offstage, but mostly, I'm me."
Kate spends most of her time with a smile on her face that look straight at you, but she looks away and almost shutters for a moment.
"The things I don't like doing is... is... going to these sort of parties that you hear about. I don't go to parties. I find that sort of thing very unhealthy. In fact I find them disgusting."
She pronounces the word 'parties' like you or I might pronounce some vile disease or weird sin.
"It's not me. I'm basically a quiet person. When I get the time, I like to go home. I clean up the flat - which is a mess, because I'm never there. And I get some friends around that maybe I haven't seen for a long time.
"It's not a question of insulating myself. This is something that is extremely important to me - I'm very much a human being, and I don't want to lose that.
"You don't have to believe all the sycophants. I am aware that in my position I am both vulnerable and very powerful. People are always trying to grab a piece of your pie. But it can only be down to you to get yourself out of... er... a vulnerability situation."
This tiny vision is both unusual and predictable; the first because she is so damn scientific, the second because she is so blatantly optimistic.
She takes a relentlessly practical approach to her career - "I have to look at it in a realistic way" - and admits that she trusts no-one at all. On the other hand she believes like many before her, that she can have her cake and eat it, that she can be a star and not a star, that she can somehow escape the pre-requisite of her job - to give, and give, and still give, at the expense of, at the very least, a part of her personality.
"People might call me it, but I'm not a star," she says, and I think she almost believes it. "I'm just a person who writes songs that, at the moment, people happen to like.
"They might not like anything on the next album: in which case I'll still be the same."
Except that she'll be a failed star. Kate has yet to reach the point of acceptance that things will never be the same. Her family, her friends will inevitably take second place and some will disappear. The blue-print is there, and inescapable.
Or maybe I'm wrong, and Kate has more strength of mind than I dare hope. Maybe. She is certainly convinced, and that's half the battle.
"You don't have to make yourself an island. In your head, you know what you are."
"The only person with you all your life is you. Your parents die. Things inside you die - illusions, gushes of personality. Only you can sort yourself out. Yourself may not be all you need, but it's all you got."
Whatever problems have still to hit Kate, she is as mentally well prepared as anyone could be. A precious - in the real sense of the word - teenager, her defenses are rooted in her very successful self-adjustment.
After reading the teaching of the philosopher Gurdjieff, which made an enormous impression on her, she came to the conclusion that human beings were all a load of shit anyway, which is an enormous help with any ego problems that might present themselves.
"Look around you just a little bit and you realise that you're nothing. Look at the world, the universe - this is getting very hippyish, right? - but we are very small.
"And yet everybody goes around thinking how incredible they are - you know, I am it, I am everything.
"People are obsessed by themselves. I am even. I find myself thinking about myself a lot. "
Kate sees this, to a certain extent, as an evil suffered through lack of mental discipline, of which she wishes she possessed more. She wants, she says, to be a "better human being."
"Because I'm in the position I am I have an incredible chance of being able to do that. I'm in a position where I have power to help people - by doing charity shows, spreading the word about whales... I don't know."
With her peace and love philosophies, her conservation ideals, her Gurdjieff satin 'n' tat post sixties glamour, and her vegetarian obsession, it's not surprising that she has been mistaken several times for that anachronistic chestnut, the "hippy".
"I'm not a hippy, though I thought the potential of the movement was enormous. I was too young, really.
"I was never particularly into drugs. I don't even get into alcohol very much. Just nicotine really. I smoked my first cigarette at the age of 9."
She experimented with drugs, though - marijuana and something she never managed to identify.
"I've never taken acid. I don't think I'm into things like that. I've seen a lot of people screwed up through it. The idea of it is really fascinating, though - to be able to see the room breathe, and stuff like that.
"There must be a way for you to do it without drugs."
Kate, nevertheless, has her trite addictions, innocent though they are. She is, for instance, hooked on chocolate, which she says she has a physical craving for. Food is drug enough.
How long that situation holds remains to be seen. Kate is about to experience pressures she can only guess at, by embarking on a major tour, reaching Britain in February.
This, she is told, is not a necessity, the album would still sell without it.
"But I feel it's a really important thing for an artist to do. It's the only chance people who really like you get to see you without media obstruction."
Kate is in the very unusual position of being a young, inexperienced artist who isn't being forced into any compromises. EMI has exerted pressures for her to hurry her new album, something she refuses point blank to do.
"I have to. If you're not ready, then you can't give it to them. There is no way you can rush an artistic thing to meet a business deadline.
"If you blow that artistic," she laughs at her own grammatical gaff, "you're going to lose so much for nothing.
"I've been really lucky, I have. I [It???] often terrifies me, and I wonder, why? I think it's a very karmic thing - what you give you, you get back."
Kate has Good Karma. She does nothing to bely her apparently angelic nature. It gets difficult to stomach that anyone can be so thumper.
"Actually," she jibes, "I mug old ladies. Would you like me to smash a window or something?
"Seriously, I recognise flaws in myself, and try to keep them quiet.
"It's a drag to throw your faults around for other people to see. But I do recognise flaws in myself, of course.
"I don't, for instance, like hearing very truthful thing about myself. It's hard to give examples without giving away very personal things, like within the family, but I get really indignant. I put a lot of defenses up.
"And I can be stubborn. I might have a strong idea in my brain and it's hard to thrash it out with anyone else, though the idea could be wrong."
"Also, I'm very soft. My emotion just gets in the way, sometimes at business meetings - my intellect does not have control over my passions.
"Still I don't know anyone who hates me. Why should anyone? I don't do anything to make them. There are, after all, very few people I dislike."
Tread carefully here Lott.
The assumption is very easy after quotes of such a... gentle nature, that Kate Bush is a sort of talented blancmange, determined to be like, a rock 'n' roll goody twoshoes.
I don't think that's true. Though people complimenting people was never one of my hobbies, I went to meet this cherub with some determination to find the brat inside, or at least expose the milky veneer as a good PR. I got a glimpse of neither.
This lead me to suspect that Kate Bush is actually for real. She is not a hippy-dippy altruist or a walking media exercise. She is what she seems: a teenager with a clear head, and obvious talent.
The vision will probably crack as the Biz tightens its grip on her swan-like neck, but at the moment Kate Bush is a creature I thought extinct: a phenomenon with ideals.
This thing of beauty may not be a joy forever, but least acknowledge it while it lasts.
To the Reaching Out (Interviews) Table of Contents
"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush
Marvick - Hill
Willker - Mapes
Grepel - Love-Hounds