THE BEE GEES' SECRET WEAPON
(Teen Bag, August 1977)

"We face the sunset," said Bee Gee Barry Gibb. "I'm now a resident of Miami, which is ideal for me. I have a nice home with tennis courts and a swimming pool on Biscayne Bay. We moved here because we like the climate. I lived in Sydney, Australia for nine years and I got used to going to the beach. Now that we live here we have sunshine all the time." Barry, who is, by consensus of all the brothers, the good-looking Bee Gee, was speaking by phone from his new home in Florida, which he shares with his wife of seven years, Linda. Barry admitted that the house is so big he hasn't even finished counting all the rooms yet!

The subject of our interview was the Bee Gees' two new film projects. They're doing the music for "Tribal Rites of Saturday Night," which stars John Travolta; and they're appearing in the rock extravaganza, "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," starring Peter Frampton. But during the course of our conversation, Barry and I talked about many other things as well and had more than a few laughs. Laughter, I found out, is impossible to avoid when you're talking to a Bee Gee.

Barry also told me that the Bee Gees, who are three brothers -Barry, Robin, and Maurice-- now, have a secret weapon that they're ready to unleash upon the world! No, it's not a bomb! It's another brother! His name is Andy Gibb, and he's 19, just cut an album of his own, and already has a hit single, "I Just Want To Be Your Everything." The song, not surprisingly, was written and produced by Barry. But Andy wrote most of the other songs on the album himself.

Ever since Andy decided to make a career out of music, he and Barry have become very close. The other two Gibb brothers, Maurice and Robin, are twins, and are three years younger than Barry, so they've always kind of stuck together. Barry's as proud as can be of his younger brother's accomplishments and Andy admits that he's one of the Bee Gees' biggest fans. With such a mutual admiration society going in a single family, the world better watch out! In the past two years, there's hardly been a single week when a Bee Gee song wasn't making it's way to the top of the record charts!

In 1975, when their Main Course album came out, the Bee Gees thrilled us with three big hits, Nights On Broadway, Jive Talkin', and Fanny (Be Tender With My Love.) Then, last year, they released Children Of The World, and once again, the singles began filling the airwaves: You Should Be Dancing, Love So Right, and Boogie Child. Now, just as the Bee Gees themselves have disappeared temporarily from the top 40, who should fill the gap but their younger brother, Andy!

"I was very much into what the Bee Gees were doing. I was very much inspired by their writing," Andy said in an interview in New York City this past spring. The age difference between him and his brothers caused them to lead quite separate lives while Andy was growing up, and he admits that they didn't have too much to do with each other until he was about 11, and began getting involved in music himself. It was then that Andy got his first guitar.

His brothers, of course, were releasing rock and roll songs that have become as loved as the Beatles' classics. Some of those songs, which Barry says he still loves and enjoys doing at concerts, are Lonely Days, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? Holiday, and New York Mining Disaster 1941. Imagine growing up in a family that was producing hits like these, and you can get some idea of why Andy left school when he was 14, and threw himself into singing and performing.

Andy's family was then living in Ibiza, an island off Spain which is splashed with sunshine and surrounded by beautiful beaches. "I'd water ski all day, I've always been a very active water sports person," said Andy, who has sandy brown hair, a little lighter than Barry's; weighs 135 pounds (no match here for Barry's 160 pounds!), and is 5.6 1/2" tall, compared to Barry's towering height of 6.1". Both brothers have brown eyes, though, and both love the color blue- perhaps because they're ocean freaks.

One thing they do differ on, though, is their taste in foods. Andy admits he loves junk foods, while Barry takes his eating habits more seriously. "I'm a bit of a junk food addict," says Andy. "I like the Pizza Hut's food, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Big Macs, spaghetti; generally most foods that aren't good for you. But I do enjoy a good breakfast -bacon and eggs- and I like steak.

Barry, on the other hand, says that he dislikes junk foods, and doesn't eat meats at all. "Me and my wife Linda gave it up," he said. "We became vegetarians a month ago. I don't mean to be insulting, but the meat in America is treated too much. It's treated in England too, but not as much. I don't think it's good for you."

When we spoke, Andy was wearing a white tee-shirt which had "Criteria Recording Studios" written across it in red letters, jeans, and sneakers. Settling down into the comfortable couch in his hotel suite, he talked about his life on Ibiza, where he lived for four years with his parents, who have been managing the Bee Gees' career for many years now. His father is the Bee Gees' lighting director, and presently lives in Australia. Andy said his parents -Hughie and Barbara Gibb- also have a show business background. His dad was a big band drummer and his mother a big band singer.

In the room with us as we talked were Andy's good-looking manager, Jim Dayly, who's 21, and was dressed up in a blue suit and pink shirt; and Andy's wife of one year, Kim, a 19-year-old blond whom he met in Sydney. Kim was quiet throughout the interview, content to be at Andy's side, and spent her time writing letters.

Andy said his parents moved to Spain when he was about 13. He left his school in England at the time and never returned. While Andy says he really never took an interest in school because he found it boring, another reason emerged as we talked. It seems that being the brother of the famous Bee Gees wasn't all peaches and cream: a lot of his schoolmates were jealous of Andy and he was pretty much a loner.

Andy had attended both private and public schools. "At the public school," he says, "I didn't get along with the kids as bad as at the private school. That was just murder. It was pretty posh. The kids had well-to-do parents. Or they'd act as if they had a great amount of money. Anything I did or said they felt it was because I was the Bee Gees' brother. If I spoke out in class or anything, they'd say, 'Oh, he's just saying that because he's the Bee Gees' brother.'

"I've talked to other people in the business and their younger brothers and sisters went through the same thing," Andy said. "If there was any argument, I'd be the one who was picked on. It was a general victimization. When we moved to Spain, I was going to take up school again, but I never got around to it..." It was when he moved to Spain, that Andy first began dating. He had many opportunities to meet girls, he says, because he was working as a musician in nightclubs. Ibiza is a tourist town, and there were many European and English girls on vacation with their parents. Usually, he'd just date a girl for about four weeks, and then she'd leave for home. Andy's life in Ibiza consisted of swimming, water skiing and lying on the beach during the day, and working all night, six nights a week. He did this for four years. "It wasn't a healthy life for someone my age, but I loved it," says Andy. "We'd start playing about eight in a piano bar. There'd be about 300 to 400 people sitting around the bar. I'd finish at midnight and start at another club at 1 am and work pretty late. It wasn't really a good life for someone my age. I played rhythm guitar and sang. We'd occasionally have a week off and I'd go to England. I never got paid because a British person wasn't allowed to earn money in Spain. It was all enjoyment and experience. I lived with my parents and it was a great place to live...all that water and sunshine, the beautiful beaches."

When he went out on dates, he'd usually take his girlfriends to nightclubs and out to dinner. There were no English-speaking movie houses, so Andy and his friends rarely went to the cinema. Andy, however, has since made up for that big gap in his youth. He and Kim are now big movie-goers and TV-watchers. Among his favorite stars are John Wayne and the late Peter Finch. His television taste runs to situation comedies like Happy Days and The Odd Couple, and to cop shows like Columbo and Baretta.

Barry, too, loves TV. In fact, next to fishing, he'd just as soon sit in front of the set as do almost anything else. "I don't ever go to movies," says Barry. "'My idea of pleasure would be sitting in front of TV. I enjoy quiz shows like the Match Game." This summer will be the first year that the Bee Gees, because of their movie commitments, aren't going to be touring. I mentioned to Barry I was really sorry I missed them when they played in New York last year, and he said "Thank you," in a sincere voice, as though he was hearing a compliment like that for the first time instead of what must be the millionth time. For the Bee Gees have been performing since they were nine years old! But even though they've been in show business so many years, they never take their fans for granted, and they never ever seem to become arrogant or conceited.

"We still get very nervous before shows," says Barry, "I don't think I'm any less petrified than I was 20 years ago when I got on stage." And Maurice recently told a writer just how important it is to the group to have contact with their fans. "You can't just record and never see your fans," he said. "You've got to present a physical image, something they come and see or you're containing yourself as an artist." Maurice went on to say that the image many fans have of rock and roll bands isn't totally true. The image, he says, is that the bands see the world, have people cater to their every whim, sleep as long as they want, and eat exotic food. The truth however, is that the most "glamorous" thing for a rock and roll band is simply playing in front of different audiences every night.

"We're all fond of touring," Robin, the band's lead vocalist, says. "But it is a drag living out of a suitcase for three months and moving from hotel to hotel."

Still, Barry says that next year will see the fabulous Bee Gees on the road once again for two months. Talking to Barry, who's 30, and then asking Andy the same questions is really an interesting experience, because their answers reflect their ages and experience.

Barry was nine and his brothers were six when they first began in show business. I asked him if his parents pushed them into their careers, and he said that he and his brothers pushed their parents into letting them perform. The family had moved away from England, and Barry said, "We forced our parents to move back to England to give us a better chance."

Their father always encouraged them, Barry said, helping them to develop stage presence, rapport with the audience, and other tricks of the trade. I said it sounded similar to the Osmonds' story, and Barry joked, "More like a tainted Osmond Brothers." "We feel comfortable on stage," Barry explained. "It's been our whole life. It comes naturally to us. When it works, we're very relaxed. We know we belong there."

Growing up with brothers who feel so at home on stage, it's only natural that Andy would feel comfortable with the idea of stardom, and he makes no bones about the fact that he wants to be just as famous and successful as Barry, Maurice and Robin. I asked him how he felt about the fact that his first record was already on the charts and might be a hit. "The fact that it might do well I feel very happy about that," Andy said. "l just keep praying and hoping that it will. The actual thought of being a star I'd say it appeals to me. I'd say it's what I want. It would be a lie to say it wasn't an ego thing. It is an ego thing, it feels great to be up there."

Last year, Andy formed his own band and toured Australia with the Bay City Rollers. "They had banners with my name on it," says Andy. "The kids were screaming and hysterical in the front row, yelling, 'touch me,'touch me.' And that is a great sensation to feel all that attention's on you. I don't like to see the injuries at Rollers' concerts, though. When they're totally hysterical there's no control. I didn't love that, it's frightening."

Andy says that in addition to wanting all that attention for himself, he wants his music to be respected. He invited fans to write to him in care of RSO Records, 135 Central Park West, New York. Andy enjoys talking with fans when he has the time, and says most of them would probably be his friends under different circumstances.

Andy feels his music is a cross between the Beatles and the Eagles, with the Bee Gees influence thrown in. "The feel of most of the tracks are definitely country rock," he says of his album. The Bee Gees sound, by comparison, has become more rhythm and blues lately. So while Andy's following in their footsteps, he's making sure he carves out his very own musical identity.

He talked about some of his favorite groups. "I like ABBA a lot," he said. "They have very bright harmonies and we have that, too. They're not mellow or deep, but they're very bright." Andy said the vocals on his album are very "trebly, up front and up high." Other favorites of his are the Carpenters, Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and the Osmonds. His album, he says, has some lovely love ballads, as well as up-tempo rock tunes, and one he describes as "bluegrass funk," called Let It Be Me. "It's got a wa-wa, low, gutsy sound," says Andy of the song. "It's been a favorite a long time."

In addition to enjoying Andy's new album, Bee Gees fans will soon be treated to five sensational new tunes from Tribal Rites of Saturday Night, the movie the Bee Gees are doing the music for. Barry said the songs will most likely be released on an album, and was very excited about them. One of the best, he said, is called Stayin Alive, and you can get some idea of how exciting a song it is from the chorus: "Feel the city breaking and everybody shaking and we're stayin alive."

"It's very danceable but at the same time the lyrics are interesting," said Barry, who wishes the movie itself had been named after one of his songs. "I think the idea of 'Saturday Night' is overused," he said. "Staying alive is a slightly better concept. I also suggested they use 'Night Fever' as a title. The other songs are, How Deep Is Your Love, Night Fever, If l Can't Have You, and More Than A Woman."

Barry's also very excited because the Bee Gees will be appearing in their first movie when Sgt. Pepper starts filming this September. He said the movie is a spoof, and very funny, and that the Bee Gees will be playing old men who are part of Sgt. Pepper's Band. They'll sing such Beatles tunes as Long And Winding Road. Barry revealed that the movie is going to be the rock extravaganza of all times, with the Eagles and "every major rock act in the world on one set for the finale."

He's glad the filming starts in September, since that's his birthday and he feels it's a good omen. It seems the world is holding nothing but good omens for the Bee Gees and their brother Andy these days. (By the way, there's also a sister in the family; she's 12 and her name's Berri). In addition to becoming a movie star, Barry's about to become a father for the second time. He and Linda already have a son, Steven, 3. This is his second marriage. "We've been together 10 years and married seven," said Barry. "I guess this one works. We've both got a fantastic sense of humor. We both enjoy life very much. We don't let anything put pressure on us. We're very relaxed." As he spoke, Barry was looking out the window of his house to the yard, where Steven was climbing into Maurice's son's playpen. Maurice lives in England but was visiting Barry, and may move to this country. He has one son, Adam, who's a year old. Robin, who lives in Surrey, England, has two kids, Melissa, 2 and Spencer, 4. "The whole group is very close," says Barry.

Andy had just gotten back from an Easter visit with his brother when we talked, and he was full of tales about them. They all have great senses of humor, he said, but Maurice is definitely the biggest clown of all, breaking everyone up with such antics as walking straight into a wall after telling everyone 'goodnight. "Maurice is the most dynamic and outgoing,'' said Andy. "Barry is very laid-back. Robin's extremely subtle, very quiet. But when he opens up, watch out. Saturday we went deep-sea fishing with Robin. l caught a dolphin fish and Robin caught a shark. It was about 145 pounds."

I asked Andy how he likes being married, and he said, with total sincerity, that he really likes it a lot. He met Kim in Sydney, where both their families live, and it took them about a month to get close to each other. They started going to movies, dinner, and became very attached. Then, Andy found out he would have to come to America, since RSO Records had offered him a contract. He and Kim realized they didn't want to be apart, so they got married. Their honeymoon was in Bermuda. "We love each other and wanted to get married," said Andy. And Kim said she most definitely didn't fall in love with Andy because he's a musician, or related to the Bee Gees. "I like what makes him happy," she explained, "and he likes his work. I wouldn't care what he did." Andy says that he's actually a quiet person, and likes girls who are also quiet. "Sincerity is probably the strongest thing I like in a person," he said. That's not surprising, because Andy Gibb's one of the most sincere people I've ever met.

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