KajaFax SuperFan #7
KajaFax are pleased to bring you yet another peek into the life of a fellow Kajagoogoo fan with our seventh superfan feature.
Today, we feature Cris from Italy.
Cris, thanks for agreeing to be a KajaFax SuperFan!
Thank you Steve, for inviting me! It is absolutely flattering to be considered one of the SuperFans and I am honoured to be interviewed for KajaFax!
For how long you have been a fan of Kajagoogoo, and what first attracted you to them?
Well I have been a fan of Kajagoogoo since early 1983, so that makes it almost thirty years now.
I remember seeing them perform ‘Too Shy’ on a very popular TV music show here in Italy. The song was frequently on the radio as well and already fluttering inside my head, and I think I remember being curious to see how they looked and being taken very much by the group’s image. There was no mainstream equivalent of Smash Hits here at the time, and pictures and articles on what was going on in British pop were rare. At the same time I should say that I was 14 and slightly too young to buy the few ‘serious’ NME/MM style music mags published in those days which probably wrote about the band (something that I started to do soon after though!).
I think I saw them after buying the Too Shy 7” single, which I clearly remember was purchased together with ‘Billie Jean’ and maybe ‘Physical‘ by Olivia Newton-John. That was a landmark in the life of this music fanatic, as Too Shy with its unmistakable sound acted as catalyst and developed my taste, literally switching on a light in my mind and collecting all previous musical influences – directing them definitively onto the New Wave path (that I was already on with bands like Duran, OMD & Yazoo).
With all respect due, that was the first and last time that a Michael Jackson or ONJ record entered my house.
The Kajagoogoo logo on total black was fascinating, and the pictures of the boys on the back cover with their New Romantic hairstyles mind-blowing.
I learnt their names and their respective instruments (“what’s an e-bow?”) by heart.
The best word that even today I can find to define the sensation their look and music gave and still gives me is “darkly exotic” (I think of ‘Too Shy’, ‘White Feathers’, ‘Take Another View’, ‘Frayo’).
No other group before or after have played similarly: today I hypothesise that it was due to Nick and the boys’ prog-rock background which allowed them to create such elaborate songs – so new and unpredictable in their structures. White Feathers, which I bought on cassette in London that summer, confirmed all my hopes and definitively sanctioned my love of the slapped bass guitar sound.
Regular visitors to KajaFax will recognize your name from comments made on some of the posts and features. Are you a big collector of the bands material?
As I said I am a music fanatic, and I consider myself to be a record collector in that I like to possess the physical disc with its cover and everything, no downloads for me. I also buy only vinyl (for me the only possible format), with only certain exceptions when I am sure it is not available. For certain groups I like to have all the releases and of course this is particularly true for Kajagoogoo.
For one not living in England, I think that growing up I have done a good job in finding and collecting as much as I could, and I have a complete and quite varied discography. I remember finding the BBC ‘Islands Tour’ transcription disc in an obscure shop near London in 1989, or ‘Extra Play’ in Munich in 1988.
Im-mac Logic’s ‘Bolero’ has a nice investigation story behind it. In 1985, an Italian music magazine published a feature entitled “Will Be Big in 1985” consisting only of the pictures of ten singers/groups: one of these was a photo of Nick and Mulligan from Fashiøn with absolutely no description/explanation under it, just “Mulligan/Beggs”. A total mystery and a bee in my bonnet until 1986, when leafing through a sort of ‘Encyclopedia of Record Releases’ (very well done, pity I did not buy it) in a bookshop in London I found out the title and name of the project. It was then only in 1992 that I picked it up, incredulously, from a shelf in a small shop in Paris. This would not happen today, things with the Internet have become maybe too easy.
I must say however that after seeing some items of the KajaFax archive, I realize that I am missing quite a few pieces, especially the White Feathers Tour BBC transcription disc, and the White Feathers Tour bootleg album, which I would not have imagined existed!
Do you have a special piece of band memorabilia?
In my collecting passion I concentrate only on records, autographs being the exception. So talking of records I would say that the special piece I own is the ‘Islands’ picture disc, which eluded me for so many years and is really beautiful.
But this of course is nothing compared to my most cherished possession, which is an A4 sheet with a small drawing and dedication from Nick, and his autograph on my vinyl copy of ‘White Feathers’.
Have you seen Kajagoogoo live? Do you have a ‘stand out’ or favorite gig?
Unfortunately, I have never seen Kajagoogoo live, it remains my big dream. But I have had the privilege to see Nick twice playing live with Steve Hackett, and to finally meet him in the backstage, after 25 years of admiration and following in all his projects. It was like meeting an old friend, and I was moved by his infinite patience and kindness and by his being so humble even though he possesses such an immense talent. Now my gratitude goes not only to the Artist for the musical emotions he gives me, but also to the Man for his human qualities.
Do you follow the solo work of each band member, and if so, which is your favorite?
I absolutely try to follow all the solo work of every member of the band. With Limahl, however, it has not been easy, with his numerous aliases and productions in a very crowded, underground music genre. I am now learning a lot on his past activities thanks to KajaFax.
I do not possess anything post Colour All My Days, but of course when Tell Me Why came out I was among the first to buy it. I think that the Smalltown Elephants single is excellent, it is a real shame that the album was never released. I am sure it is a great work (I will have to procure it soon somehow).
My favourite however remain the Ellis Beggs & Howard album, and the two Iona albums with Nick as a member of the group.
Also, the bass riff in Bolero is a masterpiece in itself; it should be reworked into a more traditional song form.
I simply cannot wait to hear the Life Signs record.
How did you feel about the events of 2008 and the Kajagoogoo comeback?
I was enthusiastic, absolutely overjoyed. The world still needs Kajagoogoo music and the reunion was well overdue. Also, I was very happy to know that they were all friends again; if certain situations can be clarified or have lost sense with time, it is important to remedy them.
I would have loved to catch a plane to see them on the Space Cadet tour but did not have the possibility to do so.
The fact of having four new songs available after so many years was a total joy, ‘Dreaming of the Same Thing’ being my favourite.
What would you like to see from Kajagoogoo in the future?
Of course a new album and three singles (on vinyl), in the good old fashioned way, followed by a European, if not World, tour! All of this to start with, and then lots of other albums and concerts!
Finally, as a representative of all Kajagoogoo fans, do you have a message for the band?
I wish to thank Kajagoogoo for producing some of the greatest music I have ever heard, which never failed to meet my taste and touch my deepest chords, be it in the form of the White Feathers, Islands or Don’t Suppose styles.
As you can see the fans have never forgotten you and will always support you in your careers.
We would all be enormously happy to see you tour again, and a new album would be fantastic. I know that considerable amounts of money are involved, but may I suggest recruiting Mark Ronson as producer? Considering the great work he did with Duran Duran I think that with Nick Rhodes and Tim Palmer he is one of the few who could replace Colin Thurston in exalting the original Kajagoogoo style and spirit.
Thanks for speaking to KajaFax Cris – it has been a pleasure!
It has been a real pleasure for me, Steve. I enjoyed talking about my favourite band ever. Thank you so much, let’s do it again sometime!