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Interview Andy Gibb 1985

Interview With Andy Gibb
by Bob Durant

Bob D: “ Emerging from the shadow of the Bee Gees was both a professional and personal achievement for Andy, but then his success did arrive and came much too quickly for a very young and inexperienced Andy Gibb to control. His excessive lifestyle and the emotional setback of an over-publicized broken love affair brought Andy’s music career to a grinding halt. Today, with plans for a new solo album and becoming a full-time Bee Gee, Andy is optimistic about his future on “Night Music”, Bob Durant talks with Andy Gibb.”

Bob: “You can’t talk to Andy Gibb without talking about the Bee Gees, and I think in Andy’s own mind it is important for him to talk about the Bee Gees, because naturally, when you’re the youngest brother of a group as successful as the Bee Gees have been there are advantages and disadvantages.”

Andy: “Oh, absolutely, absolutely, um I would say more so in the beginning were the disadvantages, because before I had any success that I could call my own, I, um had to live under that shadow “the youngest brother of the Bee Gees”, in fact, when I performed in Australia, the billboards used to say “Tonight, Andy Gibb (about 2” in size) youngest brother of ... (and in 3 ’ letters) BEE GEES.” (laughs) so.. but I also knew that it had to be that way.. because I was not known.. I was a Gibb, but out in the bush or the sticks of Australia, you know, you could be anybody... so the “Bee Gees” was a selling power, but lets be honest about it I mean it’s been, in the long run it has been nothing but a great advantage. Because I wouldn’t, who knows what would have happened, I might be here without their help, but I mean the fact is they did help me and it was a tremendous start, it was tremendous success, looking back, almost a little too much too soon, too young, because I peaked and then I died for a while and I am just now starting to try and get my feet back on the ground, but um, other great advantages are just having wonderful musically gifted brothers who always help me and always advise me on anything.”

Bob: “Andy, also there is such a family resemblance, you look like Barry, Barry looks like you....”

Andy: “I’d better get rid of this hadn’t I (referring to his beard growth)?”

Bob: “No, no, but, so that in itself, when you walk out on stage people say ‘My God, it’s a Gibb,” I mean there is no way you can deny your heritage. But as you’ve said, and as I guess most people know, Barry in particular has corroborated with you on your hits. Lets talk about those songs that you had the hits with, starting with the first one and what role Barry played in that and how you got together on it.”

Andy: “Well, the first song we ever did, actually this was Barry, it wasn’t me... was “I Just Want to Be Your Everything”, which was done in Bermuda at Robert Stigwood’s home, who managed both of us at the time, and that just came about, that was my first contract, Robert became my manager, Barry was going to produce the record, he said ‘let’s go lock ourselves in a room, in a bedroom somewhere, and um, when you’re working with Barry, things go very fast. ‘Cause he’s an expert at his craft, you know, and within about 20 minutes he’d written a #1 record; and then we went right into another one; and then we co-wrote the next one which is “Love is Thicker Than Water”.
 That came in about 40, 50 minutes, it’s just unbelievable when you are working with him. And, not much of a story to tell on either song, because none of them are taken from any personal experiences, we just create a situation in our heads, you know, it is something that only we know how it comes together it is hard to explain it to somebody who isn’t there, but we just don’t draw on any old romance. We just create a situation and take it from there.”

Bob: “Shadow Dancing” is, I guess the one that gets the folks the most excited when you’re live, because was it your biggest? Did it sell more than the others?”

Andy: “Whoo, huge, that record was huge, the album was #2, which was the biggest selling album I ever had. But the record itself around the world must have sold something... I don’t know, probably about 20 million world-wide, probably more, but in this country..oh, no, actually much more than that, but the album in this country sold about 6 platinum, when I say this country, I mean the United States, I am sure it did very well in Canada... um.. sorry about that.” (laughs)

Bob: “You must realize something, that this is far different, we are all members of the “Common Wealth”, you know, Andy, you can’t forget about us.”

Andy: “I know, I’m British too (laughs).. I was born in Manchester...I’m so used to being always in different cities, I get all mixed up.” (laughs)

Bob: “You were born in Manchester, but most people think you were born in Australia.”

Andy: “That is true, um, we emigrated there when I was 5 months old, and lived there 11 years total. So, I would say education wise.. I feel more Australian than anything else, but I am proud to be British, I wouldn’t part with my British Passport.”

Bob: “Olivia Newton-John, didn’t she do the same thing or was it the reverse: she was born in one country and emigrated to another....’

Andy: “She was born in Cambridge, England and she emigrated, at what age, I don’t know, but before I did...’cause she’s older than me.” Bob: “So you hit it, as you said when we first started talking, you hit it very very big, very young, which can be a disadvantage, in this case it was a disadvantage I would gather.”

Andy: “Yea, I didn’t think it was going to be at the time, ‘cause it was (gasp) wonderful! Great big beautiful rollercoaster ride, you know, I was making a couple of million a week, literally, it was just pouring in. I was buying cars, yachts, and looking back, I suppose I could blame a few people ‘cause I was too young to know any better, but nobody advised me, maybe I wouldn’t have listened if they had thinking back, ‘cause I was pretty head strong, but nobody advised me how to invest it, what to do with it. and before I knew it they were starting to monitor it and saying cut back here.. cut back there and I wasn’t used to that. I thought you’ve done nothing... also I was surrounded by people who say nothing but ‘you’re the greatest’; and I didn’t know . this is a great life.. I am sure you heard of my drug problem that I had, you know, I checked myself into a place for it, it started around then very lightly. The kind of drug that I was doing that was very big in Florida about that time and of course the rest of the world... cocaine. And, so what happened is I started not turning up for recording sessions.. leaving Barry to cover for me...on a couple of my albums you will hear Barry singing a line and you think it’s me, but it was really him. This was, you know, my past history of people that know , has shown what the drug has done to me. I lost a lot of work through it. I lost “Solid Gold”. I lost “Joseph...” on Broadway. (started to say “Pirates” but doesn’t quite... ).”

Bob: “So now, when success comes to Andy Gibb, it is so much sweeter, because you’re older, you’re more mature, you’ve kicked that monkey off your back. So.. now, when you hit what you hope will be a height, it’s going to be really nice.”

Andy: “Well, yea, I know what is going on now. Before I didn’t know what’s happening (laughs). You know, I would forget what someone said to me the night , I was blacking out all the time, chemical blackouts, you know. But, I got a feeling that deep down in the pit of my stomach that ‘86 is going to be good for me. Because I am clean now and I know what I’m doing and to work with my brothers, and joining my brothers at the end of the year as a “Bee Gee” is going to be at the end of ‘86, is what we’re doing, we’re going to be one group and we will start my new album in May with Barry again, now we have confidence in me. And I think the biggest thing that really helped me is that I’m in love at the moment, intensely in love, I have found the girl of my dreams, and we’re talking marriage.... and she’s a “Solid Gold’ dancer...if you see them on TV up here, she is one of the dancers and I am just crazed, crazed about her. She is... only , only adds
to my sobriety.”

Bob: “Let’s just cover one small part of your personal life and then we’ll forget about it, Victoria Principal.”

Andy: “I will say just a couple little things that sum Victoria up. First I want to state that I am very happy for her marriage now, and we have made amends as I have congratulated her and wish her all the happiness in the future, but Victoria is a woman that has done everything that it would take to get where she is today... she has done it all.. believe me.. and she has, I won’t say now, but she had a drug problem when I met her, she was an alcoholic, and a coke problem and I was off it and we got back onto it together.. and just because of sexual things and other things we got back onto it together.. and that got me heavily back into it... and then we stopped... when we really fell in love we agreed to stop everything, because we didn’t like each other on drugs.. of course... you know... and at the very end of it all, after about 15 months or something we just started arguing, I don’t think we were meant to be. She is 8 years older . she is a “Siren on the Rocks” (according to old “sea lore” is a beautiful woman who lures ships to their demise on the rocky shore)...she is a very seductive woman.. very few men can resist her. But I will say, that yea.. she took me basically back to it... but I wish her all the best....”

Bob: “Were all the Gibbs born with the same ability... I know you and Barry have that same ability in your voice. I don’t know about Maurice or Robin, but where did it come from?”

Andy: “I don’t know, me and Barry have an uncanny similarity vocally.. it’s um...we are the closest mentally too, and writing style, everything...he is the first boy born and I am the last boy born and it’s funny.. the other two.. there is no resemblance. Robin has in his own way, probably the most beautiful voice of them all, he has that little quaver, that “I Started a Joke”..voice..”

Bob: “For those who don’t remember, he sang the lead with the Bee Gees in the beginning.”

Andy: “He had that feeling (sings) “I’m going baaaack to Masaasachuuuusetts.... I started a joke....where Barry is more ahhhhh, the breath. Maurice has no vibrato in his voice.. Maurice is just a good in tune singer and he really makes the Bee Gees sound when the three of them are together and Maurice is on top... that is it..”

Bob: “What about recordings now for Andy Gibb before he does anything with the Bee Gees?”

Andy: “Well, Barry is talking about producing me in May and now that I am on the straight and level. All the three brothers want me to join them as a Bee Gee.. and now I take that as it comes, you know, because they are busy and don’t know when that will be.. but that is the plan and hopefully that will be at the end of ‘86. “

Bob: “You are obviously happy about that..”

Andy: “Yea, quite happy about it. There was a time when I wanted to maintain just a solo career, but now I feel... we get a good feeling when we all sing together. It feels complete.” Bob: “Do you think though, that the Bee Gees can last forever, I mean they practically have lasted forever when you think about the beginning.”
Andy: “Well, you know... what do they have to prove, it’s not like um a job where you work in a factory where you’re going to be laid off at such an age. Look at Sinatra, look at the Mills Brothers. Music is in your blood, you never give it up, you can’t give it up. You can’t one day just throw your guitar into the closet and just lock it up. Secondly, which is one thing that disgusts me sometimes with fans, I shouldn’t say that heavily, is how quick they forget... about... look at their history... look what they’ve done.. and yet no mater what you have done in your life you are only as good as your last hit. With “Saturday Night Fever”, nobody could even imagine that Michael Jackson was going to come along with a “Thriller” years later of course, but now all of a sudden Bee Gees are talked about like has beens again, you know and they were talked about as has beens before “Saturday Night Fever” because they had that slump and they don’t have to prove anything to anybody.”

Bob: “Andy Gibb, a pleasure to meet you and thanks for being so candid and I hope everything goes super for you.”


Anonymous said…
What a lovely young man AndyGibb was... We lost him so soon, seems like everything was finally going right too. How utterly sad. I know a person like VP who was in my own life, people like this really can and do mess your head and emotion up. Rest in peace lovely Andy, sweet Mo and talented Robin Gibb x x x

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