Here’s hoping the members of Spandau Ballet are planning to spend a significant amount of this week catching up on their beauty sleep, because they’re really going to need to be rested, ready, and at the top of their game when next week rolls around:
• On March 12, all five members of the band – if you haven’t had to remember their names for awhile, that’s Tony Hadley, Gary Kemp, Steve Norman, John Keeble, and Martin Kemp – will be at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, attending the world premiere of their documentary, Soul Boys of the Western World, which is in competition in the 24 Beats per Second category.
• Just after it becomes March 13 – at 12:30 AM, to be precise – the band will perform at the Vulcan Gas Company, which will be a decidedly momentous occasion, as it’ll be their first U.S. performance in 28 years.
• At 3:30 PM on the 13th, the fivesome will sit down for an interview at the SXSW Music Conference.
• Finally, on March 14 they’ll be back onstage again, this time as participants in the Official SXSW Tribute to Lou Reed.
Yep, it’s gonna be a pretty exhausting few days for Spandau Ballet…but you’d be hard pressed to find Gary Kemp complaining about a single bit of it.
A few days ago, we hopped on the phone with Mr. Kemp in order to discuss the band’s seminal album, 1983’s True – the reissue of which hits stores today, precisely 31 years after its initial release – and while we had him on the line, we also chatted a bit about their belated return to the States in conjunction with Soul Boys of the Western World. During the course of the conversation, we got a fair amount of insight into how Spandau Ballet’s sound evolved over the course of their career, dug a bit deeper into the importance of True to their U.S. profile, and found out why it may or may not be a coincidence that the new promo photos for Doctor Who find the Twelfth Doctor wearing a jacket which looks like it could’ve been swiped from Mr. Hadley’s wardrobe.
Put on your sailin’ shoes and prep your stereo system accordingly, Rhino’s served up a big helping of Little Feat. In conjunction with the band’s new 13-CD boxed set, Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros. Years – 1971-1990, founding Feat member Bill Payne was kind enough to hop on the phone for a nice long chat and spend some time reflecting on the band’s lengthy career on the label.
Rhino: How did you and Lowell George first cross paths?
Bill Payne: I was up in Santa Barbara…well, to be specific, I was just north of there, in Isla Vista, where the University of California, Santa Barbara was. I had a phony credit card that someone had given me. There were two labels that I could call: one was Bizarre, and the other was Straight Records. They were both Zappa labels. Naturally, I called Bizarre – though I’m sure the same person would’ve picked up the phone for both – and, you know, here I was on the street, basically, saying, “Uh, I play keyboards…” [Laughs.]
It took several calls to sort of get this person, this lady on the other end of the line, to take me seriously enough – or maybe she felt sorry for me – to put me in touch with Jeffrey Simmons, who was with a group called Eureka, which was one of the bands in Frank Zappa’s stable. I finally did meet Jeff at the Tropicana Hotel on Santa Monica Boulevard, and Jeff said, “Oh, well, I play keyboards, too, and this might kind of destroy what I’m doing, but there’s this guy Lowell George that I really think you ought to try and reach.” So Jeffrey put me on to Lowell.
Rhino Presents Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros. Years 1971-1990, Featuring Studio Albums, Live Recordings, And Outtakes By The Legendary Group
13-CD Boxed Set Now Available
Little Feat blended a wide range of musical styles to create a sound that’s as indescribable as it is unforgettable. During the band’s celebrated tenure with Warner Bros. Records it recorded nine studio albums between 1971 and 1990 that included such classic tracks as “Dixie Chicken,” “Rocket in My Pocket,” “Fat Man In the Bathtub” and “Willin’.”
Rhino drives from Tucson to Tucumcari to bring fans a boxed set that includes all of those studio albums, plus a generous helping of live recordings and studio outtakes. Presented in a clamshell box, RAD GUMBO: THE COMPLETE WARNER BROS. YEARS 1971-1990 will be available on February 25.
If the soundtrack of your life has ever featured a slow dance to the strains of “True,” then you’ll possibly be as excited as we are about the following three pieces of information:
1. There’s a new film called Soul Boys of the Western World which documents the life and times of Spandau Ballet.
2. The film will have its world premiere in March when it’s screened in competition in the 24 Beats category of the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
3. All five members of the band – Tony Hadley, Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp, John Keeble, and Steve Norman – will be in attendance for the film’s premiere, marking the first time the fivesome have appeared together in North America since 1985.
In the official press release for Soul Boys of the Western World, the documentary is described as “a journey through the 1980s and beyond; the story of a band, an era and how one small gathering of outsiders in London shaped the entire world’s view of music and fashion.”
CD/DVD, Vinyl, And Digital Download Available February 25
Parlophone Records has released the Definitive Master of Morrissey’s seminal third album, YOUR ARSENAL. Originally released in 1992, on the HMV label, YOUR ARSENAL was the album that sent Morrissey’s career stratospheric in the US (record-setting Hollywood Bowl ticket sales, Grammy® nomination), and saw him consolidate his position as an outstanding solo artist. The album includes four chart singles, one of which, “Glamorous Glue,”’ was released 20 years later.
YOUR ARSENAL is very much a traditional two-sided album, with five songs per side. Recorded after six months on the road with his new touring band, side one has a live urgency: the swagger of a gang with killer, muscular riffs and chops, enthralled to the grit of rock ’n’ roll and, with legendary and hugely influential Spiders From Mars guitarist and arranger Mick Ronson at the helm in the producer’s chair, glam rock. Ronson helped craft an album that was, all at once, sonically tough and tender.