Thanks to Dave Bartram for another Q&A session! These questions were sent on 17th February 2010, returned on 18th February 2010 and added here 21st Feb 2010!
2009 must have
been up there with the trickiest years of the band’s career. How difficult was
the year compared with say, the comings and goings of 1984-1987.
2009 was actually a very positive year for SWW. Obviously we were sorry to see the demise of Geoff & Trevor, and to see Danny move on, but ultimately this has given the band a new lease of life, and the new enthusiasm brought about by the addition of Paul & Dave has made band much stronger musically.
1984 & 85 were far more difficult as the band was falling apart, and we had lost our sense of togetherness and direction. So all in all 2009 was a new milestone passed in the band's long history.
How is Trevor doing at present? It is recalled that at a recent gig you informed the audience he was in bad shape.
The last time I saw Trevor he looked awful. I'm sorry to say that due to changes of address and phone numbers, of which we haven't been informed, we appear to have lost all communication with him, which is sad. Hopefully he'll be in touch at some point in the future.
On another note, how about Geoff?
Geoff is fine and well, he spends a lot of time in London these days, where he has a lady friend, and was very chipper when I spoke with him last week.
The Daily Mail recently reported that Amanda Holden had a crush on you in the 70s and kissed the screen when the band appeared on Top Of The Pops! How good is it for SWW to still be making the national press over 30 years after the band’s formation?
I've not heard the last of the Amanda Holden report! Still I suppose it's pretty flattering really. Press is always good (unless it's the John Terry kind!) and yes I suppose the continuing references to the band show the true longevity of the band's career. I get the feeling that people generally hold the band in great affection, which is wonderful after all these years.
There were a couple of tracks recorded in the Sun sessions that were not on the album and there was talk of an EP being released – are these likely to be released in the near future?
Afraid no plans for the unreleased Sun tracks to see the light of day at present, but our relationship with Voiceprint is really good, and the MD is always looking for new angles for future projects.
Voiceprint have also done an excellent job with the two DVD releases – are the band pleased with them – I am sure they bring back some great memories.
Voiceprint have done a great job in giving the band an outlet, not only for new recordings, but also compiling some buried treasure. The DVDs do bring back memories, I seem to spend a lot of time laughing when I watch them back, thinking of where we were and what was going on when they were recorded for TV.
Status Quo were recently revealed at the “hardest working band” in British music – Showaddywaddy must have run them close!
Status Quo have been together 10 years longer than SWW, but I doubt very much they've put in more work and miles than we have, as they have long periods of inactivity between tour dates. Which SWW have never had.
Has the on stage experience changed in that the band are now performing with keyboards and sax, sounds often heard on records but not so much in live shows over the years?
The stage experience has changed. As I said in answer 1 the band is musically more precise. Dave & Paul are excellent musicians, and I feel they are bringing the best out in myself, Rod & Romeo. It's given us a freshness that had been missing for a while.
One of the albums that doesn’t get a lot of outings is Living Legends – I’ve been listening to it a lot recently as it’s not actually a bad album! In an old TV interview you said that some band members recorded some tracks in one studio and others went off and did other tracks in others. Can you let us know a bit more about the making of this album, including which tracks were recorded in Miami?
I personally think Living Legends is far and away the band's most disappointing album. There are some decent songs on it, but it's disjointed and lacks real commitment and creativity.
The only tracks recorded in Miami were Who Put The Bomp & Goody Goody. The pitiful version of Mona Lisa and Little Old Wine Drinker were recorded at Rockfield in Wales. The remainder were recorded at Marcos Studios in London, where 3 band members did not even attend the sessions which lasted a month or so. It was a crazy period for the band to say the least!
Ray Martinez joined the band in ’85 following Russ’s departure – how long had the band known him prior to this?
We had known Ray for many years. He was in several bands that came out of Leicester including Gypsy (who had a little bit of success). The music scene in the city was very close-knit, and everybody knew everybody.
Rick Willson (Danny’s brother) played some gigs with the band too (in 1985) due to Ray’s other commitments – how difficult was it for the band at that time with Rik and Ray chopping in and out of the line-up for odd gigs on an ad-hoc basis, in terms of rehearsing and maintaining the show?
Rick Willson is the fastest learner we've ever worked with. He slotted in at the time of Russ Field's departure while Ray still had other committments to keep. I think 1 rehearsal was all he needed, but he didn't want the job full time, plus we'd already approached Ray.
It was during the same difficult period we keep harking back to, but once Ray joined things began to settle down again, much for the better.
Why did Ray leave the band?
Ray had lost his enthusiasm and was basically going through the motions, which was unacceptable, and consequently he was asked to leave.
Paul Heydon: How about a tour with
Sha Na Na? That would create a lot of interest.
Good sounding idea, but the logistics of working with American artists are a nightmare. I'm not even sure that they do much touring any more, and had heard that there is only 1 original member.
Pete Tustain: As fans we only get to
hear of public gigs such as theatres and clubs etc. But how many gigs a year are
the band playing incuding all the private and corporate events?
Earmarked so far for this year are 55 dates, but I would expect another handful before the close of the year.
Will you be keeping in contact with Danny, and how did his departure affect the rest of the band?
We all still keep in touch with Danny. He's a close friend. It was disappointing that he decided to move on, but he always was a massive WA fan. We invited him to the band's Christmas do towards the end of December, and will see him soon no doubt!
Are there any plans for a new album featuring the new line-up?
I will be meeting with Voiceprint during the next few weeks. We are also in talks with a German company about a new album project, and of course anything new will feature Paul & Dave.
Can you tell me if Paul and Dave both come from Leicestershire?
Paul is a city boy from Leicester, and Dave is from Oakham in the neighbouring tiny county of Rutland.
Do you intend to release a world cup song this year?
We did talk to a couple of companies about re-doing Hey England, but it just didn't work out, so the idea has now been abandoned.
What do you think of all the clips of the band that are on You Tube, are you happy for the clips to be on there?
Some of the You Tube stuff is excellent (and legal!) but other clips from people with hidden video cameras are terrible. We have taken action against a couple of idiots who put some apalling footage on there, but it's a constant uphill battle to stop these criminals.
How did you select the venues for the upcoming tour?
As with all tours the show is offered out to all active theatres who we think can do a good job of putting on a show. Then after a response it's time to put the dealing hat on. When satisfactory deals are agreed we go to contract and the shows are made available to the public.
We targeted the 300 - 800 seaters mainly as they are best suited to the "Evening of Rock & Roll Format", and we didn't want to be involved in yet another 70's package.
Clive Broughton: Is there any chance,
when I go to another concert, that I could do a song with the boys, or will it
remain a dream of mine?
Doubtful I'm afraid. There is always someone who is disappointed when something like that happens, and feel it should've been them. Anyway I hope the audience have come to listen to SWW.
Dawn Russell: When you decide to
retire (not for a long time I hope) will you have a "Farewell Tour" and let us
know beforehand so all their fans have a chance to be at the very last gig?
Retirement has not ever been mentioned. While people still want to see the band perform we'll be out there strutting our stuff. Also I think health & fitness also come into it, and fortunately we're all in pretty good nick at present.
I suppose the day will come in a few years when we have to consider hanging up the drapes, and I'm sure we'd do some farewell concerts to say a big thank you for such a wonderful career.
Neal Baker: How many live gigs have
the band done, and is it a world record for a band?
I think we held the record for the number of gigs a pro band did in a year round about 1975, but I wouldn't know who holds the world record. Maybe Status Quo, The Stones or there's a band called the Hamsters who are know for doing around 300 gigs per year, and they've been together for a good few years now.
Any chance of another album to complement the Sun Album?
We discussed doing a Sun 2 album, but felt that the material wouldn't be quite as good as the collection of songs on the first one.
Please can you tell us a couple of funny incidents from your long touring days?
I could spend hours mentioning funny incidents from 36 years on the road. You'll have to wait until the book comes out, which may happen someday!
Thanks everybody for the questions and your continued support. DB