URL: http://prince.org/msg/8/166903

Date printed: Wed 14th Nov 2018 8:27am PST

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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > Interview with Pete Burns of Dead Or Alive
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Thread started 11/11/05 2:45am

Mazerati

Interview with Pete Burns of Dead Or Alive




THE MAN BEHIND THE MAKE-UP MASK page 1 / 1

Watching me grow up in a rural community in Australia my mum can recall looking on in horror as her 11-year-old son mimicked this strange feminine man who was top of the music charts. I dare say she was shocked that I was in awe of a man who looked more like Cher than her own pop idol, Elvis. Nevertheless, cashed up with two week’s pocket-money I splashed out on my first ever cassette. Youthquake by Dead or Alive wasn’t just pop music, it was the soundtrack to a young gay man’s sexual awakening, mine.

Lead singer of Dead or Alive, Pete Burn’s strong demanding vocals on infectious hits like That’s The Way I Like It, You Spin Me Round and Lover Come Back to Me are hardly those of a great singer, but his style and mystique mixed with extremely catchy lyrics and electronic sound created a pop phenomenon who intrigued, excited and/or disgusted all those who crossed his path. When he burst on the scene it was as though the risqué Boy George had undergone an electric shock and from the ashes emerged the much more enigmatic and wonderful Pete Burns.

Since I first discovered Dead or Alive seventeen years ago I have grown one foot taller, took up smoking, finished school, graduated from university, moved country, given up smoking and now find myself face to face on a photo shoot with my mum’s nemesis, Pete Burns who looks as eerily youthful as he did the first time I saw him.

In an interview you describe your mum as being on a different plane to everyone else can you tell me more about her?

Well she is dead now. Which is a terribly boring thing. She was German. Compared to other mothers she was very eccentric, but I don’t see her as eccentric and still don’t. She was very head strong. She was half Jewish and on the run from the Nazis. She was a very rich lady when in Germany, but she lost it when she was in the war, but she certainly carried on her lifestyle and never lost her aristocratic ways. She still knew how to live in style on a shoestring.

Did she get to see you become a success?

Yeah she did, she was around when I was number one and quite a while after that, but she succumbed to cancer and died. It was a painful death. I would say she was willing to die because she felt it imprisoned her in her own body. She had a very young mind, she thought very young, and she would get very depressed and thought her body was a cage and she was ready to go. I didn’t feel sad for her, I was a bit pissed off she died when she did, because it was on the eve of a tour we were about to do, supporting Madonna on the Who’s That Girl tour which could have been very successful for us and she went and died, so consequently I couldn’t go do the tour because it would have been difficult ‘spinning around’ when I had someone to bury, so to speak.

You used to be married?

I am married.

I looked at several interviews in preparation and it seems a lot of journalists forget that for some reason.

It is not their property though is it? It’s my private life and there is one thing I have always maintained and it gets a backlash from people who buy my records. People buy your records and they think they own you. The way I see it is, I made the thing, I wrote the thing, you bought it. I didn’t force you to buy it. It is not as though I ever exposed myself in a mass media way and did everything I was asked. I could have really stepped into the celebrity spotlight in the eighties but I didn’t really want to do it because of the song (You Spin Me Round). Completely illogical reasons and I thought I have made the record and if they like it they will buy the record and I can be relatively anonymous, but it doesn’t really work out like that.

Back to being married, you must be going on to twenty years?

Over twenty years. But it is really nobody’s business. She doesn’t do interviews she doesn’t do pictures. I think the problem with a lot of conventional relationships between, shall we say man and wife, is they are not actually friends. They have two different lives. We grew up together as teenagers so we know each other, spend every day together and we think alike and she understands what I am doing and I understand what she is doing. And she doesn’t come out in my shadow or anything. She is her own personality and I am my own personality. But it is not an open relationship by any means, when I have had relationships with men they have been very serious relationships with men. I am sure people have this impression through seeing my performance and the energy I pervade that I am some kind of tacky old queen who gives blowjobs to taxi drivers for a free ride home. Well it ain’t like that. I conduct myself with a lot of self-respect and dignity.

Have you been recognized when you are without all the make-up?

I am never without all the makeup. I am constantly recognized which is a bit of a shock to me really. But then again I have built up a bit of a media profile over the last 6 months so to revive me in people’s eyes. I didn’t go away ever. I went away from major commercial success but a lot of that was my choice. It wasn’t because the record company decided we were no good. We left our record company because we simply weren’t allowed to do what we wanted anymore and we started to license our own records. Record them ourselves and license them to various record companies around the world. But I have no problems filling gigs on a worldwide basis. It is not as though I have sold 50 albums in the last ten years. I think I made more albums without CBS, as they were called in the old days, then I did with them. And they all built up a very nice living for me.

Did you ever have any ordinary jobs that were really unglamorous?

I don’t think they would have taken me. No I never did. I drifted very quickly into music. There was a brief time when I had about 5 months work in a hairdresser’s salon. But the only reason I worked there was not because I wanted to be hairdresser, I had no interest in it, but it was a place where you were allowed to dress up everyday. But gradually my appearance got too much to be employed in this Vidal Sassoon hair salon so they ask me to leave. From then on I started a clothes shop on my own and it just snow balled into music in the punk days. I started making music in 1977 and I was in Liverpool, which was a hive of independent music and a lot of creative bands came out of there and I was in one of them. But all that passed. It’s not that it even matters, but it’s forgotten, people think I was born singing You Spin Me Round, there were other hits besides You Spin Me Round.

That surprises me, in the gay scene I don’t believe they think that, because there was Sex Drive and Lover Come Back, there are so many other tracks.

I suppose when you are fortunate enough to have a success like You Spin Me Round… look at Judy Garland, what do people really remember her for? Over the Rainbow, but there were so many other things that she did. She had this one thing… you have this one thing and you understand that people associate that with you forever. And at times it was very depressing that I thought - I am never going to move on from that song. I kind of accept now that I am lucky to have that song. I very much doubt Hear Say will have a song like that or any Will or Gareth. The songs they have immortalised aren’t their own songs. That is my own song, I still don’t think it’s the best thing I have ever done.

What is your favourite song you have done?

I haven’t done it yet. It will happen. I think actually that when I can sit down and think this is the best thing I have done then it is time to stop. Everything we do has to be done in a certain fashion because we produce ourselves and write our own stuff. We have just done a new record deal. That could be a big mistake but seems pretty okay now.

Does that make you a bit anxious being locked into a deal like that?

Not really because you know if it doesn’t work out they will drop us, and if they drop us we will still make our own records because we are financially secure enough to go and do another album ourselves and license that to record companies around the world and go back to the way its been for the past eight years. It is not as though I feel lucky like I won a competition we made our own luck. We made it ourselves, we started with no big producer or record deal, we started with an indie label. We got relatively successful like that. Signed to a big label - got mega success, came away from the big label went back to operating like an indie band but the sales were considerably bigger because there was the reflection of the mega success. And it’s kind of been easier without a record company. They are not giving us any pressure at the moment, they are okay. We do everything independently, like photo shoots, interviews, its not that the record companies get involved they didn’t get them. They come to me.

When Stock, Aitken and Waterman were in their prime, it’s a bit similar to what is happening with BMG and Pop Idol now, every week it was one of their artists in the top spot for years.

They were very talented songwriters and producers, they just had a magic ear for writing something that the general public, not even a fringe section of the public, they were just writing and producing things that everybody seemed to want. And I was slightly sorry when the Kylies and the Jasons came along, because there was simply no room for us anymore.

Were there any songs given to other artists that you would have like to have recorded? Especially for You perhaps?

No there really wasn’t. The only song that I am actively jealous of is Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head. That wasn’t S.A.W and I heard that on the radio and thought ‘Oh my God, I wished I had written that’ and I wish that was my record. I just knew the second I heard it, this is going to be the biggest record.

Did you ever see the version of You Spin Me Round by Adam Sandler in the Wedding Singer?

I heard about it and I get cheques from it, but I didn’t see the film.

If I knew someone was doing my song in a big Hollywood movie, I would want to see it.

Well for me its all over the place, its been in so many films, on theme park rides in Disneyland, its on TV commercials for all kinds of things in different countries all around the world, and I don’t see it all. I wrote the song and get the money and that is all there is.

Are you laying down new vocals for the Greatest Hits album?

Yeah, we are rerecording. Greatest Hits, okay, it’s your old songs. The dispute we are in at the moment is I think releasing the same old versions, well people will have got them anyway. The record company may not agree with us. So we say okay we will go and rerecord them. But then you have got to be a real man about it and go ‘is this better than the original’ or sometimes you spend a week doing a song and it’s not better than the original because the excitement and the energy are not there, its not as explosive. So you go, ‘okay we have to scrap this song’. So maybe it will be a mix of old and new, or maybe it will be all old, I am not sure yet.

Have you seen those reality programs like the Osbournes?

Love it.

Would you do a show like that?

Never. I love the Osbournes, to me they are completely normal and a really down to earth family. And I think they are model parents.

It is all about love.

It is and they are a great family. I look forward with baited breath for Liza Minnelli’s version and I wonder if Liza knows what reality is. I very much doubt if Liza is going to wake up in the morning scraping up dog shit.

She has turned her life around in a major way the last two years.

So she has lost some weight and had a hip replaced. We seem to celebrate people who got themselves in a fucking mesh and then they clean up, then go back in rehab, then they clean up, its life, like spring and winter, it just happens. But we make such a big deal and admire people for doing those things. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Personally if I had those problems I would try and solve them in a quieter way. I just think go home and get on with it, don’t invite a TV crew round for your problems.

Growing up in Liverpool where was the first gay club you visited?

There was one, I wasn’t allowed into it because I looked too freaky. Of course it bought on a sense of alienation because I wasn’t allowed into a gay bar. The first club I ever went to was a punk club called Erics in Liverpool. Which was opposite the gay club which I couldn’t get into. So I didn’t actually get welcomed into the gay community as a teenager and it was a bit disillusioning really if I was walking around wearing dog collars and all of this makeup and stuff. But no, I wasn’t welcomed, ‘can’t come in’. There are very few gay or straight clubs I will go to. I am not really a club person.

Have you ever been the target of a gay bashing for the way you look?

I was hit in a gay club by a gay man in the back of the head with a pint glass when I was a teenager. That was the only time I have been bashed in any way shape or form and I was in a gay club. I was really pushing visually, particularly the teenage years. I was really pushing the edge of being downright offensive on people’s eyes. It was just an adventure and I was playing around with imagery. Even in 1977 it wasn’t particularly welcomed by the nation. It is fashion now, but then it was a political statement and I was very much involved in that movement of using visuals to become, to offend, consistently doing it. And people would become numb to how offensive it was and it actually worked out in a complicated way, it would cause tolerance. People would see so many different things, things that offended them. They would see it on a regular basis and then accept it. The time when I came out being freaky was in ‘77 England when we had huge unemployment, there was nothing to do but freak. Now people need jobs, they need rent money, people need mortgages. They haven’t got the freedom that I had in those days.

You are very lucky to make a living out of it.

I am lucky, but if I didn’t make a living out of it, I would still be the same way. There is no way that I would suddenly think it is time to wipe it all off, time to tone yourself down and get a job in a bank. Because I do consider that if there is something I want to do, I am intelligent enough to do it. People will completely forget what I look like.

You like reading don’t you? Would you ever write an autobiography?

Yes, people have asked me. My perspective is that it is an arrogant thing to do, because I don’t think that my life is that interesting but other people seem to. I don’t think it would be fair when you still have rebelliousness in you and you are likely to say something flippantly, which is a real disease of mine, you are likely to say things that really offend people and you forget they are people you are offending. And I can say things off the cuff that offend a lot of people. It is not a particularly deep held emotion or a thought, I will say something and it goes down in print. And the person I said it about is reading it, and it’s nasty, you forget they have got feelings. That’s the one thing I have learnt as I grew older, is that people in the public eye, celebrities, parents, relatives, old lovers, new lovers is that they all have feelings, but when it is in print, you don’t realise how much it’s going to hurt them. I am not particularly hurt by anything that is written about me. Sometimes I am really outraged by somebody who has the sheer audacity to write something wrong, they should get their facts right. If they asked me I would more than likely have told them.

Have you made any comments which you particularly regret?

Thousands.

One in particular?

I wouldn’t even repeat it.

I know you didn’t have nice things to say about Culture Club.

Well I didn’t like their music. I still say that now, but unfortunately I probably forgot that he was a person, because we were both involved in the same job, I suppose. I forgot that they were people working to make a living just like I did. I criticised their music but I didn’t intend to influence anybody else’s tastes.

Could have you been on coke at the time?

Never done coke, I rarely even drink.

You look really healthy.

I smoke, and probably eat junk food, but I probably come from good genetics.

How old are you?

I am forty-three. But I am not a used car. I have learned a lot in this journey of life and glad to be the age that I am and can certainly stand up for a lot longer than half the people my age, people are too busy wasting themselves now, too hedonistic. Great if it works for you, but it never worked for me.

A lot of people are quick to judge that you have had a lot plastic surgery.

Well I have had plastic surgery. I am not going to give complete details of what I have had done. I was the first to admit it when I first did it in about ’84. When I first started messing around I didn’t see it as a way of staving off the years, I saw plastic surgery totally as a way of using flesh as fabric to create something. I did always have this one quote – “if you move into a flat and you have lived there ten years, you are going to paint the wall, or knock a wall down or get a new chandelier”, and I saw it no different living in my body. I was bored looking in the mirror at the same face, at the same skin, at the same thing and I used to think – you know what I have got 75 years of looking at the same thing, so let’s fiddle around. Nowadays any young girl who signs a record deal, she is not saving up for a guitar she is saving up for a pair of tits. We are in a visual age.

How much do you spend a year?

Probably a lot.

Over five thousand pounds just in maintenance?

Much over that. But that is what I work for, what else am I going to do with it? I do good things, I do bad things, I do silly things, but I am not mean, I am not selfish about things. I have a family I support and everything, and I spend things on what I like. And if it pleases me if I want to get my nose removed and put it on my arse, I will do so.

You have had collagen injections in your lips?

It is not collagen it is something far more controversial than that.

Is it Newfill?

Keep guessing…it’s a thing called Aloderm, which is the foreskins off unborn babies.

Really? No!

There’s your shocking thing, its unborn babies’ foreskins and they plant it in there (points at lips).

What aborted?

Not aborted, I don’t know how they do it. It’s a common thing in plastic surgery. You will be reading a lot about it in the future.

Creativity and intelligence can bring about madness; have you ever felt that you might go so mad you can’t keep control?

Definitely. Absolutely, but then I definitely have learnt the art of walking away when it felt like it was going to drive me mad and I couldn’t take it anymore. I have had a bit of a week this week, when there is so much to do. I like to focus on one thing at a time. If there is a photo shoot, I concentrate on that. I have been doing about 15 different things this week, and now I am starting to think I am not doing any of them particularly well. My way of coping with stress is to become idiot. Instead of running around in a panic I become dozy and slow.

How would you like to be remembered?

I won’t be here so it won’t make any difference. It would be egotistical to say now how I would like to be remembered. Because really when I am not here, I won’t give a shit.

Interviewed by Chris Amos
Check it out ...Shiny Toy Guns R gonna blowup VERY soon and bring melody back to music..you heard it here 1st! http://www.myspacecomment...theone.mp3
Reply #1 posted 11/11/05 3:15am

CalhounSq

That face is just unforgiveable... the brows, the LIPS, the lip liner... UGH ill
heart prince I never met you, but I LOVE you & I will forever!! Thank you for being YOU - my little Princey, the best to EVER do it prince heart
Reply #2 posted 11/11/05 3:24am

Ellie

I really wish I could find his hilarious online rant on Dannii Minogue using his sample without permission. He went on a tirade on the Popjustice messageboards, but it's been deleted now.
Reply #3 posted 11/11/05 3:28am

Ellie

I found it pasted on a Dannii Minogue forum! biggrin


=====


Hi, I have just confirmed London gay pride on July 26. Main stage! Hope to see many of you there!

I need to know if this video of Dannii Minogue’s is being seen on TV? If so, what shows, which countries, etc. Yet again she has overlooked the small but important issue of CLEARANCE. I am not happy about the original “Spin Me” clip being spliced in. It makes me look dated, to an audience unfamiliar with my work or appearance. I must make a mental note, should the rather unlikely situation arise that I have to feature Dannii in a video of mine, to include clips from around the time of that stunning duet she did, with Kylie, of “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves”, or something around the time of her first single releases: plump, black and white Lilly Munster hair, no tits, no lips, and a somewhat different face. I am sure she will be delighted. Of course, I won't ask permission, I will just go ahead and do it, and wait until she reads her message board and finds out from her fans! I must make a note to give her album a listen. Why bother to waste time, and money, and thought: I’ll just go into a studio, where I can just sing over one of hers, which is a rather alarming trend she seems to be instigating. Sony are very excited about the Dannii single. They are always calling to get an update regarding it. I think our A and R man thinks she is on their label, and what a good job he and Sony are doing, marketing her!!...

...I am looking into collaborating with some interesting people; Princess Julia is one of them, on new material. Somehow, I don’t think Dannii is waiting to be asked: why should she? She can go right ahead, and use it anyway! For the record, I love the song she sings on, and think the mix, featuring us, is fantastic. Did any of you know, it’s an old song? About 5 years ago, I heard it was a hit in Italy, by somebody else, and as the chord structure is identical to ‘Spin Me’, we are looking into that as I type. I know the writers were/are huge fans of DOA and have handed over a large amount of the publishing on it, Miss Minogue’s version, anyway.

So, America is pushing ahead for us, although it’s through you lot I find everything out. Also, I think Japan is doing some stuff. You keep me posted, and I will keep you posted!
Reply #4 posted 11/11/05 3:37am

Mazerati

Ellie said:

I found it pasted on a Dannii Minogue forum! biggrin


=====


Hi, I have just confirmed London gay pride on July 26. Main stage! Hope to see many of you there!

I need to know if this video of Dannii Minogue’s is being seen on TV? If so, what shows, which countries, etc. Yet again she has overlooked the small but important issue of CLEARANCE. I am not happy about the original “Spin Me” clip being spliced in. It makes me look dated, to an audience unfamiliar with my work or appearance. I must make a mental note, should the rather unlikely situation arise that I have to feature Dannii in a video of mine, to include clips from around the time of that stunning duet she did, with Kylie, of “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves”, or something around the time of her first single releases: plump, black and white Lilly Munster hair, no tits, no lips, and a somewhat different face. I am sure she will be delighted. Of course, I won't ask permission, I will just go ahead and do it, and wait until she reads her message board and finds out from her fans! I must make a note to give her album a listen. Why bother to waste time, and money, and thought: I’ll just go into a studio, where I can just sing over one of hers, which is a rather alarming trend she seems to be instigating. Sony are very excited about the Dannii single. They are always calling to get an update regarding it. I think our A and R man thinks she is on their label, and what a good job he and Sony are doing, marketing her!!...

...I am looking into collaborating with some interesting people; Princess Julia is one of them, on new material. Somehow, I don’t think Dannii is waiting to be asked: why should she? She can go right ahead, and use it anyway! For the record, I love the song she sings on, and think the mix, featuring us, is fantastic. Did any of you know, it’s an old song? About 5 years ago, I heard it was a hit in Italy, by somebody else, and as the chord structure is identical to ‘Spin Me’, we are looking into that as I type. I know the writers were/are huge fans of DOA and have handed over a large amount of the publishing on it, Miss Minogue’s version, anyway.

So, America is pushing ahead for us, although it’s through you lot I find everything out. Also, I think Japan is doing some stuff. You keep me posted, and I will keep you posted!



hehe that was cool smile
Check it out ...Shiny Toy Guns R gonna blowup VERY soon and bring melody back to music..you heard it here 1st! http://www.myspacecomment...theone.mp3
Reply #5 posted 11/11/05 6:10am

JediMaster

Cool interview! Back in the day, I had so many people tell me I was full of shit when I told them that Pete Burns was married to a woman! I don't know what she looks like now, but she was a female body builder if I remember correctly.
jedi

Do not hurry yourself in your spirit to become offended, for the taking of offense is what rests in the bosom of the stupid ones. (Ecclesiastes 7:9)
Reply #6 posted 11/11/05 6:03pm

Mazerati

JediMaster said:

Cool interview! Back in the day, I had so many people tell me I was full of shit when I told them that Pete Burns was married to a woman! I don't know what she looks like now, but she was a female body builder if I remember correctly.
heh yea i was kind of suprised by that myself...when they have sex it must look like lesbian sex smile
Check it out ...Shiny Toy Guns R gonna blowup VERY soon and bring melody back to music..you heard it here 1st! http://www.myspacecomment...theone.mp3
Reply #7 posted 11/11/05 6:56pm

Leelee

omg ill
Reply #8 posted 11/11/05 7:13pm

Tessa

this guy has always annoyed me. can't put my finger on it. seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder, but i don't think that's it.
"I don't need your forgiveness, cos I've been saved by Jesus, so fuck you."
Reply #9 posted 11/11/05 7:14pm

Tessa

Tessa said:

this guy has always annoyed me. can't put my finger on it. seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder, but i don't think that's it.




wait, nevermind..... it's the hideous face and horrible music. i just figured it out after 20 years.
"I don't need your forgiveness, cos I've been saved by Jesus, so fuck you."
Reply #10 posted 11/11/05 11:19pm

meow85

A guy wanting to be pretty is one thing. Hell, we ARE on a Prince-devoted website. But that face! omfg disbelief
"A Watcher scoffs at gravity!"
Reply #11 posted 11/12/05 3:39am

Mazerati

meow85 said:

A guy wanting to be pretty is one thing. Hell, we ARE on a Prince-devoted website. But that face! omfg disbelief


hehe it's mainly the huge lips
Check it out ...Shiny Toy Guns R gonna blowup VERY soon and bring melody back to music..you heard it here 1st! http://www.myspacecomment...theone.mp3
Reply #12 posted 11/12/05 7:13am

HamsterHuey

Reply #13 posted 11/13/05 5:05pm

meow85

HamsterHuey said:


sad



Plastic surgery is lame. Dude used to be pretty....
"A Watcher scoffs at gravity!"

URL: http://prince.org/msg/8/166903

Date printed: Wed 14th Nov 2018 8:27am PST