VIDEO: Spandau Ballet back with Gold hits, says Martin Kemp
Musclebound was a huge New Romantics hit for Spandau Ballet and 35-years on they are pumped up with new songs like the old band on steroids, quips bass player Martin Kemp.
But fans are promised a celebration mix of new and all the greatest hits when they bring their Soul Boys Of The Western World tour to Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena on Friday, March 6.
That means the likes of Gold, To Cut A Long Story Short, Chant Number 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On), Instinction, Lifeline, Only When You Leave and Through The Barricades.
Oh, and not forgetting their biggest worldwide hit, the 1983 UK chart-topping True.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch Graham Walker’s exclusive video chat with Martin Kemp.
It will be the second time frontman Tony Hadley, Steve Norman, John Kebble, brothers Gary and Martin Kemp have been back on the road and at the Arena since getting back together for a world tour in 2009.
Martin says that tour was to see if they could still get on, after two decades of not talking as a band, and whether there was still a demand. They did and there was, with concerts selling out and fans downloading songs again like they used to snap up vinyl.
But when Tony bursts into True, with that big, velevet and distinctive voice, does Martin every think...’oh, here we go again?’
“No, not at all. Never. Any time you play any song in any show you play it as though it’s the first time - because this is the first time lots of people are going to hear you play it,” says the 53-year-old, also best rememebred for his co-starring big screen role with brother Gary in The Krays and as Eastenders bad guy Steve Owen.
“The songs are so important to people. They are the theme song for poignant moments in people’s lives and we know that. If you ever start to feel like, ‘oh my God, here we go again’, then that’s the day to give up.”
He says: “Spandau have never been frightened of change. We came out of the clubs, representing the whole New Romantic era, so a kind of cult band when we started, with tracks like To Cut A Long Story Short, The Freeze and Musclebound, which weren’t really pop records.
“Then we changed and went into the True era, where the band did become a pop band and had some of our biggest hits.Then more of an arena band where we were touring the country, playing six nights at Wembley and the band had become humongous. So the music changed for that as well.
“Recently we recorded three new songs and for me it was a bit like Spandau Ballet on steroids. I thought it was the best sound that we’ve ever got, that captures the essence of the music of Spandau Ballet. I think over the years we never really captured how good the band is live and so that’s always a thrill, when people come to see the show they see the band live for the first time, it’s a bit of a shock but it’s great.”
He’s hoping they will record a new album after the world tour, But of his personal greatest hit favourites he said: “I get a big kick out of playing To Cut A Long Story Short, because it’s the one that meant everything, the hit record you dream of having when you are a kid and you first decide to be in a band and you want to play live.
“True I get a big kick out of, also Through The Barricades. But every song Spandau has is somebody else’s special song. It’s not a case of here’s True, everybody’s favourite. It’s not like that.”
He admits he’s still got all the New Romantic tartan outfits, but laughs when asked whether he’ll be wearing it back on stage at the Arena.
“I have got it - not all of it. Lots of it disappeared over the years, but I’ve got some of it vacuum sealed somewhere at the back of my wardrobe,” he smiles.
It’s 25-years since big screen London gangster biopic The Krays proved he was more than a pin up pop star, though Martin had been acting in TV plays since he was seven.
He’s got the starring role in a new action thriller out in June, called Age Of Kill, playing a sniper who has to kill six people in six hours to save his daughter.
His own Eastenders bad guy character Steve Owen was killed off in 2002 - a role he loved, which he admits helped him get over his brain tumour battle.
He added: “I miss the camaraderie we had on set. It was some of the happiest times of my life and it came at a great time for me because I had that whole period where I was sick for a while. I had this whole brain tumour thing that came along in my younger years and Eastenders came along at the right time to get me over that. So it means a lot to me.
“But I’m thrilled for the show at the moment because it’s back on top where it should be. I was there watching who killed Lucy Beale and it was great. I thought they did a fantastic job.”
* Spandau Ballet are at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena on Friday, March 6. Tickets are £41 to £71.50, may be subject to fees. Buy in person, call 0114 256 5656 or visit www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk.
Also see The Star’s entertainments and listings site at www.wow247.co.uk.