Brit Award winning pop duo, Go West, are celebrating 35 years since they reached No.5 in the UK Singles Chart with their first big hit, 'We Close Our Eyes.' With the tour postponed until 2021, I caught up with Richard Drummie to talk gigs, lockdown, fans and that 'trademark' star top....
Pic: Newark Festival 2018
So, 35 years - CONGRATULATIONS! Like all music events, your celebratory tour has had to be moved to next year - do you think it will be even more special then?
Can I be really honest? Myself and Pete aren't the ones going, 'It's the 35th anniversary, let's tell everyone about it...' Our management thought it was a good idea to hang things on it - but that's what managers are there for. It IS special, not the tour necessarily - although that will be great, but being able to stay in business that long.
How is it for artists in the current economic climate, trying to plan ahead with the pandemic still with us?
It's hard. No one has got any idea what will happen. We just decided a few months ago, when some people were moving their shows to later in the year, that we can't just keep moving these things because eventually the money runs out and someone goes out of business. So everything has been moved back to pretty much the day, 2021. The tour has been postponed one year, but my bills haven't been postponed (laughs), but we will get through.
If things go as scheduled at the moment, then the first thing we will be doing is a gig with a full orchestra, at Birmingham Symphony Hall.
You've been very quiet on social media for the last few months, how did you find lockdown?
Well, I have been indoors since January, as I had a minor operation (laughs and goes on to explain how he could have done the procedure with a pen knife on his own!), but I didn't mind. I'm fortunate that my house is big enough to rattle around in and it's got a lovely garden - and that makes all the difference. I’ll tell you something about lockdown, I didn't call anybody. Everyone was asking, 'Is Rich alright? Have you heard from him?' I thought I'd spend the time alone, finding myself, but now I've found myself, I can't get away from myself! (laughs)
Did you have your children at home with you?
Dominic was here - he still lives here. He's working from home at the moment and is involved in music, the publishing side. It's quite hard for people like me, that have been doing it for 35 years, to find a way forward, so I think he's realised it's not as easy now as it was back when we were doing it. If you want to be an astronaut, actor or musician, you'd better set yourself up for a few knocks, because everyone else wants to do it too.
Do your children think you're amazing to still be in a band after all these years?
Ha! The novelty has well and truly worn off for them now. It was the main reason we did it again though. We'd split up and initially I didn't really want to go back in to Go West - I was doing alright, songwriting and doing my own stuff.
It's quite impressive that you and Peter have kept the same line-up through the years, as I can imagine in a duo it must get quite intense at times?! Do you ever wish you'd been part of a bigger band and if so, just for fun, which one?
There's a lot of hierarchy in the bigger bands. Being undiluted and original makes a huge difference. I've seen Earth, Wind and Fire, they just had the original guitarist - they were still brilliant, but I'd been so looking forward to seeing them all. Would I have preferred to have been in a bigger band? No, not really, as I do like being in a duo. It does make it very difficult as Peter and I are famed for not agreeing what colour the sky is and we both write lyrics, and both write music. There's a lot of 'what do you mean? How can you you not hear that's a better one??!'
As for which band - probably U2.
Whenever I've seen you guys, I've been very impressed by how you treat your fans - they've stayed with you a long time...
We just treat them like people, they are people. You do get some that aren't like that - very occasionally we've had to leave a gig without an explanation before and it's a horrible feeling. I remember a fan crossing the road and ripping the programme in half, but it doesn't happen a lot. The funny thing is now is that if we are in a city doing a gig and go walking around, they'll (fans) go, 'Alright' and we'll go, 'Alright!' They sent us this book recently and basically what came across is how many friendships had been made because they liked the band. So, they go to these things and they don't want to sit down and talk to me for half an hour, they're with their mates. They will come and see us later, talk to us for a couple of minutes and then see us next time. We have one fan, Dan, he's been to an incredible 62 Go West gigs!
I know Peter often gets asked about his white shirt, you've got a bit of a 'trademark' star top that you always wear now - how did that come about?
I bought one recently and a lot of people commented on it, saying they liked it, so I thought I'd get another in a different colour. I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't have about 25 of them in total, now. They're 'Agnes B' and cost the bl**** earth as they're really good and don't fall apart.
Have you thought about approaching them to sponsor you?
Ha! They're French, they'd probably look at me with disdain and go, 'Urrrgh', or whatever. No, I've never done that with anyone, not with guitars or anything. A lot of bands do get guitars half price, etc. I'm not really driven by money - as long as I've got enough, as long as I make sure I spend a pound less than I earn, I'll be alright.
Finally then, please can you finish this sentence? ‘The best thing about being in Go West is....’
(Bursts out laughing) ME!! No, seriously, the best thing about being in Go West is that it's what I've always wanted to do.
To see GO WEST live in 2021, visit: http://www.gowest.org.uk/tour.htm