Interviews & Articles


The Pop Star
"Fangs a Lot Kate!"
May 26, 1979

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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 89 17:06 PST
From: Andrew Marvick (IED)
Subject: The Pop Star interview May 26, 1979

The Pop Star interview

<This interview was published anonymously in Pop Star magazine, May 26, 1979. The author's hastily considered opinions are matched by awkward, ungrammatical writing. Edited (insofar as this was possible) by Andrew Marvick.>

Fangs a Lot Kate !

Can you see Ms. Bush as a vampire?

No neither can she

It ain't rock'n'roll. And if you've seen Kate Bush on her sell-out British tour you'll know why. Live, she is about theatre and dance. And for a theatre-goer--you've probably seen a lot of it before. Lots of costumes, dance and mime. The lovely little lady dresses in various leotard-based costumes for her routines--which include a bar scene in an old tumble-down place where she turns away ugly molesters and even dressed in an airman's outfit with a parachute draped over a mock tree for Lionheart. What really makes her, though, is her face and movements. A little flick of the eyes at the end of the number makes you want to see more--to know her. And you want her to look at you personally. You could go on for ever about the rest of the act: when she dresses as a cowboy shooting everyone down, when she's in a leather jacket and black leotard with a guy each side spinning chromed dustbins <The author means dustbin-lids.>, when she looks at a floating silver ball controlled by a ballet dancer on invisible wires, she is like a child: young and innocent rather than sexy. <Other reviewers reached exactly the opposite conclusion, which only proves that opinions about Kate's sex appeal reveal more about the beholder than about Kate, her work or her intentions.>

It ain't rock'n'roll. The music...I'm afraid, gets same-ish. Her voice gets wearing. It is a show based on her songs--entertainment. Not what you'd call culture. <Amazing.> So it's surprising that she doesn't consider herself an actress. "I'm interested in theatre," asserts Kate. "Films...I really don't know about. I don't consider myself an actress. Unless something came up that I felt I could do, then I wouldn't do it. I have had film offers--like, there's been a couple of vampire films, and a rock musical. That's an obvious one because I'm a singer. But I wouldn't have thought I was a vampire!" No. But there have been some good-looking vampires. And sometimes her mystique on stage does lend itself to that sort of feeling--taunting but unattainable. But it's only taken two years for her to sell out all Britain's biggest venues--she started playing at a pub in South London's Lewisham. Now she's got a stage show that is original, exciting and even shocking. But the young Kate Bush is very modest about the extravaganza:

"I think that maybe a lot of people heard that it was going to be visual, and many of them are into seeing shows that are different from the normal ones. But it's not really for me to say why they like me. It's the people who know that.

"I'm sure there are as many people who hate my voice as ones who like it, but whatever it is, it's encouraging for me to know that people want to see me, whether it's to criticise, or because they really want to see the show. I think that's a great compliment."

Sure is. But it's taken a long time for her to take her show on the road, especially after her vinyl success with Wuthering Heights, Wow, and her two albums The Kick Inside and Lionheart. So why did she wait until now to do the tour?

"Basically, it's time. When Wuthering Heights and The Kick Inside took off at such a level there was a very strong demand for me to go out and do promotion. I think it's a sensible thing to do, but I didn't know it would take up a year. And besides, I spent most of that year recording the second album.

"One of the reasons I waited was to get the show right because to go on tour in this way you do need at least three months's preparation, and I just didn't have the time before. You know, we were all working for six days a week, twelve hours a day--and the number of hours gradually grew towards the end.

"I really need to be prepared for that sort of thing. Even for an album, I feel I need that preparation period. I don't know if this makes me a perfectionist. But I do have ideas that I don't always reach, so I guess that is what I am."

There's an argument in that somewhere. That preparation has paid off. In this country Kate Bush is nothing short of a superstar. Her Kick Inside album is still high in the charts, although Lionheart, the second album, hasn't done so well. Isn't that strange?

"I think it was more surprising to me that the first album did so well, than that the second album is not doing as well as the first one. It was really a surprise to me that a lot of people liked that album, and as far as I'm concerned I'm quite pleased with how well Lionheart did."

Maybe it's got something to do with the cover, eh? No, no, no, no, couldn't be. How could anyone think such a thing? Just because she looks more sexy on that cover can't have anything to do with it. <The editor's observation re "sexiness" in Kate's work apply equally here.> OK, that's a bit unfair. But seriously, Kate Bush has an image. And it's a strong one. Off her own back she's developed a totally individual style both songwise and actwise. She's been prominent on the music scene for a good eighteen months. And in many ways it might be better for her to lie low for a bit before coming back. Does she agree?

"Yes. I think humans are like cars--when the petrol runs out, that's it. What worries me is running out of fuel, because when you're working all the time there is very little chance to do things like going to the theatre, reading books, or whatever things inspire you.

"So it's very important for me to have breaks and be natural and normal and re-fuel, because without that fuel inside you can't give anything out. Very often I see people whose work has totally taken them over, so they can see nothing else in the world. That frightens me. I am a bit obsessed with my work--but I'm also concerned about being a human being.

"I always try and gauge my reactions from people I've known for years, and if I see that changing, it's up to me to check where I'm at, because being a human being is the most important thing.

"If people don't want to hear my music any more, I as a personality or celebrity would no longer exist, but I will always be human. The lifestyle may be different now than it was two years ago, but I think I'm still the same...although not as serious, perhaps!"

Which all really makes good sense. For a twenty-year-old, she really has got her head screwed on the right way. She realises her limitations and her strong points. And it's that professional competence that's done so much for her success--she can handle it without going off the rails.

All the same, it can still be a tough life at the top! There are a lot of commmitments--interviews, radio shows and photograph sessions, as well as record-company pressures to keep the hits coming. Has her new-found wealth put many pressures on her?

"There are probably a lot of pleasures that I'm not even aware of, that other people feel probably more strongly than myself. You do feel general pressures sometimes, but I'm having a real good time at the moment, and I'm doing what I want to do, and things are running more or less as I wish them to.

"It's such a fulfilling time of my life at the moment. The thing about money--being wealthy--I'm not really aware of, beause I see money as something that should be used and not thought about much, because it causes an awful lot of hang-ups in people. It's terrible that money is such a material thing." As for the future, Kate simply has this to say:

"I think everyone has to change, because tastes and times change. Even Cliff Richard, who's been going for years, changed at times. I'd like to change, but it's also important to keep the continuity. There is no point in changing just for the sake of changing. I never know if I'm going to change until I actually do something. So I just have to wait and see."

And, it seems, so will we. But you can't help feeling that it's gonna be good.

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"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush

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Marvick - Hill
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