Yes, folks, Engelbert
Humperdinck wants to go back to the blues, Solomon King is to play the
lead in a revival of ‘Oliver!’ and Eric Clapton is joining the
Rolling Stones!! As was pointed out on the NME news pages last week, the
music business is currently cavorting its way through its annual silly
season with rumours flying like wasps.
One that has been on the buzz for quite some time now is the
whisper that Colin Petersen and Vince Melouney are quitting the Bee
more outrageous the rumour the more juicy a morsel it makes but some do
convert to fact, Cream split, Herd management disputes, for example. So I put the rumours to Bee Gee Colin, Vince having left earlier
to see his wife Diane, when I met the group at their manager’s Mayfair
office before they departed for their current US tour.
there rumours?” replied Colin blandly, wearing his best innocent
you leaving Colin?” asked Maurice Gibb
was the answer, “about 4 o clock”
there you go!
were talking around a conference table in the basement of the Stigwood
Organisation where on entering I had found an impromptu Bee Gees Comedy
Show in full swing. Barry,
Robin and Maurice were hurling verbal inanities back and forth; with the
acid tongue of Mr Petersen thrown in for good measure.
fell upon yours truly to be a “rotten spoilsport” and bring order to
the proceedings so that sensible talk could be elucidated.
some degree of sanity had been effected, I asked them what they had been
doing since “Jumbo” and their British Tour.
been recording a new LP” said Colin “and we’ve done fifteen new
versions of Jumbo’”
the tape and we’ve got our new single” cracked Maurice
hair getting longer and stringing his words together in a bewildering
rapid flow, came in with “We’ve been working very hard on our new
album and we’ve just finished it.
And of course our new single.
After ‘Jumbo’ we went on holiday to different parts of the
globe and met up again unfortunately in different parts of the globe”
slowed things down. "Strangely
enough none of us knew where the others were going.
I went to Los Angeles and got a bit fed up with the scene there.
A few people I knew there I found to be phoney and I wasn’t
I came home and then went to Rome and when I got at the airport Robin
was standing there. And it
was a strange thing because I had just decided to go there on the spur
of the moment. It was very
weird considering that I could have gone anywhere.
Telepathy thing again
thought Robin was in India but apparently he got fed up with it and
decided to go to Rome as well. It’s
a telepathy thing again. It
crops up all the time between us”.
talked about the current single “It’s not about death although a lot
of people will think it is,” said Barry, “It’s about a person who
is about to die. He’s
going to his death because he’s committed a murder.”
it doesn’t mention the circumstances of his death or how he’s going
to die” added Robin. “It
just tells that he is talking to a preacher and he wants to get a
message to his girl friend or wife that he is sorta sorry and wants to
apologise. He’s killed a
man who’s been carrying on with his wife and he wants to get a message
to her before he dies.”
quite sick” quoth Maurice
not sick at all” returned Robin “It doesn’t mention death and
doesn’t mention about how he’s going to sit there and the guy who
pulls down the thing.”
have to be careful about things like that” said Barry.
“Now you take for example ‘Honey’.
There wasn’t one mention of death in that song but it was
obvious to everyone that she was dead.
If he’d mentioned death it wouldn’t have been a good song”
Gotta Get A Message” was actually written by the Gibb Brothers some
three months ago and just as he did with “Massachusetts” manager
Robert Stigwood kept on at them to record it.
talked at length about the failure of “Jumbo”, which I reported in
the last article on the Bee Gees, and about the loyalty of their fans. They hadn’t, I pointed out, had many personal appearances
to stand in for their lack of Chart success since “Words”.
we haven’t. But I don’t
think that is important” answered Barry “It’s better to make your
appearances less because it makes your demand more.
We won’t go onto a stage unless we can do something that is
really worth getting on stage for.
we are sure we can handle a crowd of four to five thousand kids and make
them happy and please them, then it is worth while going on stage. It is not worth while doing gigs because … this is not
being silly or funny but it is not basically the money we want … it is
to see five thousand kids appreciate what we are doing.”
joined in “And as far as TV is concerned we have just done an hour
long show with Frankie Howerd which is full of comedy skits and I think
this is far more important to us than being on “Top Of The Pops”
the Albert Hall for instance” said Robin, as a gentleman bearing a
tray of cokes entered the room and discharged his load on the table.
“Say you get a big group who we shall call the Strack” sounds
of coke tops popping off as his three colleagues make a dash for the
tries again “They appear at the Albert Hall”. The clatter continues
“The Strack” screams Robin desperately “A bi group, here for one
night only and all that. The kids will say ah yes the Strack.
I saw them at Bolton last night at the IN Club.”
sighs with contentment that part of what he had said had got over and
let Barry, back with coke in hand, take over.
can work at Bolton, you can work at Slough, you can work every night,
but when you want to make a big appearance you will be down the bill
because you’ve been seen everywhere by everybody and they are not
going to gather round to see you topping the bill
the States our fee is forty thousand dollars a night.
Where as if we were working in the States, in the clubs and in
every city, it would be five thousand a night. That’s true and it’s
the same here”
of their British tour then? Did
they regard it now as a mistake? “It
was a successful tour” replied Barry “I can’t say we made a lot of
money out of it because we didn’t, but it was a fantastic experience
for us. We learnt a heck of a lot … stage sense, how to feel an
audience (which brought the jokes you would expect), how loud we should
be on stage. We discussed
everything every night that went wrong”.
broke in with a joke “What did the last ram on earth sing?” Answer
“There will never be another you”.
It met with stony silence “Why is a kettle always happy?
Because it whistles while it works”.
Stony silence. “I got them from a wham book” Robin offered
to Colin “Speaking of the Big Pink album” which we weren’t “I
think it’s too much. Big
Pink too much” he added to underline his point.
One more time now, Big pink too much.
the brothers Gibb were having a go at an article stating that Jim Webb
was a threat to the Beatles. Nobody
could be a threat to anybody was the consensus of opinion. All songwriters should admire other songwriters.
tried to interest me in looking after his two dogs while he was away in
Germany for the weekend, no luck, and first Robin, then Barry and
Maurice left us, screaming headlines: Bee Gees Leave Colin Petersen!
Which is where we came in. Big
Pink too much!