An interview with KIM WILDE by Jason
On the 17th November 2003 I interviewed the ever so beautiful Kim Wilde in Sydney while she was in Australia performing on the 'Here And Now' Tour. She was fantastic and an absolute pleasure to interview as I'm a big Kim fan! Kim of course had huge hits in the early 80's from Kids In America, Chequered Love, plus Cambodia and View From A Bridge from her brilliant 1982 album 'Select'. Other great singles included Child Come Away, Love Blonde, The Second Time, her massive dance cover of The Supremes 60's classic You Keep Me Hanging On, Never Trust A Stranger and more.
The interview is below, ENJOY!
Jason: Well it’s been 10 years since you’ve last visited our shores here in Australia. Have you enjoyed being part of the Australian version of the ‘Here and Now’ tour?
Kim: Yeah, it’s just been fantastic! You know, the last time I was here 10 years ago we did like a greatest hits as well except I was on my own and we went around the clubs really. And it was just awesome that tour and I just thought it would be a hard act to follow especially ten years later but since the ‘Here And Now’ went on sale here the vibe is very strong, you know especially in Melbourne and particularly in Sydney. And we’re getting all this feedback saying that you know, the vibe is very good for us and it’s proved true. Because since we’ve been here it’s been fantastic and it’s lived up to expectations, and it’s been just as good as the last time I was here ten years ago if not better.
Jason: So do you find that crowds differ with the reaction when comparing the UK audience to the Australian audience with the ‘Here And Now’ tours, or is it similar?
Kim: There's a similar reaction and it changes similarly in the UK as well you know, like it went off big time at Wembley and then London went off big time and Brighton. It went off big time in Sheffield actually because Human League are from there and we were touring with Heaven 17 and ABC and all of that lot, and it went off. But as far as Australia, Perth was a bit quieter but then we were kind of expecting that.
Jason: And that was the first show in Australia?
Kim: That was our first show yeah. We were all a bit you know...it’s a shame that there has to be a first show as I always wish there never had to be a first show somewhere, but it went okay.
Jason: I hear that you possibly have a new album in the works and that you will be returning to your early rock roots?
Kim: Yeah, yeah. It’s all really come about as a kind of combination to doing touring a lot in the last three years and then meeting Nena last year and having a big hit with her this year. So It’s just kind of evolved really in a kind of natural way, and the reason why I thought if I did something else it would be back to basics and more like really the first album is because the live works been going so well.
Jason: And the rock works well live.
Kim: Yeah, and the rock really works well and as much as I love all kinds of music which you probably know, but you know you can’t do all kinds of music sometimes because it doesn’t really work out that way especially with my experience in that having made an R n’ B album and it didn’t really sort of cross over.
Jason: Yeah, in 1995/96?
Kim: Yeah, you know so I’ve turned into quite a bit of a rock chic and I quite like it. And there’s a sort of humour. There’s a humour to it that I enjoy, and I’ve always loved songs like “Kids In America” or “Never Trust A Stranger” or even “Chaos At the Airport!”
Kim: No, not that one, but I love that one for very different reasons than you but I love all the kind of drama of it and the sort of theatre of it.
Jason: And your voice is great on the rocky tracks especially.
Kim: Well it is yeah, and obviously you know my dads a rocker and I was brought up on Elvis and rock n roll and it’s really the deepest fibre of my musicality. There’s no getting away from it.
Jason: Great! Well with your first few albums they were very new wave influenced and you were the Princess of New Wave in the early 80’s I think.
Jason: And when you then switched to the more poppier dancier sound in the mid 80’s was that because you wanted to change styles of music and experiment or was that because music was generally changing around that time?
Kim: Yeah music was changing and we were just trying to kind of keep up with it and I think with you know, things like “You Keep Me Hanging On”, I think it still had something about the early 80’s.
Jason: Yeah it did, especially the video too.
Kim: Yeah exactly, probably where we’ve been at our strongest its kind of harped back to the very beginning stylistically perhaps, I don’t know really. I mean you know, even “You Came”, as much as it’s very melodic and pure pop there’s something quite unique about it that sort of throws back to the beginning and what we were originally doing.
Jason: Even a song like “Cant Get Enough Of Your Love” was very reminiscent of your early edgy sound.
Jason: Now with deciding to record again and working with Nena how did that come about?
Kim: Well producer Gio recorded “Born To Be Wilde” which I did.
Jason: Yeah I’ve seen that video, and it’s great.
Kim: It’s pretty good isn’t it, I really like that one.
Jason: That was good.
Kim: In a way, that’s what got me back on the recording track.
Jason: And the song “Loved”.
Kim: Yes and “Loved” as well, our surprised “Loved” hit.
Jason: Did you make a video for “Loved”?
Kim: No, no because we put it on the album ’The Very Best Of Kim Wilde’ as a kind of sweetener of the album as we worked very closely on the compilation with EMI and I gave them loads of really personal photographs and got involved in the notes and everything inside. And I thought that’s going to put an end to it now you know, and I’ll just say goodbye to Kim and put it on a nice little package and have something to give the kids you know, and the grandchildren or whatever. It was something I was very pleased about just having it all on one compilation and it’s great and I’m really happy about it so we put “Loved” on it as a kind of treat for the fans and everything and just to put it on. And then it was a surprise hit which made me laugh and then Nena’s song which has been my other surprise hit so we then figured well maybe if we keep having surprise hits instead of trying to have them maybe then that means it would work.
Jason: So Nena and yorself worked really well together?
Kim: Yes we did, I mean we’re very similar and then you know we're very different too and it took us quite awhile to get through to each other, not just the language barrier. You know, it took us awhile, and then I started making her laugh and then she kind of started trusting me.
Jason: So you never met her in the 80’s?
Kim: Not much, no I met her a few times and she’s a very serious person, she’s much more serious then I am you know.
Kim: She has a really serious side to her and I really respect it and it took me awhile to kind of understand her really. But she’s a true rock chic, you know I’m a borderline rock chic because I do the mum thing and go gardening and stuff. And I sort of take the piss out of myself but she is pure thoroughbred rock chic and she lives it 24/7.
Jason: Probably the German thing.
Kim: No, she lives the rock n roll life you know, that’s where we kind of go off like that in different directions really.
Jason: As far as your videos are concerned have you always had great input with the ideas for each video?
Kim: Not much really (she laughs). A bit, but mostly it’s just been a matter of trying to work with the most talented people you can. So very often I’ve been in a position where I’ve been given a number of directors I can work with and I’ve looked at their work and chosen one, then it’s just gone through the same thing then meet them and go through the hole thing and they say ‘Oh, I’m gonna make you look gorgeous darling’ and then you get this kind of script that says ‘Kim Wilde, she comes in towards the camera, sexy and gorgeous’ and I’m like oh yeah I’ll love that one (laughs).
Jason: Well I’ve always thought that you don’t need that much styling, as I think that you’ve had really beautiful visuals especially in your early videos when they were quite simple. For instance “View From A Bridge” which is my favourite of your videos.
Kim: Yep, oh yeah, that’s a very funny video.
Jason: That was a great video!
Kim: You know lots of videos if I’m honest with you that I’ve made during the 80’s, I was terribly sensitive about the way I looked and I’d often look at them and burst out crying, and sort of never want to look at them again. Things like “View From A Bridge” and things like “Love Is Holy” and stuff.
Jason: What about “The Second Time”? That was a great one!
Kim: And “The Second Time”, really didn’t like that one either but now I can look back at them.
Jason: I thought “The Second Time” was very ahead of it’s time actually.
Kim: Well I think they were very of their time and now retrospectively, now that I can sort of look at the 80’s with a kind of pride. I think during the 80’s or shortly after the 80’s there was a real backlash against the 80’s as being this really stupid decade and maybe in the same way that this decade is getting it in the neck of it, which it doesn’t deserve. So for a long time I wasn’t able to feel really proud of being an 80’s girl, it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve been able to actually look at it but you know you have to have a sense of humour when you look back at a video like “The Second Time” which you clearly have.
Kim: So that’s why you enjoy it so much.
Jason: Now also with videos, was there a video made for “House Of Salome”?
Jason: Because I think it was a single.
Kim: I don’t think it was.
Jason: Oh, I think it was in Japan actually. You know the Japanese with singles.
Kim: Oh yeah, maybe yeah, yeah.
Jason: And why was there no video made for “Water On Glass”?
Kim: Oh I really don’t know that’s Ricky Mose actually, which you know passed away this year which was dreadful. He had a habit of like being quite
Jason: With the greatest hits that did come out a lot of bands and artists are bringing out DVD’s, are you at all planning on releasing a DVD?
Kim: Well no, there hasn’t been any talk of that but I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that kind of came crawling out the woodworks sometime soon especially with madam parading herself around the world again. You know, I should think someone’s eyes might light up with it and perhaps might make some money out of me and not mention it. But we are going to make a DVD of the performance tonight.
Jason: Oh, are you?
Kim: And you know the way they’ve got the camera all set up and their doing camera shots and their working with the same team on the tour. So tonight we’re gonna buy it off them and then there’s a good chance we may release that.
Jason: Cool. Also with the DVD do you think it will maybe feature perhaps Things like “The Touch” and “The Second Time” maybe?
Jason: And also did you make another video for “View From A Bridge” where you are standing on a bridge and kissing a guy then jumping off the bridge, with a white outfit on?
Kim:: No I don’t remember jumping off a bridge.
Jason: It was probably made for television.
Kim: Yeah, yeah, for French TV or something, I can’t remember. But I think, you know I was talking to my manager about this and I think it would have to be the warts and all. You know it would have to be the good the bad and the ugly.
Jason: Oh, okay.
Kim: In fact, I might call it that.
Jason: Also with your first 3 albums you were on RAK Records and how did the split with them come about to end up on MCA?
Kim: Well we came to the end of our contract with RAK records and sadly it fell down to money if I’m really honest. I was quite an expensive artist at that point, unfortunately for Ricky Mose I sold a million copies of my first record and that put my royalties up significantly and my earnings up significantly. As far as RAK records were concerned I became a bit of a hot potato for them so by the time the end of my contract with them had expired I was a really expensive artist for them, and they just made the decision that I was too expensive and MCA said they’d pay.
Jason: Yeah, because they were a bigger label.
Kim: Yeah, it was kind of sad at the time but also he had a bit of a problem with me touring as well and we were kind of wanting to just try and progress the whole thing. So we felt it was time to split for professional reasons as well financial ones. Um, I kind of regret it now.
Jason: Okay, oh well.
Kim: (Laughs), Oh well, yeah, yeah, yeah.
KIM: Hmm yep, we’ve done a little bit of writing in the last few months and a few other writers, lots more, lots more to do. And then record something new for next year perhaps. We’re looking to see who’s remotely interested in signing the old bird up again.
Kim: So we’ll see what happens.
Jason: Now over your 22 year career what do you consider your best work whether your favourite album or songs etc?
Kim: I don’t know, I was thinking... I don’t know, sometimes, ‘SOMETIMES!’ when I’m at home and my husband’s next-door working in his office because his office is kind of like separated because we live together obviously and we’ve got a family but we have the capacity in our home to have our own life as well, you know. He virtually lives in his office so um, so some nights you know, I just grab a bottle of wine and I delve through, I’ve got this Kim Wilde drawer and it’s got all my you know, like sort of Japanese stuff and most of the albums. Not all the albums actually, I actually haven’t got copies of all my albums. I’ve run out of a few because I tend to give them away a bit.
Kim: And I play some, you know, and I think yeah that was a good track, and I’ll have some more wine and drink...and I was thinking the other day of a song I wrote with Tony Swain called “Storm In A Heart" which is one of my favourite things which I’ve written and also “‘European Soul” which I really love which I wrote with Rick so um, so they’re quite usually the songs that weren’t the singles, but I love “You Came”.
Jason: Cool. Also you toured with Michael Jackson and David Bowie, was that an amazing experience?
Kim: It was yeah, the Jackson thing was just phenomenal you know, that was a 30 date tour I think it was, I can’t even remember how many it was, it went on for about 3 months anyway. And it was quite fantastic for my career and it coincided with ‘Close’ and "You Came" being a big hit and we did 7 nights at Wembley.
Kim: And it was kind of in the wake of the mad Jackson scenario you know, people surfing on his slip stream you know. He was kind of up and away with whatever he was doing so I never got to know him really. He was an unknowable character and he always protected himself.
Jason: Kept to himself, yeah.
Kim: And he had this mad mafia of uncles around him all the time, but for me it was phenomenal. It was the beginning of me really finding out how to sing live, how to become a performer and I learnt a lot from watching him and from his professionalism and it was the beginning of me becoming a performer. It’s a shame really because it happened just as I stopped performing in a way, but anyway that’s where I really started to learn how to do it.
Jason: Yeah, and what about the David Bowie tour.
Kim: The Bowie tour, it’s slightly less memorable to me, the Jackson one kind of overshone it. I mean obviously working with Bowie was fantastic because I was a big “Hunky Dory” fan and I love all his early stuff, especially the “Scary Monsters” album and all that sort of stuff.
Jason: “Scary Monsters” is my favourite Bowie album as well.
Kim: Yeah, I used to listen to all that in my bedroom on vinyl and all that, you know.
Kim: So for me it was a real honour obviously working with the dude you know, absolutely had a MAJOR crush on him during that tour which was very distracting.
(Kim bursts out laughing, and I laugh as well).
Kim: He didn’t feel the same way, he fell in love with his wife during that time, or shortly after.
Kim: Yeah, he fell in love with Iman, and I was just sitting there watching him thinking ‘Oh, you’re so lovely’. You can’t help falling in love with Bowie when you’re around him, he’s gorgeous.
Jason: Totally. Well now that you have worked with Nena, is there anybody you have always wanted to work with but you never have, but would like to?
Kim: Um, well I was thinking of that the other day. I mean, I’m a big fan of a guy called Gary Clark who was in a band called Danny Wilson and um, strangely enough Go West’s manager Johnny Glover, he used to manage Gary Clark. It’s kind of um, I don’t know how that would work out but I’m a big fan of his album called 'Ten Short Love Songs' which is one of my favourite albums. So I wouldn’t mind working with him. I love Blue Nile but I don’t think I’ll be working with them.
Jason: Oh, The Blue Nile are great.
Kim: Yeah, Yeah.
Jason: I love “Tinseltown In The Rain”.
Kim: Yeah, I mean ‘The Hats’ album for me is a classic, but Annie Lennox has kind of gone down that road in any case and I’m not sure that its going to be something that I want to pursue. And then who else, oh yeah, Todd Rundgren which is one of my favourite artists. I think if I got to be in a room with him making some music I would be very happy.
Jason: And how do you feel about pop music today and how do you think it differs creatively from the music made in the 80’s, as everything is so manufactured nowadays, do you feel that with music now?
Kim: Well, I felt in the 80’s especially as far as Rick was concerned my brother, that you know technology really sort of took a giant leap forward and became sort of accessible to really young producers instead of the older old school. But you know someone like Rick who at the time was only 18 you know, he wasn’t very old and all of a sudden he was like mucking around with all this very advanced technology, and very expensive technology where as now, I mean the same kind of decks and the same desks and everything are sort of at a fraction of cost. So at that time that’s why music was so exciting I think, because some of the youngest people who were involved in it were inventing where as now there’s not so much of that today. You know, technology has aged now so everybody knows it very well like a comfortable chair. So perhaps as a result music has become like a bit of a comfortable chair and it’s become very American inspired so I think it’s time, you know, I’d like a bit of an insurgent, I think music really needs that. However, having said that I’m not going to knock this decade as there’s always something good to listen to. You just have to look. I wish I had more time to find out what was good.
Jason: And your doing the third ‘Here And Now’ concert in December. Are you looking forward to doing it?
Kim: Yeah, because each year I’ve done it’s been absolutely fantastic and of course the artists I’m working with, I mean it’s the best of ‘Here And Now’. It’s ten artists so I’ll be doing less songs. You know, there’s Heaven 17, ABC, Nick Heyward, Curiosity Killed The Cat.
Jason: And Five Star?
Kim: Yeah, Five Star are doing it, T’Pau and I think The League are doing it, Paul Young and all that.
Jason: And are you doing "Another Step" with Peter Cox of Go West because I read it in your internet diary the other day, and read that you rehearsed it.
Kim: Yeah, we rehearsed it in Brisbane and he sounded great! So the plan is hopefully he can sing it with me at Wembley. He’s actually going to be in Singapore so I’m gonna have to find someone else to sing it with.
Jason: And do you plan your playlists for each country you’re doing?
Kim: Yeah, yeah. It changes a little tiny bit, the band know all the tracks and they just mix them around a bit.
Jason: Now for tonight’s last ‘Here And Now’ show in Australia, I also read on your diary that there was a possibility of adding
Kim: I don’t think, no there isn’t I don’t think. We thought of adding “Love Blonde” after “Love Is Holy” got dropped but the set works so well without another song and the pace of it so I didn’t want to mix with it.
Jason: Great, alright well thanks for talking to me.
Kim: Thank you.
Jason: And don’t make it another ten years till you come back.
Kim: No, we’ll be back next year I think by the sounds of it.
Jason: Great, okay. Thank you.
Interview conducted by Jason Grech, Copyright 2003 www.countdownmemories.com