10CC tour comes to Ipswich’s Regent this weekend
WHEN you count the likes of Axl Rose and Chrissie Hynde amongst your fans, you know you’re doing something right, and 10CC certainly did things right. MARTIN HUTCHINSON speaks to founder member Graham Gouldman
THE original band might have split up some time ago, but their music just had to be kept alive and Graham does just that.
For a number of years, he has been taking his band out on the road, performing the very best of the band. Such is the demand, he is undertaking a 33-date tour of the UK.
Formed in Stockport by Graham, Eric Stewart, Lol Cr�me and Kevin Godley, 10CC racked up almost a dozen top ten hits including Art For Art’s Sake, The Things We Do For Love and Life Is A Minestrone from 1972 to 1978.
Three of them - Rubber Bullets, Dreadlock Holiday and the sublime I’m Not In Love - all topped the charts, with I’m Not In Love receiving a BMI citation for five million radio plays in the US.
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Not content with just having hits with 10CC, Graham penned hits for The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits and The Yardbirds; later teaming up with Andrew Gold as Wax and having a hit with Bridge To Your Heart.
But he always returns to 10CC.
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“It’s the songs really,” he says, commenting on what he thinks is the enduring appeal of the band. “Their inventiveness, music, lyrics and originality.”
However, their biggest hit was a bit different from their usual output.
Most of their songs had clever, witty lyrics with an infusion of humour; but that wasn’t the case with I’m Not on Love.
“We loved it,” he says. “But we never thought of it as a single, but we played it to everyone and they said that it would be a massive hit.
“It’s kind of a serious one really and up until then we’d avoided writing a love song as it was a bit of a clich�.”
Joining Graham on stage as his band are Paul Burgess on drums, Rick Fenn on guitar, Mick Wilson on vocals, keyboards and guitar, plus Mike Stevens on keyboards.
Paul has worked with 10CC from the beginning and Rick joined the live band in the mid-70s.
Mike sometimes has to take time out to tour as the musical director for Take That, when he is replaced by Keith Hayman.
“The band is amazing,” Graham says.
“I’m not keen on rearranging stuff and I want to hear the songs as originally recorded and this band enables me to do that.
“I always look at concerts from the audience’s point of view, I want the show to be great for you and doing that keeps it fresh for me.”
Despite all the hits 10CC were responsible for, Graham cannot pick a song that is the definitive 10CC number.
“There were so many facets to the band. Nothing represents 10CC and I like them all.”
Having said that, one song does have a bit of an edge in his mind.
“There’s something about I’m Not In Love,” he admits.
“It seems to have a spirituality about it and has a hypnotic quality that affects me even today - and I’ve played it God knows how many times,” he laughs.
In previous years, the band have played some of the hits and then in the middle of the show there is a section where Graham plays some of the songs that he wrote for others – but this time it’s different.
“That’s right. I come on first and sing a few of songs I wrote before 10CC and gradually bring on the rest of the band.
“Then we go off, get changed and come back as 10CC. I’m my own support really.”
Now in his sixties, Graham still enjoys playing music and is keen to produce new material.
“I’m doing things with new writers and I’ve been talking to Andrew Gold about working together again. We always loved writing together.”
Before that, is a little matter of the UK tour.
“This is as near as you’re ever going to get to hearing the perfect 10CC. Hit after hit after hit. It’s relentless and we show no mercy.”.
“It’s a great evening,” he smiles. “Do you know, I’ve been to every one and loved it.”
10CC are at the Regent, Ipswich, this Saturday.