Poptastic Confessions

Poptastic Confessions

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Friday, August 26, 2011

An Interview with Jacquie O'Sullivan, formerly of Bananarama, in 2006

In 1988 when Siobhan Fahey quit Bananarama to form Shakespear's Sister, Keren and Sara asked Jacquie to join the group. They knew Jacquie from the clubs, and they knew she could sing, as she had been in a rockabilly band in the early 80s called The Shillelagh Sisters. Jacquie was with Bananarama until 1991. 

Keren, Sara and Jacquie as Bananarama

After Bananarama, Jacquie formed a group with her friend Paul Simper called Slippry Feet. Unfortunately, they never got a record deal, but years later they were able to release an album of songs they had recorded from 1993 to 1996. Since then, Jacquie has been out of the spotlight. 

In November of 2006, I interviewed Jacquie O'Sullivan for the Pop Life fanzine. She was very nice to answer all of the questions I had for her. Here is the interview …

The first single from Jacquie's first band. Jacquie is in front.

Let's start off at the beginning: The Shillelagh Sisters. It wasn't until "Sham Rock & Roll" that a lot of Bananarama fans heard the Shillelagh Sisters. It was fun to hear you sing rockabilly. What are your favorite memories from the Shillelagh Sisters and did you have a favorite song? (Mine is "Give Me My Freedom"!)

Well I’m glad that someone got to hear the Shillelagh Sisters, that’s  all thanks to Kurt. Me and Lyn the bass player were bored and were sick of our boyfriends who were both in a band called the Polecats being away so we wanted something to do for a laugh,  we started going through ideas about stuff we'd like to do and basically chose a lot of really obscure female rockabilly songs like Black Cadillac (my favorite) which is all about a women telling her cheating boyfriend that she is going to get a great big 45, kill him and ride to his funeral in a Black Cadillac....sweet.

I mean we were more of a gigging underground band who were well known for their shambolic post punk gigs often supported by The Pogues. We were branded Cow Punk by the press who seemed to love us from our very first gig. The NME was at our very first show and said that we were what live music was all about. We just constantly gigged and had such a laugh and were well known for getting the audience up on stage to play percussion and generally cause as much chaos as possible. It was hard going gigging all the time we had a little white van and 5 big ladies and sometimes Lyn's boyfriend Boz  (now Morrisey's guitarist) all squeezed very tightly into the back of the van with all the drums, double bass etc, but in retrospect they were my happiest gigging days bar none. Yes much better than the touring with the Nanas, even though the Nanas was on a much grander scale.

The Shillelagh Sisters performing "These Boots Are Made For Walking"
Jacquie is on lead vocals.

I was able to track down the super-rare "Tyrannical Mex" CD. Can you tell us why it was named that? And what's behind that picture on the cover?

The Tyrannical Mex was basically a play on T-Rex because Boz who produced it is a massive fan....the artwork....just having a giraffe! That Cockney Rhyming slang to you skeptics.

The whole concept was by Mark Addams he did the sleeve and concocted the title he's a friend of Pete Barrett that made up the original logo and mark does Bowie's web site now he knew I was a big Bolan fan hence the title and the picture he found was of a regular kid but he made it look very sinister by super imposing that mask on the kid's face. That's it really!

The cover of their live album

When you joined Bananarama, it was such an exciting time. Can you describe what it was like for you during those first few months?

I really don't remember too much (misspent youth to mid 30s to blame!) I do remember being so excited by everything in the first few months and a little dazed by it all. It was full on into the fame machine as soon as I joined and I didn't have time to think.

Jacquie, Keren and Sara as Bananarama

Can you tell us anything about the demos recorded with Stock, Aitken, Waterman in the late 80s? The songs were ... "Nothing Lasts Forever", "Love Generation", "I Don't Care", "Wake Up And Love Me", "Don't Throw It All Away", "One In A Million."

In The Greatest Hits Collection, you are the first person thanked. And the nickname "The Cavewoman" is mentioned. Can you share with us how this nickname came about?

I had the nickname cavewomen from my friend Paul Rutherford from Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and this was because I was not a delicate little flower when it came to getting my men. You know a big club over the head and home!

Keren, Sara and Jacquie as Bananarama

The World Tour. Can you share some of your favourite memories or some funny stories from the tour?

That was so long ago! My favourite times were mainly when my friends came out to join me on tour, and we used to get a few days off to go partying together, although it was quite a laugh my first time in Japan (Nippon) and doing some of the radio idents having to say Radio Nippon over and over used to crack us up (not so funny when you write it down).

Pop Life remains many fans’ favourite Bananarama album. How does that make you feel? And do you have a favourite song or favourite memory from making the album.

Is it many fans favourite? That’s nice. It was great to work with Youth, I'd known him since I was about 18 and he's such a nice man. Although no great memories from that time....sorry. Love, Truth and Honesty was my favourite.

The fabulous 1991 album Pop Life

Which is your favourite Bananarama video you were apart of? And why?

I Want You Back will always have a special place, it was my first video with the Nanas and I will never ever forget the blacking up bit. What were they thinking?!

Do you have a favourite Bananarama song?

Venus was their finest hour.

How about those dance routines? Did you have a favourite one?

Venus routine was also their finest.

A performance of "Love In The First Degree", "Nathan Jones" 
and "Venus" at the Diamond Awards

The Slippry Feet recordings are incredible. Your voice is so beautiful. For a lot of fans, getting the album was like finding a missing piece of the puzzle. Can you tell us about Slippry Feet? And will you ever get back together for more shows?

Slippry Feet were such a fab group and years ahead of the Scissor 
Sisters! Our shows were such extravaganzas and everyone came to see us our gigs were chock a block with record companies and stars. Me and my bestest friend ever Paul Simper formed the group, and were nearly signed to Sony but our A&R guy had to go into rehab and our deal was lost forever....and then I ran off to Thailand. But we are currently thinking about doing some more stuff.

The pictures from the Slippry Feet CD, you have blonde hair. Was it your real hair or a wig?

It’s a wig! It’s a wig!

A Slippry Feet promo photo

Sadly, your last CD with Almafame never came out. Can you tell us what it would have been like? Any Bananarama covers? And where did the name "Archivedeximer" come from?

Can't really say anything about that........

A lot of fans were surprised to see that you and Siobhan are friends. Does that surprise you? And would you ever consider doing a duet with Siobhan?

Why does that surprise them? I knew Siobhan more than I knew Sara or Keren. Me and Siobhan have friends in common, and occasionally our paths cross, I went to see her show last year and she was fab. I don't think we have ever discussed singing together but never say never.

Will you ever return to singing professionally? And how will Bananarama fans find out and support you?

I still have a hankering to perform live and have plans to do something with The Shillelagh Sisters and also another little project up my sleeve. I’ll keep you posted, I am on myspace but not for any music project just for me and my friends. Right now I’m off to Thailand again and I’m concentrating on becoming a full time Yoga teacher.

Did you know that there is an online Yahoo! group that is dedicated to you?

No! How sweet.

Do fans still recognize you on the street?

On occasions I get someone but you know it is 20 years ago!

You made some news a couple of years ago when it came out that you had escaped a fire in Thailand. Can you tell us about situation? Or how it felt to make the news again?

I woke up at 3 in the morning to a lot of shouting and screaming thought a woman was getting attacked outside my bungalow and run out in just my knickers to help, the place was on fire. We all had minutes to get ourselves and our belongings out of the bungalows. The fire was as high as the palm trees and you could see it from all over the island.  My friends whole business and home was gone in about 15 minutes all 20 bungalows her home and restaurant. It was honestly one of the most scary situations I had ever been in in my life, luckily no-one was hurt, but it made me feel so humble, fire is such a powerful thing. No candles in straw houses! Especially in dry season!

Thank you again for answering these questions. I just want you to know that many, many fans look back fondly on your time with Bananarama. And I am one of them.

Thanks for your support and I’m amazed that you haven't given up the chase with me … keep up the good work. Much love, Jacquie O'

The interview with Jacquie was originally published in the November, 2006 issue of Pop Life.

An Interview with Sara of Bananarama in 2006

In spring of 2006, I interviewed Sara Dallin of Bananarama for the Pop Life fanzine. Here is the interview ...

Sara and Keren ... Bananarama!

Hello Sara! Fans are absolutely loving this album. And some think it is your best work. How does that feel to know that your fans are so happy about it?

We’ve had great feedback from everywhere we’ve been so far. I’ve read some comments from Pop Life. It’s great!

It is great, indeed! Keren told us that you both sing a verse in “Waterfall.” Can you tell us who sings which verse?

I sing the first verse and bridge, Keren second.

Great! Do you have a favourite song from the new album?

“Look On The Floor” and “Feel 4 U”

Both are favourites of mine, too. Before the album came out, there were some rumours that there were songs called, “Better With You”, “Time Heals Everything”, and “Say You Will When You Won’t.” Do these songs exist?

Only heard of “Better With U”. It was not good enough.

Figures! Will there be a third single? If so, what song would you choose?

I would choose “Feel 4 U.”

Will Drama get a US release?

The album is being released in the US in May.

The cover of the album "Drama"

Hooray! Which is more likely to happen first? A Bananarama song with George Michael or the Pet Shop Boys?

I’d rather duet with Joaquin Phoenix.

Ok, very nice. Are you planning to tour this year?

So much promo at the moment, but we are looking at club dates until we get time to rehearse with a band.

When you perform live, do you find it funny that all the gay boys know the dance routines?

No, it’s fantastic! It doesn’t matter how old they are either!

Well, I’m one of them. XM Satellite Radio in the US has “Look On The Floor” at #4 on their charts. The DJs love it. How does that feel?

Fantastic! I hear it is #1 now!

Is it? Very nice! A few years ago, Keren said in an interview that you had written a song that was too good to give to anyone else. Do you remember which song it was?

“Your Love Is Like A Drug.” It was a great dance mix, different to the album version!

I’d love to hear it! Are you surprised that fans love “Blue Sky” so much? Every couple of months someone online brings it up how good it was.

I loved “Blue Sky.” Very simple and sweet.

Did you know that some fans have made mixes of your songs? I’ve heard a mash-up with “Venus” and “Move In My Direction” that was quite good. What do you think of this?

I love the remixes! They are my favourites!

What do you think of the Pop Life fanzine?

Have only seen a few and they’re great!

Sara and Keren posing with a copy of the Pop Life fanzine!

Did you ever see the old fanzines True Confessions or WOW!? And what did you think of them?

True Confessions was done by a teenage fan from Liverpool, Peter Lorraine, who is now one of my best friends and head of marketing at Polydor.

This interview was featured in the February, 2006 issue of Pop Life.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Interview with Keren from Bananarama in 2005

In 2005, Bananarama released an album in the UK called Drama. I was lucky enough to be given an advance copy of the album, and I was able to interview Keren by email for the Pop Life fanzine before the album was released. Below is the interview ...

Keren Woodward

How excited are you about your first album released in the UK since Please Yourself? And why did you choose the name Drama?

Very excited. We’ve waited a long time for the chance to make another album, and it seems like years since we started work on it. Bananarama Drama just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it? I’m surprised we haven’t used it before.

Bananarama Drama

Yes, it does! Some rough demos for the new tracks were leaked to fans this summer. How did you feel about this?

I get really angry at demos being leaked as the whole point of them is to try stuff out in private. We should have artistic control over what the public gets to hear, not the producers or anyone else involved.

Some of those demos we heard were “Falling” and “Be My Lover Tonight.” A lot of fans liked “Falling” and were sad to see it not included on the album. How come they didn’t make the final cut, and will you consider them for future releases?

We thought Falling sounded a bit dated, a bit 80s. I can’t remember the other one so it must’ve been crap!

Hahaha! The song “Middle Of Nowhere” was an old demo and an unexpected choice for the album. What inspired you to re-record it and include it?

We always liked the song and years after we recorded it people asked us about it. The vocals on the demo were really rough, so we had to re-record it. It is different to the rest of the album, which is a good thing. A lot of people have suggested that it should be the next single.

Do you think you will ever re-record the demo for “Blue Sky”? It seems to be a fan favourite.

Wouldn’t have thought so, but who knows.

How did you feel about “Move In My Direction” getting to #14 in the UK charts?

We would have liked top 10, but 14 was pretty amazing after so long, and considering we had a problem with radio play.

What made you decide to remake “Hypnotic Tango” while writing a whole new song and adding the chorus?

Korpi and Blackcell came up with the idea. We thought it was a great chorus but initially didn’t like the results. However, I think it’s turned out to be a really cool track, and I love performing it.

The song “Waterfall” is fantastic! Fans think Keren singing the verses solo. True? If so, what inspired you to break your unison trademark?

Actually, we sing a verse each. There are a lot of solo vocals on the album. We’ve been singing together for so long that we sound alike.

The verses of “Don’t Step On My Groove” sound like you are alternating singing the verses. Is this true? Or just studio magic? Also, the demo I heard had a longer first verse. Why was it shortened?

We sing alternate lines in the verses. The verse was shortened when it was being thought of as a possible single contender. It just seemed to go on a bit!

Besides the singles, my three favourites from the new album (as of now) are “Frequency”, “Feel For You”, and “I Love The Way.” What are your favourites?

“Feel For You” has been my favourite since the moment we did it. It’s just so damn sexy.

Over the years, there have been rumours of a Pet Shop Boys collaboration. Will it ever happen?

We love the Pets. They sent us a song recently, but it just wasn’t right. I hope it happens at some point though.

Well, hopefully in the future! Fans would love to see your past albums remastered with bonus tracks like b-sides, and perhaps comments from you about the album. Any chance that could happen any time soon?

The old stuff is in the hands of a different company right now, and they keep putting out odd compilations. Hopefully if this album works out, we can look into coming to some arrangement.

Fans wouldn’t let me off the hook without asking about a DVD of videos. Will there be one?

Maybe. We’re considering doing a live dvd.

Your record company, A&G, especially Sarah B., have been extremely helpful to fans letting us know how we can help inpromotion. How has it been working with them?

It’s been fantastic. They’ve been so supportive, and working with such a small company means we’ve all become really good friends. Jemma and Brian are mum and dad, and Sarah’s little sis. I’m afraid they all suffer a few strops and tantrums from time to time.

Pascal and Pascal do an amazing job with your website, Bananarama.co.uk. We really are so lucky to have an amazing site. What’s it like having their undivided support?

FABULOUS! Very lucky indeed.

The banner from the official website

They are FABULOUS! For the last ten years, fans around the world have been able to discuss Bananarama through the Internet. Did you know about the online community of Bananarama fans?

I’m a bit of a computer dunce. I’ve only had a laptop a couple of months. I am the slowest typist in the world and replying to these questions has taken soooo long. I’m exhausted! I’m obviously aware though.

Of all the remakes of your songs, which is your favourite? And why? “Cruel Summer” by Ace Of Base or “Last Thing On My Mind” by Steps? Or another?

Whichever one made the most money!

Ha! Will there be North American and European releases of Drama?

We’ve already done deals in most of Europe and Japan, and hopefully we’ll finalise a deal in the States soon.

What do you think about the Pop Life fanzine? And did you get a good laugh over the hair contests?

How did you know that would be our favourite bit? I looked gorgeous as the queen.

After the release of Drama. What is next for Bananarama? A tour? More singles?


This interview was originally published in the November 2005 issue of Pop Life.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Freedom (7th Heaven Remix) by Sugababes

As you may have seen here that the Sugababes have a new video out. Well, there is now a HOT remix  of it by 7th Heaven! And I love it! Enjoy!~

Friday, August 19, 2011

Party In My Head by September

Well ... we are still waiting for a video for September's fabulous "Party In My Head." Until then, here is another amazing performance. I posted another one last month here.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Starlight by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Sophie Ellis-Bextor is out with a new song this summer. The song is called "Starlight" and it is a bit down tempo compared to some of her more recent songs.

Who is Sophie? Well, she is a British singer who is FABulous! Her biggest hits have been "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)", "Murder On The Dancefloor", "Mixed Up World", "Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)" as well as her amazing songs from last year "Can't Fight This Feeling" and "Not Giving Up On Love".

It's not a dancefloor stomper, but it's a nice tune. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Freedom (Video) by Sugababes

A few weeks ago, I featured a post about the Sugababes. Didn't read it? Click on their name. The new video is out. 

It does sort of remind you of their video for "Freak Like Me" except this has no storyline. Oh well, Heidi, Amelle and Jade look fantastic. And the song is fab. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

All Fired Up by The Saturdays

The British girl group The Saturdays have a new song out, and it is catchy! I've liked The Saturdays since they came out in 2007, but I've never really been bonkers about them. I've liked their songs, but the song I liked most was called "Work" and it was their lowest charting single in the UK. Oh well.

The new song is a dance tune ... and it might just be my new favourite song by the group. Unfortunately, their songs aren't available on US iTunes. If I can find a place to legally download the new song stateside, I'll let you know. Until then, enjoy the video on YouTube.