ROBIN GIBB INTERVIEWED BY SIMON MAYO
(BBC Radio 2, November 1, 2004 - Excerpt)

Posted by Glenna Marie Helton

SIMON MAYO: Out today is the Bee Gees album "Number Ones." It's a Bee Gees album and it's full of number ones...

ROBIN GIBB: That's right!

SIMON MAYO: And that's pretty much it.

ROBIN GIBB: That's right Simon!

SIMON MAYO: Robin Gibb is here. How are you doing Robin?

ROBIN GIBB: I'm very well thanks, Simon.

SIMON MAYO: This is a great listen.This is pretty darn good. Actually I haven't heard that one for ages.

ROBIN GIBB: Yes, I think a number 1's album is what it is. I think it's one of those albums where you think it's better than the "best of," better than the "greatest hits" : it's the number 1's.

SIMON MAYO: And you're defining Number Ones as a Bee Gees record of songs that got to number 1. Is it in the UK and US?

ROBIN GIBB: Well basically UK and US. There're a lot of US number 1's on this album. I don't think we would have done it if Mo hadn't died. It's a kind of memorial album to our work with Maurice, as well as to our career.

SIMON MAYO: So is it a way of saying "that's it then"?

ROBIN GIBB: No, it's not at all. It's very much just a summary of what we've done as the Bee Gees in terms of number 1's, pure and simple. I don't think it draws a line under where me and Barry are going from here, because we're songwriters, we always were at home in the recording studio. So there's plenty of work as far as writing and even ourselves are concerned in the future. So even though Mo is not with us, I think there's very much a place for me and Barry to go forward and be creative.

SIMON MAYO: It just won't be the Bee Gees?

ROBIN GIBB: It just won't be the Bee Gees... We're not even quite sure about that. That's something that is ongoing for me and Barry. At the time it was a knee-jerk reaction when Mo died rather than a practical reaction. I think as time has gone by, we've realized that me and Barry, whatever we do, we'll always be the Bee Gees, whether we change it to Robin and Barry Gibb, it's not quite the same. People will always look at us and say "you're the Bee Gees." You can't really change the way people see you.

SIMON MAYO: What would Maurice have wanted? It's not something you would have discussed...

ROBIN GIBB: I think that if we got together and made an album together, Mo probably would have wanted us to continue as the Bee Gees, although Barry at the moment is not quite sure that's something we should do, and I'm kinda leaning towards agreeing with him, though a lot of record companies would say "let's put it out as the Bee Gees." You've got that as well so...

SIMON MAYO: When you sit down and listen to it, I don't know if when you were putting the tracks together, there must have been some very strange feelings for you to be putting them together as the two of you rather than three?

ROBIN GIBB: Yeah. It's something that we have got used to now, I mean, it's nearly 2 years now since we lost Mo, and it's not a feeling where we think "oh, it's strange without Mo," it's almost like we've accepted it and it's reality. It's sad. It has moments of sadness where we think he's not around anymore. It's very easy when you look at the legacy and the history of the Bee Gees that Maurice is very firmly in there and so that will never go away, that's already written in stone and it's there, so it's easy from that respect that he's part of that history, he's an integral part of it.

SIMON MAYO: There're 20 tracks on here, it does divide itself into phases, and certainly the first 7 tracks go from Massachuetts to How can you mend a broken heart. Then all of a sudden Jive Talkin appears. Now if someone had never heard a Bee Gees record before and you said "sit down and listen to this" and they would say "hang on, between track 7 and 8, what happened there?" There's an extraordinary jump.

ROBIN GIBB: Well, I think we've always been songwriters, and we've always experimented with change, and if you look at different people who have written their own songs, from say Elton John to Lennon and McCartney for the Beatles, you'll see that they always experimented with a variety of styles. And we came from that sort of similiar school where you just tried different kinds of music, and it was a period where you were influenced by American R&B, which we were, and soul music, so it was quite normal for us to jump from one style to another, and because we were writing for other people, we wrote Heartbreaker for Dionne Warwick, Islands in the stream for Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, Chain reaction for Diana Ross and Woman in love and Guilty for Barbara Streisand, so they were artists with completely different styles of music, and to use that wasn't a challenge, it was an adventure, because we thought "well let's make a record that we think was right for them"

SIMON MAYO: But to get played on black radio stations is a phenomenal achievement, it wouldn't happen now.

ROBIN GIBB: Yes, it wouldn't happen now, you're quite right. We were the only white artists of that period to be played, apart from George Michael that got played later on American black radio, and I think it was because certain aspects of the music, even today, fit in with a certain type of music that has a feel of black radio; that's perfect even today because a lot of black artists today in America are influenced by that music because we were so heavily influenced by it at the time where other white artists were not.

SIMON MAYO: And do you still want a number 1 single? Is that still your desire? As the music industry changes, do you think "that was good, that was fine, now let's move on and do something else"?

ROBIN GIBB: I don't think there is an artist who doesn't like having a number 1 single. I think it's not a money thing, it's a prestige thing, and it's part of what you do, it's always an exciting thing to get a number 1 single or a number 1 album.

SIMON MAYO: There was talk of a tribute concert for Maurice. Is that still going to happen?

ROBIN GIBB: Well, that's only going to happen with Barry and myself. We're going to be the ones who do that in the future. Right now, it's on hold because Barry wants to be part and parcel of putting that on.

SIMON MAYO: Because there was talk of people like Justin Timberlake and such.

ROBIN GIBB: That's right. All the acts are still in place, but it's going to be done from Barry's side, and he wants to be in charge of that and I'm quite happy to let that happen.

SIMON MAYO: We were just having an argument in fact on what track to play, because we could just put the needle on any track, if indeed there was a needle...

ROBIN GIBB: If there was a needle, Simon!

SIMON MAYO: If there was a needle! So I could press a couple of buttons and put on any track, do you want to choose one?

ROBIN GIBB: How deep is your love? or Tragedy? or You win again?

SIMON MAYO: Oh, you're not helping at all!

ROBIN GIBB: You win again!

SIMON MAYO: Ok, what are your memories of this and where it came from at the time?

ROBIN GIBB: I think we got this idea in my bedroom, in my house. Me and Barry were in the bedroom in the house and we had a memo-cord and we just blurted it out on the recorder and played it back, it had no music. I remember Barry saying that it was very Whamish, and I said "Yes, and that can't be bad, let's do it"

SIMON MAYO: Can I just hold you on that?

ROBIN GIBB: Yes.

SIMON MAYO: Lots of great music has been composed in bedrooms, they're usually students, people starting off. What on earth are you doing composing music in your bedrooms again??

ROBIN GIBB: Well, it's just a very pleasant atmosphere Simon! I mean you can't beat the bedroom!

SIMON MAYO: Is that right??

ROBIN GIBB: Everything happens in the bedroom!

SIMON MAYO: OK, we'll play it, and I hadn't actually thought it was Whamish before until now but...

ROBIN GIBB: Well, it was on the memo-cord, but it is not as Whamish now.

SIMON MAYO: Well, it's still a great track...

ROBIN GIBB: And a Bee Gees track!

SIMON MAYO: It's one of 20 on the Bee Gees Number Ones. Robin, always good to talk to you, thanks for coming in.

ROBIN GIBB: Thanks Simon.

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