Interviews & Articles


"The Old Grey Whistle test"
with Mark Ellin and David Hepworth
August 17, 1982

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Date: Fri, 6 Sep 1991 01:04:09 -0700
From: rhill@pnet01.cts.com (Ronald Hill)
Subject: "The Old Grey Whistle test" by Mark Ellin and David Hepworth

U.K. TV, August 17, 1982

58. The Old Grey Whistle Test: Kate is interviewed by Mark Ellin and David Hepworth about The Dreaming single; with the premiere of the video. Aired on U.K. TV, August 17, 1982.

Despite the condescending and vapid attitude of these interviewers, Kate manages to say a few very interesting things about the video and its connection with Australia.

[Transcribed by Ron Hill. I don't have the video myself, so there may be things happening visually that are not commented on. Above note by IED. Thanks to IED for providing the audio tape.]

[The Dreaming is played]

I1: The Dreaming, from the LP The Dreaming by Kate Bush and, good grief, as I live and breath!

I2: It's amazing isn't it?

I1: It looks remarkably like her..

I2: The power of the whistle test. Whisked here.

I1: It is her I think.

I2: You came up by... we heard a curious story, Kate, that you came up by train today and you wanted to rehearse with some dancers so you got a guard's van to do this in. Is this correct or is this just completely got up?

K: It is true, yeah.

I2: What do you do, turn up at Euston station and say "I'd like a guard's van?"

I1: "One coach return to Manchester in a guard's van."

K: Yeah, well someone from the record company did that this morning and they actually cleared it out first, they took all the posts out and everything so we just had a empty carriage to work it. It was really incredible, actually.

I1: What's it like sorta swaying from side to side...

K: Very difficult, at a hundred miles an hour it's really difficult.

I2: What were you trying to do, you were rehearsing a new video?

K: That's right, yes. We were just checking the routine before we actually make it and there's no time so we do it on the train.

I1: What's your involvement in a video like that, I mean do you start right at the beginning, do everything yourself?

K: I always work with a director and you have to use an awful lot of people, obviously. But normally the idea come from me and, because I've written the song, often I've had ideas at an early stage so it's putting them into practice.

I2: That idea seemed to be prompted by Australia, is that correct...

K: Absolutely.

I2: ...we got Aborigines and the bush and all that kind of the thing. Where does...

I1: With a true reflection of a typical day in Australia [Kate laughs] in your experience. When did you go there, four years ago?

K: Yeah, four years ago, yeah. It was just a promotional trip but I managed to talk to the young Australian people about aborigines and their knowledge of them, if they ever met them. And they told me all about the kangaroo's and what a nuisance they are, how they have the big crash barriers on the front...

I2: Ru-bars [??? spelling].

K: That's it, Ru-bars, yeah! And I picked up a feeling for what it was like from being there so, yes, it was quite inspirational.

I1: Has that track, that particular track, been heard by Australians, I wonder what their reaction towards it? K: Yes, I wonder. I think it will be alot less unusual for them obviously because the dijeridu is a home instrument and they know if very, it's probably quite boring from. So I don't know how they'll react...

I2: They're one...

K: ... it'll be very interesting.

I2: Sorry. There's one very famous Australian featured on this album who you're not used to finding on rock records, Rolf Harris?

K: Yes.

I2: He... he... this is correct, is it...

K: Yes.

I2: ... he plays the dijeridu on that track?

K: Yes, he does. I think it's interesting how people sorta go "ROLF HARRIS!"

I2: Well, it's not the sorta person you're used to seeing in credits.

K: No, that's right.

I1: He's not often mentioned on this program.

I2: No.

K: No. But he is a very good dijeridu player, which is why we used him. [Everybody laughs]

I1: Well, [you'll go for the gusto ???]

K: Yep.

I1: What is a dijeridu, what does it look like?

K: It's a long piece of wood that's hollowed out. And what they do is they find the bits of wood already hollowed out, because the termites eat the soft wood and literally just hollow the branch out, and they just sit and blow through them. And the blowing technique is very difficult because while you're breathing in through your nose, you have to breath out through your mouth. And it's like a whole circularly technique so you can just keep the drone going continuously.

I2: 'Course only people like Rolf Harris can quite master it, I guess.

K: He's very good!

I2: I'm sure he is!

I1: Now also, though, on that track you employed, I think, Percy Edwards to supply the kinda synthesized jungle backings.

I2: This is the bird impressions.

I1: The bird impressions that are on the album.

K: Yes. Well I knew that in the choruses we wanted to create a feeling of the landscape, and obviously there are a lot of Australian animals and the sounds are very reminiscent of the environment. And of course Percy could come along and give us a selection of at least ten different Australian animals.

I1: He's made a study of Australian animals. [Both interviewers laugh]

K: Well I think he's made a study of nearly any animal that's alive and he's very unique. I means there is no one else really who's doing what he does.

I2: Well I hope the album does well, both for yourself and for Percy.

K: Thank you.

I2: Kate Bush, thanks very much. And before you go there's just one question we want answered. We've been doing some research, Mark and I, we want to know why Genius Of Love by The Tom Tom Club wasn't a massive hit all over the world for weeks and weeks and weeks. Have you heard it?

K: No.

I2: You've not. That's obviously the reason, that somebodies not promoting it correctly.

I1: Cause he bought a copy of it and I bought...

I1 + I2: two copies of it!

I1: I think several people out here have bought one, and you haven't.

K: No, I do think they're good, though, I think they're great.

I1: They are indeed...

[Tape cuts suddenly.]

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