As part of our series of previews in the run up to the first Rewind Festival in Scotland we have been given the opportunity to interview artists appearing on the bill. We jumped, well Frankie Boy was maybe edged a little nervously to the front, at the opportunity to chat with 80s legend and icon, Carol Decker the frontwoman of T’Pau. Well, it had to be Frankie Boy as he lived the 80s, he’d got the t-shirt (and the perm), and having missed out on Adam Ant the first time round (but saw him at the Ironworks earlier this year) he was not going to let Carol Decker slip past. Carol is as enthusiastic about her music as ever, about Rewind, and was ,as a first interview for Frankie Boy, an absolute pleasure to speak to.
FB: Am I right in thinking that you live close to the home of the original Rewind festival in Henley?
C: Yes it is, I’ve done Rewind twice and I helped to establish it, but I am not doing it this year as I’ve done it for the last two years and I am allowing some fresh faces in, but I am very happy to come up to Scone Palace and help establish Rewind up there.
FB: Did I read somewhere that you run a restaurant in the area too?
C: Yeah, my husband has the Cherry Tree Inn which is in little village called Stoke Row just outside Henley. It is a beautiful, ancient, 400 year old pub, restaurant with letting rooms in it. (for those that may find themselves down that way at some point and want to visit, you can find more info here http://www.thecherrytreeinn.com/ – a free plug, but we’re nice like that!)
FB : With the restaurant,does that make you a critic of festival food?
C: No, no they do a grand job, its like feeding an army on the move, they get a lot of food out to a lot of people, from the crew who are there from the crack of dawn through to the artists. I never complain – I’m not a diva!
FB: Moving on more specifically to the festival, what makes Rewind so special?
C: It’s just so massive and its all well organised. Its got great stalls and fairs. Its all very high quality, and the bill is usually very interesting, got some really great people on it. Its also organised really well, in my opinion its sort of vintage and retro. These things have to be done well otherwise they can be tragic!
(It was interesting to note on websites most queries related to lengthy queues for the showers and not for beer, which made such a change to what you hear at other festivals. (Carol laughed at this – but not in agreement!))
C: I always say to the children if you want to call Childline that’s fine with me!
FB: As you’ve mentioned your children, are they coming along to Rewind too?
C: They are, yeah. My 8 year old son is not remotely interested in music, if there is a fairground its yipee!
FB: Is your daughter into 80s music at all?
C: No, she turned 13 last month and all of a sudden she turned into Kevin the teenager, from the Harry Enfield Show (which I could only agree with (although my daughter may not)!)and is very emo, she locks herself in her bedroom and listens to Muse. The 80s were so much more cheerful than that!
FB :Nostalgically they were much happier times, we didn’t have facebook, twitter etc. Do you think that makes a difference to music now?
C: Well., I don’t know. If you think about it , we’ve got a recession, lots of strikes and a royal wedding, its kind of the same!
FB: Are you going to be there for both days?
C: No. I’m doing the Saturday. I’ll come up on the Friday, get comfy at the hotel, sound check on the Saturday, do the show, stay Saturday night and will be pushing off on the Sunday because its a long way back home.
FB: Is there anyone in particular that you are looking forward to?
After some discussion as to who was on the bill, and on which day (I wasn’t the only one not to have done my homework here!) Carol mentioned that she’d worked with Heaven 17, ABC and Kim Wilde. They are all great, and (Carol laughs) I’m only here to talk about me!
FB: Talking about your own set, is the set purely from the 80’s and do you think that’s what people have come to hear?
C: Yes, its all about the 80s, I intend to stick to the point. I do have an album out, and I am currently writing some stuff, but when we do the Rewind shows and some of the other 80s shows its all about the 80s. People want to hear that. China in Your Hand, Heart and Soul, but that’s fine.
FB: Talking about China in your Hand do you think the song as a millstone or is it a pension plan?
C: A pension plan. I’m very grateful to it. It is a pension plan! It is such a volatile and tricky industry and I thank my lucky stars that Ronnie and I came up with that at the time and that it would be such a classic 23 years later, and its fantastic! It is always such a thrill to always sing it and I don’t have to sing the chorus as everybody sings the chorus. It’s actually quite moving I have to say!
FB: Can you tell us a bit about your recent cd/dvd release?
C: Yes, it is on gnatfish, my label, and it is a great collector’s item for the die-hard fan. What it is, our first album which went quadruple platinum, which is 2½million sales in this country, and we have been asked down the years by the fans to hear demos of those tracks, but we weren’t sure (Carol ponders), and we thought, why not! Its coming up to our 25th anniversary and we should put something out and have called it “The Story Behind the Tracks”. On it you’ve all the tracks that we recorded for Bridge of Spies, that’s the demos, the 24 tracks and the 4 tracks, warts and all, and we haven’t tampered with them. We’ve got all the hits, Heart and Soul, China, Valentine, we’ve got all of them and 6 bonus tracks of early demos of songs that didn’t make it onto the album. Its about 18 tracks, and then there is a dvd which myself and my ex-partner Ron Rogers talking about how we met, started together, wrote the songs, and there is an extra documentary talking about how we came up with the ideas.
FB: So how do we get a copy?
FB: And you are writing new material?
C: That’s the new album which will be out next year. Ronnie and I have got our hands on that and I am also writing with another spectacular writing partner called Andy Parkes who is great, and I am in the middle of doing some lyrics today, in between trying to get the washing done, doing my motherly duties! Yes, I’m working on new stuff, a lot’s going on!
And on that note (with Carol having housework to do!) we ended our interview, but not before Carol had one final opportunity to exercise her wicked sense of humour! Naively, I mentioned the bizarre set up that I had in front of me including a phone on speaker and a dictaphone, to which Carol replied “Can I use your Dictaphone? No, use your finger like everyone else!” If ever a joke came from the 80s, that was it…
Thanks very much to Carol Decker for her time, Frankie Boy for his sterling interview and the people behind the scenes for helping to arrange the interview.
Rewind Festival – 29 to 31 July at Scone Palace near Perth
Tickets available here (follow the links)