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Interview

Right Said Fred - Richard Fairbrass 

added: 17 Mar 2011
interviewed by: Victoria Dillingham

Right Said Fred - Richard Fairbrass -  - Printable version
Bubbly Brit duo Right Said Fred are back with yet another album.They might be Deeply Dippy about their fans, but the Fairbrass brothers are far 'too sexy' for a record label and what better way to prove it than releasing their seventh studio album - Stop the World - independently via the worldwide web.

Fans keen to get a copy of their new album and DVD - Night of the Living Fred - will be at liberty to download it at leisure by simply becoming a member of their website.Membership will not only entitle their biggest fans to new releases, but also discounts on their merchandise, priority tickets to their shows and the chance to secure regular meet & greets with the stars themselves.

Might this be the future in music sales and marketing? Music-News caught up with frontman, Richard Fairbrass to find out.

Music News: Right Said Fred have now clocked a total of 22 years in the music biz what’s kept you together as an act?

Richard Fairbrass: I think it’s fair to say our career has been up and down. We’ll still write a song and think, no that’s not quite right, but the thing is we do write and produce our own songs, which I don’t think everyone is aware of. I think a lot of people think we’re a bit stupid and have us down as a another Milli Vanilli, or two guys who just go to the gym and pump weights, but that’s not the case and I think it's our determination to prove all of these people otherwise that in part has kept us going for so long.

MN: What inspires you both?

Richard: Do you know it can be a number of things. Sometimes it can be a lyric that sparks an idea. Like with one of the tracks on our new album, ‘Raining In England’ which we co-wrote with Clyde Ward who lives in Cyprus. We knew we wanted to write a patriotic song about England and I think the track comes across as such. Just born out of an idea.

MN: How do you both differ in terms of the music you like to listen to and are influenced by?

Richard: Like most young spotty teens we both grew up listening to the usual big rock bands such as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and so on. But I think we’re quite different in what we like as we’ve got older. Fred likes Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen whereas I listen to a lot of Big Band music and Kate Bush. I actually think Kate Bush is the best female artist this country has ever seen, I think she’s amazing. Not forgetting of course, Sir Paul McCartney, if there was one artist I could listen to on a desert island, it would be him without a doubt.

MN: As brothers you have a very distinctive look, how do you handle fame and being noticed in the street even all these years on?

Richard: I don’t think either of us took to fame with ease. I personally found the whole thing a bit embarrassing initially and I’m still not one to harp on about it or play the fame card. Fred however is completely different, he loves it. Just recently I tried to book a family dinner and I just couldn’t get a table at the restaurant we really wanted to eat at. When I told Fred he asked if I’d told them who we were, and I of course said ‘no’. Fred rang back and suddenly we had a table, so yes he’s very at ease and enjoys playing the fame card.

MN: How do you think the music industry has changed over the last 20 plus years?

Richard: I think it has changed beyond all recognition. We were selling 100,000 singles a day in the US 15-20 years ago. Now I’m told 100,000 sales a year is good. Music sales have definitely taken a dive and the music industry is on its knees. Having a number one hit no longer equates to album sales, or bums on seats at venues.

There are also a lot less music labels and record companies around now. Most of the big ones have merged and due to the rise of the internet and social networking, record labels no longer tell people what they can and can’t listen to, which is a good thing. Bands have to think far more laterally now about how they make, produce and also how they market their music.

It’s challenging now and in a different way. Being in a band of being a musical success doesn’t always mean money. If we hadn’t been so careful in our earlier years, I doubt we‘d still be going. It’s still a business, people forget that, and we still have to make a living. There’s definitely a lot more to consider now.

MN: What do you think keeps fans coming back to your shows and buying your albums?

Richard: We’ve sustained a following across Europe and that includes the UK and I think its because we love what we do and we don't get stuck in a groove. We might have a different approach to others when it comes to making music, but that’s what makes us different.

MN: How does the new album differ from the last?

Richard: I think it’s a real mix and in some parts a more acoustic sound. We always try and write music we like, not that we always agree. With this album it’s been very much about ideas, phrases or maybe even something we’ve seen. We have always been driven lyrically and even more so with this album. I think it’s fair to say its more pared down in parts, for example with ‘Waiting for a train’ we just wanted to capture the very simple visual of someone stood on a platform waiting for a train and I think we’ve really captured that. It’s so simplistic.

We’ve only ever been happy writing music we like. Neither of us could write or produce music that we didn’t genuinely feel or were into. I’m really pleased (although Fred’s not as keen on it) with ‘Feels Like Love’. It’s a classic driving track with full-on guitar and is very Fleetwood Mac, I think it’s great. One of the tracks on the album came together in as little as 20 minutes, it was that instant, whereas as a track like ‘Obvious’ took us 6 years to complete. We had the basic guitar rift, we just couldn’t seem to further it and then one day it came to us. It’s very much like that for us with music.

MN: What’s the key objective behind your new website, is it born out of a genuine passion for social media or desire to connect with your fans?

Richard: We’ve always enjoyed connecting with our fans and I think we’ve just become more and more in touch with them over the years, which is where the Q&A style show - Night of the Living Fred - which we held at the Leicester Square Theatre and are releasing on DVD stems from.

I think it also comes back to thinking more laterally as a musician. For us after all these years, the very idea of going to a label who blow hot and cold - one minute they love you the next they don’t - with a single and asking for their permission to release it just seems ridiculously. We’d much rather do it ourselves as oppose to giving it to the so-called gate-keepers who think it’s their right to tell people what they can and can’t listen to. This way our audience it limitless and anyone and everyone has access to our music.

MN: And free downloads for subscribers… how will that work and how will you monitor it?

Richard: There’ll be two different subscription options and this will have a bearing on what you can and can’t have access to on the site. So for example someone who pays for top subscription will be able to download the whole of the album, get a discount on merchandise, tickets to shows and the chance to take part in a meet and greet with us. It will work a bit like an online membership and will ensure fans get what they really pay for while also enabling us to stay in communication with the people that really listen to and enjoy our music which is important.

MN: You’ve lots of tour dates ahead and the album’s due for release in May, but what’s next for Right Said Fred? A film maybe…

Richard: Yes we’ve got a string of UK tour dates ahead starting on April 25th in Birmingham and finishing mid May in Hull. The shows comprise of a Q&A session similar to the ‘Night of the Living Fred’ and we’ll perform some of our favourite tracks from the new album alongside the classics.

We’ve got a lot of work and live performances ahead of us in the lead up to the DVD and album release, but I’d really love it if Fred and I can take it to the Royal Albert Hall, I think it would really work.

Funny you should ask about a potential film, I’m not sure I should say this, but we have been approached about the idea of bringing the Right Said Fred story to life and I understand there are currently a lot of talks going on with a number of actors, one of which is Robbie Coltrane. Nothing has been confirmed yet so I wont say too much more, you’ll just have to watch this space.

MN: Finally, I know it’s probably hard to imagine given your 22 years together, but if there was no Right Said Fred, what do you think you’d be doing now Richard?

Richard: I’d probably be an MP. Yes, politics is another thing, along with really bad music, that raises my temperature and gets my blood pumping.

To find out more and download your copy of Stop the World and Night of the Living Dead, which is out on Monday May 2nd visit Right Said Fred's official website: www.rightsaidfred.com

For those who can't wait that long and want to catch the boys live in a Q&A style show they'll be following venues on the dates below:

April 25th Birmingham O2 Academy3
April 27th London Islington O2 Academy2
April 28th Sheffield O2 Academy2
April 29th Stanley Theatre, Liverpool Guild Of Students
April 30th York Fibbers
May 6th Stockton On Tees The Arc
May 7th Cleethorpes Pleasure Island
May 13th Huddersfield The Warehouse
May 14th Hull The Piper Club

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