Kajagoogoo Fan Contributions: Italian Media, 1983
KajaFax hosts a thriving community of KajaFans, and we at KajaFax HQ are always happy to receive mail from fellow enthusiasts. Today’s contribution was sent in to us earlier in the summer from fan and good friend of KajFax, Cris.
“I know you like magazine articles, so I hope this will make you happy. This feature is from around 1982 – 83. As you know, I did not find much information on the boys in the Italian press, so these pages were so incredibly precious… The article is taken from “Boy Music”, a nice little weekly magazine which did much with limited means and was published by the same publisher of the famous Milan based newspaper ‘Corriere della Sera’. It had an illustrious origin, and was born as ‘Corriere dei Piccoli’ (Children’s Courier) in 1908. As the oldest comic strip book, Children’s Courier was a part of every Italian child’s life until the 1970s. At that time, it changed its target audience to youngsters, changing its name to ‘Corriere dei Ragazzi’ (Teenagers’ Courier). The magazine covered all sorts of showbusiness events, from cinema and TV to music, adding a few comic strip stories. It later developed into ‘Courier Boy’ and ‘Boy Music’. The magazine always managed to be updated with what was going on musically abroad (in addition to Italian artists), until its closure in 1984.”
These articles are published in their native Italian, but Cris has done a stellar job in translating the information for us, for all to enjoy.
As always, click on the images to open a large size version on your screen.
INTERVIEW WITH AN AMAZING ELECTRO-FUNK BAND: KAJAGOOGOO
BABY’S BOTTLES IN THE DISCO
They are cheerful and fun like their songs, and there is no disco around that doesn’t play their first hit, Too Shy. Their look is colourful, from the top of their hair to the tips of their feet, thus making the photographers’ happy. But about Kajagoogoo, forgive the rhyme, no one knows the… ‘Who’s Who’ ?
First of all, what does your name mean?
“Nothing. We wanted a name that didn’ t mean anything”, bassist Nick Beggs replies laughing. “On the contrary, I was thinking about something childish, like the sounds a baby makes, and “Goo, gaga-googoo” was the first thing that came to mind”
And then? Go on
“Well, I didn’t like the impact, it had to be softened. So keeping the ‘goo-goo’ end part, I tried all possible versions and when I pronounced Kaja-googoo I understood straight away that that was the right one!”
A new but also familiar name?
“It was our goal”, singer Limahl intervenes. “After all, a few years ago crazy names such as Duran Duran, Yazoo, Depeche Mode, Spandau Ballet were all the rage”. Limahl speaks slowly, almost weighing his words. He is the idol of the group’s female fan base, and has slightly dethroned Nick from his pedestal, although at every gig, there’s some competition between the two. Indeed, even the meeting between Limahl (anagram of his real surname Hamill) and the rest of the band (then called Art Nouveau) has not been one of the easiest. They were ‘basement players’, looking for a singer with character, talented and wild; and he, a musician in Bucks Fizz and then in Brooks, didn’t want to keep going that way. He had a voice, and ideas. He wanted to be a leader.
And so how did you meet?
“Thanks to two ads in the Melody Maker, a music magazine”
Two simultaneous ads?
“Yes, we were looking for a lead vocalist and Limahl was looking for a band”
And how was your fist contact?
“Ice-cold to say the least” remembers Nick. “Limahl’s ad was arrogant. It said: ‘I am 22, good-looking, I’m a singer-songwriter, full of imagination and determination. I need people with the same requisites. At the moment I keep receiving only obscene phone calls'”
That first contact, however icy, then started to warm up a little. Cassettes with recordings were exchanged, after which Limahl went to Leighton Buzzard, Art Nouveau’ s headquarters. The Kajagoogoo idea was taking shape…
Limahl, but are you really the arrogant type?
“No, it’s all shyness. And reactions are always out of proportion, aren’t they?”
Sure. Tell me something that will convince me though…
“I’ve done more or less all kinds of jobs. I’ve even been a waiter in a London club, and I won’t say the name only because it doesn’t deserve publicity, especially for free. For the dance party they set up for St. Valentine’s Day, I had to dress up as Cupid! All silver painted, with an embroidered outfit, I had to lie on a sofa, bow and arrow in hand!”
Are you ashamed of yourself?
“No, because I’ve never done things that were vulgar… But it is not right to sell your body, in whatever way….although I admit that in the Cupid role I was successful”
Kajagoogoo start protesting….they don’t agree. They can’t be blamed for Limahl’ s sex appeal, especially thinking of him dressed up like that…
Limahl, what does being a star mean?
“Sometimes I think about it, but really I don’t know. I don’t feel any difference with my previous life…I don’t feel any emotions yet. How should a star behave? Do you know? Well I know that I can’t even get out of home to go shopping”
How did you think it would be, then?
“Fantastic, great, unreal, a dream! And instead it isn’t. Becoming a star means becoming inhuman: you enter a tunnel, you think you are doing special things and instead you find yourself doing things that are inhuman”
Success is a bad beast?
“One must be able to keep it at bay. Ride the tiger. Otherwise, you become a slave to it, it drags you where it wants. And at that point it’s a problem. You become depressed, nervous, and you might also make the fans suffer. You don’t want to sign autographs, appear in public. You don’t want to do anything…you become a recluse. And this is the first step towards madness”
What are you really scared of?
“Sometimes I’m scared of fans. But I feel that I have to walk to the stage front and say ‘Hi, how are you? What’s your name?’ I think it’s the right thing to do. You must give yourself to the public. Kajagoogoo will never be a band who raises barriers”
How do you see Kajagoogoo in a few years from now?
“Oh my! I don’t know. Certainly different, because you must have the courage to change always, even when things are going well”
Some have defined your music as being “electro-funk”. Do you like this definition?
“Quite. We have a crossover appeal, in the sense that we are liked by everyone, by young people and by older people too. Maybe that’s because under the surface we have a kind of cabaret soul. But the truth is that we give everyone something in which they can identify”
EVERYTHING, BUT REALLY EVERYTHING ABOUT THE FIVE KAJAGOOGOO BOYS
Name: Nick Beggs
Place and date of birth: 15 December 1961, Winslow, Buckinghamshire
Hair: white and blond (natural colour: light brown)
Height: 1.91 m
Brothers and sisters: Jackie (19)
Name: Steve Askew
Place and date of birth: 9 December 1957, London
Hair: red and black (natural colour: brown)
Height: 1.71 m
Brothers and sisters: Karen (17)
Name: Jez Strode (real name Jeremy)
Place and date of birth: 17 January 1958, Luton, Bedfordshire
Hair: blond and red (natural colour: blond)
Height: 1.93 m
Brothers and sisters: Peter (28), Joanne (11)
Name: Stuart Neale
Place and date of birth: 5 August 1960, Leighton Buzzard
Hair: black with blond highlights
Father: Gerald, tax official
Mother: Rosemary, violin teacher
Brothers and sisters: Lorraine (30), Malcolm (27), Adrian (24)
Name: Limahl (Christopher Hamill)
Place and date of birth: 19 December 1958, Wigan, Manchester
Hair: black and white (natural colour: brown)
Eyes: green – hazelnut
Height: 1.67 m
Brothers and sisters: Paul (26), Anthony (25), Caroline (20)
Kajagoogoo discography; 45: Too Shy/Ohh to be Ah; LP: White Feathers
A huge ‘thank you to Cris for taking the time to scan and translate this article!
Your efforts are as always greatly appreciated by the team here at KajaFax and also our readers!