These questions were sent to Dave on 2nd October 2005, answered on 5th October 2005 and added here 9th October 2005.
Questions from Paul Fixter
What is the highest number of people you have gigged in front
of, and also the smallest?
The highest number was 40,000 in Germany at the Schalke Football Stadium. The smallest number was 22 in the canteen at Byron Heights on one of the Falkland Islands. The equipment, band, and after gig party boose etc was flown in using 3 helicopters.
Who wrote, “I Don’t Like Rock ‘n’ Roll No More”, and were you
disillusioned with rock ‘n’ roll at that time?
I Don't Like Rock & Roll was one ot Trevor's songs. I think we were all a little affected by the way the band was going at that time.
The fans ‘hysteria’ started in 1975 – what was it like being
on the road with in ’73 and ’74 and how did the different periods compare for
SWW as a band? And how is it different now to the ‘70s?
73 & 74 were very exciting years, as there was a great feeling that the band was going to happen. We were gigging to packed clubs 6 or 7 nights a week, and there was genuine enthusiasm throughout the band.
I think now that the band's attitude is far more professional and polished, musically we are far tighter. Perhaps the excitement of the early years can never be matched, but we all get on so well, and no longer have ego problems as we once did.
John Leighton's backing singers recorded backing for 'Johnny
Remember Me' in a bathroom, and Slade recorded some vocals for 'Merry Christmas
Everybody' in a hotel foyer in New York (in summer!) - have SWW recorded in any
We've recorded the drums in some strange places: a kitchen, various echoey passage ways and recently a disused storage room full of rubbish. We used a passage outside of the studio in Rockfield for various things i.e. backing/lead vocals, handclaps and other atmospheric noises!
You have met lots of celebrities over the years – who have
been the most genuine and nice people?
Most people in the music industry are decent people, it's the prima donnas that you remember the most, but I'm not going to start slagging people off, apart from possibly Mark Lamaar (who used to be in our fan club) I've met him a few times and was disappointed when I did Buzzcocks that he is well up himself these days!
We once had the pleasure of meeting Bing Crosby & Fred Astaire at a studio in London during the 70's, they were absolute gentlemen.
Who owned the double-decker bus shown in early band pics? Did
you actually tour in it or was it just for publicity?
The bus was rented purely for promotional purposes. The band never actually went on the bus, there were a bunch of people dressed in our gear, who many people actually thought was tha band.
A while ago fans voted for songs SWW might consider for your
set – will you be doing any of the most popular that the fans voted for?
We will almost certainly be doing "Johnny Remember Me" as that got the most votes and would fit in to the set. Sadly things like "Lost" would not sound right without an orchestra.
I read in a 1985 interview that you were involved in court
proceedings with RCA – what brought this action?
RCA terminated our contract before it had come to an end. There was a change of MD and the new guy was more into the 80's stuff that was happening. RCA settled before it got to court.
The 12th June 1976 edition of NME states that you were
recording in the studio between 19th & 29th July 1976. Given that SWW's next
album release after this (other than the blue Gt Hits) was ‘Red Star’ (November
1977 – over a year later), was this when some of this album was recorded? Was
UTMOL also recorded around this time?
This undoubtedly would've been the session that UTMOL came out of.
What kind of feedback did you receive from artists whose
records you covered? Was it usually favourable or did you get negative feedback
Most artistes are delighted when you cover their songs. Curtis Lee who did the original of UTMOL hadn't been heard of for years. His songwriting partner Tommy Boyce came over and wanted to get more involved with the band. We weren't that impressed with the new songs he had written, but soon after he was involved with Darts.
James Goldman from Bristol
Bill Gask’s backing vocal always seemed deeper on records than they did live – was this due to studio effect or was he just trying harder?
He did not always do the bass vocals as he didn't like spending a lot of time in the studio. Sometimes the track would be sped up to make the voice seem deeper when it was played at normal speed. On other occasions effects and all sorts were used. Trade secrets!!
I saw an old clip recently where Owen Paul was miming on a
live TV show – the record kicked in but the band could not hear it. Have SWW had
any similar embarrassing moments?
We were miming to Hearbeat many years ago at an awards ceremony, the track stopped halfway through and started up again as we were leaving the stage - very embarrassing!
Graham Goodall of Herts asks:
In the last Q&A session you mentioned writing a song called ‘Red Rose’. Why don’t you record it as a charity single which will raise money, and also get the band publicity as well?
"Red Rose" is about the atrocities that went on in Bosnia during the early 90's. It would have no meaning as a charity single at this moment in time!
Any news on the DVD?
Still nothing to report on any future DVD release!
How many copies have the ‘Best Of’ of 2004 sold so far?
Would you consider recording a gig solely for the purposes of
selling it on DVD via the website? If you had enough advance orders from say the
people on Paul's mailing list?
I spoke to a company recently about a live DVD. After looking at some of their previous work and taking into account the deal offered was not in the bands' best interests the idea was scrapped.
Dave Hall of Leek:
Did you have such things as dieticians or make up artists travelling round with you in the ‘70s as some bands seem to have these days?
What do you think we were a bunch of posers? No need to waste money on things like that. We were party animals and didn't need anyone telling us what was good for us. I think you know in your own mind if you're overdoing it or are piling on a few pounds.
Is Dave or anyone else in the band hoping or wanting to get
into presenting or other TV work when the band finally calls it a day?
I did some TV presenting for Central TV during the 80's and really enjoyed doing it. I don't see myself getting back into it at this stage of my career.
Steve Thorpe asks:
How many other songs did you record during the ‘Woo Hoo’ sessions last year? Any originals or all covers?
"Woo Hoo" was done as a bit of a rush job, as Demon knew we'd put it into our live set and were keen for it to be on the TV album to tie-in with the tour dates. It was done in a day (sounds like it too!) and was the only tune recorded in that session.
Veronica Richmond asks:
Do you have any info on your next major tour?
Ideally the next tour will be planned around a new album project. It certainly won't be until late 06 or even Spring 07, as we haven't even opened discussions yet!
Pete Tustain of Banbury:
I know this question keeps getting asked, but, will any 'live' stuff ever be released in any form – old gigs from the 70s or 80s, or new live recordings?
Unforunately none of the 'live' stuff we have really stands up with the way live recordings are made in this day and age. We'd have to start from scratch, and we'd be loath to spend time putting that together as opposed to a new album project.
There is only a couple of year’s difference in our ages, and
I know I do not look forward to going to work these days! Do the band members
still enjoy all the hard work they do on the road?
We most certainly didn't enjoy the recent tour of Haven Holiday Camps, but that was due largely to restricted facilities and unprofessional organisation. But let's get real - we make a living doing something we love. How lucky is that? There are times when you don't feel too good (we're all human!) but all in all it's one of the best jobs you could ever have.
How are you treated in your local community? Do you get asked
to open fete's etc?
Get asked to do all sorts of things, but I most certainly don't mind if it's local. My family and friends all live around these parts, so life is pretty good!
In the web site poll organised by Paul last year to find
popular 'live' tracks, “Swansong” and “Lost” both proved to be very popular with
the fans. Do you think these songs will ever appear in the 'live' show?
I'm very flattered that those 2 songs proved so popular as they are both from my own pen! As mentioned earlier in this Q&A without strings we really wouldn't do those songs justice. After all it is a Rock & Roll show!
Sue Leach of Newark asks:
Now that it is acknowledged that Dave and Trevor were the writers of the bands self penned songs I wonder why the acknowledgements on the re-released CD's still show all the members names?
That is how the songs were published. Sad really, not only were the royalties shared equally (I would have had no objection to a lesser share to the none writers!) But we didn't even receive credit for the time we spent writing.
Also when Dave and Trevor collaborated to write a song was
there a rule as to who wrote the lyrics and who wrote the music?
We didn't very often write together, but recorded most of our demos on Trev's Revox reel to reel. We would contribute ideas to each others songs while we were demoing.
What is the best thing Dave has achieved through being a
member of Showaddywaddy?
I think still being here after 32 years is a pretty amazing achievement!
Many Q&A sessions always seem to end with various requests
for the band to appear near them - does the band have any say in where they
perform or is it a case of the theatres/clubs approaching them?
Good question - which will explain why It's difficult to answer questions about when we will be playing various towns - Apart from organised tour dates where the promoter takes a 2 month period to put together a run of dates covering the length and breadth of the UK - Agents and promoters contact our Company Jive and ask about availabilities, we try to make them route conveniently and come to an agreement. Quite often we do contact Agents and Promoters who cover a region and give them available dates for that region, to save on travelling costs etc.
It's practically impossible to know where we are going to be until around 6 months prior, as until a date is contracted it is far from happening.
In certain areas of the country venues seem to be thin on the ground, so like I say it's really left to the tour dates to try and visit all regions.
Dave Kennedy of Chapel-en-le-Frith asks
Assuming that you and Trevor wrote most of the bands original songs, how was it decided that Bill would sing lead on such classics as "I Don't Like Rock N Roll No More", "Lookin Back" and "I Wish That I Could Undo All The Bad That I Have Done"? Did you ever regret not singing these yourself?
Even if I had wanted to it wouldn't have been very democratic for me to have sung all the songs, even though those you mention I would've sung on the demo versions.
How was it decided that some songs would utilize both lead
singers i.e. “Trocadero”, “Party Time”?
If we thought a song could be suited to 2 or more different voices then it could be quite effective.
Gary Oyitch of Lincs asks one along the same lines:
When Dave wrote a song did he have a certain singer in mind ie, for instance was Bill or himself, or did both vocalists have a go at every track before they were put on records?
To be honest I think there were only around 6 songs that I wrote and didn't sing.
If you are a singer and writer then you will obviously construct the song in your own style.
John from Llantrisant, South Wales
Do you know who Showaddywaddy's most famous fan is?
Probably Robbie Williams - He has said many times what a massive influence on his career the band was!
What is your favourite Showaddywaddy guitar solo?
The solo on "Take Me In Your Arms" although I love the 2 acoustic guitars on the solo in "Win Your Heart".
One of my favourite tracks is “Nobody Is” from Jump, Boogie
and Jive. How do you rate it and was the song ever considered as a single? It
sounds like a hit to me!
Nobody Is was recorded on a session with producer Stuart Coleman (Shakin' Stevens, Cliff and many more) with another fine song called "Old Habits Die Hard" (not the recent Mick Jagger song). This was to my mind one of the best sessions the band ever did. Nobody Is is a great rock & roll track and perhaps a few years before would have been a single.
When will you be playing in Cheltenham, Ipswich, Colchester, Felixtowe, Cumbria, Broxbourne Civic Hall in Hoddeston, Canada!
The final question is pretty much answered in No 28.