Best known as the ever smiling front man of Wet Wet Wet, Kevin chats to Marti Pellow
Best known as the ever smiling front man of Wet Wet Wet, Marti Pellow's varied career has had numerous highlights over the last twenty odd years. From critically acclaimed appearances on Broadway and the West End to having one of the biggest selling UK singles in history as well as being honoured by the White House who named a day after him! When not treading the boards and collaborating with the Wets Pellow can be found working on solo projects such as the Platinum selling album Smile.
Currently on tour with Soul legend George Benson in support of his new album I caught up with him for a chat.
KD: So your on tour with George Benson, How did that pairing come about
MP: I, well they(promoters) came to me a few months back and said would I be interested in going out on the road and both of us had been working in America and someone said 'why don't the two of you get together ?' and I'm a big fan of his anyway so I thought ' brilliant, I'll do it just cos I'm a fan'.
KD: You both have separate billing, are you going to do any duets with him ?
MP: I'm gonna try and blag my way on. And why not ? That's what it's all about, he probably doesn't know it yet, so don't you tell anybody (laughs) but that's my plan !
KD: Do you prefer touring as a solo artist or as part of a band ?
MP: Whenever I'm on stage these days its quite an eclectic mix of where I go and who I play with, I love it if its a good audience and your engaging with them and their engaging in what your doing it doesn't matter who your playing with.
KD: What kind of set list have you got planned for this tour
MP: You know what I've not really worked that out yet, I'll probably do some of my own songs, some Wet Wet Wet songs and some of somebody else's songs. I'll try and do songs people are familiar with. I don't think this tour is just 'here's my new album and that's what I'm gonna play' Thats not what its about, not for me anyway. I wanna be playing songs people will know and have a good time to.
KD: You have a new album coming out soon
MP: Yeah You can go to my website (martipellowofficial.co.uk) and download it or not only purchase the CD you can get that old Dickensian vinyl record format with that old style sound, I love that.
KD: And is this one more of a pop album or is it jazz and soul ?
MP: You know what I just made a record. What is it ? Well its a Marti Pellow record so that in its self means I'm gonna be skating in different genres. There's a lot songs living under this umbrella, I just made a record you know ?
KD: You recently did a solo album rerecording Wet Wet Wet songs, How did the rest of the band feel about it, were they pissed off ?
MP: No, there our songs so not in the slightest, we don't see it like that and I wrote those songs plus it's never a bad thing if the writers get their songs out there. I'm not sure how it would of been had it been someone else you know ? But if they would of been there at the time then they would of been on that record too.
KD: Love Is All Around sold millions of copies and you deleted it after 14 weeks. Are you sick of that song now?
MP: No but I think if you'd of asked me at the time... and its spending multiple months at number one then you think to yourself 'enough is enough' but am I sick of singing it ? No. and that song was played to and enjoyed by millions of people and still continues to do so and that's a great gift to have so why would you not want to sing that song ? I don't come at it from that angle life's to short.
KD: As it was a cover version did it make any money ?
MP: Well it depends which way your looking at it, if your the writer of the song then you'll make the money off the publishing but there's so many things that come off the back of a song like that but that's financial bull shit, who cares about that ? I've done all right.
KD: You played Daryl Van Horne in The Witches Of Eastwick, was it daunting taking on that part after Jack Nicholson's famously enigmatic screen portrayal ?
MP: Well one is musical theatre and one is a movie so they're two different genres so they have to be different. I think if you even attempt or have the audacity to emulate what Jack does that's just wrong so I never came at it from that angle, I was doing it through the gift of song so the performances were very very different so you cant really think 'Oh I've got big shoes to fill because they're two different worlds. (laughing)I'm a better singer than Jack!
KD: With the vast changes that have occured in the music industry do you think it's possible for young artists to make a living out of recorded music any more ?
MP: Yes very much so. I think the record companies are in a unhealthy position but I think the way people access the music and the way people create the music and how the business is moving into the 21st century from an artistic point of view it's never been as strong. I think its wonderful the way people can access music and yes it is different of course but do I think the record companies will find the next boom ? No I think It'll come out of Myspace. So you can make a living out of it plus the live ticket has never been as strong, Its just the way the industry has moved and if you look at it its the first time that they don't own the format like CD and Vinyl now there's I-tunes and other places on the internet were you can get that song so the whole balance has changed and if you don't run with it then you become obsolete.
KD: Has The live music industry changed as well ?
MP: No Its as powerful as ever, That's one thing you can never take away, a good artist who has a great back catalogue of songs that people are familiar with can tour forever. There will always be that live environment and that's what it's all about but of course I think it's important as an artist to have songs that are new and to show where you are in the 21st century but there's a lot of money in nostalgia. What I think is important though is that you feed it with something new as well as there is a balance.
KD: I see Scotland aren't in the World Cup this time who will you be supporting then ?
MP: Well what can I say, You know with Scotland every time we are in the world cup we always seem to get home before our postcards do. So who will I be supporting ? Oh come on Kevin now that's a mine field !
KD: I just want an exclusive?
MP: (laughs) Hey come on I'm supporting football ! Football comes from this country that we live in. This tiny little island does well on a global scene it doesn't matter who's putting the ball in the back of the net as far as I'm concerned.
KD: So what plans have you got after the tour and the new album ?
MP: I'm gonna be doing much of the same. I'll probably do some more musical theatre, I'm looking at a few projects, I'm gonna do some more writing and just continue what I'm doing I've still got all the passion and the enthusiasm for it as I did when I first started 150 years ago !!
You can see Marty Pellow live now - he's currently on tour with Soul legend George Benson