The Michigan Daily Wednesday, November 19, 1986 Page 7
Wakeling: Growing up in 'Public'
By Seth Flicker
Dave Wakeling is not what ap -
pears to be the typical 'pop-star.'
He's 30 years old, has a wife and
two children. Don't be fooled,
though; tie's not the typical 'family
man' either. Wakeling, and co-lead
singer Ranking, Roger are in,
perhaps, one of the most prominent
modern English bands. After four
years being English Beat-ers, these
two guys started General Public and
will be taking their successful band
to the Michigan Theatre this Thurs -
Daily: Who was your inspi -
ration to go into music?
Wakeling: That's a good one.
The Beatles and Tim Buckley.
D: How did they inspire you?
W: Because they made me cry.
D: Do you want to make peo -
pleW Only tears of happiness.
D: Why did you want to go into
W : It's a funny variety of
things. There are at least three rea -
sons: one, I liked playing the guitar
and not much else, two, I wanted to
find out about girls and motorbikes.
* D: And three?
W: I liked writing poems and
put them to music. It's kind of
like a cheap form of therapy, I
D: Have you found out about
girls and motorbikes?
W : Yeh, I've had my fill of
D: Is it what you expected?
W : Well, I knew that it
wouldn't be ultimately satisfying.
It was something that I had to get
out of my system.
D: What is the reason that you
are in music today?
W: I sometimes wonder that the
reason I'm in music today is be -
cause I've been in music for the
past few years. I still have the
same thrill of playing the guitar and
I still get the same catharsis out of
writing poems, but it is kind of
lonely not having a hotel room full
of girls and motorbikes, to be
D: Do you ever wish that you
quit touring and settled down in a
*local bar or the such?
W: Yes, of course. I think that
every musician thinks that
D: Did you ever think that you
would be this successful when you
W: No, I didn't have a clue.
D : And are you happy with
W: Yes. We were shocked, I
suppose, that the first LP took off
'as well as it did. But (success)
brings other problems. People ex -
pect you to be happy all the time.
People expect you to have 25 hours
in every day and to put most of
them aside for them.
The make-up and the snake are
back. Does this herald a return to
the Alice Cooper of old? Is Con-
trictor an album chock full of
gruesome goodies from an over -
exposed yet underrated 70s rock
icon? Does Alice show up all of
the pretenders who've ripped off
huge chunks of his style and image,
and parlayed them into Top-40
success? No, no, no..
What Alice has given us, with
minor emendations, is a Ratt al -
bum. That's barely tolerable when
Ratt does it, but when Alice does
it...well, you've just got to wonder
whether the man ever had a shred of
artistic integrity to begin with.
The stage show was always smoke
and bluster, but listen to the Grati-
est Hits album. It rules! Was that
just dumb luck? No. This man had
Until Alice produces an album
that features at least two or three
cuts on par with "Be My Lover,"
"Billion Dollar Babies," or "Sch -
D: What were your goals when
you started off in music?
W: It was really to say what I
mean and to dance while I did it. If
I got that right, I thought that it
would be infectious.
D: Do you still have the same
W : Yes, I think so. They are
seen through a slighly older pair of
eyes but I think that they are the
D: Were you more idealistic
when you were younger?
yourself to other bands?
W: I like our lyrics more than
D: What kind of message are
you trying to send in your lyrics?
W: There is a few strands to it.
One is tolerance. One is a slight
horror at the world. Another thing
is the brotherhood of man and that
what we have in common with each
other the most is the way we fuck
D: Do you actually think that
music will alleviate matters?
D: Does all this attention ever
go to your head?
W: No. I mean it was lucky, I
suppose, we'd seen through that
one really before we ever came to
America. We exploded on a
teenybop level in England. We've
tasted the delights and seen the
limitations of that part of pop
D: What's the difference between
playing in England and playing in
the United States?
W : There is really not that
much difference. It used to be that
English people were more open and
more responsive. I think that was
because Americans had just gone
through a period of stadium rock
were thay have been trained to sit in
nice if your past fame goes with
you, I think. The way I look at it, I
didn't know that I was ever going
to be in one popular group so the
idea of being in two in one lifetime
is nothing really short of being
D: What are the ingredients to
be a good musician?
W: It has to be an equal balance
of joie de' vivre and despair.
D : Suppose one of your
children grows up and tells you that
he wants to be a musician, what
would you say to him?
W: Yes. I wouldn't mind.
D: What advice would you give
W: I don't think that there is
any advice that you could give
because my dad told me all about
girls and motorbikes but I still had
to find out for meself.
General Public is back in good for
W: Yes, but I think that's part
of the natural process of growing
up, not necessarily being a musi -
cian. They have that saying that,
"When you're young you've got all
the answers and as you get older
you start to learn all the questions."
You start finding out about grey
areas where things used to appear
black and white.
D: Does music seem as roman -
tic as it was when you were young -
W: I think that it has lost some
romance. The business seems to
seize as much more of a marketing
exercise. It's kind of marketing,
then music where, when I joined a;
group in England it was music
followed by marketing.
D: Did you ever think that you
would be as mainstream as you
W: No... Toa certain degree I
don't mind it. Some radio stations
that you listen to, all the groups
sound exactly the same as each o -
ther. It would worry me to be part
of that. I think that with this recent
LP, production on it tended to be
more mainstream than we ever have
been before. I think that there is a
chance that you can fall between
too mainstream for college and too
college for Top 40.
D: Do you think that you have
become too mainstream?
W: For my particular taste, I
D : How do you compare
their seats and be impressed by the
light show. I think that has
changed over the last three or four
years. American audiences are as
demanding as the English audi -
D: -Do you think that American
and English musicians are starting
to sound the same?
W: They are definitely because
Top 40 format, unfortunately, is
the international taste at the mom -
D: What do you think of the
W: I have a big problem with it
because a lot of my songs, they
m and will be performing at The told me, couldn't go on Top 40
because my lyrics are too
W: Sometimes I think it helps contenious. That upsets me beca -
a lot and sometimes I think it does use I like records to be a big
nothing. Other times, I think that success but I don't like them to be
it just confuses the issue and heigh - rubbish just to be a big success.
tens it. Perhaps it will turn out true That would be a shame. There is
that most kids in college today are this feeling of lowest common
going to be in the army in denominator, I suppose.
Nicaragua in the next ten years. D: Now, to the English Beat.
Maybe it's better that they don't get Do you think that you are using the
confused with any ideas of ega - success of English Beat and
litarianism. It changes like the wea - carrying it over for General Public?
ther does in a way, doesn't it? You W: I think that General Public
could end up an optimist, a pes - and Fine Young Cannibals both got
imist or a fatalist and there is a bit of a start by being in English
usually elements of all three going Beat. But we've been careful to try
on, to make General Public stand on
D: How would you desribe your'their own feet. There is no point
audience? - . 4eny~ing using the English Beat. We
W: I think that they are split up were quite proud of the fact. It's
into a few different sections really.
Working backwards from the front
of the stage: young,girls, who seem
to love me or Roger. They look
lovely, know all the words and SPEA K ,
dance very nicely and dress very
well. 'A workshop
D: Is this the kind of responce or helping of
you want from your music?
w :Partially, but that's the THURSDAY
front part of the stage. Then, in the
middle of the hall tends to be 3
generally male, 19 to 25, socially
aware. I like their responce as well. CALL 76-G
They dance rather crazy but theyCA L7 G l
don't blow me kisses. a
Around the back, we seem to
have 25 to 30, sometimes a bit
hippyish who like the politics of it Sp(
all, I think. They like politics you
can dance to.
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