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24 September 2014
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Where Are They now?
Pete Burns talks image, the '80s revival and what he really thought of Courtney Love

Dead or Alive found fame in the mid-'80s, aided considerably by the outrageous antics and androgynously self-styled frontman, Pete Burns.

Having surfaced intitially in 1977 with The Mystery Girls and later the proto-Goth rockers Nightmares in Wax, Pete founded the dance/electro-pop group in 1980.

In 1985, Dead or Alive snatched their first no.1 hit with 'You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)', which was also the first UK chart topper for Stock, Aitken And Waterman. In the late '80s, Steve Coy (drums) and Pete found greater success in Japan and have since maintained a considerable overseas following. Their re-recording of 'You Spin Me Round' is due for release at the beginning of April.

In a previous interview you said you wanted to move on from 'Spin Me Round', but now you've re-recorded it. So what changed your mind?
Pete: Well, we moved on as far as we could from it, but due to corporate pressure, it's a matter of re-introducing us to the market with something that's familiar. The charts now are full of cover versions and it was suggested that we do a cover, so we thought there's no better way to go about it than to cover yourself. There's been so many differences bootleg mixes of 'spin me' that we decided we weren't just going to do a remix but that it would be better to re-record it and do it from scratch. It's quite radically different and something I can live with.

How different in this version?

Pete: A lot different! We worked with producers, Brian Rowlings and Graham Stack, and we changed it as much as we feasibly could. It's still the same song, obviously, but it's as different as we could make it. It sounds fresher, more up-to-date, it doesn't sound like a retro-revival track. We're very pleased with it. I wasn't prepared to re-issue it as it was in 1985, because I'd been touring round the world and that was always the song that people wanted. I got to the point last November when I thought I simply couldn't do that song anymore. It was a very childish reaction really. I think when you first get into the music industry, you have a lot of expectation that you're going to get to do a lot of different things and that it's all about creativity, but it's not. It's about repetition, in the same way that anyone else's job is about repetition. You have a successful formula and so you repeat it, and that's exactly what we've had to do. I feel quite happy with the fact that we were able to re-record it and that it's a new version. Hopefully, if it's a success, we'll be able to introduce new material into the market. Also though, we are releasing a greatest hits album called 'Evolution' on April 21st, which we're looking forward to. The single's out on April 7th.

Is there any new stuff on your greatest hits album?
Pete: Yeah, there's a few that we never released here, but were hits in Japan. There's one called, 'Hit And Run Lover', plus others whose titles escape me at the moment. But most importantly, there were more hits than 'spin me', which people tend to forget. If I could turn the clock back to 1985, we'd have started on a lower level and 'spin me' would have been the final single that we released, as opposed to it being first, 'Lover Come Back' being second, 'In Too Deep' being third and 'Something In My House' fourth.

So what the new material like?
Pete: Well, it'll always be disco/electro-pop. That's what I first wanted to do when I started out as a musician in 1977. It's only ever been dance-pop that I've wanted to do.

Want to read what Pete had to say about Courtney Love in the late '70s...

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