Never “Too Shy”…as Kajagoogoo talks to
The New Roxette


Local 80’s electro-pop group talks to The New Roxette about the past 25 years, the ‘surprise’ reunion, brand new material… and headlining Hobble on the Cobbles 2009.

LIMAHL (vocals)

STEVE ASKEW (guitars)



JEZ STRODE (drums)



TNR:    How do you all feel about being back in Kajagoogoo once again?

L:         It’s great to be back with the guys and picking up where we left off after 25 years – quite amazing really! We’re all grown-up now and appreciate things a lot more than we did at 23 years old – we were young, naive and very innocent to understand what was really happening to us at that age. We agreed that if the reunion is not fun then it ain’t worth doing - that’s our motto. Have fun enjoying what we do best which is music. We’re all coming back as better musicians with such a wide variety of experience in work/life/love which we can use to our creative advantage as performers.

SA:     Really it’s like waking up in episodes of ‘Life On Mars’, except we are all older     and wiser, it’s fun and no record company pressure.

NB:     It’s a bit like riding a bike. Great fun with a really big horn!

SCN:   It’s been a personally rewarding and fulfilling experience.  It’s like being whole again, and even to the point like we never were apart.  In the end it has made so much sense to do this.  Yes you get all the clichés about bands reforming or “cashing in” for a commercial project, but in addition to those reasons, we genuinely have got so much out of being the 5 piece band we once were on many levels. For instance, the live production of songs from “White Feathers”, “Islands” and “Crazy Peoples Right To Speak”, plus Limahl songs from his successful solo career has been stepping back in time – we even had to learn the parts again, re-create the sounds, re-work the vocal harmonies – all culminating in our 90 minute live show.  This same show was really well received on our recent German dates so now has been stress tested ready for many dates in 2009 – we hope!

I believe a true test of a band that is destined to survive is when they can continue to sit in the same room and create music in the same way for which they first became famous.  This is what has happened since we reformed in April last year.  Not immediately though as the first priority was to cement the live set ready for gigs. We then inserted a 4-day writing session – in fact it was just 4 evenings – to create what was the nucleus of 4 brand new Kajagoogoo songs. Ideas came thick and fast with the same spark and chemistry flowing through us all. Everyone contributed, and a new 4 track EP was born – “Death Defying Headlines”. 

JS:     I think it’s a new venture to have a bit of fun, reunited with 4 old friends.


TNR:    In 2004, VH1's Bands Reunited managed to bring everyone together for the TV programme. Was this the defining moment that reconnected the band, and ‘planted the seed’ that a reunion would be a great idea and opportunity, for not just the fans, but for the band members as well?

L:       I suppose it must have had something to do with it but this time it felt like a completely new impetus. A new manager and all 5 years older and suddenly it happened – for me it seemed out of the blue. 3 weeks after meeting the new manager I was with the all the guys at his house one evening in Chalfont St Giles (Bucks). We all went down the pub and had a good laugh reminiscing about the old days. It all felt right.

SA:     We all felt very natural all playing together again after such a long time, we knew from this moment onwards musically everything was all still intact. I guess it was all the other stuff that needed to be worked on.

NB:     I don’t let anyone plant my seeds. I make sure I do that sort of thing myself. What do you take me for a complete imbecile? I used to have a man who did all my gardening but he started eating worms and had to go away…

SCN:    Absolutely yes. Whilst after the VH1 show there still was some distance to cover regarding the commercial agreements etc, we certainly knew that there was a golden opportunity presenting itself to us. It actually took a further 5 years before it happened!

JS:     Seeing the reaction from the fans again after so long let me know that we have unfinished business.


TNR:    Please tell our readers (in brief) what else you’ve all been doing over the past 25 years when Kajagoogoo ended, for those that don’t know.

L:       Far too much to tell properly in this short space but rest assured I’ve been very much engulfed in the rich tapestry of life. And what a life it’s been so far – a proverbial roller coaster!! Pop star from 83 to about 87 then three years off for good behaviour. Then early 90’s opened a small programming suite in Shepherds Bush and worked on various up and coming artists/projects as a co-writer/co-producer, etc. In 1997 the 80’s revival began in earnest with the release of the first 80’s retro compilation which featured ‘Too Shy’ and went to No’1. Since 1997 I’ve been in my Limahl guise again enjoying the retro ride. Now it’s gone full circle with Kajagoogoo reunion and all 5 original members – quite a pop coup really. Somewhere in the mayhem I met a delightful young man called Steve and we’ve been together for 15 blissful years wey hey. I didn’t start out life as gay; in fact I almost got engaged to a nice gal at 17 – yikes!! However, no one told me back in the narrow minded 70’s about the equation of man possibly loving another man - so imagine my surprise!! So I’ve had it all really and can’t complain. Fame, Money and Love – no prizes for guessing what IS the best of the three …………..why good ole fashioned luurrvvee of course – everyone say aah  ;-)

SA:     Waiting for the Newgoo reunion, got married to Anna after a 24 year courtship, now have two children, lost both my parents, living back in the LB 20, full circle really.

NB:     You can read all about my fascinating life in a weekly paper back publication entitled The whys and warefores of kinky hose pipe husbandry.”  It gives full incite into the workings of my mind along with diagrams and a colour pull out model of my frontal lobes. It’s a must have for the budding hose pipe enthusiast.

SCN:   25 years in one paragraph….not easy. Well basically I came out of the music industry after several years following the Kajagoogoo split in around 1986/87. Some musical projects a solo album, and various projects with other artists.  Ultimately moved into OCR/ICR software (ReadSoft) in 1992 and in Nov 2008 moved to a new company TIS in the same industry. Music has stayed close to my heart and I have continued to work in bands outside of my IT position, having worked with Steve Askew in a band on a part time basis for nearly 20years.

JS:     I co own and run a sound equipment hire company. Also an artist management company promoting a new band called MANEKI.


TNR:    Have you any/many fond memories of Aylesbury and/or performing at Friars in the early 80’s?

L:       We did perform there once and I enjoyed it ‘cos I had seen Toyah there in her heyday and it brought back good memories. I am from Wigan although I did live in Leighton Buzzard with the guys for our first year before we started commuting to London looking for that elusive record deal.

SA:     I remember Kajagoogoo, Marillion and Howard Jones all playing on the same     bill but in different places in Friars in the early 80s. Then after the gig I had to get the AA out to get my mums car started that was parked in the multi storey.

NB:     I have many traumatic memories of Aylesbury. As a young witch in the 6th Century I was dragged through the market Square naked and forced to eat papyrus soaked in mead. It wasn’t even nice.

SCN:   Oh yes, Friars was a regular venue for me and my circle of friends in the mid to late 70’s. Saw people like John Otway, Hawkwind, Budgie to name a few. Loved the gig – even if the sound was rather unusual (had certain placed in the auditorium where it “phased” and sounded hollow. Probably the building shape I guess.  That whole vibe reminds me of the Hunt hotel in Leighton buzzard which was promoted by Chris France, and bands like Caught In The Act with their guitarist “Dusty”.  Heady days but really influenced my musical upbringing. We did of course have a great gig at Friars ourselves when we supported Fashion other UK tour, and again I think with Howard Jones supporting us…(maybe wrong there). Anyway, I remember our families and friends from Leighton Buzzard coming along.  And here we are again having recently performed at the Stables in Wavendon (on Dec 10th and 11th!)

JS:     I remember the night when we played Friars in one room, Howard Jones in another and Marilion also.

TNR:    What are your current plans for 2009?

L:       To poss go to Las Vegas on holiday with friends again – I love it. Other than that, it’ll be work work work, which includes lots of fun things like songwriting, recording, gigging, travel and interviews – I love meeting people and seeing the world a little ;-)

SA:     Maybe have another 25 year break before we go out again!

NB:      Well I think I’ll probably recover our sofas. The wife soiled them last year and it’s a job I’ve been meaning to get round to. Bless her. She wants something in a dark fabric to cover any future mishaps. You’re very welcome to visit us for tea once they’ve been done?

SCN:   My ambition is for Kajagoogoo to be working more frequently in 2009 with the hope of going to the State and Japan.

JS:     To get out there and play more gigs for the fans


TNR:   What do you think about ‘Hobble on the Cobbles’ as an event, and how do you feel about headlining HOTC, and performing to a local (home) crowd?

L:       It would be great, I’m not that familiar with the event but I like the title! – Hobble

is a most under used word, don’t u feel?   ;-)

SA:     It’s good; didn’t John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett do that in a past life?

NB:     Well as a fundamental Christian I don’t really like music and feel it comes straight from the Devils beat box. Naturally I’ll go along with the fun up to a point as I don’t want to be an old grumpy draws, but I may have to cast out a few demons mid concert. It always looks great with the light show.

SCN: Yeah it will be cool. The event looks great and should be a relaxed atmosphere. It’s always good to gig on home turf, especially after 25 years of being away!

JS:     It would be great to headline in front of a local crowd, I have been told that it’s a great event.       




I couldn't live without… Vanilla Yoghurt

I was too shy to… invite Kenneth Williams out to dinner in Manchester in 1983 when we met at Granada Studios – what a missed opportunity ;-(

I’m currently reading… anything on internet pages

The last song I downloaded was… ‘The Living Tree’ by Shirley Bassey

Favourite restaurant (or meal) is… ‘Manna’ Vegetarian Restaurant in Primrose Hill, north London