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The Gibbs Will Be Singin' Live On A&e's `Request'

The Gibbs Will Be Singin' Live On A&e's `Request'


April 26, 2001|By Jean Prescott, Knight Ridder Newspapers
Robin Gibb talks a blue streak -- faster than a New York cabbie, faster than a hyperactive Southern belle. And he dispenses opinions, rather strong ones actually, in a declarative fashion that you have to admire.
He is calling from London to talk about the brothers Gibb and their appearance at 9 p.m. Friday on A&E Network's popular Live By Request series. Talk turns almost immediately, though, to the Bee Gees' new album, This Is Where I Came In, a disc of a dozen new tunes with the tone, texture and heart of Bee Gees days gone by.
"We wanted to go back to our early days," he says, "back to our roots, and so we started in March of last year," writing songs and recording them separately and together, doing some tracks apart, on different parts of the planet, and others with Robin, Maurice and Barry all clustered around the same studio microphone.

Listen through the dozen and you'll hear touches of the Beatles, bits of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, some Duran Duran. Any temptation to snivel "derivative" should be tempered with the understanding that the Bee Gees predated all of these artists.

When the brothers go live on A&E, the song list naturally will depend on who's watching, Live By Request 's interactive nature making it cable TV's only such music series, so far as we know. With luck, though, someone will request the new album's first single, "This Is Where I Came In," with its hooky chorus and acoustic guitar. The album hit stores Tuesday; the single's been out longer. Perhaps someone will even ask for the Petty-sounding "Man in the Middle" or the delightful "Technicolor Dreams," "which sounds a bit like Noel Coward, doesn't it?" Robin says.

He concedes that requests probably will run to the Bee Gees disco-era tunes, and that's OK with him.
"People who have a history, it's very hard actually to avoid the older stuff. It's not a bad thing these days to hear the old songs; we don't mind a bit doing them."

What he does mind is that "most records [today] are a technical kind of creation," crafted in the studio where the singer comes in at the end to lay down his tracks and the finished product is short on human feeling and passion.

"You can get any kid in the street and make him sound good today," Robin declares, "make his voice sound good even if he's off key. And it's a kind of accepted thing.
"I was at an awards show in London, lots of new young artists, and one of the bands that got an award, this young man in the band, he said, `We may be one of the last bands to play our own instruments,' and he was booed. You would think otherwise, but it was seen as very unpopular


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