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February, 2003
Erasure - The Interview
Vince Clarke and Andy Bell. It's 17 years since Erasure's first hit. Last month they released their 12th studio album - Other People's Songs.

We caught up with them just before they went on stage at Grimsby Auditorium...
Vince Clarke and Andy Bell


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Other People's Songs - review

Erasure gig re

• Erasure formed in 1985 after Vince put an ad for singer in Melody Maker Magazine.

• Erasure are: Andrew Ivan Bell, a former choir boy from Peterborough and Vincent Clarke from Woodford in Essesx

• Erasure have released 32 singles in the UK

Wonderland (1986)
• Circus (1987)
• Two Ring Circus (1987)
• The Innocents (1988)
• Wild (1989)
• Chorus (1991)
• Pop - The First 20 Hits (1992)
• I Say I Say I Say (1994)
• Erasure (1995)
• Cowboy (1997)
• Loveboat (2000)
• Other People's Songs (2003)


BBCi:Vince, I recall you saying that you would never tour again. What's changed your mind?
Vince: (With a huge sigh) Oh I don't know...

BBCi: Oh dear! Sounds like you're sounding like you're regretting it already...
Vince: No, I mean it's been good so far. We've only done two dates, it's early days. Basically it's more difficult to get press and promotion if you're not touring - that's kind of the reason. And it's been five years since we last toured and some of my cynicism has disappeared.

BBCi: Will it be back by the end of this tour?
Vince: Well I don't know, I mean both myself and Andy are looking after ourselves a bit better this time round.
Andy: I think I've picked up bit of the cynicism from him...

BBCi: So by the end of this tour it's going to be you that says never again?
Andy: I don't know...
Vince: It's a terrible thing to be cynical
Andy: It eats you up.

BBCi: When Sometimes became such a hit did you ever think that you would still be doing this 17 years later and still enjoying this level of success?
Vince: The way the single charted was a surprise to every one it was very nice. It's great to see that there are still some fans out there and also fans still coming along to the gigs. You look out into the audiences now and you see people you recognise which is really weird.

Andy: They're always at the front, I just don't know how people can afford it. They must take their whole holidays for the year and come to the show every night and stand in the same place every night. I just think... I wouldn't do it.
Vince: It's very flattering though.

BBCi: Is there any one event in those 17 years that you can pick as a high point?
Andy: I think having the keys to the city of San Francisco. That was very nice.
Vince: We did this gig in Czechoslovakia while there was a communist government there just shortly before the government was about to fall. We did this venue and there were about 10,000 people there and because you couldn't buy records we started the gig and there was a sea of faces and about half the audience held ghetto blasters above their heads recording the concert for the duration of the concert. That was amazing to see.

BBCi: Why bother recording other people's songs when you're excellent songwriters in your own right?
Andy: It was just a change really and something that I'd always wanted to do and promised myself I would do. From a singers perspective there's always loads of songs that you can imagine yourself singing - you know the standards like Autumn Leaves. So it was basically that - going from there and choosing our own favourites.

BBCi: Was there any song that one of you really wanted on there and the other said 'absolutely not'?
Vince: Well we did discuss doing Black Dog by Led Zepplin...
Andy: I didn't listen to it enough times to get my hear round it... it's just the heavy metal tag.

BBCi: Have you been surprised at the success of the single and the album?
Andy: It's nice... It's weird having done a cover version project and that's the one that gets played on the radio. That's kind of the disappointing thing as your own material's just as good I think... it just wasn't the time and you can't have everything all your own way, but it was the same thing with the Abba-esque thing, you know, with that being no 1. But we're just going to keep on writing anyway, so it's not going to make us go away.

BBCi: Have you had feedback from any of the people whose songs you've covered?
Vince: No... When we've been covered its very flattering, the fact that someone would bother to think that that song's good enough to sing. So I can't imagine anyone sitting down and going oh that's a terrible version of my song... They're just going to be thinking ooh there's some lovely little royalties coming in.
Andy: I've been hearing the Steve Harly song quite a lot on the radio, the original version, and that's one thing that we came up against as well, all the capital gold stations were saying they like the original better, so they've been loathe to play it some of them, but we managed to get in there.

BBCi:Is there anyone that you would really like to do a cover of one of your songs?
Andy: Madonna

BBCi:And what song would you like her to do?
Andy: Breath of life or siren song... something like that.

BBCi:Is there any song, that you think should never be covered?
Andy: And I'm telling you I'm not leaving by Jennifer Holliday and dream girls

BBCi:Why not?
Andy: Because you can't even go near it - it's a whole soap opera in three minutes.

And so we take our leave to let Andy and Vince get ready for the evening's performance... However before they go on stage, they have one more vital appointment - meeting our (very excited) competition winners.
To find out more see the gig review >>



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