Official Showaddywaddy Web Site

Dave Bartram Q&A - 14th March 2003

The first set of questions are from myself:
Did the Choise travel far & wide to do gigs? You mentioned previously doing a gig in Devon.
‘Choise’ were a professional band and gigged all over the UK.

Were Choise on the verge of being a big success?
‘Choise’ had interest from a couple of record companies and did some tracks produced by Labi Siffre in 1972. Who knows if they would have been successful?

Was it hard a hard decision to give up Choise for Showaddywaddy after all the hard work you, Trevor, Romeo and Jeff put into the band?
It was a little disappointing to have to join up with another band in order to be a success. However, the size of Showaddywaddy made it more unique and especially visual.

I read somewhere that you were offered "Sugar Baby Love" as your first single and that you turned it down because you wanted to release your own songs - was it it a hard decision to make and something all the band we agreed upon?
“Sugar Baby Love” was indeed written for us when we were close to signing with Polydor. Bell Records were much more interested in the writing potential, which was more appealing to the band.

Did SWW have album budgets to stick to like artists do today?
Every band has budgets to stick to when recording; we were no different but rarely came close to exceeding them!

"Sympathy" is a great track - it has the "old" SWW sound. Was it recorded in 1990 or earlier? Has Trev not tempted been to sing on any other songs that he wrote?
“Sympathy” was an old ‘demo’ from the mid ‘80’s’. Trev uses to sing ‘Route 66’ on stage, but is not a confident vocalist and doesn’t really enjoy taking the lead. [See footnote 1]

Someone told me that Ray Martinez played on some SWW tracks while the original lineup was still intact - is this right?
Ray Martinez did play guitar on a couple of the tracks that featured on ‘Living Legends’. These were not intended for album use, but Russ Field was losing interest and going through a bad period at that time.

A lot of your recorded songs contained string arrangements - were these pieces of music written by yourself, and if so were they harder to write than other music (ie guitar)?
String arrangements were initially done by two arrangers i.e. John Cameron and Colin Frechter on the early albums. Later tracks were arranged by myself. I enjoyed doing it very much!

In some circles, Showaddywaddy have reputation of being a covers band. Have the tables been turned and any of your own songs covered by other artists?
There are only a couple of covers that I’m aware of. ‘Win Your Heart’ (which you sent me a copy of!) ‘I’m Yours’ (an old b-side) and ‘Hey Rock & Roll’ are the only ones I know of.

Which song took longest to record, because you were never quite happy with the final result?
The biggest problem – certainly in the early 80’s was getting certain individuals to the studio, which meant that a lot of time was wasted! “Lost” was a big production and the kind of track that couldn’t be rushed.

Have any of the young bands that you manage got potential to make the break? Is the music industry harder for young bands to break into today than it might have been in the '70s?
I have stopped taking on new bands as I was constantly frustrated by A&R men who knew very little about music. It’s much more difficult for young bands to break today if record companies are obsessed with manufacturing artists through TV exposure, rather than developing genuine musical talent, no wonder they say the UK music industry is at deaths door!

You mentioned recently that you had not rehearsed some of your new songs much. When you rehearse songs you have not played for a few years, for example, Multiplication, does it all come back you to quickly?
We have been rehearsing diligently for the last 2 months. Some of the songs we used to perform come together very quickly if we stick to the old arrangements. The brand new songs take much longer and need much more thought.

From Nick Oliver, London:
Would it be possible to bring out a new video/DVD of Showaddywaddy live - either an old concert or perhaps a recent recording? I've always thought that with such a strong live act, it's a shame that no live video has ever been released. I understand it would be quite expensive to produce, but maybe you could take pre-orders via the website? (Pete Tustain asks a similar question: Is there any chance of a live video/DVD ever being released? SWW are the best live band ever! Even better now than the live show in the seventies, it just keeps getting better!)
It is incredibly expensive to put together a live DVD and there are no plans to do this in the near future.

From Steve Thorpe, Berkshire:
Having been sent a gift token (via the original Fan Club) for Dave's "Black Ice" single in 1983, I bought it and love it to this day. I remember seeing in a magazine chart at the time that it got to number 79 in the Top 100 - does Dave know how it actually did?
Black Ice’ was a nice diversion; it sold very well and crept into the Top 75 at No 72 in 1983. There is actually an album of solo material, but I do not own the rights so it’s unlikely to ever see the light of day [See footnote 2]

What songs does Dave feel are his best recorded performances with SWW (My vote goes to 'Good Times', 'Shake', 'You Are Love', 'One of these Days' & 'That's Rock & Roll' along with several others)
I enjoyed doing “Lost & Swansong” which were vocally challenging. I was pretty pleased with “You Got What It Takes” too!

Like many fans, do the band have extensive videos at home of their various TV appearances over the years (i.e. TOTP, ShowaddywaddyShow BBC TV Special etc.). If so, looking back, what do they think of them now?
Some of them are a little embarrassing other were amusing. Oddly enough I don’t really have much of a collection of the bands old TV appearances and videos.

Do any of the band members have the Cherry Red CD re-issues - if so what do they think of them?
The re-issues are very pleasing, they really should have been made available on CD well before now!

Does Dave have an approximate figure of Showaddywaddy's total record sales to date (singles & albums) to the nearest million?
I was informed some time ago that sales exceed the 30 million mark. Exactly how accurate this figure is I’m really not certain.

Why weren't the original albums ("Steps 1-8") which were re-issued in 1988 by Tiger Records available at the time on CD? It looked like the perfect opportunity!
For some peculiar reason Steps 1-8 were only available on vinyl and cassette.

Who played the majority of the drums, bass and guitars on SWW recordings - was it Romeo, Rod, and Trevor - or did Malc and Russ contribute equally?
Romeo played drums on 90% of all recordings. Rod played bass on about 60% and Al 40% of songs. Trevor and Russ played guitar on 50% of tracks.

Will we be able to hear unreleased SWW tracks in the near future - such as 'Old Habits Die Hard' and 'Dot Dot Dot' on a Rare & Unreleased CD? I know Dave was trying to track down the master for 'Old Habits'...
(* Pete Tustain asks a similar question: "I know that you said that you had decided to not release any new material because of the bad press received for the 'Hey Rock 'n' Roll' album. Is this still the case or is there a chance that some new stuff might be made available?"
* Also Gary Oyitch of Lincolnshire: "...........maybe a limited edition that could be available exclusively through Cherry Red or yourself")
The revenue brought in from “Hey Rock & Roll” album was intended to fund future album projects. Sales have been extremely disappointing and there are now no future albums in the pipeline. It’s a shame as the band were delighted with the “Hey Rock & Roll” album as it displayed an energy that some of the later albums were sadly lacking.

From Karrie Pickles:
How it effect Danny & Ray joining a well establised band in terms of their confidence? Was it easy for them to slot in and learn the set?
Ray was very much a session musician and it came pretty easily to him. A very professional job he did too! Danny apart from being a fine musician is more of a performer. He has really thrown himself into the band. He is very much regarded as a vital link in the chain, and an equal member of the band. He’s been in the band for 8 years now, and we’re proud of him!

From Pete Tustain of Banbury:
Quite a few years back SWW performed at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire. My wife and I attended the show, and I thought it was the best show we have ever seen the band do, mainly because of the very small venue which made a great atmosphere. How did the concert come about? Did some of the band have children attending the school? I know it has a good reputation among the pop fraternity.
We were approached to play Stowe as part of the schools music festival, which spanned a full week and covered everything from Rock, Classical and World Music. I have to say it was very different for us to do that type of venue, although I recall the hall was not acoustically pleasing.

On the upcoming tour, you are once again on with the Rubettes. Are the two bands good friends, as you often appear together?
We’ve known the Rubettes (and indeed Andy from Sweet) for many years and yes we are mates! The tour should be great fun.

From Gary Oyitch of Lincolnshire:
Could Dave give a list of tracks that they've performed live that have never made it onto any of their records? Could be quite interesting.
Bloody Hell! There are 100’s! I wouldn’t know where to start!

From Sue Leach of Newark:
The questions page has revealed before that Dave and Trevor were main group song writers - so which of them is the romantic one that writes songs like "Sweet and Innocent You" and "Take Me In Your Arms" or were they joint efforts? Were the songs inspired by their own romances?
I wrote both of those songs! I suppose I penned most of the sloppy stuff “Don’t Turn Your Back” “Lost” etc. I am a bit of a romantic. Trev wrote a lot of the rockier stuff but we collaborated on quite a few tracks.

When the group was formed by the merger of 2 groups was it a conscious decision that Dave would become known as the "lead singer" or was the plan originally to share the load?
I was originally the lead singer. The intention was that quite a few of the guys would do vocals. An odd fact is that Buddy Gask was not a member of the band when it was initially formed, and did not attend rehearsals until the band was actually on the road

From Tracy Lee, Perth, Austrailia:
I'm from Perth, Western Australia, I grew up in Manchester and am still a fanatic SWW fan. Gerry and the Pacemakers still do caberet shows at our Burswood Casino as do other British favourites, so with the following Showaddywaddy have "down under", I would think they would go down a treat here. Something for them to think about...?
We have been negotiating to do tours of Australia for years. I’m constantly informed that the band is not well known enough down under to warrant a full tour. Shame as we’d love to visit the Land of Oz.

From Neal Henry:
We have read before which tracks are favourites of Dave, Trevor and Al. What are Rod, Romeo's and Danny's favourite and least favourite tracks?
Romeo: Favourite – Multiplication, Worst: King Of The Jive
Rod: Favourite – You Got What It Takes, Worst: Windows
Danny: Favourite – You Got What It Takes, Worst – Good Timing

From Rob Dunks, Chesterfield:
Dave, you play the piano and it sounds fantastic on SWW tracks. Have you ever thought about bringing a piano/keyboard back on to your live shows? Songs like Somethin' Else and Say Mama are just made for it.
We’ve thought about using piano and have rehearsed with one. It wouldn’t be right to sing and play piano extensively, being the bands main front man it probably would take something away from the show.

From Richard Spencer of Otley, West Yorkshire:
Would the band consider a "meet & greet" type evening for the fans as it's their 30th anniversary? Maybe the Midlands so it's central for everyone. I DJ so I could provide the music! It would be a brilliant treat for the die hard fans out there.
We’ve talked about this for a while now. It’s certainly a possibility, but obviously can’t be considered until the tour dates are at an end.