By contributor Annette Bartholomew
Annette Bartholomew caught up with China Crisis lead singer Gary Daly as the band start their 25th anniversary tour.
A pan of Tuscan bean soup.
It's not the first image which springs to mind when you think about how a successful pop act might be spending their spare time, when they're not in the charts.
But this culinary chore was exactly what Gary Daly, lead singer of 80s band China Crisis, was performing in his Liverpool kitchen before heading off for final rehearsals of their 25th anniversary tour - starting on 29 September 2007.
The 45-year-old father wanted to leave his family something 'nice' for tea while he went off to practice such classics as Wishful Thinking, Black Man Ray and King In A Catholic Style.
At the Marquee Club, London, in 1980
Joining him on this UK tour, which includes a visit to The Sage Gateshead on 18 October, is co-founding singer and guitarist Eddie Lundon.
The childhood pals first started playing together at school when they were 14 and have been close both as friends and colleagues ever since.
The pair were both from big families, where the sisters liked Motown and Stevie Wonder and the brothers listened to progressive rock.
Gary said: "So we liked everything and went off to write songs based on those influences."
China Crisis recruited various musicians to join them on the road including Gazza Johnson, Kevin Wilkinson and Brian McNeill.
It was their brand of uncomplicated, melodic pop which brought them chart success, especially with albums like Flaunt the Imperfection and Working With Fire & Steel.
While some bands eventually split due to artistic differences or lack of creative challenges, it's those demands which have actually helped China Crisis stand the test of time.
Gary describes Eddie as a great songwriter who writes positive music, whereas he is more melancholic.
"When we get together, we complement each other and it's been like that for 30 years," he said. "And we don't feel too old!"
To keep the creativity flowing, Gary has been working on his first solo album, called Dirty, Sweet & Low-down of Men. It could offer women useful advice, as his lyrics tend to be full of heartfelt wisdom.
And Eddie is passing on his musical knowledge as he lectures to degree students at Liverpool's Fame Academy.
A group of them have even been offered the chance to tour with China Crisis. They will be marked on their performance by Eddie, so let's hope the audience gives them a fantastic response!
last updated: 03/10/07