Ipswich: We just wanted to have fun says Graham Gouldman of Regent bound 10cc
- Credit: Archant
For a band that set out to have fun, not hits, 10cc have had more than their fair share of them.
“That’s why it was successful, because we wern’t conscious of doing something for a purpose other than our own pleasure and fortunately a lot of people liked what we did,” says co-founder Graham Gouldman, who will be joined by long-term cohorts Rick Fenn, Paul Burgess, Mick Wilson and Mike Stevens at the Ipswich Regent tonight.
He doesn’t really think about the number of smashes the muli-million album selling band have had.
“It’s like not being aware you’d still be in this business maybe nearly 50 years on, you don’t think about those sort of things. You’re thinking - and you should be - about your work and what you’re doing. I think a lot of artists are thinking in two ways (these days) - of the work and ‘I need to get this on Facebook, need to do this, need to do that’.
“Ninety-nine per cent of your time should be spent getting the music right and 1% getting it out there. A lot of artists think just by being visable it’s going to work... If you get the song right, everything else is kind of easy,” says Gouldman who in his late-teens wrote a string of million-selling hits for the likes of The Yardbirds, The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, Wayne Fontana and Jeff Beck.
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The bedroom was his favourite place to write. Slinging his guitars on the bed and enjoying the quiet, the solitude. It’s something he still does now.
“I put out a solo album in 2012 called Love and Work and a lot of the songs were actually started in my bedroom, just sat on the bed, strumming the guitar, waiting for things to happen, even if they weren’t finished (there).
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“I wanted to get back to songwriting which was in a kind of more pure form in that if I write something with just one guitar and one voice, if it sounds good to me in that form then I know when we record it it’s going to be much better, it’s going to work. It’s got to work in that sort of format or I wouldn’t finish the song, because somehow, when you start something that’s good it has its own legs so to speak and inspires you to keep going,” says Gouldman, who was inducted into America’s Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in June.
“I was very excited, very proud about that... In my top five songwriters of all time are members of the songwriters hall of fame, that made it doubly amazing. I’d been nominated before and didn’t get in.”
Not every song is a gem. He jokes when he finally passes on they’ll find loads of unfinished bits and bobs.
“There are always songs in a to be finished file. Sometimes you might write a chorus, a verse or just have a riff that never finds a home... It’s like a constant jigsaw puzzle in your head, it might just be a lone little piece of music that nobody hears. I could be writing a song in six months time and get to a point where I go ‘I know what, I’m going to use that bit I wrote six months ago and it fits in perfectly’.”
It’s been two years since 10cc’s last UK concert tour, but they get busier every year.
“The audiences these days are very gratifying. You get the people you would expect, who grew up with 10cc, but you also get young kids who know the songs too. I’m the only member of the original four touring, nobody else wants to do it,” he laughs. “I love it. As long as there’s a demand we’ll do it.”
The current line-up, he adds, is as near as you’re ever going to get to hearing the perfect 10cc.
“There are going to get all the hits and more and a couple of surprises. Our main strength and what we’re selling is the songs, nothing else. Hit after hit after hit. It’s relentless. We show no mercy.”
Supporting 10cc are alt-country trio Red Sky July who recenty announced support a slot with Sheryl Crow and their very own headline tour straight off the back of hitting the road with Steve Earle.
They comprise husband and wife Ally McErlaine, formerly of Texas, and Shelley Poole, one half of Aisha’s Attic; and former model and The Alice Band Charity Hair.