BEE GEE MAURICE PLAYS UP-TEMPO RAVER
(Richard Green, New Musical Express, June 21, 1969)

Transcript by Chis

Below the bustle of Mayfair's elegant Brook Street is a large, well-furnished virtually soundproof room where, practically every day, two of today's most profilic young composers sit playing a grand piano and guitar. It was into this sacred inner sanctum that I was invited to meet one half of the duo - Maurice Gibb.

Maurice was still at lunch when I arrived, so I took a look around at the expensive tape machine, record player and other electrical equipment. A large executive desk, a sofa, a few chairs and a cocktail cabinet were the only other pieces of furniture. A comfortable carpet covered the vast expanse of floor.

Maurice arrived, full of enthusiasm about the telephone in his friend's Lamborghini, but bemoaning the fact that he would have to wait up to eighteen months for a similar device to be fitted in his recently acquired Rolls Royce.

"The car was written off after the accident," said Maurice, referring to the recent crash near his home where noses were broken, much blood was spattered about and Lulu passed out when she saw the result. "The chasis was bent, so they wrote it off, now I suppose they're spending twice as much as it was worth putting it right. Roll's just don't get written off."

Steak-eating dog

Maurice spoke about his Pyrennean mountain dog, similar to Barry's, called Aston which consumes two steaks a day. It cost £30 as a pup, has grown out of all proportion and is currently away at kennels being trained where not to leave its puddles.

On the subject of the Bee Gee's new single 'Tomorrow, tomorrow,' Maurice told me: "I don't think it's us, but I quite like it. We've got another one that we'll put straight out if it doesn't make it."

The new one was recorded last week and features a well-known girl singer with the Brothers Gibb and Colin. This the first time an outsider has sung on a Bee Gee single.

Maurice played a tape of the song ('Bury me down by the river') which is so unlike the Bee Gees' normal style - no tears and heartbreaking strings, but an up-tempo gospel-type raver.

"That's the sort of thing we're doing more of now," Maurice revealed. "Since Robin left, we're working like that" (he held up the first two fingers of his left hand pressed close together).

"Barry and I are a lot closer. we're working much more together. We're having a ball, we can bring anyone we like in to things."

"We know we don't want to split up... maybe Colin will want to leave sometime in the future, but we all have different things we're involved in - Colin and Joanne have an agency and Barry and I have production companies- but at the moment we're all happy with the way things are."

Robin's departure and future was a necessary topic for discussion and as we sat with our Bacardis and Coke, Maurice commented: "The controversy hasn't harmed us. I hope his single is a hit. I wouldn't stop it. I read somewhere that I was supposed to be against it, but I wouldn't do that, he's my brother. I wish him luck and I hope it's a hit."

More in limelight

Maurice has found himself being pushed much further into the centre of things in the past few weeks and explained: "I did the majority of the backings anyway, even when Robin was with us, but there's more work for me now. It's bringing me out more - I do six leads on the next album, before I think I only sang three all told.

"I write soft and Barry keeps telling me to write harder music. I'm progressing more to the arranging side and Barry is getting more ideas song-wise, he's freer with his words.

"Backing wise we haven't progressed, orchestra-wise we have. Everyone progresses, look at the Beatles' things like 'If I fell' and 'And I love her,' they won't write songs like that again."

As we were talking, the two phones on the desk kept ringing and Maurice broke off to take notes from the caller.  He seemed to be conducting his affairs in a very business-like maner, taking care to put everything in its place.

"Barry leaves notes about like this," smiled Maurice, indicating a scrap of paper on the desk. "He wants me to write some stuff for 'Cucumber Castle' the film."

With another album imminent, there is yet another of Bee Gees oldies "for people who like that sort of thing."

Discarded songs

"I still think Bee Gees First is our best album," Maurice said. "In those days we were very ambitious and on cloud nine all the time. There must be at least a hundred songs at IBC we've done nothing with.

"We always keep the public in mind when we do a record, we'll never progress from melody. Nobody knows what commerciality is, if people can whistle a melody and keep it going through their minds, that's enough."

How about a replacement for Robin?

"We've only seen two people," Maurice replied, adding, with a touch of cynicism, "We're getting tapes from Wapping and Nottingham and Stoke and all over, but... we want to get someone who can sing nice, we can take care of the hair and the clothes and all that."

"At the moment, we'll go on as a three-piece and if we find someone suitable to take Robin's place, we'll take him in. We're not looking for a copy of Robin, though."

Eventually Lulu crept into the conversation and it was like listening to an old-fashioned love story the way Maurice talked intimately about their courtship and marriage.

"Lu's brother Billy is getting some good songs written, he's written songs about Lulu and I and I'm producing some of them." Maurice later pointed out, "I'm Capricorn and Lu's Scorpio, they're supposed to be the two most compatible signs, and we do get on well though we have completely opposite ideas about things."

I left Maurice to work alone, Barry being laid up with a cold, and wait for another call from his missus - an almost hourly event. All seems to be peaceful and content with the Bee Gees at the moment, let's hope it stays that way.

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