Dexys: “We’re Not Trying To Relive Anything”

When you do an interview with a band or artist, they normally have a new record to promote.

And 70’s British music star Kevin Rowland – lead singer of Dexys Midnight Runners – emphatically ticks the box in that department. In fact, it’s all he seems to want to talk about as he sits in the back of a British cab, en route to band rehearsals in London’s Kings Cross.

“Did you know we had a new album out mate?” he says.

“Ah, yes I did notice that,” I reply.

“Oh, that’s OK, ‘because I spoke to another lad before and he didn’t know anything about it.”

The new album – One Day I’m Going to Soar – is the glue that has stuck Rowland and his band back together after more than two decades apart.

Rowland had done two solo albums and “all kinds of other things” in that time, before suddenly deciding to make a fresh start with the band, trimming their name down to simply Dexys in the process.

And instead of doing what most bands do when making a comeback – Rowland made a conscious decision to ignore past hits and focus purely on new material.

“If we wanted to make a comeback, we wouldn’t have waited this long to do a tour…we would have been doing dodgy greatest hits shows for years and taking the money,” he said.

“Generally we were always trying to make a new album but nothing seemed to work until now.”

After a few dates in their homeland earlier this year, Dexys are now doing twelve more theatre dates around the UK next month.

And after that, they’ll be bringing their revival experience to our shores when they play the Harvest Festival along the East Coast in November.

So, is Rowland excited to be coming to Australia and playing live on our turf for the first time in his career?  Well, kind of.

“We don’t really get excited about shows; it’s not our thing,” he said.

“It’s more about preparation and trying to do a good show, so we try to keep a lid on it.  We’re not one of those bands that go on stage and go ‘woo, look at us’.”

Most fans would recognise Rowland and the band for their 80’s smash hit Come on Eileen, which is normally blasted late at night at your local pub and accompanied by daggy dancing.

But Rowland cannot guarantee he’ll be sending Harvest crazy and including the track in the band’s set.

Instead, it will mostly be filled with – you guessed it – tracks from the new album.

“We’ll wait and see,” he said.

“(At our comeback shows) we didn’t get one request for it (Come on Eileen), we did the whole new album in sequence and got a standing ovation before we played one old song.”

“We’ll play a lot off the new album – we’re not doing a ‘remember us from the 80s’ and we’re not trying to relive anything…if we do old songs we re-interpret them in a different way so it sounds like what we are doing now.”

“We don’t know how it will be received, but we’ll do our best.”

With the band’s rebirth going along fairly smoothly – will it continue for several more years to come after this?

Rowland is unsure, saying he “prefers to live in the now.”

“I don’t know, I really couldn’t say,” he said.  “I’d like to, but who knows…we’re happy with where we’re at now, the shows have been good, and God willing, there might be a few more good ones to come.”

Dexys play at Harvest Festival in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in November.  Rowland said the band also have “two theatre dates” lined up away from Harvest, with details currently being finalised. For full details on Harvest 2012 click here.

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