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29 October 2014
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Altered Images
Claire Grogan’s girlish glee and innocent pout made her the ‘80s most glamorous frontwoman. Any chance of an Altered Images comeback?

Is pop music better or worse now than in the ‘80s?
Claire: Well, a good record is a good record, whatever era it comes from. I’ve always loved disposable pop music. The nature of pop is disposable. It’s not supposed to be around forever. The nostalgia fad for the ‘80s does baffle me but then again I’m hooked on it myself. I think music was far more tribal in the ‘80s, you had punks, new romantics, Goths, etc. That was interesting. You don’t get that now.

Pop Idol TV? Devil spawn or a genuine hotbed of creative talent?
Claire: I have mixed reactions to those Pop Idol and Popstars shows. I like to watch them but at the same time it is manufactured. All this synchronised dancing is a bit stage school for me. Who knows if any of them will have long careers. I do think that record companies should invest more in the long term future of British bands. I do think something will give quite soon with this glut of boy and girl bands. It can’t be sustained forever. Something will come along as a reaction to it.

Regrets? Have you had a few?
Claire: I don’t have any. I wouldn’t be the person I am now if I hadn’t gone through those experiences. I didn’t do it to be famous or rich. We just wanted to make music. We didn’t bother much about contracts or money and consequently we lost a lot of money too. Younger artists now tend to walk around with a pocket calculator and that’s good in a way. You have to try and hang on to your money. We were just living our fantasy and not really thinking about a career.

What did you spend your first ever royalty cheque on?
Claire: Well, I only got my first royalty cheque last year! There’s been an ongoing legal battle that has lasted years which meant I didn’t get paid for ages. But even at the height of our success we were all on a wage. I was earning £45 a week back in 1982! The most I ever earned from Epic Records was £75 in one week. It was frustrating I guess but then you don’t miss what you don’t know.

Siouxsie Sioux and Steve Severin from the Banshees took you under their wing and helped you get a deal. Do you still keep in touch?
  Claire: Not really although I bump into Siouxsie from time to time. I’m still incredibly in awe of her when I see her. I never really know what to say to her. She was brilliant. She had such style and presence. She made such a great pop star.

  Simply Red  
  "That's a bit supermarket, isn't it. I'm not making that many bottles. "  
  Robin Gibb  
  "There's been great moments both as a songwriter and as a performer."  
  Paul Roberts - The Stranglers  
  "We certainly weren't going to call ourselves The Bay City Rollers."  
  Lisa Stansfield  
  "I just thought, how many times do I have to sing this song?"  
  Soft Cell  
  "I think it's the only time that a banjo's been played in the Ministry of Sound."  
  Erasure  
  "Agnetha said she liked it. If I met them I would curtsey."  
  INXS  
  "We really surprised lots of people by simply hanging in there."  
  Kim Wilde  
  "I used to be really jealous of Claire Grogan...I thought she was gorgeous."  
  Dollar  
  "Failure was not an option, we were materialistic and greed was good."  
  Human League  
  "We did a US tour with Culture Club and Howard Jones...solely for the cash."  
  Altered Images  
  "Women were treated as a bit of a novelty in the music business in 1981."  
  Belle Stars  
  "The pop music lark just seems like a lifetime away now."  
  Steve Strange  
  "Look, you’re playing me like a bitchy queen and I’m not like that."  
  Five Star  
  "We all grew up wanting to be famous and we lived our dream..."  
  Phillip from Ruby Flipper  
  "At my age, I'd find it difficult to get my legs where they used to go..."  
  Glen Campbell  
  "I got to work with literally everyone in the business; Nat King Cole, Sinatra..."  
  David Gray  
  "Lots of tension in the camp. We're battling Gareth Gates for the No.1 spot"  
  Robert Palmer  
  "There's this homegenised force feeding of what is hip."  
  Marilyn  
  "I think George manipulated our relationship for publicity"  
  Tom Jones  
  "I'm pulling all my old jewellery out now and comparing my rings with Wyclef"  
  Ruth From Pan's People  
  "I could show you dozens of times I forgot the moves..."  
  Badly Drawn Boy  
  "Everybody has to do what everybody else does in order to have a hit single"  
  John Otway  
  "I think the music business is probably not happy with what we've done..."  
  Jimmy Cliff  
  "I look at someone like Ms Dynamite, I come away with a positive feeling."  
  Human League  
  "We wouldn't trust anyone that didn't wear eyeliner."  
  Status Quo  
  "I probably went about four or five years with a pair of stage jeans"  
  Gary Numan  
  "There are so many things in my past that you could make fun of."  
  McAlmont and Butler  
  "We were big enough to get over any-thing that may have been exchanged."  
  Primal Scream  
  "The producer at the time told us we'd never work again."  
  Oasis  
  "I prefer miming, I prefer if we weren’t playing live."  


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