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29 October 2014
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Where Are They now?

When were you touring with the Honeycombs?
Dave Dee: That was 1964 when we were doing a summer season at Butlins in Clacton. We used to get Thursday night off and the only way we could make money was to moonlight. We had a gig offered to us in Swindon supporting the Honeycombs. They'd just gone to No.1 with 'Have I The Right'. We went on and did the first hour and Dennis Dell who was the singer of the Honeycombs then went backstage and said to their managers, 'Look, you've got to go and watch this band'. We got a tug into the dressing room afterwards and they said 'We can get you a recording deal'. They gave us their card and told us to come and see them in London. Two weeks later we were doing a gig in Friern Barnet so we thought we'd go and see them. They wrote us a song and put us in with Jo Meak who was the producer for the Honeycombs but we didn't get on with him very well and he threw us out.

Why was that?
Dave Dee: He had very strange recording techniques. He wanted us to play the song at half speed and then he would speed it up and put all these little tricks on it. We said we couldn't do it that way. He exploded, threw coffee all over the studio and stormed up to his room. His assistant came in and said, "Mr Meak will not be doing any more recording today." That was it. We lugged all our gear out and went back home.

It only took you a couple of hits before you had a big hit with 'You Make It Move', is that right?
Dave Dee: Yes. We'd already started to make indents. We went on Ready Steady Go with 'No Time'. They didn't normally do this way but we actually did a live audition in the foyer of the television studios. They saw it and told us that they'd put us on. So, that's how we got on Ready Steady Go with a song that wasn't a hit.

How did you feel when you got your first hit?
Dave Dee: It was what we always believed we would have. We never doubted that we wouldn't make it. About a month before 'You Make It Move' went into the charts we were ready to pack it in. We went to do a gig in Manchester and we had two shillings, old money, between the five of us and we were sitting in a cafe, drinking two cups of coffee between the five of us. We looked at eachother and said, "We can't go on like this. We have to pack it in". But as luck would have it, 'You Make It Move' went into the charts at No.17.

You had about a dozen hits after that and maintained your camp, comic flair...
Dave Dee: We started to make and design all our own clothes. We used to go out and buy the material, do the drawings and send them up to a lady in Cheshire who used to make them for us. She was a friend of one of the band members's girlfriends. Every time we did Top Of The Pops, Carnaby Street used to send their spies down to see what we were wearing and within a couple of days you would see our stuff in the windows.

How did that make you feel?
Dave Dee: We never realised what kind of influence we were having. People like Hendrix were all starting to wear that colourful, glam stuff. I don't think there was a band before us who had done anything like that. We were also doing Latin stuff before everyone else. If you listen to 'Save Me' we've got all the latin percussion on it but we didn't really know what we were doing except that it was different from everyone else. Then in 2000 the latin influence comes in with Ricky Martin but we had already done it thirty years before.

Did you ever catch anyone with your bullwhip?
Dave Dee: Yeah, Dozy, funnily enough. I took a big chunk out of his chin. It was just before we did our first Top Of The Pops and he went on with a great big cut on his face. He's forgiven me now though.

More about the demise of the band and nearly starring with Richard Gere...

  Modern Romance  
  'Two flop records.' Andy's explanation for shift from new romantic to salsa.  
  Mungo Jerry  
  'It just kept selling!' Ray Dorset talks about his seasonal anthem.  
  Dave Dee  
  Dave Dee discusses the hazards of using a bullwhip on stage.  
  Pete Burns  
  We chat to androgynous Dead or Alive frontman about the '80s revival.  
  The Searchers  
  'At the time, I really didn't think it was going to be a lifetime job'.  
  Middle Of The Road  
  Ken Andrew talks about the cheap and chirpy world of Middle Of The Road...  
  Howard Jones  
  We ask the synth wizard a heap of questions, including "What is love?"  
  Paul Hardcastle  
  We speak to the Electro-pop wizard about his TOTP memories...  
  The Stranglers  
  The history of The Stranglers, according to bassist and songwriter JJ Burnel.  
  Mark Moore tell us what he's up to these days.  
  Owen Paul  
  He's back! And music is still his favourite waste of time.  
  Bucks Fizz  
  We speak to Cheryl Baker about Eurovision, Jay Aston and mini-skirts  
  The Foundations  
  We track down Clem Curtis of 'Build Me Up Buttercup' fame  

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