'Limahl bei RememberTheEighties.com'
IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME
COMING BUT YOU ARE ABOUT TO RELEASE A NEW SINGLE, 'TELL ME
WHY' WHICH IS OUT WHEN?
The 26th of May...
AND IT'S NOT RELEASED EVERYWHERE AT ONCE
No... the single came about because I did a TV reality show
in Germany - I've always had a very strong link with Germany
which I think goes back to 'Never Ending Story' which was
a big hit there - the book is their best selling book of all
time, the film was shot in Bavaria and was made pretty much
with German money - but that whole thing made this link with
Germany and so twenty-years later we have reality TV, this
global phenomenon which was taking Germany by storm just like
everywhere else and I got the invitation to appear on this
show in Germany with the very original title of 'Comeback'!
I saw who was on the show, and it was Coolio and Chris Norman
the singer from Smokie, a girl from Sweden who I think is
called Emilia... she had a hit with that song (sings) 'I'm
a big big girl in a big big world...'! I thought what the
hell, and let's be realistic there was a big fee involved
and I'd be in Germany for six weeks which is a lot of fun,
so I did that and got a lot of exposure on national TV and
then this record deal came along. Basically I met a manager
and the recordings were done and he took the tapes around...
it wasn't easy, but then again is it ever!?
WAS IT A CASE WHERE THE PROFILE MEANT
YOU COULD TAKE THE MUSIC AROUND THE LABELS OR WAS IT MORE
A CASE OF PEOPLE COMING TO YOU AND SAYNG LET'S DO SOMETHING
There was supposed to be a direct link with the TV programme
but that didn't happen and so we're a year later and my manager
just said let's go round and see some people, which felt like
the right thing to do. I think that in music that unless you're
very much in the public eye then it's very difficult to get
a deal. I've not been calling record companies in the UK or
America or anywhere because it's so difficult... unless you're
maybe featured on a record, as in the case of Leo Sayer recently
and the record is so bloody hot they want an album. But this
deal is all about Limahl and I've got a deal with ZXY Records
who are a big independent label. I've been over to meet them
and to be honest it's nice being a big fish in a small sea.
My manager has got another act on Universal and if he emails
Universal he's lucky to get a reply within four days whereas
when he calls my record company they are straight back...
'Tell Me why' is a case of the meeting of four creative minds,
myself and three Germans... Thorsten Brotzmann, Alex Geringas
and Ivo Moring, and what happened was that we were at a big
pop festival in Germany last year and my manager arranged
this speculative song-writing session in Hamburg the next
day, no pressure and very much a let's see what happens thing.
So what evolved from that session is a pop-dance recording
rather than the other way round, dance-pop, because of the
song's shape and structure. I mean it's not a DJ background
and it comes very much from an old school of song-writing,
although having said that I do think that production makes
it sound quite modern...
IT'S VERY MUCH A SUMMERTIME RECORD ISN'T
IT? A REAL FEEL-GOOD SORT OF SONG...
OK... that sounds positive! Personally I'm a sucker for a
great melody. Growing up I was a huge fan of Motown, The Carpenters,
Barry White... all very melodic stuff and I don't think 'Tell
Me Why' disappoints in the melody department. I'm also passionate
about lyrics... a good song really has to work lyrically for
me and this is a sad song about my brother's divorce and the
break-up of his eighteen-year marriage. It was a messy affair
with children involved and it caused lots of telephone conversations
between members of my family. When I sat down in London to
write the lyrics I had literally just had one of those conversations
with my mum and that's really the story of the song.
I think what is interesting is the idea of writing with four
people which doesn't happen a lot, usually it's the artist
or the artist with one other person, or a more established
duo like Lennon And McCartney, Bacharach and David... but
juggling four artistic temperaments in the same room is a
skill in itself - of course I've been there before! But it
is about bouncing ideas around and so it's not a completely
unknown territory but I do think that a lot of the credit
has to go to the producer because he's done such a great job.
THERE'S SOME GREAT REMIXES HERE TOO...
I REALLY LIKE THE D.O.N.S REMIX...
Let's hope the DJs feel the same! My favourite is the other
one, but having said that it's not quite got enough of the
song and so it's a little bit more obscure but I do like that.
For me it's really got to be the radio version, it's a purer
version and uses the core idea if you like...
AND YOU'VE MADE A VIDEO FOR IT HAVEN'T
I have yes... and if you go to www.limahl.com
there's a link to it. The concept was really to make it in
keeping with the story you know? Without being too corny and
having big wedding scenes!
We really liked the director's idea of focussing on this
guy who's looking at all these old pictures and then throwing
them away in various locations around London, and he's chucking
away the years... I really had to try not to think of my brother
too much... but it was really playing a role you know? I'm
playing a married guy throwing his memories away and trying
to do it in a kind of visually creative way and I have been
told that people think it comes across as quite sad, which
is good... funnily enough I think that everyone in the band
I have at the moment ended up being in a divorce so it is
all very real - if it hasn't happened to you then you almost
certainly know people it has happened to.
WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS SINGLE?
Very realistic. I always thought that where I survive really
is as a performer and I thought that if I have a new record
out then I'm a little bit more current and not so much of
a retro artist, and that will possibly open avenues for live
work... I mean what do you do when you get to forty something
and you've been a musician all your life? You can't suddenly
go and work in a bank...
I THINK THAT'S TRUE OF ANYTHING. AT THIS
STAGE OF LIFE YOU'VE DEFINED WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON AND A
LOT OF THAT IS TO DO WITH WHAT YOU DO...
And I love what I do! I do love performing... I mean there's
a lot of stuff in any job, a lot of stuff that's a pain in
the neck but if you can get down to the real thing, up on
stage looking out at an audience, smiling faces coming back
at you... magic!
DO YOU THINK THIS SONG IS WHAT PEOPLE
EXPECT FROM YOU?
(long pause) I hate that word, 'expect'! Musically I feel
like I can do so many things, from a ballad to something very
experimental, but let's be honest, I didn't sit down in Hamburg
a year ago with the other three guys to write obscure album
tracks. This was about writing something strong, something
the record companies will see as a hit. Having said that it's
such a difficult thing to do! The process of writing and recording
a hit is not a bottled formula but when I arrived they a bit
of a chord structure going on, and a beat... and I thought
that if that was logical for them then I would go with it
and I think I have been steered in a certain direction a little
bit, but if that opens the door to get more 'hey this is the
real me' then it's probably worth it although there's a danger
in that... we've all seen so many artists who have crawled
so far up their own arses they've just died. I think you do
have to have the things that can get on the radio because
then people might check out some of your other stuff.
I do think it sounds like me though... as soon as you get
into that F, F-sharp, G area that's what people associate
me with... 'Too Shy' was F-sharp and 'Never Ending Story'
is a note higher and on this record you've got an F which
is easier but it is that kind of region of my voice that people
AND I SUPPOSE THE REALLY BIG QUESTION
IS WHETHER THERE WILL BE AN ALBUM?
There has been talk of an album! The label are kind of at
the edge of the swimming pool with this and they're putting
their toe in and going 'is it warm, is it cold' but they are
close... my real fear is that they will say 'oh my god we
need an album' and then need it immediately! But having said
that you can take two years making an album and it's awful!
IS THERE ANY TOURING OR ANYTHING PLANNED
AROUND THE RELEASE? I KNOW THERE'S QUITE A LOT OF TV STUFF
Yes, I'm going to Germany for a month and... I don't believe
this - how could I be releasing a record at the same time
as the world cup! But there's all these arena events planned
around the world cup and I'm playing one of those and the
show for these sorts of things is me with my four dancers
- two guys and two girls - doing 45-minutes and playing the
single and doing some of the old stuff... and I'm also doing
a signing-tour throughout that month, I'm going to be spending
a lot of time on the autobahns! In-store signings combined
with radio station visits...
SO WORKING IT VERY HARD! ARE RELEASES
ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD DEPENDENT ON SUCCESS IN GERMANY?
I don't think so no - we get the rights to the record back
if they don't pick up their options, but I'm lucky because
it is a little bit easier than being a new act because people
already know something about you, and now that twenty-three
years have gone by there is a certain nostalgic value, but
the goal really would be to be a recording artist in the current
DO YOU THINK PEOPLE NOW THINK OF YOU
MORE AS A SOLO ARTIST OR IS IT STILL MORE FROM KAJAGOOGOO?
I think it's a bit of both and it does vary from country to
country. In America it would definitely be Kajagoogoo because
'Too Shy' was top five there but my solo stuff didn't do as
well, but in a lot of European countries I can work as Limahl
- they don't even need to put that 'formerly with Kajagoogoo'
line on the posters!
AND TALKING OF KAJAGOOGOO! YOU DID THE
VH-1 BANDS REUNITED SHOW WITH THEM A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO AND
IT ALL LOOKED GREAT, EVERYONE SEEMED TO BE GETTING ON AND
THEN NOTHING MORE CAME OF IT...
(long pause) Well... I've got a chance here to put the record
straight because I know there's an interview on your site
with Nick which I've not actually read that he said some things
THERE IS AN INTERVIEW WITH NICK, BUT
AS FAR AS I REMEMBER HE WAS QUITE DELICATE ON THE SUBJECT,
HE TIP-TOED AROUND IT QUITE WELL!
The bottom line is that it is all down to money... the sordid
topic of coin, but it's not just me, it's Jez the drummer
as well. When I left the group - and I've never told anyone
this but now I'm telling you just so everyone knows - when
I left the band I was advised by my lawyer to take a reduced
royalty... big mistake! But I did, and I was told that as
a leaving member I would be benefitting from the group staying
together, putting out records, touring and so on, and that
all made sense.
But none of that happened, Kajagoogoo didn't tour, they didn't
release much and it all fizzled out after a couple of years.
I could have appealed against the reduced royalty because
you have six years to do that but at the time it didn't seem
that important to me, but seventeen or eighteen years later
the value of the old catalogue is quite substantial and includes
the all important 'Too Shy'!
When we talked about getting back together Jez and I said
that we should make everything equal because at the moment
we're losing out a lot and if we get back together we'd like
to get rid of that old clause... and that's all it is. They
said that the value of the songs has gone up - you're telling
me! - but my value has gone up too and if they need me to
reform then OK let's just make it all equal, and it's not
just me it's Jez too. It's not about wanting more, it's about
just levelling it out... so that's the story. I don't have
a problem with any of the guys, I've always said that creatively
I think it would be very interesting to get back together
with them and see what we could come up with...
WAS THE PROCESS OF MAKING THE VH-1 SHOW
IN ANY WAY AN ENJOYABLE ONE?
It wasn't in the sense that I was absolutely terrified...
there was so much water under the bridge...
WHEN HAD YOU SEEN THEM ALL BEFORE THAT?
Well we met briefly for about an hour in 1998 and talked about
doing something but it was the same problem then... then when
the VH-1 thing came along four years later I wanted to see
if they'd changed their minds...
When I say I didn't enjoy it please don't take that out of
context, I did enjoy doing the programme and I enjoyed the
performance but what was hard for me was being around the
guys - there was so much I wanted to say and wanted to talk
about but I was never alone with them. It was kind of like
meeting an ex... you can't go there! But there was always
TV people around, producers, researchers, cameramen and so
on so, we were never on our own to have that kind of moment
where we could look at each other and just go 'so... let's
But they have said this themselves, they fired the wrong
guy because the manager, the one who recommended they fire
me ended up ripping them off anyway.
What you've got to remember though is that I haven't seen
them, and I've spent twenty years not knowing them - I was
with them for just a couple of years so it's almost like I
don't know them again... it's been a long time!
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?
Life's what happens when you're busy making other plans! I'm
going to Germany for a month and then after that... well you
can't plan too far ahead! I will continue to perform and travel
and what I like about my job is that every year there seems
to be some new destination... but what would be brilliant
would be to do some new material and be a current recording
artist again, that would be very exciting...
AND ARE YOU HAPPY? IS IT GOOD BEING LIMAHL
Oh I'm so happy I've bleached my hair again! It's weird because
I really went through this period in the early to mid nineties
where my hair was brown, my natural colour, and I really liked
that because it pushed that whole eighties thing away, but
now it's come full circle! So the blonde hair is back and
I'm really having fun with it - I really feel like the old
With many thanks to everyone who emailed questions for Limahl
and especially to Betty and Katja at Limahl's Official German
© RememberTheEighties.com, mit freundlicher Genehmiging
von Richard Evans