“Too Shy”…as Kajagoogoo
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.
STEVE ASKEW (guitars)
NICK BEGGS (bass)
STUART CROXFORD NEALE (keyboards)
JEZ STRODE (drums)
How do you all feel about being back in Kajagoogoo once
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.
It’s a bit like riding a bike. Great fun with a really
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.
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
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.
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. www.maneki.co.uk
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
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
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.
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
TNR: What are your current plans
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?
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
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)
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.
THE 'QUICK FIRE FIVE' with Limahl
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
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