Martin Kemp on why 80s music still resonates ahead of Norwich show
PUBLISHED: 16:45 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:45 12 March 2019
Louisa Baldwin spoke to Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp ahead of his Back to the 80s Party in Norwich this summer.
The former bassist of one of the biggest bands of the 80s is coming to Epic Studios in Magdalen Street on July 27 to take fans on an unforgettable journey through all the best hits from the decade.
The pop heart-throb will be getting the crowd dancing with a DJ set and is doing around 70 shows across the UK this year.
Martin first found fame as the bassist in Spandau Ballet whose top 10 hits including Gold, True and Only When You Leave with brother Gary Kemp on guitar, vocalist Tony Hadley, saxophonist Steve Norman and drummer John Keeble.
Alongside his music, Martin is also a talented actor and played villian Steve Owen in EastEnders from 1998 to 2002 where he framed Matthew Rose for the murder of his former lover Saskia Duncan.
He has also hit the headlines with memorable appearances on Celebrity Big Brother in 2012, where he finished in third place, Channel 4’s Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls and as a judge on BBC talent show Let It Shine.
Ahead of the show, Martin reveals what it was like to perform at Live Aid, why he thinks the music from the 80s and why his peers told him not to join the cast of EastEnders.
What can people expect at your Back to the 80s party?
It is a celebration of the best time of their lives with some of the best music ever made and a time of great songs and great bands.
When you go to a concert you are waiting for your favourite song but what we do is make sure every song is the best song and makes that amazing atmosphere.
I started the event last year by chance as someone asked me to come along and play some songs and it was so successful we are rolling it out across the country.
I really enjoy it and it is the most fun thing I do out of everything.
Have you been to Norwich before?
I spent a bit of time up here a few years ago and stayed in Sprowston whilst filming a six-part TV series and it is a really beautiful area.
But in every area it is the same for the event, everyone who comes along just wants the best evening and the one thing they take away is a sore throat.
What are your favourite memories from your time in Spandau Ballet – are there any highlights that stand out?
There are a lot of highlights, the band was on top of its game for 10 years but my biggest memories were playing Live Aid, our first record going to number one and playing in sports stadiums around the world - it is an incredible way to grow up and I was spoilt.
The funny thing about Live Aid is usually moments are bigger in retrospect when you look back but that was the only thing I knew would be historical when we did it and it went out to two billion people.
Why do you think the band was so popular and what was your favourite song?
It comes down to great songs which are still being played and also the way we looked.
Through the Barricades was my favourite song as it was about people in love across borders and we wrote it about Northern Ireland.
Then we went on tour and realised it was for everyone and when we got back together in 2009 after we split it became our song.
Why do you think the music from the decade continues to resonate?
It is all about great songs and I couldn’t even pick a favourite artist as I just loved that era.
The 70s style of music came out of punk with rock stars using cheap amps but in the 80s equipment was upgraded and there was a new sound meaning that bands like Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran could really sparkle.
What was it like appearing on EastEnders?
It was everyone’s favourite TV show and 18 million people tuned in every night which was a huge responsibility.
Most people in the cast were new actors and there hadn’t really been someone well-known on before so I remember people telling me not to do it as it would kill my career.
But I knew at the time it was something special and I loved playing a villian and my storyline with framing Matthew.
Did you enjoy being a judge on Let it Shine?
It was very different for me as all my life I’ve been giving advice to my son and daughter so it was good to give advice to other kids and it is all about giving them confidence.
Why should people get tickets to the Back to the 80s Party?
It is the most fun you’ll have in one night, I guarantee it.
Tickets are available at seetickets.com and early bird tickets cost £17.60