Pop duo, Go West first hit the top ten in 1984 with their track We Close Our Eyes, still a favourite on radio stations across the world. Fans of the film Pretty Woman will instantly recognise their smash hit from the soundtrack, King of Wishful Thinking, which served to cement the UK band’s place in pop history in 1990. Nearly thirty years after that first hit single, the boys are back and they’re hitting Blackpool’s Grand Theatre in an eighties spectacular which also features the unforgettable sounds of The Christians (Ideal World, Harvest for the World) and Hue and Cry (Labour of Love, Looking for Linda). Who needs a time machine?
I caught up with Go West’s Peter Cox and Richard Drummie ahead of the gig, to find out what they’ve been up to and how they feel about coming to Blackpool.
You’ve known each other for so long, is it getting easier or more difficult to write songs together? Is it a very well oiled machine?
Is that a reference to the red wine! I think we work in the same way we always have. We can both write a song on our own so when we’re together there is no delegation of duties. We both have an opinion on all aspects of the process so there are lots of compromises to be made when we don’t see things the same way. That sounds a bit dry though. There are lots of times when we bounce off each other really well and a song comes very quickly. An example would be ‘The King Of Wishful Thinking’ where everything seemed to be waiting there for us just to pick up and piece together like a child’s giant jigsaw puzzle.
You play live now probably more than ever, does the ‘live’ performance still have a magic for you guys.
Absolutely. Probably more so now that we’ve become comfortable in our skins live. I certainly feel more able to stop and chat to the crowd and maybe even steer and pace the gig. We’ve got a fantastic band that’s been together for over ten years now. It’s a joy to be onstage with them. Every night is different and we always have a laugh, before, after and during the show. I have to thank ‘the audience’ at this point. The lovely people that come to see us are always up for it. On their feet and giving back as much as we give out. It’s an absolute pleasure to play for them!
You are playing a more intimate venue in Blackpool, the beautiful Grand Theatre. Does Size matter?
Yes it does! When you’re playing somewhere like The Grand, it’s a fairly intimate setting where you can almost communicate to the audience without a mic. The audience can hear every spoken word and also get involved in the interactions between the band members. At a gig like Henley Rewind festival where we played in August, there were twenty thousand people in the crowd, some of whom are maybe a hundred yards away from the stage so everything you do tends to become exaggerated. I find that I often shout into the mic a lot at these huge shows!
I have followed the band for many years and ‘Skin Deep’ is just stunning, lyrically brilliant. How long did it take to complete and is there is a theory that the best songs come very quickly?
That’s very kind of you to say Robin! It was written in two stages. Tony Hadley (from Spandau Ballet) was involved in a project which I was potentially going to produce. We got together for a day and came up with the bones of Skin Deep. Unfortunately the project got shelved and the song sat there. I thought it was a waste and played it to Pete to see what he thought. He liked it so we decided to finish it. Under those circumstances it’s hard to remember how long it took but I’m really happy with the end result. In answer to the second part of your question I think it’s safe to say that if you’re labouring over a song it’s probably not going to fly. I think the song that we wrote quickest is ‘Bluebeat’ on the Indian Summer album. I love that song. It sounds so at ease with itself…very few fingerprints on it!
The line up for the tour is just so special, with Hue and Cry and The Christians. Do the acts you work with make a tour more appealing for you?
Absolutely! We’re going to be playing 34 gigs around the UK with these boys so we’re going to become a family for two months! I’ve always liked what Hue and Cry and The Christians do and we know them both personally and get along. I think it’s going to be an interesting evening especially with Pat and Greg performing an acoustic set. There is also always a friendly competitive element in any situation where there is more than one act. I remember seeing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers supporting Nils Lofgren at Hammersmith Odeon back in the late seventies. It was the first time Tom Petty’s band had played in the UK. Nobody knew who they were and they absolutely blew Nils Lofgren offstage and I loved Nils at the time. They took their chance. We’ll be expecting Gary, Pat and Greg to try do the same.
New music, new tour, what next for Go West?
We’ve just agreed to do a tour in Australia in March next year so we’re looking at starting in New Zealand and playing a few other places in S.E. Asia. The Philippines and Malaysia for example. After that we’re thinking it’s time to go back to America and get on that tour bus. I used to love that! Do the gig, get on the bus, party, go to sleep and wake up in a new city and do it all again!
Go West, Hue and Cry and The Christians are playing The Grand Theatre on Thursday 21 November 2013. Tickets start at £25.50 and are selling out fast. To book your place in the audience, head to the website now, drop into the box office on Church Street or phone 01253 290190.
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