(By Nick Logan, New Musical Express, Feb 15, 1969)

Transcript by ALICE DIJOSEPH

It is a more contented Barry Gibb that can be found these days sustained by an endless stream of tea at his penthouse flat. Gone are the frustrations of a few months back when Barry made the prophecy that the Bee Gees might cease to exist as a group in two years time.

Still dominating the Gibb household is Barnaby, Barry's Pyrannean mountain hound, who at only seven months old is the size of a generously endowed lion and still growing. Thankfully he is still tame.

A new addition and the source of the endless stream of tea is Barry's white-jacketed French manservant, Jean, who never speaks unless spoken to and is a chef, former marine and black belt at judo - a sort of house-trained Oddjob who dispenses cups of tea instead of karate chops.

"This guy's incredible," exclaimed Barry as his fifth cup of tea arrived and Jean removed the one he had let go cold. "He just never stops..."

On the Bee Gees front, a more enlightened outlook has now replaced Barry's doomy view of the group scene of a few months back. His view then was that the Bee Gees would be together for two more years; that then they would have a long hard look at themselves, with a split up being the probable result.

"When I said that, we were going through a period of frustration," said Barry. "It was just after the failure of 'Jumbo' and it was a very frustrating time. I was getting paranoic and I thought that maybe it was the end of groups. This is not a dig but I found I would listen to a group and find it difficult to tell who it was. They all sounded alike. I thought the time had come when we should make some kind of move... not leaving pop entirely but by going into films. That way you can stay with the kids but be seen by more people.

"I had the offers and I thought why the hell not - why not for me, why not for the brothers and Colin. Instead of us doing this we have found a more sensible way. We have found that we can get to the kids in different ways and still stay together. Like Maurice was on Lulu's show playing the piano with an orchestra. None of the kids would have expected to see him there without the Bee Gees. Another time it may be Robin on his own."

At that point was an arrival at the lift which Barnaby leapt away to see, almost taking my arm with him. The visitors were Barry's girlfriend Linda Gray and her mother.

Since Robin's wedding and Maurice's engagement, were the brothers Gibb still as close now as they had been in the past?

"If he hadn't fallen in love with Lulu we  would be together more. And Robin is now married so it cannot be like it was. But one thing I'd like to point out is that we are still good friends with Vince, contrary to some rumours. He comes to our sessions and I have been to his."

Does marriage for him and Linda figure in Barry's future plans?

"I think it will be a long time before we do it," he answered. "I don't want to get married for a good couple of years. At the moment I stand alone on the marriage scene. I am the only one who is not tied for life and I want to keep it that way. Perhaps 'tied' is the wrong word, but I am the only one who is free at the moment and that is something I want to keep for a while."

Other acquisitions to the Gibb empire of late include 2,000 acres of Australian land and a motel on the coast. Both are results of Barry and Linda's recent holiday in Australia when, as you may recall,  local criminals made off with a haul of valuable jewellery from their hotel rooms. A happier feature of the visit lies in Barry's 'discovery' there of a four girl singing group he plans to bring to England later this month. The four girls - all sisters- are British emmigrants from Lancashire.

"In my opinion they are the best girl group I have seen in my life," says Barry enthusiastically, as a fresh cup of tea arrived. "They came to see me at my hotel in Sydney. I had heard the record they made and sent me and I didn't need to hear any more, but they insisted on singing the song and did it without any backing at all in my hotel room."

Did he go out of his way to look for new talent, I asked?

"Yes, beacuse in the 11 years that we were trying it taught me an awful lot - and that was never to ignore other talent. I will listen to anybody, to anybody's tapes, because there's a million quids worth of talent floating around out there."

Without further ado, I abandoned pen and notebook and broke into my inimitable rendering of 'Oh Sole Mio' -- it goes down so well at parties. Mr Gibb looked on with frozen glance and a hint of pity. How about a soft shoe shuffle then? Card tricks? Juggling? Fighting back the tears of disappointment, I asked Barry when we could expect to see the Bee Gees on a British tour again.

"I'd hope to do a tour definitely within the next six months," he replied. "We'd have a completely new act, but the orchestra would  remain because that is our symbol. But we'd have a lot more artists on the show. The mistake that artists have made, and we ourselves have made, is that you cannot tour alone or with just two supporting artists. In one way it is cheating the kids. Secondly if you have a good varied bill you have more people interested in going out to see a variety show instead of just two groups or artists."

Barry mentioned Marbles as one of the groups he'd like to tour with and I asked him if the recent differences between him and the group had been smoothed out.

"Yes," he affirmed. "At the moment we are recording their new single 'The walls fell down,' which I wrote. We've patched up all our differences. If our association is helping Marbles get a foothold in the business then it is good because that is a difficult thing to do. But we went to school together in Australia and we made a pact that if  we made it first we would help them and vice versa. If they had made it first they would be now helping us."

We ended on the subject of Bee Gee Robin, and Barry said that his brother was still refusing to have his hair cut. "He won't talk about it," said Barry. "He's just got this mental block on the whole subject. Yet he's conservative in other ways. He wouldn't dream of stepping out of his front door without a suit and tie and the whole bit. Yet he WILL NOT get his hair cut, and I don't think anyone in the business should criticise him for it."

Barry, who said he was trying to fix himself for a haircut, offered the interesting theory that long hair weakens the brain and saps the strength. "Frank Zappa and Tiny Tim must be going through hell," he cracked.

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