Tuesday, 03 August 2021

‘Rewind America? We’ll be knocking on the door’

Thirty years since Peter Cox and Richard Drummie burst on to the pop scene with hits like

Thirty years since Peter Cox and Richard Drummie burst on to the pop scene with hits like

We Close Our Eyes

Call Me

Goodbye Girl
, Go West are still going strong. With a slot at the Rewind festival on Saturday, August 22, it turns out they are as keen as ever to live up to their name.

RICHARD Drummie is looking forward to playing Henley. Go West have appeared at the Rewind festival before, but as the event has grown in scale, so has the thrill of playing it, it would seem.

Speaking by phone from his West London home, Richard tells me: “We do love the gig. It’s always exciting when you arrive. I don’t know which way everyone comes in, but the way we come in you sort of get to a high hill and you overlook the whole event — and it does put hairs on the back of your neck. It’s a massive event.”

I suggest that if Rewind could put the right bill together, maybe they could stage a festival in America one day — a territory in which Go West have enjoyed plenty of success.

“Absolutely. We’ll be knocking on the door if they do. We’d love to do that. I mean, this music works all over the world. There’s no reason why you couldn’t do it — apart from logistics — there’s no reason why you couldn’t do it anywhere, really. This music wasn’t unique to Britain.”

What does he put the continuing success of Rewind down to?

“It’s very concentrated, isn’t it? You’re getting a lot of people together. That’s the way that it works, in that you have a lot of acts for a set period of time and they are playing songs that people know.

“I mean, it’s very rare that you will hear a song at Rewind that you don’t know. People kind of know what it’s there for, they know what people have come to see, and so it is almost a greatest hits of the Eighties.”

That was a big era for pop music, wasn’t it? British pop was one of our biggest cultural exports.

“It certainly was back then. I remember when we went over there [to the States] and it’s happening again now, with Adele and Sam Smith and various other people. That was the last time there was a proper British invasion of America, with Duran Duran and the like. And also I remember going to Japan — I think it was called the British Invasion Tour.

“We went over there with The Style Council, the Associates and various others. Culture Club, Boy George. So this [Rewind] could go, and probably will go, all over the place.”

“I mean, over that weekend at Henley — and I don’t want to exaggerate, but I think 40,000 isn’t an exaggeration for the amount of people that will be there over that time. So it means that when you go out there on the Saturday you could be playing to 20,000 people — and that’s quite a buzz to be able to walk out in front of that kind of crowd.”

The music industry has changed quite a lot in the last ten years Would you say that live music is pretty much where it’s at now?

“Yeah, it is. It’s not necessarily for a good reason. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love playing live but I like working in the studio and making albums as well. But because of downloading, etc — and everyone’s heard enough about this already — if you want to earn a living in the music business then most of that will be from live work.

“I think the excuse [given] for it [illegal downloading] is that things were too expensive. But I don’t think it’s that.

“I can understand [that] if I was a teenager I’d probably do the same thing, because you’ve not got a lot of money to throw about and if you can get something for free then you’ll get it for free — but it’s the attitude that seems to go: ‘Yeah, well, that’s okay isn’t it?’

“I mean I might dig myself a hole here, but I picked up a copy of the Observer sitting on a long train journey and there was a guy who’s written a book about how he’s done loads and loads of downloading and he doesn’t pay anything for it and, you know, he’s got 160 gigabytes of whatever, and he’s written a book which he’s selling.

“And I just got so incensed — I thought I would love to somehow make your book available as a PDF to everybody and then you might change the way you look at it.

“But I suppose the thing is that in the end I didn’t get into music for money — that was the last thing [on my mind]. I kind of thought I’ve got to do music — it’s my vocation, it’s my calling, it’s what I want to do...

“So I don’t think it will stop people making music, because people make music for all different reasons. A lot of people just make music because they’ve got to — they absolutely have to. It’s in their soul and it has to rise to the surface.”

Is there any new material in the works at the moment? What’s next for Go West?

“At the moment we’ve been doing a lot of touring. We’re going off to Australia with Nik Kershaw and Paul Young and Cutting Crew in September. Then we come back here and it’s a 30 to 35-date tour of the UK — and that’s with Nik Kershaw and Carol Decker from T’Pau...

“We will actually be on stage with Nik at the same time. It’s not just sort of one band after the other — we are going to kind of play in each other’s bands.”

You and Peter did a big tour of the UK a couple of years back with Hue and Cry and The Christians, didn’t you? Or was it a one-off gig?

“It was a tour, and it was my favourite tour. They’re such nice guys — I’m not just saying that — they’re really brilliant, The Christians. We’ve worked with them quite a lot. And Hue and Cry. We were big fans of both bands back in the day.

“It was just such a nice tour. There were no egos, nobody was late for soundcheck, everybody watched each other play — it was just a dream, you know?

“So we’re hoping that the same thing happens when we next tour. I mean, I’ve always loved Nik Kershaw’s stuff, and Carol is just a ball of fire anyway. It’s always fun when Carol’s around. It’s not just the hair that’s red with Carol, you know? She’s something else. So I’m looking forward to us all going round the country together — it’s going to be good.”

Go West play the Rewind South festival at Temple Island Meadows in Henley on Saturday, August 22. For tickets and information, visit www.rewindfestival/south

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