Interviews & Articles


Associated Press
by Hillel Italie
reprinted in Valley Herald
Nov. 17 1989

To the Reaching Out (Interviews) Table of Contents

Date: Mon, 20 Nov 89 16:32:02 PST
From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: AP telephone interview

by Hillel Italie reprinted in Valley Herald Nov. 17 1989

There is an Associated Press telephone interview with Kate. It appeared locally last Friday (Nov. 17 89) in the Valley Herald a small newspaper serving the Livermore, Amador, and San Ramon Valleys. I never expected to see anything about Kate in *this* newspaper! I suppose the article must have appeared in other places as well.

I believe there are several errors in the article. I won't bother correcting them, but if anybody wants to, such as IED, be my guest.

In any case, here it is:

Getting past the myths surrounding Kate Bush

by Hillel Italie, Associated Press

Some myths about Kate Bush:

-- The four-year wait for her new album, "Sensual World," was by choice.

Bush, a perfectionist in the studio, says no. She did take a brief rest after issuing the popular greatest hits package, "The Whole Story," but said creating suitable material caused the delay. She also changed labels, from EMI to CBS.

-- She doesn't like to perform live.

Not so, the singer insists. This most visual of artists loves the stage, but worries about maintaining the intensity night after night of material such as "Get Out of my House" and "Sat in Your Lap." That's why she hasn't toured in 10 years.

-- Her favorite author is Emily Bronte.

Wrong again. Yes, the title and story of "Wuthering Heights," a No. 1 single in England in 1978, were taken straight from the novel. But no, Bush didn't like the book and, in fact, hadn't seen the movie.

It is true, however, that the British star has a few things to say about love, and a few more about the, well, "Sensual World." All that is no surprise to anyone whose ears have rung from her operatic passion on "Wuthering Heights" or has gazed at those penetrating brown eyes which glow from her album covers.

So Bush fans won't be surprised that the title song of her new record more than lives up to its name.

A better story is how it came to be recorded. Originally, having composed an appropriately seductive track, Bush thought of James Joyce's erotic classic, "Ulysses," and thought she had found the ideal lyrics.

"The lyrics were taken straight from Molly Bloom's soliloquy," the 31-year-old singer-songwriter siad in a telephone interview from London. "The words were so rich, so intimate. It was like magic the way they fitted."

Unfortunately, the Joyce estate had no interest in hearing the author's words set to music. If Bush wanted to invoke "Ulysses", she'd have to start from scratch. She did, cooing "Mmh, yes," and murmuring images of "seedcades" and "arrows of love" while uilleann pipes and an Irish bagpipe moaned in the background.

"I was disappointed," Bush admitted, "and it was very difficult. I wanted to keep the original sense, but obviously I am not Joyce. But with the rhythms I had it began to turn into what the Molly Bloom character is about. I was stepping out of the song into the beauty [of] nature."

She calls her dreamlike songs "short stories," and brings to them a fiction writer's fascination with legend and reality. That means imagining heists with Bogart and Cagney, summoning the spirit of Houdini and springing from the head of Zeus.

On "Heads We're Dancing," a young girl meets a charming stranger at a dance in 1939 and discovers she is conversing with Hitler.

"I was thinking of the devil incarnate, the ultimate evil," she said. "It was inspired by a friend of mine who had been to this dinner and sat next to this guy and found him absolutely fascinating, intelligent and well-educated.

"He asked the next day, 'Who was that?' and was told it was (atomic bomb developer) J. Robert Oppenheimer. My friend went back in horror. He said he would have behaved completely differently if he had realized who it was."

Obsession, like Cathy for Heathcliff, drove Bush to make music. She played piano for hours as a child and was 15 when a friend introduced her to Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour.

"He was looking for different acts and my friend said to him, 'Come and have a listen.' They came down and worked on a few songs with me. I couldn't afford anything like paying for a studio so Dave put up the money. We put three tracks down, two of those tracks went on the first album ('The Kick Inside')."

Go to a record store and you'll find her albums in the "pop" or "rock" section, between Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds. But neither of these 1960s groups had a singer with a four-octave soprano, or called a song "Suspended in Gaffa," or ever used the Digeridu or Bouzouki.

Bush was inspired by British art rockers Peter Gabriel and Bryan Ferry rather than country and rhythm 'n' blues. Instead of getting her kicks from electric guitar, Bush fell in love with the Fairlight synthesizer, which she began using on her third album, "Never for Ever."

"I took one look at it and said, 'This is what I've been looking for all my life.' I couldn't believe the Fairlight. It's called a synthesizer, but many of its sounds are of natural source. To be able to play with strings, waterfalls, anything you want, it's wonderful.

"It was just like opening this great door for me, a complete revolution. It meant I no longer felt a need to write on the piano and fill it out with synthesizers."

Bush talks of colors, moods. There's the anger of "Between a Man and a Woman," the loss of innocence of "The Fog," the dry wit of "Running Up That Hill (a Deal With God)."

She also writes of lying awake at night, worrying about love, in "The Man With the Child in His Eyes," and being brought to tears by a bad dream in "Cloudbusting."

"All of us tend to live in our heads. In 'Cloudbusting,' the idea was of starting this song with a person waking up from this dream, 'I wake up crying.' It's like setting a scene that immediately suggests to you that this person is no longer with someone they dearly love," she said.

"It puts a pungent note on the song. Life is a loss, isn't it? It's learning to cope with loss. I think in a lot of ways, that's what all of us have to cope with."

There's also an old picture of Kate from the Hounds Of Love promotion days (the one with Kate wearing the hat), and the caption reads: "Kate Bush draws on a more varied background than pop and country music."

To the Reaching Out (Interviews) Table of Contents

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

Reaching Out
is a
Marvick - Hill
Willker - Mapes
Grepel - Love-Hounds