So here we are, a mammoth Q&A session with Dave Bartram, and quite probably Dave's last one following his retirement from fronting the band on 3rd December 2011.
The questions were sent on 26th November 2011, returned on 28th November, and added here on 30th November!
Many thanks to Dave for answering questions from fans in 20 Q&A sessions on www.Showaddywaddy.net since 1999!
Paul Fixter, Wakefield:
Will you be spending more time watching Leicester City than you have been able to?
Paul - I probably won't get to see many more Leicester games than I do now, as I'll be dividing my time between my homes in Leics and Portugal (where I also have business interests.)
Did the BBC really send for artists in Rolls Royces for Top of the Pops?
The BBC never sent a Rolls Royce for us, we always travelled under our own steam from the crack of dawn in Leics. I think the odd egotostical solo artist may have been indulged by their creeping record companies.
When you did TOTP, was it an all day job, or was it just a case of turn up for the cameras?
TOTP was an all day job and very boring to boot. We would arrive around 11am to go through camera positions, and pretty much spend the rest of the day drinking tea and twiddling our thumbs between rehearsals. There would be a dress run at around 4pm and then it was up to the BBC bar to socialise with the other artists, before recording at 8pm-ish (that part wasn't boring).
Sometimes you had to re-record tracks for broadcast on TOTP – was this done at the BBC or elsewhere?
The tracks had to be re-recorded in 3 hours under the supervision of a Musicians Union representative (who were supposed to be on our side), it was a crazy situation, but most artists found a way around it by giving the rep a master tape that had been swapped for a much better version (sometimes the original master). The unions were very militant at that time and so self important. We despised them.
You mentioned in a recent interview that the band be playing tracks next year that SWW have not played for a number of years? Any clues as to which ones?
I've attended a couple of rehearsals, and the band will be playing full versions of most of the old hits, but that's about as much as I can say at present.
Did you think that before you mentioned your departure from the band that doing so would be the end of SWW?
I could never have been arrogant enough to think it would be the end of the band. I realised there would be a lot of work involved in re-shaping the band, but from what I've heard they are going to be fine.
Were you apprehensive about mentioning your decision to the band? Did you have a few sleepless nights?
After being with Rod & Romeo for almost 38 years, it was never a decision I could have taken lightly. I can't say it caused me sleepless nights, but I was well aware that the guys needed ample time to bring in the right new musicians. Rod & Romeo have known for quite some time.
Would you have liked your last gig to have been in Leicester?
I knew that Summer Sundae in August would be my last gig on home turf, and I was elated that we were on top form that day. We were approached by a local theatre to do a farewell concert, but how could we have done that when the band is continuing?
Will you miss the motorways?!
LOL - that's something I won't miss. Nightime travel gets worse with all the constant road closures!
Paul from Derbyshire:
I've been a fan of the band since they were on New Faces way back in the seventies, I watched and admired the band on tv and at live shows. Sad to hear that Dave is leaving the band it will be a sad day. As a musician myself in a rock n roll band I would like to ask.... how the hell did you guys get on in the early days, how did you make the decisions regarding the everyday running of the band, and who was the one who had to take all the crap when things were not going right?
Hi Paul from Derbys - As you suggested the early days were not the easiest time to keep the band organised, and our management during that period weren't the best on that front either. Somehow we managed to pull it off without too much bother, but I suppose if there was any crap flying about it generally came down to me to attempt to get things sorted. It became much easier after we left the previous management company in 1983, as every issue had to be sorted out face to face, and a lot of the hoodwinking ceased.
Wayne Hancock from Port Talbot:
I have seen Showaddywaddy live on about twelve occasions now and have always wondered, if the band travelled to gigs around the country collectively or did each member make their own way to each venue. Thanks and good luck to Dave on a well earned retirement from the stage. you have brought me many years of pleasure .
Hello Wayne - You must've put in a good few miles getting to gigs over the years, and it's much appreciated I can assure you. We always have travelled together as a band either in 2 cars in the earlier years, or for the last decade or so in a people carrier. I've always felt that this is important for band morale, and we've often had some great laughs along the way.
Dave why quit? You are Showaddywaddy, keep it going! My kids love rock 'n 'roll. Why let my youth die?!
Hi Jimmi - I can only reiterate that the decision was not the easiest one I've had to make over the years. I had no intention of robbing anybody of their youth, but I just know in my heart it is now time for me to move on. The new formation won't disappoint, don't worry.
Thanks Dave for playing a big part in my love of music and entertainment. At 14 years of age showaddywaddy changed my life. Then I found Sha Na Na who never toured Britain - what a gig it would be. You can get em Dave, what a double bill. I've asked you this before but I think its more than worth persuing! Stay happy Dave and thanks for the good times.
We actually did perform with Sha Na Na in France during 1974. They were great, but far more theatrical than SWW. I gather there is a band touring the USA under the name, but understand there are no original members. Perhaps it would've made a great bill 30 odd years ago, but I don't think they would prove to be a good draw in this day & age. I'll be just fine, and thanks for the good wishes.
Will the group still use the Dambusters theme at the start of gig - has it got your voice on the end?
Even though you’re not in the band, does that mean you have stopped singing altogether?
Cliff - Yes the Dambusters will still be used. It's almost become the band's signature tune (other than in Germany - for obvious reasons!) It is my voice at the end, so I suppose in a way I'll still be there each night. It will be a long time before I pick up a microphone again, but I suppose you never know.
Thank you for all the great songs & gigs over the years. Can you tell me did the Glasgow shows have a magical atmosphere for you & the band? Good luck for the future.
Stuart - I've often gone on record as saying that Glasgow was probably my favourite place to play, and once again at the Pavilion in 2010 there was a magical atmosphere. I'll undoubtedly miss my visits to bonnie Scotland. We've had so many memorable gigs up there over the years.
Jackie Walsh Edinburgh:
In your capacity as manager do you feel you will be able to go along to some of the gigs without wanting to be on the stage?
Following on from that could you see yourself doing the odd one off song or two with the band for a special occasion? Just clutching at straws........
Hello Jackie - I will go along to the odd gig in my managerial capacity, but as for getting up and joining the boys I somewhat have my doubts. I don't suppose I'll honestly know how great the desire will be to step out on stage again until I've had a good few months away from performing. See you in Ilkley.
Liam Mathews, Belfast:
When I was a young lad growing up in war torn Belfast I always wished that Showaddywaddy would play here, I had every single 45 and every album all on vinyl. Although I did see the band play Belfast, it was either late 80s or early 90s and by that time some of the band members had gone. I would have loved to have seen the band of the halcyon days. Did the band regret not being able to play Belfast in the 70s when it was more at its peak?
We were actually offered some NI dates in the midst of the troubles, but the band weren't unanimous in making a decision to go.
Do you wish you could have released B sides as singles as I thought some of them were certainly good enough?
Some of the B Sides were excellent songs, and at one time were the only outlet for recording original songs, but generally there were only 2 or 3 members of the band in the studio as there was precious little enthusiasm for putting in the time to make original songs work.
How about re-releasing Hey Mr Christmas with a video mix of the original band with TOTP clips and clips of the present set up. That would be a lovely send off. You know the word Showaddywaddy means so much to me because their records got me and my friends through some very tough times during the troubles and left us really happy memories.
Afraid we've missed the boat for doing anything with Hey Mr Christmas. I hoped there may have been a Facebook campaign to pitch it against the X Factor winner, and get a real Christmas song to number 1 - Now that would have given me a nice send off!
How's the book coming along? Can't wait!!
Michael - The book is finished and ready to go. Unfortunately the world of publishing is quite complicated, and moves slowly. I am however in constant contact with my Publisher, and we are now looking at a release in late February. Watch this space, there should be a link to the site ready any day now for ordering purposes.
Clive S, From Yeovil:
Thanks for the last 30 odd years, will the new line up be releasing any new tracks and do you intend to keep writing or just manage and support the band? Shame the new line-up are not coming to Somerset as they may be able to understand us better (town criers in Yeovil?!!!)
There are no plans to do any future recording with the new line up. To be honest I've been trying to negotiate with a couple of companies to do some new projects, but there is so little money available in the current climate. I will still be sitting at the piano writing tunes and doing a bit of singing for sure. I'm also pretty sure that if the new band is well received they'll visit Yeovil in 2013 - which of course will be the 40th Anniversary tour.
Steve Scharmann (similar question from
Paul Hamerton and others):
Does Dave intend to do any book signings?
Hi Steve - Yes there will be a few book signings. The publishers are keen for me to get out and about to promote the book, and it will be a new departure for me, that I'll look forward to very much.
Thank you for some great music over the years you will be really missed. My question is out all the great songs ever written what song would you like to have written, that would have become known as a showaddywaddy original?
The best pop song ever written in my opinion is "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys. I think any writer would have been proud to put his name to that. I always wanted the band to be more adventurous vocally, but regrettably we never quite had the time to really experiment and see what we were really capable of.
Can I ask Dave why the band have not played at the 600 seat Beck Theatre in Hayes, Middlesex? Both The Searchers and 60's Package Shows visit regularly.
The Beck Theatre have been approached on several occasions, but they don't even have the manners to reply. I'm aware that other packages go there often, but if they can't be bothered to show any interest, it doesn't really bode well for them putting in the graft to sell a concert.
Did the band
regret not becoming more of a party style group in the early 80's which had they
done so may have given them further chart longevity?
We most certainly never wanted to be tagged as a 'party' band, I like to think we were a little better than that. Leave that side of things to Black Lace & co!
My question for Dave is would he ever consider a Piers Morgan style show, as we all know Dave the performer but not the private Dave. I know he likes to keep his life private, do not blame him for that, but what a show that would be!
Hello Robert - In reality the band are not quite high profile enough to be considered for a Piers Morgan type interview. Besides I despise the man, it's his seedy type of journalism that has invaded on the privacy of many good people, and his sickening false images of the British Forces were totally unacceptable and unforgivable in my view.
If not what about an autobiography? Thanks for many great years.
My book actually does contain a number of stories that are in a way autobiographical, but I do have a lot more tales to tell that should my first effort do well enough will be revealed in the future.
I have always thought that 'Sweet Little Rock n Roller' should have been No 1 in the charts. It would've been great if all the singles you released had got to the top spot. Is there one you wished that had that didn't?
Mark - I remember well when we'd finished recording "Sweet Music" that the band were more excited than at any other session I can remember from the early years, and really thought we had a chance of making the top slot. Sadly when "producer" Mike Hurst had finished with it the track bore little resemblance to what had thrilled us so much, and all the magic had been sucked out of the final mix. It was hugely disappointing, and led to the band taking the reins not too long afterwards.
Are there any of the single releases you wished you hadn't released and did you have a lot of pressure/hassle from the label regarding releases?
There was always pressure in the 70's to keep coming up with another single on the back of a hit. Not like today when you have months in between. The single in my view that should never have been released was "Footsteps", it was a disgrace, and sounded like the Brotherhood of Man. I was well ashamed of that one, especially when there were some great original compositions waiting to be recorded at the time.
Can you remember what you were doing when you found out you were No1 with 'Under The Moon Of Love?
I received a call from our management at around 9am when I was in my dressing gown drinking a cup of tea. It took the rest of the day for it to really sink in, but I went out to judge a 'Miss Leicester City' contest the same night, and received a heroes welcome from the players and people there. Happy days!
Finally I just want to say that you are going to be missed Dave and I wish the guys all the best for the future.
Did Buddy Gask passing have any influence on your decision to quit the band, also did hearing of Buddy dying affect you in any way?
Buddy's passing had absolutely nothing to do with my decision to quit, it was already decided by that time. I hadn't seen him or been in touch in over 20 years, and we were never close. Obviously my sympathies went out to his family, but sadly after I was misquoted in the press some people couldn't quite grasp that we'd never really been close, and felt the need to sling some quite unnecessary mud my way, which was very hurtful.
What is your personal favourite Showaddywady song, mine's Pretty little Angel Eyes.
And which album? I think I have to say the Sun Album.
Lynda - My favourite SWW single is "I Wonder Why". It was the first time I was given the space and time to produce a single without interference, and to really be creative. I'm very proud of that record. Favourite album is probably The Sun Album - it rocks! Of the earlier albums it would be Crepes & Drapes.
Pete Tustain, Banbury:
We know that a lot of 70's British bands served their 'apprenticeships' in Germany during the late 60's. Did you, or any other members of the band ever play the German circuit ?
Hello Pete - We were not quite old enough to have played the old 60's German circuit. I know I was still at school. By the early 70's many of the venues had become erotic film cinemas.
Early 70's pop was dogged by drug problems. Did SWW ever get affected by drugs in any way ?
We were never a druggie band, the odd spliff was about as bad as it ever got.
After the disappointment of 'Take Me In Your Arms', did Bell ever threaten to end the bands recording contract ?
Take Me In Your Arms was never intended as a single. The record company liked it, so put it out. It wasn't surprising it didn't chart as many of our fans already had the track on the album. I still think it's a half decent song, with a great guitar solo.
How many of the tracks on the first SWW album were actually written for your original band Choice ?
There were Choise songs spread across the first 3 albums, such as: THE PARTY. GLORY WOMAN. DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON ME BABY. BLUE JEAN BABY. SMILIN' EYES. EVERYBODY ON YOUR FEET. PAINT YOUR PICTURE. LOOKIN' BACK, and latterly FEELIN' which I think was on Red Star.
Who was the first manager of SWW, and did he have total control over the band ?
The first 'manager' was a lady called Eve Collin. She knew a lot about the Northern club scene, but moved aside when we began having recording success. With no disrespect she didn't make any creative decisions, they was always left to the band.
We are all aware that rifts between band members caused problems for the band, but when did the problems begin ?
Not really the time to start airing dirty laundry, all I will say is that as an 8 piece there were innumerable opinions, and consequently a lot of bad decisions were made.
How disappointed were you when 'Soul and inspiration' failed to chart ? Had it charted do you think RCA would have offered the band another contract ?
I didn't ever think Soul & Inspiration would be a big hit. It's not a patch on the original Righteous Bros version. The head of RCA was sacked, and his replacement was not exactly a fan of SWW.
How long did it take you to decide to step down from SWW ? Did you talk it over with Rod and Romeo before making a final decision?
I first mentioned it to Rod & Romeo around 18 months ago, but they persuaded me to stay. I was still enjoying playing the theatre dates very much, but ultimately came to hate the holiday parks and bread and butter gigs, where the audience were not necessarily there to see our performance. I was absolutely drained at the end of the 2011 theatre tour, and knew by then it was time to call it a day.
How well is the 'Lost and Found' album selling ?
Lost & Found was never expected to be a big seller, it was more for fans who were desperate to hear those songs. Unfortunately the record company Invisible Hands are to cease trading soon, so perhaps the album hasn't quite received the promotion it might have done.
Will you ever perform any solo gigs, or will you never perform live again ?
I've only ever done 2 solo gigs - bet you didn't know about those - and as previously said will be taking a long break from live performances, probably for all time. However you can never say never, strange things happen in the rock & roll industry.
Do you intend to attend any SWW gigs as manager, or will you stay in the background ?
I'll definitely be going along to the odd gig in my managerial capacity (think I've already said that!)
What is the latest news on your book ? Do you have a release date yet, and what is the title ?
As mentioned previously the book will be released in late Feb. I'm hoping for an announcement in the next couple of weeks, when all will be revealed.
How disappointed were the rest of the band that Davey Graham decided to leave ?
Dave G is a close friend and has been for almost 20 years. The band are obviously saddened to lose such an excellent musician. I will most certainly be in regular contact with Dave.
With SWW having a new look line-up can we expect to see a totally new live set ?
The new line up's set will be different from what we've been doing with the current band, but the formula is a winning one, so it'll kind of be 'if it aint broke why fix it?'
How were the new band members selected ? Did they have to audition ?
It was decided after Summer Sundae in August that Rob Hewins would be joining the band. Dean and Andy were well known to us all, and were asked to audition to be sure they were the right men for the gig.
Andy Pelos is a very experienced performer, but were you concerned that he was a former member of the Teddy's ?
I think the fact that Andy already had performed a lot of SWW songs made him the ideal choice, so it was a bonus really. He jumped at the chance to be part of the proper SWW.
What are the chances of a new album by the new line-up ?
Pretty slim I'd say. Give them a chance to gel, and we'll take things from there.
What is the latest news on former band members Trev, Al and Danny ?
I am in touch with them all regularly. Al and Trevor have both called to wish me well in my future endeavours, and are both well, although Trev now needs a hip operation. I hear from Danny most weeks either by text or email.
I am gutted that you are leaving the band but understand your reasons and wish you the very best, however there are two very quick questions I would like to ask you - Who does the evil laugh on the fantastic `Spanish stroll ` track from the 70`s album - I think it is you but possibly Romeo?
Hi Dave - The messages from people wishing me well have been overwhelming, I've had almost 1000, and thank each and every one of you out there for your kind and moving words. The laugh (and Portuguese passage) on Spanish Stroll are of my own making. We slowed the track down slightly to make it sound like someone else, but now the secret is out. It's a real fun track.
Also, would you consider writing a new solo album of material as you still have an amazing voice for studio recordings as the last two albums proved without any doubt!
Highly doubtful I'll ever do any more solo recordings. I do have a lot of songs that are gathering dust, but It's unlikely I'll ever get round to recording them.
You are and always will be the essence of Showaddywaddy, but I will embrace the new line up and thank you for the many years of pleasure I have had going to gigs and listening to the tracks.
Thanks again - it's been a pretty amazing career and I've loved it.
James Goldman, Bristol:
What ultimately, were the main factors in your decision to call it a day?
Pretty much as mentioned in the answer further up the page. I also have business interests over in Portugal, and need to spend much more time over there.
Did you ever personally come close to a similar decision in previous years?
During 1983 the band was in turmoil and very divided, if certain individuals hadn't walked soon after I fancy that myself and possibly Romeo would have moved on.
Have you heard from Malcolm Allured and/or Russ Field since your announcement?
Not a dickie bird from either of them. All water under the bridge.
Russ seemed to be a key member of the band behind the scenes, both musically and vocally – how difficult was it for the band to lose a man of his abilities and expertise?
An odd statement that one! Russ was a capable player and an important member in the formative years, but his heart had gone out of the band well before his departure. However Ray Martinez was a fantastic replacement, and undoubtedly improved the band musically. Danny Willson more importantly injected a freshness and energy which gave us all a new lease of life, that we never thought possible, and was a gifted musician too. We were hugely disappointed when he made the decision to move on.
Peter Checksfield, Thanet:
Is there ANY chance of doing a proper "farewell concert" so that fans can give you a proper send off?
I'm sure I speak for everyone in wishing you the best of luck for the future, & thank you for giving us all so much joy for so long!
Hi Peter - You are talking about a 'Dave Bartram farewell concert', the band are to continue touring so there is no talk of any farewell dates. Many thanks for your kind comments.
Is there any particular Showaddywaddy track which Dave thinks should have been a hit but was not either because it never became a single or because it was released at the wrong time?
Our record company Bell wanted to release "Don't Turn Your Back On Me Baby" as a single in early '75, as the industry had been blown away by the track. I think if the song had been a success it would have given the band a much wider scope, and we may have been taken more seriously by the industry in a musical sense. It also would have shown that we had writing ability, which had it been nurtured could well have prolonged the band's chart success. It is crazy that original titles such as 'In Above Your Head', 'Paint Your Picture', 'That's Alright With Me', 'Swansong' etc etc were never taken to a much wider audience.
Will you continue to write new material for SWW? As with your departure and Trev gone (being the main songwriters) it seems to rule out the chances of any new material in the future?
Unless there is by some quirk of fate a SWW revival, I can't really see the band recording original material in the foreseeable future.
Being a classically-trained musician myself, I wonder whether or not any of Showaddywaddy's members have had any formal musical training. Until recent times, I lived in Syston where I understand Dave Bartram lived for some years.
Hello Andrew - I did Grade 2 piano not long after my schooldays, but let it fall by the wayside when I started playing guitar in bands. David Graham and Paul Dixon were both trained to high grades.
I was brought up in Syston when it was a small village with green fields to the rear of our place. It's a little different these days!
Did you ever keep in touch with Ronnie who did the merchandising in the 70’s?
Ronnie came to see us at our South Shields gig in March. It was great to see him, and as all nostalgic people do we rolled back the clock with a few well chosen tales.
Simon Thrower, Doncaster:
Are you still in contact with Al.....how's he enjoying his retirement......?
I often speak to Al (as mentioned a little earlier on), I'm pleased to say he's in fine fettle.
After many Top of the Pops appearances do you have any funny backstage stories....?
There are numerous tales, not so much about TOTP, but over 38 years there's enough to fill an encyclopedia. There are quite a few in my forthcoming book.
I want to be one of many who want to thank you for the last 38 years.....you really have influenced so many people's lives.....who would you say has been your biggest influence and who would you say is the biggest name you've ever met......
Biggest influence - my parents, and my Wife for keeping my feet firmly on the ground. Biggest name(s) I ever met - Paul McCartney, George Harrison, but I think pride of place has to go to Bing Crosby & Fred Astaire who I shared a cup of tea with at the Wembley studios we recorded our early albums at.
Thanks everybody for your questions and amazing support over so many memorable years. DB.