(By Caroline Boucher, Disc and Music Echo, July 27 1968)

Transcript by Anne Marie

They have been hailed as successors to the Beatles, are unperturbed by the failure of their last record, and will be out if the country almost continually until early next year. Are the Bee Gees justified in their attitude towards British fans who established them. Or do they owe more to them?

Last week, before the Bee Gees left for their five week tour of the States, Disc asked them just how responsible they were to their British fans, and whether, after failure of their last single “Jumbo”, they could afford to be out of the country when their next single, “Gotta Getta Message To You”, is released in two weeks.

“It’s not our responsibility to be in the country when the record is out,” said drummer Colin Petersen indignantly. “We’ve got as much responsibility to our fans in America as over here, you can’t be everywhere at once. They’re much more pop conscious in America than they are here. It doesn’t make it a better record whether you’re here or not.”

“I’d like to have been here when the record comes out,” said bass guitarist Maurice Gibb, “I think popularity in England is marvellous. In other countries it grows and goes up and down, but here it seems to stay the same.

“An artist can establish himself more so in Britain than any other country, two or three records and you’re a star, but in America you have to have hit after hit. I’m not saying you’ve got to sell records, but you haven’t got to be number one every week”.

For a group who’s recognition rests mainly on two hits “Massachusetts” and “New York Mining Disaster”, the Bee Gees cannot afford another single failure.

“We don’t experiment with our music that much,” said Maurice. “We don’t seem to be progressing in the same form as the Beatles’ progression into ‘Sergeant Pepper’, but I think we are slowly progressing in backing.

“We may not go away one weekend and come back with new ideas like George Harrison, he went to India and came back an Indian. There’s one thing we don’t want to lose and that’s the melody of our songs”.

“Our ideas are different from theirs,” said Vince Melouney, “We respect their ideas and I hope they respect ours. I don’t think ‘Jumbo’ damaged our reputation. It was different. If it had been released a week later it might have been a hit.”

The advantages and disadvantages of pop groups venturing into the film world have probably been best illustrated by the Beatles and Monkees. The Bee Gees are fortunate in having had Frankie Howerd as a coach in the art of comedy, when they made a series with him to be shown on BBC in September.

“He was a great guy to work with,” said Colin. “He’s so professional and he taught us a lot. In the end he just sends us up and we send him up”.

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