AN INTERVIEW WITH
The following article appeared in the Sept 1990 issue (no. 20) of the Chris Farlowe Official (Worldwide) Appreciation Society Newsletter
The last time we (the Appreciation Society) actually featured an interview with Chris himself was following the UK tour of February 1986. So, with a birthday celebration looming, and over thirty years in show business to look back on, we felt that it was a good time for one or two reflections.
Q. Did you always envisage going into show business?
CF. Yes, ever since I was a little kid I knew what I wanted to do. When I first started work I used to sing rock ‘n’ roll songs and I told my workmates that I was going to be a big star one day. As yet, it hasn’t quite worked out that way, but who can tell?
Q. Did you see singing as a long term career?
CF Always, simply because I knew that I was good and had a special talent.
Q. Did your parents give you a lot of support in the early days?
CF. No. Especially not from my dad who was totally against a career in music. My mum was a lot more in favour of it. My family did have a bit of music in them. My mother was a self taught piano player and dad always used to sing at parties and family
Q. In the early days did you ever think you had made a mistake?
CF. Never. If I make a decision in my life I stick to it. There have been shops, businesses in Germany and America, not all successful but I’ve kept working at them.
Q. When you turned professional was the money ever important?
CF. No, not at all. I wanted to be a singer and turning pro. made that easier, the money was always secondary. That’s the same with any rock and roll star. I did of course become more aware of the financial side of the business as I grew older but it did not really change me very much and
that is why I ended up in trouble. I don’t think I can complain really, and as I approach my 50th birthday I think, well, I’ve travelled millions of miles: stayed in the best hotels: eaten in the best restaurants and met and played with the top names in the business. I’ve got a lot out of it.
Q. How did you feel when you first saw your name in the charts?
CF. Nothing in particular. I don’t think at the time it really sank in. I was in a shop the other day and
Time’ was played on the radio. As it finished the DJ described it as ‘the song that made Chris Farlowe immortal’, and that sums everything up really. Even after I am dead somebody will play that song and remember me.
Q. Do you feel that the success of Out of Time has been a bit of a burden to you over the years?
CF. that song has brought me everything I have lost and almost everything that I have now. I would not change it for the world.
Q. Do you not feel that the song prevented others becoming more successful?
CF. No. It’s like betting on the horses really. You would rather have one big winner than a lot of seconds.
Q. Did you feel at the end of the sixties that your career may have been at an end?
CF. If I had been managed a little better I think that I would probably have gone onto better things. Most managers are only interested in short term gains. However I then joined
Q. Which was a big challenge?
CF. Yes: I had never heard of them until
Dave Greenslade contacted me to ask me to join. I found it very easy to adapt to that type of music . Dave knew that I was capable of doing so. I find singing very easy.
Mike Vernon told me that I ‘was the master of delivery’. Quite a compliment. However I have been very luck, my voice is a natural gift that has been given to me.
Q. How do you look now upon your decision to join Atomic
CF. Looking back it was a bad mistake. But at the time I needed the work and the money and Vincent’s was the only offer that I received. But, it did not last very long.
Q. During the seventies, there were times when you drifted into obscurity, was that a mistake?
CF. Oh definitely. I had my shop at the time and tended to want to concentrate my time on that. I still maintain that it was due to bad management. I needed someone to look after my interests. Singers cannot run their lives. Look at someone like
Eric Clapton, he has about four people managing his career.
Q. You’ve got a new band now and are recording again. Do you still get a buzz from it all?
CF. If I live to be eighty I would still be doing it. I love to sing to an audience and as you know I can sing without the band on occasions. Even if there were no more record deals forthcoming I would still tour as often as I could.
Q. What is your favourite recording to date?
CF. Without a doubt
‘We Can Work It Out’, which was a single released in 1975. Great band, great arrangements. It was a shame that it did not attract enough airplay.
Q. Do you feel that during your career you have fulfilled your potential?
CF. My dream when I was young, and especially after 1966, was to make it big in America. I have never done this, although I do have a gold disc from sales of the
Jimmy Page album so you could say that I had succeeded technically. Everyone who purchase d a copy of the album, and it sold nearly a million in the States, now knows who Chris Farlowe is. I would like to get a good band together and go to America with a hit album to show the how good I really am. It’s never too late to find success and I am a total optimist, who knows. We will just have to wait and see.
Q. Have you any regrets?
CF. I regret not having a better relationship with a certain lady. I don’t tend to hold grudges; if things do not work out I just start again. No I don’t think I can say that I have any regrets.
Q. Have you still any ambitions apart from cracking America?
CF. I would dearly love to make one good hit album and do a Worldwide tour. We will get there eventually. Wait and see. Maybe what we are doing now will be the break that I have needed. It could be a tuning point for me.