To the Reaching Out (Interviews) Table of Contents
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 1991 22:05:04 -0800
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ronald Hill)
Subject: BBC Radio 1 interview by David Jensen (?) 1982
Radio 1 interview. 1982
I am not certain of the details of this interview. Presumably it was with David Jensen after the release of The Dreaming album. This interview was difficult to transcribe and may be difficult to follow due to the large amount of incomplete sentences by the interviewer.
[Transcribed by Ron Hill. Thanks to IED for the tape]
I: Hi, there.
I: Now you have been very busy because your new album, since I've been in Canada, has come out and you've been around promoting the album. What I have for you tonight, as you can see, is a pile of letters from various fans. Alot of them are actually members of your fan club, I assume the various letters and numbers that some of them have signed their letters with mean that they are members of the fan club, and some aren't - they just have some questions for you. The album, and of course the single, met with mixed reaction, really. The single... alot of your fans are disappointed - the way you must have been - that the single didn't get more airplay and support, and therefore wasn't a hit. And I was reading an interesting review of your new album in the Sunday Times yesterday which kinda compared you to Joni Mitchell. You know, sorta Britain's answer to Joni Mitchell. [Kate laughs] Have you ever heard that comparison? Or how do you react when you hear that sort of comment?
K: Well actually I find that very flattering cause I think Joni Mitchell's really great. So yeah!
I: Alright, so that's a plus then. Let's go to some of these letters. Tim Shore writes from Sutton Cornfield in the West Midlands and say that "The Dreaming is an excellent single and deserved to do far better then number forty-eight in the charts. How does Kate feel about this fact?" Lets find out.
K: I mean obviously I was a bit disappointed, but it's just the way it goes, really. I think what was more disappointing was the fact that we'd made a video for it and we weren't able to get it shown, and we'd put a lot of work into it. But really what concerns me is the album, much more than the singles. So it's not a problem really.
I: Alright, well Tim says "something else that didn't help, apart from the virtual absence of airplay [Kate Laughs] was the lack of suitable publicity. Did Kate want the Dreaming to succeed on the strength of song alone, rather than on an immense publicity campaign?"
K: Well, I think the problem is that often there aren't publicity campaigns for singles, because they don't actually seem to do much good, and that's the problem. Often a single is kept under it's own weight, the fact ... if it's good ... and the airplay is a big thing as well. And there's not really that much you can do.
I: Do you regret having the record or the single out then?
K: No, not at all. I mean if I was to make the same choice, I would. I would go for that same record, you know what I mean? If I had to put the first single out again I would go for that one, I'm very happy...
I: Sifting through all the letters earlier today, Kate - and I'm sorry I can't remember for the sake of the listener, the person who mentioned this - but I remember somebody saying that the song originally had a different title, The Dreaming, is that right?
K: No, no it didn't. We always have working titles for things, but that doesn't mean it has a different title. It's always really been called The Dreaming.
I: Ok. John Neams, who is K.0273 - fan club number I guess - in Newport in Quint, tons of questions. And let's get into some of John's now. "The new album took over a year to record, is this due to the fact that you have been involved one a hundred percent in it's production?"
K: Yes, I think that's certainly contributed to the fact that it's taken a long time. But there are alot of other things as well. The songs themselves were very demanding, especially emotionally. And they seemed to be requiring more special sounds, new treatment, that sort of thing. So it was harder to find sounds that were right and it took longer to get ideas manifested. And also, I was having to work between three or four studios in order to be able to get the time to make sure that the impetuous was carried on and the album was finished. Because I was making an album at the same time a lot of other people were and obviously everybody wanted to use the same top studios in London, so I was having to move around alot, which was hard.
I: I would have thought if you're going to take that long over an album, recording things, that it must be hard to keep the interest up in some tracks, 'cause you may record or write a song - you think "that sounds terrific" and then sort of the whole thing kinda rescinds over the few weeks and you think, "well maybe that wasn't a great song."
K: [Laughs] That really was my biggest problem. I mean they're all kinds of problems like lack of confidence and worrying about things, but the real problem was that I was starting to lose interest in the songs and I was starting to worry about the songs, wondering, as you were just saying, if they were still as good as I thought they were when I actually wrote them. And you just have to be working with really good people who keep saying "it's great, don't worry it sounds great." And you just keep doing it and maybe a few days later you think "yeah, it's not so bad but I don't know about this one." [Laughs]
I: When I've talked to you, when I've heard you in interviews, you are such a positive person. And of course you were parodied a couple of years ago because you used to use the word "amazing"...
I: ...an awful lot [when] you used to appear on TV - I haven't heard you use that word in interviews lately. But you are still a very positive sort of person, aren't you? How do you deal with sort of negative thoughts in the studio, things aren't going quite right, how do you address things like that?
K: I think, again, it's down to the people you're working with, 'cause if you've got a positive vibe happening between the team, then really if it starts going negative you can just pull it away, you can say to the people "look, come on, you know, let's forget about that." And I really think it is down to the relationship and the feelings between the people you're working with, and I was really lucky because all the people I work with are really great, they're fantastic.
I: Is it hard work being up all the time, or are you just naturally sort of bright and look upon the world with a positive sort of feeling?
K: No, I don't think I've very positive sometimes, I think I'm quite negative at some times, you know. But I think there's always the feeling in me that there's no reason for me to be negative because everything's great, so why be negative? And then I feel better. [Laughs]
I: Okay. I was talking about John's questions instead of asking my own. Another one from John's letter, before we hear some music from the album. Do the tracks on the album have a thematic theme, theme link, or are they different in theme or treatment?
K: Yes, I think they are quite individual really. They're all about different subject matter, so they're isn't really a theme, no.
I: Okay, let's hear a track called Suspended In Gaffa from The Dreaming. What is this about?
K: Well, it's really about people that are after something that is very special to them. They've seen something that they want very badly, but they know that in order to get that they have to work very hard. And a lot of people don't want to do the work and still want the thing at the end of it. I remember when I was at school, I was always told about purgatory as being the place that you went to and you saw a glimpse of God and then he went away and you never ever saw him again and you were in the most tremendous pain for the rest of eternity because you couldn't ever see him again. And it's a really heavy image, you know, especially for a child. And I think in many ways it's a very similar thing, trying to get that back that thing that you really want to see again.
I: Okay. Let's hear all of those thoughts to music.
[The song is played]
I: Kate Bush and that was Suspended In Gaffa from the new album called The Dreaming. Did you do any special vocal training for this album, or have you done recently [Kate Laughs]. Because you do a lot of acrobatics with your voice on this album, more than I think I remember.
K: Yeah, I think there's a lot more experimentation on this album. I didn't do any special vocal training, but they were a lot of different ideas when I wrote the songs and put the demos down. And really most the ideas were in the demos to start with. I: Now on the front cover of the album, for those who have not seen it, you have got your hands around a fellow who has his hair combed back like Houdini. You confirm this was Houdini who you are clutching in your hands there, or someone looking like him. And you have a key in your mouth, on your tongue in fact, a gold key. What does that represent?
K: Well, one of the wonderful things about Houdini was that his wife would help him out with his tricks, sometimes. And one the ways was that as she gave him a passing kiss before he went off to do his act, she would pass him a key and he would later use it to unlock the chains.....
I: Is that true?
K: Yeah, it's beautiful isn't it?
I: Is that true???
I: Well, well.
K: Yeah. It's really good. So we thought what a fantastic picture it would make.
I: Unbelievable. Okay, back to John Neims letter. Ba de be de be do. Rolf Harris and Percy Harris appear on the new single. Planxty and one of the Chieftains contribute to another track. Are there any other guest artists on the album?
K: Um, yes there are. There's a wonderful fretless bass player from Germany called Eberhard Weber who I think I've mentioned to you before....
I: Yes, yes...
K: ...because I'm a very big fan of his. And he played on the track Houdini which was wonderful. And Dave Gilmour came in as well and did some vocals on one of the tracks.
I: What was it like working with the Irish folk band Planxty, 'cause I'm a bit of a fan of their's. I know the regular listener will know... like "what do you mean you're a fan, you never play their music." [Kate laughs] It doesn't seem somehow to be in context with what I'm doing. Maybe I should but...
K: I would be lovely if you did.
I: I was listening to a lot of their stuff when I was in Northern Ireland recently. But, how did you get involved with Planxty?
K: Well, I've been a fan of theirs as well. Really, my brother Jay played me some albums of theirs and ever since I've been hooked. I wrote the song and it just seemed perfect for them to work on. So I rang a guy called Bill Whelan, who's the keyboard player, and he was really interested in it and said he'd get the guys together, but over in Ireland. So I had to fly over there for the day and we put them on tape. And Bill wrote this fantastic arrangement, which he originally played to me there on the phone, it was fantastic! He was with them at the Piper [???] and he said "hang on a minute," put the phone down, and I heard them play the arrangement to me their on the phone. It was beautiful.
I: Magic. Let's see a question completely away from Planxty and Northern Ireland is that press reports say that you've made a record with Zaine Griff called Flowers, yet EMI records, your own record company, deny all knowledge. [Kate Laughs]. Well, says John, is this true?
K: Well I haven't made the record with him, all I did was sing some backing vocals on this song that Zaine wrote which is called Flowers and it's a lovely song.
I: Is it true that you're doing a TV special in September and that your guest is to be Roy Harper?
K: [Laughs] No, no I don't know about that at all.
I: Where did he get that question from?
K: I don't know.
I: He just made it up.
K: But Roy is really great. Hey Roy, if you're out there.
I: And on the subject of people that you admire and that you've worked with, any chance of working with Peter Gabriel again in the near future, wonders John.
K: I'd love to work with Peter again, because he's so great. But I don't know, that's something that we would have to see.
I: Okay. We'll put this letter to the side. There's a lot of questions that I haven't put to you, but really I want to get through a few more. Paul Folks of East Isbury, Manchester, wants to know if there is any truth in the rumor that Kate is going to sing on a record, oh it's another one of these questions, is going to sing on a record with Midge Ure which Trevor Horn is producing?
K: Isn't that [??? something]... someone else said that to me today and I haven't heard about it at all. Maybe someone should come and let me know. No, I don't know about it.
I: Pamila Davidson, who's sixteen, writes from Roundhanye, Leeds, the one big question I would like ask Kate is "where has she been for so long? Was it just an extended holiday?"
K: [Laughs] Isn't that wonderful? I wish it were.
I: Well, you were on a little bit of a holiday, some weeks ago?
K: Oh, yeah, some weeks ago. But that's not where I've been all this time, gosh. Be nice if I had been.
I: On a lighter note, what does Kate think about people such as Pamela Stevenson doing impersonations of her?
K: I think it's great, actually. I think it's wonderful that they go to so much trouble, as well. And they really do, obviously watch the routines and listen to the track. And they always re-record the track. Great.
I: When you see somebody doing that. Somebody who has put effort in to... to mimic you. And getting laughs out of it, at your expense. Do you then say to yourself "well I'm going to stop doing that, that does look pretty silly." Or do you have second thoughts about your performance?
K: I think I have second thoughts about my performance anyway. I think that just exaggerates the point. But its great, I love to watch the way that they do it. It's very fun.
I: Betty of Gosport in Hense wants to know what particular area of your work that you enjoy or prefer doing the most, if you could do one thing -writing songs, recording, touring, working with other people on their albums, producing, or dancing? [Kate laughs] You're going to tell me that you like them all, for different reasons?
K: I do actually, I do like them all very much. But I think, definitely the priority for me is the writing of the songs. It's the most challenging, frustrating, satisfying thing there is.
I: Would you like to write for other people?
K: I've never tried, but it's something that I... yes it's quite appealing. The problem is really getting time, because I normally only have enough time to scrape enough songs together myself for an album. But it's very appealing, yeah.
I: Have other artists recorded your work that you're aware of?
K: Very little, yes. It's not being covered much at all?
I: Maybe because it's very stylized.
K: Yes, I don't know. I don't why. It would be lovely to hear more people covering it. It would just be nice to hear what they did to a song.
I: Sure. Alright we're going to break away from Kate's music for a second and go back into....
I: ...in Blackpool. Did Kate enjoy producing her new album and has she any plans to produce any other artists?
K: Yes, I did enjoy producing the album, it wasn't easy at all. But yes, I did enjoy it because I was pleased with the result. I don't know about producing other artists, I don't know.
I: Maybe in time.
K: Yeah, maybe. It's a very interesting idea, yeah!
I: [Laughs] At the end of The Dreaming a voice says something... I'm sorry, I've forgotten Nick's name... Nick says that he cannot make out. Is this Aborigine, and, if so, does Kate know what it means?
K: Yes it is aborigine. And it's a lyric from a song called Airplane!, Airplane! And it's very strange because its one of the first aboriginal songs about airplanes which were coming from the civilized Australians.
I: Okay. And in fact the album... the single, again it's a question that a lot of people ask, it's something that you actually covered on the telephone a few weeks ago, maybe it might be worth recapping briefly cause it is the title of the album, and it was the single, The Dreaming, is what it's about?
K: What, the words the Dreaming?
I: Yes, the whole concept, yes.
K: Yeah, well The Dreaming, which is also known as Dreamtime, was the time for the Aborigines more or less at the beginning of creation when animals and humans took the same form. It was very magical and it's of incredible religious significance to them. And thats what it's about.
I: Okay. Away from music, Jackie Daves of Whitchurch in Chopshire, wants to know if you have ever had singing lessons at any time in your life? I'm not sure if she's suggesting that you should have? [Kate laughs] But she wants to know.
K: Yeah. Yes I did actually with a really lovely man called Mr. Farrol. And I used to go there for half an hour, once a week. And I'd sit and play him my latest song, and then we'd do some breathing exercises and a couple of songs that were standards and I'd go away. And what was really great about it was that he gave me a tremendous amount of confidence in my voice, which I really didn't have much of.
I: When did Kate decide to become a vegetarian, and what were her reasons for becoming a vegetarian, is Jackie's next question.
K: I was sixteen and I think I've always loved animals and I've always not loved the idea of eating things that have been killed for me to eat. And just one day I happened to be eating some meat that really made me aware of what I was eating, that it was an animal and that it was dead and cooked and sitting on my plate. [Laughs]
I: So you turned around and not been tempted back?
K: No I haven't actually.
I: So what do you eat, just vegetables...
I: I mean do you eat eggs...
K: Yes, I do.
I: And fish?
K: No, I don't eat fish. But I eat dairy products, yeah. So I'm not a [??? Vegan]
I: Yeah, that's really heavy duty...
K: Yes, that's very strict.
I: Cause in this business, and it's a business after all that you're in when you're traveling and touring and you're busy, it's very difficult to maintain a disciplined diet, cause you have to kinda eat when you can, what you can.
K: It's really difficult, yeah, it really is. I think that's why most people that become vegetarians in this business tend to go... they tend to revert back to eating meat because it's so much easier, they can't find good vegetarian food.
I: Maybe if there was vegetarian fast food available people might be more tempted to turn to...
K: Yeah! But then it would be not good for you, would it. It would be rubbish.
I: [Laughs] Let's go to some music again from The Dreaming. And this is called Night Of The Swallow and is there something you would like to tell us about this before we play it?
K: Um... [Long pause] No. [Both Laugh]
I: Okay, let's hear it then.
[The song is played]
I: And some nice fretless bass playing on that track. Night Of The Swallow, from Kate Bush. And from Dochland, Englehop.... What do you think, is the hop, h-o-p-p-e or h-o, hoppie?
K: Yeah, I'd say "hop".
I: "Hop", right.
K: [Laughs.] "Hoppie."
I: Engelhop! Of Doseldorp, he's a regular listener to this program, except on tuesday nights, says she, because then Dallas is shown on television [Kate laughs] here in Germany. Right, Englel. Engel has some questions for you Kate. What are the bands that you like most at the present time?
K: Um! Terrible question. I really like the Beats, still like David Bowie, still like Roxy Music. I like ABC's stuff, Madness, they're great.
I: Are you getting engaged or married in the near future?
K: No, I'm not.
I: Okay. What do you think of the new German wave? Obviously Engles from there so she's anxious to know what you think of bands like Ideal or Trio?
K: Wow! I'm afraid I don't know much about them so... sorry. [Laughs]
I: Alright, okay. I know that you're keen on Captain Beefheart 'cause last Christmas when we asked you to choose a favorite track of yours over the christmas period we played Tropical Hot Dog Night and that is a track that you have asked to hear again.
K: Yeah, I think it's great.
I: Is he an influence at all?
K: Yes I'm sure he is, just cause I like him so much. I think it should be a single, I think it would be a really big single, it's brilliant.
I: Well, I know it's from an album that was issued on Virgin records a few years ago. And listeners may well be interested to know that Captain Beefheart is coming here soon and we're hoping to have a chat with him. I interviewed him on another wavelength few years ago [Kate laughs] and he really does remain most of my most memorable characters in the best possible way. I really, really got on, I'd like to think, well with him and I enjoyed our chat. So I hope that I will be meeting up with him again. Captain Beefheart here for Kate Bush.
[The song is played]
I: Captain Beefheart, Tropical Hot Dog Night. I kind of spoiled that track for Kate because a couple of listeners have asked that we set a competition. Something actually that we haven't done for a long time. I think the last one was when we gave away Mark Almonds leather motorbike hat. [Both laugh] But Kate has agreed that it would be a good idea to do a competition, if we could think of a good question. Maybe we should do it the other way around, the person who thinks of the best question....
K: Yeah, we could...
I: Yeah. Because what we'd like to do is give away maybe some signed albums, which Kate is willing to do. If we can think of a good question, in the next sorta five minutes, then we'll do it okay, how's that?
K: Yeah, that sounds good.
I: The pressures on, maybe when we play the forthcoming single. In the meantime, The Lionhearts That Felt It, that's how they signed their names, Steve and Kisy. No address on the inside of this card, which has couple of red hot lips on the outside. Is your dancing still an important aspect of your career, and how much practice do you do a day?
K: Yes, it is still important. The problem is when I'm making albums I can't dance, as well. So I have to wait until I've finished the project before I can start again. Um, probably do about three to four hours a day when I haven't got anything else on. The last few months I've been getting back into it. It feels a great again.
I: Well that is a long time, really.
K: Well it's not constant class, we do a class maybe an hour, an hour and a half, and we just [do] routine numbers, so it's much slower, but we're still moving and trying things out.
I: A question from Steve and Kisey, who would like your autograph. But I'm not sure that we could send them an autograph, or that you could, because there is no address. But anyway, where did you get your theater mask earrings, the ones that you were wearing on the album Lionheart?
K: Do you know, it's rather lovely, because when I went to Canada, years ago, I was doing a whole day of interviews with journalists and there was a lady journalist, and we only sat and chatted for about 30 minutes. And when I first met her, I said "your earrings are beautiful." And when she left she took them off and gave them to me, and said, "I hope they bring you luck."
K: Yeah, she was really far out.
I: And they have.
I: Miss Cass Sefton of Stephford, Manchester, wants to know what everybody is asking to know but it's a question that I left to the end, is when you're going to come on the road, go on the road, when are you going to be TOURING!
K: Ummm, well I really want to and I'm going to start thinking about it before the end of this year in order to try and get [to] something happen before next year. Cause it's a good six months rehearsal, really. And I'm hoping to get something together for next year, but I don't know when. As soon as I do, I'll let everyone know.
I: Are you going to doing any television specials in the meantime, anything like that?
K: I've got a few TV things coming up, and I'm going to Europe. But there's a few TVs I might be doing that aren't confirmed yet. But there's all sorts of things happening, yeah.
I: Okay. You told us that this next song we're about to play from the album will be the forthcoming single. When will it be a 45? [Knocks "wood" twice]
K: Should be October the 11th, I think, yes.
I: Okay. Is this it's first announced play as a forthcoming single? Do we have a bit of a scoop here, would you say?
K: Well, could be, could be.
I: Me thinks we may not! [Both laugh] Okay, well you've got the length of this song then, Kate, to think....
K: of a good question, right start the clock.
I: Okay. There Goes A Tenner, thats the title of the album track.
[The song is played]
I: [Pause. Silence. Both are laughing] Kate Bush. And that silence is actually on the record, it's one of those things. It's called There Goes A Tenner, but will be a 45 in a few weeks time. Kate, lets see what you've come up with. We've put you in a little sound proof room...
K: Oh, that's rotten, yeah you put me... Okay, so the question. Which is... no, who wrote the only song that I've recorded that wasn't written by me? [Laughs] Is that logical, does that make sense?
I: That makes sense.
I: Kate has recorded only one song, something that she's committed to vinyl which she herself did not write. Who wrote the song that she has committed to vinyl? Does that make sense? K: Yeah, beautifully. [Both laugh]
I: And the prize is... a signed... five signed autographed albums to the....
I: .. what we'll do is...
I: we'll get the entries in, okay. This is big stuff. [Kate laughs] And we'll put them in a barrel or maybe an envelope, depending on how many entries we get. [Everybody laughs] And we'll draw out five.. get Mike Hoss, who produces the program, who got so many name checks in this weeks NME [Everybody laughs]. To draw five correct entries and then we'll award them signed albums. You have to sign the albums though.
I: Are you willing to do that.
I: Okay, that's it. Get your entries in now. Kate Bush, care of, David Jensen, radio 1, London W1A 4WW. And one final thing to mention is, cause we're on the TV trail, Kate forgot to mention that...
K: I'm very possibly, well I will be on The Old Grey Whistle Test.
I: Hosting the program?
K: Well, no, not yet. [Laughs]
I: You're not picking on [???] job yet? What are you going to be doing?
K: I'm just going to be doing a short chat, but they will show the video of The Dreaming. Yeah!!!!
I: So I think we got in before The Old Grey Whistle Test, anyway on this program.
K: Oh, definitely!
I: A little bit of a scoop there.
I: Well, there was one other thing that I was going to mention, but it's gone completely. Oh, yes, the thing is I didn't get to everybodies letters but what I'm doing now is handing them off - hear them, that's your letter in that pile - is handing them to Kate and she's going to take them away with her. Aren't you?
I: Okay, thanks for coming in tonight, lovely to see you again.
K: Yeah, you too. Great.
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