Good news and bad news for fans of Ipswich Regent bound Go West
Go West’s Richard Drummie talks to entertainment writer Wayne Savage about touring and when fans can expect new tracks
Drummie has some good news and bad news for fans expecting a new album. The good news is new tracks are planned. The bad news, he doesn’t know when.
“Creatively, I don’t like deadlines as my manager will tell you,” he laughs. “We aren’t the quickest, unfortunately, we never have been; that’s just the way it goes. We write when the muse takes us. When I write outside of Go West I can write very quickly and so can Peter (Cox).
“I think it’s just the chemistry between the two of us, I think we both want to write it all. There’s a lot of negotiation that has to go on and that may be not conducive to things being done quickly. As we can see from what we’ve achieved over the years, it works for us. Neither of us have had great success apart. We both learnt that over the years.”
He and Cox - joining fellow 1980s lumineries Nik Kershaw and Carol Decker of T’Pau at the Ipswich Regent on November 11 - don’t have a record company pushing them along like they have before. Theirs is very in-house and they do things when they feel like it.
“The music business has changed, unfortunately there’s not a great financial incentive to make records so it has to come from your heart now. We’re probably getting to that time now where it is time to start getting back in the studio. Certainly I’ve found myself wandering back in recently to start writing things. We tend to work that way now, quite often Pete will come round and say ‘got anything’ and I’ll play him a few bits or vice versa and we pick up from there.
“I prefer to work in smaller chunks now, that’s why we ended up with 3D being three EPs, because for Go West to make a whole album in one go - that’s quite a long affair. We’re not the sort of band that can hire a country house for the weekend and come out with an album on the Tuesday, it doesn’t work like that unfortunately,” he laughs.
Drummie liked releasing 3D the way they did.
“There were various reasons, things that happened, certainly in my personal life, that held up the record. It took a lot longer than it should have done - 18 months, two years, maybe even longer, I don’t know. So each of those EPs had their own personality... I liked working that way, where it felt down slightly was in trying to lump them all together. But we made that decision at the beginning so we were committed to it.
“In future I’d be quite happy to put out an EP. That’s great because it’s an achievable aim in a short period of time. You can just do it, it’s done, you put it out, none of this ‘the next one will be in in six months time’ or whatever.”
Believe it or not, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of We Close Our Eyes. Drummie agrees it’s nuts, adding the clock keeps ticking.
“I think our stuff stands the test of time. One of the questions we’re quite often get asked is ‘how do you feel about playing these songs over and over’ and I don’t have a problem with that. They don’t feel massively dated or anything.”
Another of my favourites from their back catalogue is The King of Wishful Thinking, released in the early 1990s.
“When everyone gets sick of this 1980s revival and they start with the 1990s I want them to remember we did have hits in the 1990s so can we come along please,” he laughs.
Drummie, Cox, Kershaw and Decker had a long list of dates ahead of them when we spoke but the Go West star was raring to go.
“I think ahead now... We pretty much went round the world in the first year of Go West. I must admit, it was pretty much a hotel bar tour of the world because you just think you’re going to be going back there and then... Some of the places we didn’t get back to for a while like Japan, it was like 10 years or so before we did,” he says, recalling an early morning visit to Perth’s Castello beach before heading to the airport one tour.
“I thought ‘I’m not going to have gone to Perth and not gone’ because it’s world famous. That’s the way I approach touring now... I’ve got friends all round the country, it’s a good way of catching up with people. It’s quite a heavy schedule this tour... You can’t be having too much fun after the gig because you’ve got another three (straight after),” he laughs.
Fans of the 1980s will love this tour.
“It’s a fantastic line-up. We’ve done this before with Tony Hadley and it’s really nice, it’s a whole different dynamic. We’ll have a great opening from Carol, then it’ll be us and Nik. Some of the time we’ll be on stage together and try to come up with a few surprises. We may do a Nik tune, he may do one of ours; just to make it a bit different from a normal show where it’s just one band after the other.”
They hadn’t actually played on stage together yet when I called.
“It’s going to be interesting. Hopefully it’ll work, if it doesn’t work on the first night it’s going to be a long old tour... Nik’s got a pretty dry sense of humour as have I and Pete so it’s going to be a laugh. We found ourselves in the bar with Nik all the time (when both performed in South Africa).
“You can tell pretty quickly if something’s going to become a problem down the road. There are a few people from our era who have a reputation and you would probably avoid getting involved in a collaborative sense but there’s not many.
“Obviously there are lots of decisions to be made on these things so it’s quite interesting the way people deal with that dynamic... It’s like when I write lyrics with Pete and he comes up with something I’m not keen on. I go ‘yeaaah, yeaaah’ like that. I don’t go ‘yeah’ I go ‘um, yeah, that’s an idea but we’re going to go with a totally different idea’.”
He’s glad to hear Ipswich-raised Kershaw, who I spoke to earlier, was looking forward to it too.
“It would’ve been great if you’d said he’s not up for it but he’s signed now so he’s got to do it,” Drummie laughs.
He thinks there’s enough room for Go West to do all the hits people want to hear and still leave time left for other stuff.
“When I say other stuff it’s not going to be obscure tracks because I don’t know what the audience will be made up of. It could be a third T’Pau, a third Nik Kershaw so his fans might not know the B-side of Call Me; I don’t even know what the B-side of Call Me is,” he laughs.
Visit www.gowest.org.uk for the latest information. Click here for my chat with Kershaw.