Thursday, February 2, 2017

RIGHT SAID FRED: An EXCLUSIVE Archival Q&A with SPAZ!

EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED 
TO KNOW ABOUT 

RIGHT SAID FRED
(but were too sexy to ask!)

An EXCLUSIVE interview with Richard and Fred Fairbrass
By Stephen SPAZ Schnee



PLEASE NOTE:

This interview originally ran in three parts in May of 2009. 
In honor of the release of their 2017 release, EXACTLY!, I have combined all three separate features into one lengthy and riveting post.  

Grab a snack, sit back and enjoy this look back at the amazing career of Right Said Fred!




“I'm too sexy for my love, too sexy for my love, Love's going to leave me!”

Those words first came blasting out of radios and discos in 1991 and, nearly two decades later, they are still greeted with cheers when the song is played in clubs all over the world. Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” has infiltrated the very fabric of pop culture and is known and loved by people everywhere. It doesn’t matter what age, sex, race, class or creed you are: chances are you know every lyric to that song, whether you like it or not!
If the only thing you’ve heard by Right Said Fred is “I’m Too Sexy”, then you have some serious catching up to do! Yes, they burst upon the international music scene in 1991 with one of the most successful singles of that decade, but the band has continued to create their own unique (and highly infectious) brand of Electro-Pop ever since.
While the band might currently be labeled as ‘one hit wonders’ in the U.S., they have a track record in Europe that has earned them both success and respect. Singles like “Deeply Dippy”, “You’re My Mate”, “Stand Up (For The Champions)” and “Don’t Talk Just Kiss” have ensured that RSF are more than one trick ponies.
Over a decade and a half since their debut album was released, the boys in RSF have just issued I’m A Celebrity (Promark Records), their seventh album overall, but only the second in the U.S.! Like the six albums that came before it, I’m A Celebrity is a smorgasbord of Pop music delicacies and Electro dancefloor classics in the making. From the title track (and first single) through to the album’s final notes, it is plainly obvious that RSF are still creating great music and having a fun time doing it. Their songs are a combination of hook-laden tunes influenced by classic ‘60s British Pop/Rock and electronic Disco symphonies ala Pet Shop Boys. There’s really no other band quite like Right Said Fred.
Band members Richard and Fred Fairbrass took time out of their busy schedules and graciously (and patiently) answered a series of career-encompassing questions from Stephen SPAZ Schnee that would have driven most musicians bonkers! From their first single to their latest, no stone is left unturned in this in-depth interview with one of Pop music’s finest (and most under-rated) outfits.


SPAZ: What types of music were you exposed to while growing up in the Fairbrass household?
RICHARD FAIRBRASS: Our record collection at home consisted of about 10 albums, most of which was easy listening stuff like Dean Martin, Sinatra and, bizarrely, Bob Newhart! I grew up with a love of crooning and swing jazz only getting into more contemporary music when I was into my early teens
FRED FAIRBRASS: Mum and dad loved Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Glen Miller, which we loved as kids and still do, but some friends of theirs went traveling and left their record collection which was a different bag of treats altogether. There was lots of Motown, Beatles, Stones, Sam and Dave, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, 50's Rock ‘n’ Roll, The Surfers, all sorts of great stuff we wouldn't have heard otherwise. A little later on, I worked Saturdays in our local record shop which is where I got to hear Frank Zappa, Kraftwerk, Canned Heat, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Alex Harvey, MC5, The Ramones, Jethro Tull, Family, The Tubes, Talking Heads, New York Dolls, early pre-hyped punk, and lots of US disco imports.

SPAZ: Do you remember an exact moment or experience when you realized that you wanted to be a musician?
FRED: Yes I do, I saw a band at school called The Game playing Hendrix’s 'Hey Joe' in the main hall during lunch break and the audience was 99% girls so I thought: “Now there's a job for me, I’ll be my own boss and I won't have to get up early.” Then some bright spark invented 'Breakfast TV'....DOH..!
RICHARD: I think two occasions really made an impression on me. The first was hearing T Rex's “Ride a White Swan” and the second was watching the Beatles movie Let It Be. What a cool way to earn a living, I thought, sitting around in some studio with your mates making music and loads of money! Was I ever that young?????

SPAZ: Were you avid record collectors when you were younger? It seems that every single you have released contains either a non-album cut or versions of songs not available elsewhere (which shows that RSF are a band geared to collectors).
FRED: I worked Saturdays in Grays, our local record shop, so I got into limited editions and imports from about the age of 14-15. In those days, it was mostly vinyl so lots of different colored plastic and great sleeve designs. I've always enjoyed bands who do bonus tracks and different edits for different releases and territories.
RICHARD: To be honest collecting records never really struck me as something I should do! We did have an extensive collection of old Motown singles which I now realize were pretty cool! At the time, though, I had no idea how valuable they were and, because we were given many of them, I didn't appreciate how lucky we were!

SPAZ: Did you both initially decide to work together in creating music, or did things just happen to fall into place that way?
FRED: I started playing guitar first (I think I was about 13 years old). Then Rich picked up the bass and the writing just fell into place. I was doing most of the singing at the time which was our first mistake. Playing other people's songs never really appealed to us.
RICHARD: Fred got into the whole thing first! He started guitar lessons in his early teens and began writing songs on his own soon after that. Being very smart, I soon realized that he wasn't that bad so I cleverly decided to shove my oar in and tag along!

SPAZ: Where did the name Right Said Fred come from?
FRED: It's taken from a song of the same name recorded by an English actor called Bernard Cribbins in 1962.


SPAZ: How did you hook up with Rob Manzoli?
FRED: We met Rob through Simon Taylor at The Ritz Studios, which was our local rehearsal studio in Putney, South West London.

SPAZ: Do you remember the first song all three of you worked on when you realized that everything was coming together?
RICHARD: I think Fred and I differ in our recollection of this, I thought it was “I'm Too Sexy” but actually it was probably something long forgotten.
FRED: Initially, the three of us sat around in my flat drinking tea, dunking biscuits and hanging out. “I'm Too Sexy” was the first completely original new song that we wrote together. We had written other songs, but those had generally grown out of old ideas that one of us had had lying around.

SPAZ: How did you hook up with Gut Records in 1991?
FRED: Tamzin Aronowitz, a friend of Rob's who later became our manager, knew Guy Holmes who ran Gut Reaction, a radio and TV promotions company. He played it in his car; the passengers apparently loved the track so he felt confident enough to submit it to The Simon Bates morning Show on Radio 1. The audience response was amazing so Gut Records was then set up solely to service “I'm Too Sexy”.


SPAZ: Your first single was the worldwide smash hit “I’m Too Sexy”. Did the success of the song catch you by surprise?
RICHARD: To say the success of “I'm Too Sexy” caught me by surprise would be an understatement of enormous proportions! We were all absolutely dazzled! It sounds ridiculous, but until it happened, I’d never even figured on having a hit outside the UK! I remember flying to Belgium on promotion for the first time and thinking "Oh my God, this is amazing! You can have a hit abroad, too! Who'd have thunk it!"
FRED: The speed of the success was daunting, amazing, disturbing, euphoric and destructive all at once. No one, especially us, were prepared for it. The downside with a meteoric rise is that the people who gather around you are there because you're a cash cow and there's instant revenue, not because they believe in you or what you do.


SPAZ: Many people miss the humor in the song. Can you explain the song’s origins?
FRED: Richard had the initial idea of “I'm too sexy for my shirt”. It was a hot day in a basement studio in West London and the same track (I think it was called “Heaven”) had been running on a loop on the computer for what seemed like a decade. Then, out of nowhere, he started singing the lyric to the bass line melody. To be honest, at first I was a little skeptical but it didn't take long for me to 'get it'. We were laughing a lot and then spent the next few weeks writing the 'I'm a model, you know what I mean' section. It was just about the whole 'super model' culture that was huge at the time and how nobody can really be 'too sexy'. The premise of the idea is that trying to be ‘too sexy’ is impossible… there will always be someone who's bored sleeping with you.

SPAZ: “I’m Too Sexy” is quite unlike anything else you’ve recorded. Was it written and/or recorded differently than they way you usually work?
FRED: No, it was written and recorded in exactly the same way as most of our other tracks. I think sometimes artists capture a mood that is inexplicable and not repeatable. Richard's vocal on “I'm Too Sexy” is the original demo vocal. We tried re-recording it and it just didn't work as well as the demo. The original demo plus Tommy D's very cool programming and Phil Spalding's excellent live bass made up the final master.
RICHARD: The only thing I can say is that, from my point of view, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing! The song was unlike anything I’d heard before, I’d never sung that low before and wasn't at all sure that any of it made any sense, but then what do I know?

SPAZ: Your 1992 debut album, Up, featured more great singles including “Don’t Talk Just Kiss”, “Love For All Seasons” and the extraordinary “Deeply Dippy”. To your credit, not one of these songs sounded remotely like your debut single. Were you ever tempted to just go in and repeat the same musical formula and hope that lightning would strike twice?
RICHARD: I learned a lot about lightning at school and I knew for certain that it never strikes the same place twice so better not to even try! Also, it always smacks of defeat somehow to try to get into repeat or formula writing. It's also very boring!
FRED: “… Sexy" has a life of its own. I believe a lot of that is the lyric, Richard's vocal and the pitch of his voice. That backing track with another lyric and another vocal performance wouldn't be nearly as engaging or successful.


SPAZ: Any particular memories about recording Up?
FRED: Holy moly, it was very odd! “I'm Too Sexy” was already creating a lot of heat so recording our first Freds album was weird. We were fast becoming famous and successful during the making of our debut album, so it added a flavor to the sessions that most debut albums don't experience. It was very exciting recording Up. Everyone involved felt we were capable of delivering a big album. There was a confidence and a creativity that was infectious and really exciting.
RICHARD: Apart from all the related stress in making an album and being up to my nipples in promotion, the moment I remember the most clearly was hearing for the first time the brass section in “Deeply Dippy”! I was completely knocked out, I just knew that hit or no hit this was very very very fabulous!



SPAZ: In 1993, you recorded the Comic Relief single, “Stick It Out”. How did this come about?
FRED: We were approached by the Comic Relief team to do a song. Personally, I didn't enjoy this at all; I think it took us away from focusing on writing and playing live. I would rather have just made a donation. Stupidly, we bowed to label pressure.

SPAZ: That same year, you released your sophomore album, Sex And Travel. Once again, there was no sign of a carbon copy of “… Sexy”. In fact, the album showed a maturity in songwriting and production, compared to your debut album. Were you frustrated or confused when that album didn’t get the push it deserved from Gut?
RICHARD: In many ways, I’m still very proud of that album. I still believe that Sex And Travel (or Fuck Off, as we came to know it) contains some really cool songs. "She's My Mrs." had some very neat lyrics with a great chorus and "I Ain't Stupid" had a wicked smooth play out! In retrospect, the wrong single was chosen to lead the album and we were pretty wiped after such a long period of promo for Up. We should've chilled out before we started and got our heads clear, but hey we were riding the wave, what could go wrong?
FRED: We broke rule #1: you never split up a winning team. We changed producers and studios and this was a mistake. RSF and Gut Records had fallen out with Tommy D who produced Up. We should have all been more humble and professional and settled our petty differences. The album took too long to record, the production was too elaborate and the cracks were already starting to show. There was little unity between Richard, myself and Rob, no unity between RSF and Gut and there was way too much money coming in AND going out... Gut Records gave it an initial push, but the minute it stalled, almost everyone around us ran for the hills. In fact, Gut Records moved offices, changed their numbers and didn't tell us… you couldn't make that shit up!

SPAZ: Any particular memories about recording Sex And Travel?
RICHARD: Some of it was great fun but, to some extent, a lot of our energy was sapped. The whole thing took too long, cost too much and stressed us out. We did meet Macca (Paul McCartney) and Linda, though, and that was great! He knew who we were! I was very big headed for a while after that!
FRED: I couldn't wait for it to end. All I could see was huge studio bills and lots of hangers on. Because “… Sexy” had broken so quickly and the debut went multi-platinum all around the world, there had been no time for trust and belief to grow between the band members or between RSF and Gut Records. It really was an accident waiting to happen.
As the artist, you have to take responsibility for your own decisions. Unfortunately, we'd chosen to work with some very incompetent, skanky people. We're not the first band to make this mistake and we won't be the last.

SPAZ: Was your label annoyed that you never bothered to rewrite “I’m Too Sexy”?
FRED: Gut Records were annoyed about a lot of things. We couldn't rewrite “… Sexy” even if we wanted to… nor should we.
RICHARD: It's in the nature of labels to follow rather than lead. It's the job of artists to lead whenever possible.


SPAZ: In 1994, you recorded “Dance Dance Dance (Under The Moon)”, available on the Asterix In Amerika soundtrack. How did you get involved with that?
RICHARD: Oh my God! I was rather hoping we'd got away with that one! Actually, the process of making that record was fun but I’m pretty sure none of us liked the end result.
FRED: Harold Faltermeyer (the Munich Music Machine), who wrote the music for Beverly Hills Cop, invited us to co-write. It was fun working with him but “Dance, Dance, Dance” is not one of my favorite RSF tracks.


SPAZ: Though the next two years saw some great singles like “Wonderman” and “Living On A Dream”, what took so long to release your third album, Smashing, in 1996?
RICHARD: I think the failure of Sex And Travel left us numb… more than we realized at the time. Looking back, before even considering making that album we should've got out and done some shows. At that time, all three of were pretty ignorant of who exactly was buying our music: we really needed to see the whites of their eyes! I think we hid from the world during the making of that album, the world had become a bit of scary place for RSF. The studio was comforting and safe so we buried ourselves there!
FRED: We were drift wood for quite awhile. Although I think we nailed it with a few tracks like “Living on a Dream" and “Big Time”, our relationship with Rob was unraveling very fast and Gut had distanced themselves immediately after the second album. I like bits of Smashing, but the fun of being in RSF with the current line-up was fading.


SPAZ: Was recording Smashing a different experience than your first two albums?
RICHARD: Our label at that time refused to release any funds so we found ourselves in the position of paying for the whole thing, which inevitably added pressure and a strong sense of urgency to the process. In addition, working with Rob at that time was becoming increasingly problematic. I don't have many good memories of that period!
FRED: We recorded it with Gerald Elms from G-Club. Meeting and working with Gerald was a great experience, he's a fun and talented guy to spend time with. The writing and recording was much the same, probably more fragmented than before. Rich, Gerald and I did a lot of the recording by ourselves.

SPAZ: Any particular memories about recording Smashing?
RICHARD: None really, other than the fact that on some of the vocal tracks buses can be heard going passed the studio!
FRED: Unfortunately, we were squabbling with Gut Records and finally parted company while recording this album. We were also bouncing from one manager to another, which didn't help the cause at all. Looking back, we were free falling but didn't realize it and no one on the payroll wanted to say anything in case we actually woke up and smelt the coffee.

SPAZ: After this album, why did Rob leave RSF?
FRED: Rob had started to drift as early as 1993, so by the time we got to 1996-97 it was very fraught. Richard and I wanted to go on the road; Rob was more of a home-body.
Splitting with Rob was inevitable; fortunately, we managed to keep it friendly and civilized.

SPAZ: Fans had to wait another five years for the next RSF full length. What happened in the meantime? Had you considered laying RSF to rest and moving on?
FRED: We were disillusioned and had had the stuffing kicked out of us. We also had a few of our own personal problems that needed addressing: domestic unrest, drugs, alcohol, various affairs… You know, the usual weapons of choice. Luckily, we were financially secure so we thought “FUCK THIS.... lets chill for awhile”. We still did a couple of tours and stand alone shows… I have to admit, though, looking back, this period is still very very blurred. In the words of Ozzy Osborne: 'I might of had a car'. By 2000, we were swimming, not drowning, so I went to the Dance Music Fair in Amsterdam and met the BMG Berlin guys who showed a lot of interest in doing a new record with us. We had been writing a lot in the previous year and we were ready to do a new album.
RICHARD: Splitting with Rob was difficult. I think Fred and I both felt badly let down so it was inevitable that there would be a period of reflection and decision making. To be honest I think we did, from time to time, consider packing it in although not in any real way. We toyed with the idea, but in the end, songwriting and a deep seated refusal to allow other people to determine our future prevented us from making the necessary moves!


SPAZ: When Fredhead was released in 2001, not only was the songwriting more melodic than ever, you seemed to have embraced Electronic music more so than before. What influenced this direction?
FRED: We've always loved dance music and Electronica, being signed to BMG/Kingsize, who were based in Berlin, Germany, helped to pull all the Euro influences together. At this time, we also met fellow songwriter and musician Clyde Ward, who's had a lot of chart success in Europe, particularly Germany. At the time, Rich and I were happy to soak up all that is Euro. Also we were very lucky to have a label as focused as BMG/Kingsize were at that time.
RICHARD: We've always embraced a mix of electronic and acoustic music. Up saw "Deeply Dippy" and "… Sexy" on the same album, so, for us, it didn't seem too much of a stretch. There's no doubt in my mind, though, that we were more focused and passionate on that album. It was also great to have hooked up with Clyde, who has proved to be a great songwriting partner.


SPAZ: How did you come to meet Clyde?
FRED: We met Clyde in Hamburg during a recording session in 2001; Kingsize introduced us to him. He's a very talented writer and musician. We are able to talk very openly with Clyde about music and say what we like and don't like. When we're writing and recording no one has to walk on eggshells, which is very rare in this industry.

SPAZ: From this album onwards, RSF perfected the ultimate Dance/Pop formula: House dance beats, infectious melodies and, unlike most club music, plenty of acoustic guitars (often times, more felt than heard). Is this the way you had always envisioned RSF to sound?
RICHARD: Absolutely! Mixing up the acoustic and the electronic has always been something we enjoy. Having said that, anything is up for grabs. It's always been a mystery to me as to why bands are expected to stay in their groove. Having a "sound" shouldn't exclude the desire to mess with it from time to time! It's risky (see Tin Machine), but always worth a shot!
FRED: “I'm Too Sexy” originally had a lot more guitars in it, electric and acoustic. We love dance music but, apart from the Chic-era, guitars are often over-looked. I think an organic acoustic guitar against tough beats can sound really infectious. Even with Fredhead and Stand Up, we had to fight tooth and nail for the guitars to stay in.

SPAZ: Any particular memories about recording Fredhead?
FRED: Fredhead was a lot of fun and, in many ways, very similar to recording Up. Like “… Sexy”, “You're My Mate” was a big hit while we were recording the album: this gives you an enormous sense of 'we're on it' which I think you can hear in Up and Fredhead. Having had the experience of the previous albums, we were much more aware of enjoying the moment this time round.
RICHARD: It was summertime. We did a lot of the work down at Clyde's home studio! I remember that period with a lot of affection. I could tell at the time that we were pretty on it and, although it might sound an obvious thing to say, a motivated label helped give us a clear sense of purpose and direction.


SPAZ: The following year, Stand Up was another solid album, filled to the brim with great songs and topped Fredhead as your finest work to date. Had you envisioned the title track, “Stand Up (For The Champions)” as an inspirational sports anthem?
FRED: “Stand Up…” was written soon after 9/11 and the idea of the song was when things go really wrong and the shit hits the fan, what the world then needs are the real heroes: the firefighters, paramedics, police, nurses etc…
RICHARD: The champions on that day were all the emergency workers. I don't recall any celebs getting the call to come on down to shift rubble and dowse the fires!
FRED: I'm delighted it's been picked up as an inspirational anthem for sports and other team activities. We get a lot of very positive mail about “Stand Up…”


SPAZ: Any particular memories about recording Stand Up?
FRED: Recording Stand Up was also fun but we were aware of the pressure. Sex And Travel had failed Up as the follow-up album and we didn't want that happening again. Obviously, we were very happy that Stand Up was so successful.
RICHARD: You know, for some reason, I don't recall the making of Stand Up anywhere near as clearly as Fredhead. There were moments or real pride, however, concerning particular tracks. "Bombay Moon", I still love as much as the day we recorded it. "Night Night", too, has a sweetness that made performing at the end of live shows really enjoyable!

SPAZ: In 2003, you released the single “We Are The Freds” plus an alternate version with different lyrics, “We Are The Champs”. Which version was it originally intended to be?
FRED: We moved labels. Although we had been very successful with BMG/Kingsize, they failed to pick up the option for album three so we signed to Ministry of Sound who were also based in Berlin, Germany. “We Are The Freds” was the intended version, “We Are The Champs”, we did for a sports channel. Us and the public got very confused about the versions!

SPAZ: 2004 saw you release a cover of Madness’ “The Wizard”, a duet with Doris Dubinsky, from the soundtrack to a German film called Der Wixxer. Have you seen the film? The scenes from the RSF video look very intriguing?
RICHARD: We saw the film at the premier; couldn't understand a bloody word, of course, but enjoyed it nevertheless because it's a pretty slapstick visual movie.
FRED: The film was really good and it's a cool song.
RICHARD: Can't remember much about the video apart from Doris not turning up and then refusing to do promotion. Perhaps she was having a little trouble with the limelight!
FRED: People like that bore the crap out of me.


SPAZ: In 2006, you released For Sale, which saw RSF tone down the dance beats and sound like a proper Pop/Rock band. Was this a conscious move away from club music?
FRED: Yes and no. We moved away from the dance beats but, by the time we finished the album, we really missed the dance beats. We had had a lot of personal during this album disruption (I had pneumonia and was in the hospital for awhile), so I think that's why it's very hit and miss. I love some of it and some of it doesn't touch me.
RICHARD: There are one or two tracks on that album of which I’m still extremely proud: "The Cost of Loving" and "I Wanna be Simple" being two that come to mind. "I Love My Car" was also a really cool song. The move away from dance beats towards more of a pop\rock feel was not right in retrospect, despite the process throwing up some good stuff!


SPAZ: Once again, the songwriting was top notch and the album was filled with tracks that should have been singles (“I Love My Car”, ‘Cry”, “Obvious”), yet you only released one from the album, a cover of “Where Do You Go To My Lovely”. Was the single chosen by the label or have RSF always been the ones to choose what singles are released?
FRED: Yes, they should have been singles but the label (MOS) weren't interested in those songs as singles. “Where Do You Go To My Lovely” had a lot of radio attention and was very popular when we played it on tour, which is why it was chosen as a single. It achieved the highest chart entry we had ever had in Germany.
RICHARD: I'm very proud of the songwriting on that album and you've reminded me of two songs I’m ashamed to say I’d overlooked ("Cry" and "Obvious"). We've always had a bit of a fight with labels over the choice of singles, trying as far as possible to come to some common ground. My choice at that time was for "Obvious".

SPAZ: Though For Sale was a slight change in direction, were you pleased with it as a whole?
FRED: Not really, it wasn't focused enough for my liking. I like eclectic albums but this was just too fragmented. 'The Cost Of Loving' is probably my favorite track, I think we nailed the writing 100% and the production is fantastic.
RICHARD: Although I still feel very good about the actual writing, we could've done more on the production, I think. There are "tracks" and there are "songs". Tracks have to be nailed on the production side to achieve a sense of completion; songs, in the simplest sense, can stand on their own without the need for too much messing with. It's just a rule of thumb… Readers can write in with exceptions!

SPAZ: Any particular memories about recording For Sale?
FRED: We had great fun recording the guitars: we spent quite a long time on that...some would say indulgent.
RICHARD: I really enjoyed working on this album but, ironically, for the wrong reasons. We were left entirely alone and we buried ourselves in the making of it for months… great fun! However, with not enough A&R input, we didn't focus as hard as we should have. Although I think it's a great album, it didn't have the first, and very necessary, fly away single that was needed to get the album recognized.


SPAZ: In 2007, the band was thrust back into the spotlight with a new version of “I’m Too Sexy” that was inspired by a detergent commercial that you appeared in. Can you tell us a little bit about how this came about?
FRED: The ad agency approached us about using “… Sexy” and asked us to appear in the commercial: we liked the idea immediately. The product, Daz, is very iconic and reminded me of my childhood. We had resigned to Gut Records (don't ask me why) and they had a new radio edit of “I'm Too Sexy” recorded. It was way below what the song deserves. Re-recording a song as big as “… Sexy”, you either get creative and spend some real money or you just leave it alone, Gut did neither. We did some promotion around this release but no one wanted to hear the 2007 version! We found ourselves promoting the original version, only 16 years later! It was a real fiasco.

SPAZ: Were you planning to release a new album at this time? I seem to remember that your website stated that you were working on a new album for Gut?
FRED: Yes, we were recording a new album. Half way through, Gut Records went into administration, so we were in limbo until we got all the recording rights returned to us. It was a tedious and expensive process.
RICHARD: I should have my eyes put out for ever thinking that going back to Gut was anything but a lousy idea. In the words of Jim Carrey: "somebody stop me!" My therapist has advised me to erase all memories of this period from my mind. "Nurse, where's my medication?"


SPAZ: At the end of 2008, you released the single “I’m A Celebrity”, which saw you returning to the club sound of Fredhead and Stand Up. Was the song written about the cult of celebrity in general or the sudden fame that reality stars were experiencing in the public eye?
FRED: “I'm A Celebrity” takes a look at today's celebrity culture, the good and the bad… and the ugly! People are famous and often the public have no idea why. It's an industry all on it's own.
RICHARD: The cult of celebrity is not entirely new, although the advent of meaningless reality shows which today feed it, is. The notion of "famous for being famous" is fairly new and the song tries to illustrate both the emptiness and the transience of the celebrity game.

SPAZ: Shortly after the single came out, you released the album I’m A Celebrity, which is, once again, filled to the brim with infectious songs driven by floor-filling dance beats. Were these tracks that you’d been working on for Gut or a whole new set of songs?
FRED: This was intended as the next Gut album. Although getting our rights back was painful, I’m delighted it didn't get released through Gut Records.
RICHARD: All in all, I’m as proud of this album as anything we've recorded.

SPAZ: One track in particular, “Melanie”, is definitely one of the greatest pop moments in RSF history. What is the story behind this track?
FRED: I'm so pleased you like this track. I think it's one of the best songs we've ever written. As a kid, I only had two posters on my wall: George Best (UK soccer legend) and Olivia Newton-John. The song “Melanie” is about looking longingly at my ONJ poster and just drifting off thinking all the things a hormone riddled teenager imagines when looking at someone as beautiful as she was... and is.
RICHARD: This was fun to record. I love bass synth line and the chorus vocals, which we really nailed. Also, without sounding big headed, I think we got the production just about right.


SPAZ: The album is club-oriented, but there is such a variety of songs on the album, including the oddly ‘80s experimental sound of “Yellow Metal Car”, the ragga-fied “I Am A Bachelor”, the jaunty sing-along “Infected” and other fine moments. Do you feel more comfortable keeping things interesting, musically?
FRED: We do mix it up quite a lot, partly because we don't know how NOT to. Whatever any one of us has been listening to recently finds its way into the studio. Clyde works with Chris Garcia from Trinidad which is how “I'm A Bachelor” came about. We all love the humor and chaos English bands like the Small faces exuded, so with “Infected”, we tried to recreate a bit of that madness. Humor and chaos is now sadly lacking in the UK music scene. It's a real shame.
RICHARD: I think it's better to keep things interesting and run the real risk of messing up than to stick to overly familiar territory. I'm really happy with the mix we've got on this album; it reminds me a little of our first album, which was also pretty varied.

SPAZ: There’s a bonus remix of “I’m Too Sexy” stapled on the end as a bonus track: When all is said and done, has this song been a blessing or a curse?
FRED: Definitely a blessing! I have many musician friends, some successful and some not, they would all give anything to have written “I'm Too Sexy” and, apart from that, I truly believe it's a great original record and I am extremely proud of it.
RICHARD: "I'm Too Sexy" is both the golden egg and a lead weight. Despite everything, though, it's hard to express how proud of it I am. It changed our lives and makes me smile every time we perform it!


Thanks to Fred and Richard Fairbrass.
Special thanks to David Levine.










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