Cloudbusting -- Kate
Bush In Her Own Words
- I think the fact that the second and third album weren't released
here didn't fully keep up any kind of profile here. (1990, RS)
- I've always preferred to make albums, to be a songwriter and to work
in the studio. We did one tour ten years ago in England and in Europe, and I
enjoyed it. But there was no call to go to America at that point. (1985,
The New York Times)
- A few years
ago, [I thought] Americans had much more conventional tastes then people
here do. But I think now that Americans have much more open minds about
different kinds of music.
- At the moment I'm working on the next album and I'm hoping that that
will be out of the way soon so that I can start thinking about a tour.
- I like the idea of presenting something to an audience that's very
visual. When they come to see the show, I think it should be something
different from hearing the records. So the problem with the tours is that ...
they tend to be done in an quite an elaborate way.
- I think we would have brought the tour to America if we could have
afforded it. But it's not quite as easy as getting the band together and
bringing them over. (1984, L.A.
anxious to discover if she would ever bring her show to the states.
- Well, you see again that depends so much on finance. We wanted to
bring the last show to america but it really did cost too much
money and at that time we were basically
paying for it. As it was we were really losing money. We can't really afford to
do more than one of that type of show. We were very careful about that. (1983,
- Only two of
my records have actually been released in America. I was really pleased that
there were so many people trying to get hold of the albums on import. (1984,
is unerringly courteous in conversation, stumbled on the subject of the
innumerable articles and several books that have portrayed her as starry-eyed
- There's not much I can say about them, is there? SHE SAID AFTER A
When reminded that these are the only descriptions of her that her
american fans have, bush paused again.
- Well, then, it should be very interesting when I come over there and
make my mark. (1984, L.A. Times)
you think it would take for kate bush to break here in america?
- I think probably like in every other country, you need a song that's
a hit single. There are other ways but they are very much unpredictable
One of the courses could be m.t.v., but their rotation of her
videos in next to nil.
- Maybe they don't like them, was KATE'S ONLY EXPLANATION FOR THE
PROBLEM. (1983, Wireless)
going to america?
- Um, that's a very strong possibility. I've only been there a couple
of times, and that was a long while ago now but, yes, I would very much like to
go to New York. (1985, Rock Over
going to make a generalization about radio today and its effect on ``routine''
sounds... But it's hard to that because radio here [In america] is so
much different from what radio is over there.
- Yes! I know so little about ``the market'' here. You know, I just
hear things from people.
That's good, ignorance is bliss. What I mean is, sometimes it's
frustrating because everything is extremely formularized.
- I understand you actually segment different kinds of music onto
stations. You have soul stations and heavy rock stations... [In england,
there is usually one station played a variety of contemporary music - ied].
Exactly. Why do you think you broke in the united states now? Do
you think it has anything to do with the difference in radio styles?
- I don't know. I don't understand this market at all, you see. It's
like you say thought, it's the question that in some ways you can't ask anyone,
except the public. I presume they like and I think the consistency of rhythm
makes it more accessible to people. Seems you've got a consistency of rhythm,
people can dance. Dance is something people can relate to immediately, so I
think that helps tremendously. But I can't help but feel it's because,
hopefully people like it and, it's the first time there's been sufficient
interest with real back-up from the record company promotionally. And that's
all I can put it down to.
Right time, right place.
- Right timing, yes. Right support.
You know, that's usually the way it happens, no matter what you do.
- Absolutely. (1986, Island-Ear)
Why do you think your music is so greatly ignored in the u.s.?
- I don't think the music automatically fits into categories. So, I
don't think it's easy for it to fit into the majority of radio programming in
- I also think it would have helped a lot if the record company had
actually released the albums in the U.S.! Apart from the first album, The
Dreaming is the only other album they've released in America. So, in many ways,
there hasn't been that much for people to buy or to hear. Apart from that, I
can't say why.
A promotional trip to the u.s. Was cancelled this past spring.
- I was due over in June, and was very excited about it. I was really
disappointed because I had been getting some very positive feedback from
America, especially from the press - reviews and articles. There are people who
really seem to like the album. It looks now like I'm probably not going to be
over until I have a new album. But it was disappointing for me. I was greatly
looking forward to it. (1983, Voc'l)
- I don't think I've ever really known much about the American market,
it is very different from England. It's so enormous to start with and I'm just
so pleased that people here are starting to become interested in my music, it's
great for me. (1985, Live At Five)
They say about you also that although you've been selling really
well in england for seven years or more,
your exposure here was almost non-existent. And part of it was the fact that
you didn't like to fly, you didn't really like to grant interviews, so they
compensated a little bit by booking you on the qe2. What happened then?
- Um, that trip was canceled. As far as I know the boat just didn't
make it that year. [They both laugh].
- But I don't think that anything has actually prevented me from
coming to America. It's not that I haven't wanted to, and although I haven't
flown for the last couple years, it hasn't stopped me going anywhere. And I'm
Yes, I find it phenomenal that although you weren't able to make it
here for that tour because the fear of flying or the dislike of flying and then
the qe2 has mechanical problems and you can't make it over here. But you sent a
video tape, a one hour video tape. And tell me what that did for you in terms
of your career here.
- Are you talking about the tape of the show...
The one hour tape that you sent over here in leu of the tour that
you were supposed to do.
- Well that tour was actually in '79. And it's not something that I
personally sent over, I think it was very much something that the record
company were doing, hoping that that would sort of get some interest in the
music. And I think the tour is something that did generate a lot of interest in
people and the video of the tour is not as good, I don't feel, as actually
having seen the show. But people seem to like it. (1985, Live At Five)
But in america, allowing of course that emi didn't see fit to
release your second and third albums until last year, it [ the dreaming] got a
lot more attention and acclaim than anything you'd ever done.
- Yes, absolutely, the general reaction from the States was
incredible. Several of the reviews, for instance. I've just never read reviews
like them, they were just fantastic! The media in America reacted so
differently from the media in Britain, it was just extraordinary. And it seems
American reviewers take their writing more seriously as a creative form, more
so than in this country. And some of those reviewers had really
heard the music. I felt there was such a great sense of positivity
and acceptance towards what I was doing on that last album, much more so from
America than from anywhere else. Whereas all the earlier albums, which I'd have
said were far more easily listenable and commercial, had no response from that
country. And that seemed to me completely contradictory to what I'd been told
about the American market. You know, it's said that Americans are terribly
conservative in their tastes and that they like things which fit easily on the
radio. Yet, in fact, the response to the last album, like from the reviewers
and that, has been incredible. They really did like it...
Paddy: Yeah, they really went into kate's music. They take music
Kate: They were ready to actually listen to it, not
just to sit there and only hear it superficially.
Well, you must have realized by now there's a huge kate bush cult
throughout the whole of america. But I find it a little sad to think how so
many allusions in your lyrics are bout to get lost on american ears, things
like the ravens in the tower of london, the bit about the sweeney, stuff like
that which americans won't understand the meaning of.
- Yeah, all kinds of things, very English things, that's very true.
But I think there are as many American colloquialisms and allusions in the
music coming from the States, words and ideas that we can only pick up on
through the American T.V. programs we get. Steely Dan are a good example of
something very American.
But perhaps, in having talked about what I consider to be the
peculiarly british nature of your music, we've been touching on the reason why,
despite the massive cult following, america - and especially the media - has
been so slow in catching on to kate bush, because you do, I suppose, sound
rather alien to their ears. (kate finds this notion rather funny;
She wiggles her forefingers above her head, exposing the fact that, in truth,
she is an extraterrestrial creature equipped with antennae.)
- Do you think it's maybe all a bit complex for them? (1985, Musician)
- The last album, from what I can assume from the reviews and things
that I've gotten, had a very positive reaction from people here in this
country, they really liked it. It wasn't, you know, a big known factor, but it
was making it's way through lots of little groups of people and gathering
interest that perhaps has helped this one. (1985, CNN)
I've heard that one of your songs, `` running up that hill", is
doing really well in the states at the moment. Does this mean that kate bush is
going off to america and help push it along?
- Yes, it could mean that. Yes...If it's doing well, it's a strong
possibility. [This seems to be a deliberately cautious answer. Kate left for
america within one week after making this interview. - ied]
What about the album. Is that doing well there as well?
- It is, yes. Yes, it seems to be doing very well.
That's not bad, you know!
- It's jolly good! (1985, Homeground)
Tell me, have you ever thought of living in america?
- There are very few places I've been to that I've felt I could live
in - I think too many of my roots are here in England, and so much of my work
is based here, and I seem to spend most of my time working. I've only been to
America a few times, and then only to New York, L.A. and Las Vegas, but maybe
if I visited more parts of America I would find a place that I feel I could
live in. I really enjoyed my visits, especially to New York - there's so much
energy there, so many different and interesting people and a very social sense
between artistic people, that certainly in the music business doesn't exist in
this country. People seem to work in great isolation here, whereas in New York,
people want to get together and talk and enthuse.
Like, er, do you feel there's a lack of enthusiasm here?
- Yes, I do, and I feel a lot of people, certainly within the music
business, are particularly attracted to America by this. ``Artistic'' people
like - possibly even need - a lot of feedback, and Americans are wonderful at
making you feel wanted, and are very positive about the launching of new ideas,
new approaches. It's exciting to be among this energy, and in England I think
we're all a bit hard on each other, but this country has a great wealth of
talent and creative ideas, it's just that people have to fight a little to get
a bit of enthusiasm going. But maybe that's not such a bad thing - maybe it
creates more determination in a cause. (1987, KBC 20)
- I've really had no success in America at all, apart from the Hounds
of Love LP. That did quite well, and it was really exciting to think that there
were people out there wanting it. But I've never seen it in terms of you make
and album and then conquer the world. I must say it's never really worried me
that I've not been big in America, but I'm with a new record company over there
now, and I really feel good about the people - they're lovely to talk to and to
deal with. It's quite exciting for me. I just hope people out there will have
the chance to know that the album's out. Then, if people want to hear it, they
can. If they don't, well, that's absolutely fine.
- You know, what I like about America is that tremendous sort of hyper
energy that I really like. Especially in New York - there's a much stronger
social setup, especially between artists. It's a very isolated setup here,
because London's so spread out and everybody's off doing their own thing. You
don't seem to bump into people the way you do over there; it's exciting to have
that interchanging of ideas, just to talk to people who're going through
similar things. It's real modern energy stuff. And also, I really like the
positivity of the Americans. I mean here, although I love being here and I love
the English, we're very hard on one another, very critical, whilst they have a
wonderful willingness to give everyone a chance. We're really hard on people
trying to get off the ground - it's really unfair. (1989, Pulse)
What were you doing in las vegas? That's an unusual place to visit?
I was there with a guy from the record company just for a day, and it was
really just an opportunity to see the place while he had business matters to
deal with. It is an extraordinary place. Instead of saying ``how you doing?",
everyone says, ``feeling lucky?'' it's like a strange oasis stuck right in the
middle of the desert away from everything. We took a flight in a small plane
over the grand canyon, and it was one of the most terrifying experiences I've
ever had. The canyon is totally enormous, and we were so tiny - I've never
experienced that kind of vertigo before or since, and with all the air pockets,
we went up and down, up and down. (1987, KBC 21)
- I think lyrically there's a lot that defines English music, and I
suppose a certain approach to sounds. There are very definite American
approaches to sound - guitar sounds, approaches to songs, the Fender Rhodes; as
soon as you hear that it's America. But to actually define African, or
American. (1989, International
- It doesn't really upset me. I've never seen making an album in terms
of sweeping the market. (1989, Rolling Stone)
- I make music because I love making it. I do it for the sheer delight
of watching it come together. I'm in love with the whole process. It's
important to me to keep that kind of priority. If people want to hear it,
that's a wonderful extra. But it's not something you should expect. You really
have to do things for the love of doing them - and not for the reward
afterwards. (1990, Los Angeles Times)
Do you think not touring has held your career back in the u.s.?
- Well, I think it's very possible, plus I think there have been so
many other inaccessible areas to me here as an artist. I guess my last record
company found it difficult to express me as an artist to the public, and my
second and third albums were received here at a later date [1983-1984].
I think people must have quite a confusing image of me. In a way this is something I
have to not worry about too much, um... because that's not really my
responsibility. My responsibilities are the artistic, where I have to make the
best record I can at the time, and I have to let people know it's out there.
But all those areas kind of are out of my control. (1989, Reaching Out)
Cloudbusting / Subjects / America