The Sun Hasn’t Gone Down on Nik Kershaw
Philip Gardiner interviews English singer-songwriter and 1980’s heartthrob Nik Kershaw.
The 1980’s teen-idol is wearing well. Collaborations with Elton John and Bonnie Tyler amongst others, and varying degrees of critical & commercial success with the release of every new album push this creative songwriter periodically back into the limelight. He never really went anywhere of course, and it’s easy to forget how much of Nik’s music is woven into the fabric our lives. Whether it’s the iconic Live Aid performance of mega-hit ‘The Riddle’, or the entire summer where it was impossible to walk from one street to another without hearing ‘I am the one & only’ blaring from a car radio, this is one artist that has truly stood the test of time.
My first question is, what would you most like to be remembered for? Is it the music or the meaning?
Not sure I give a toss. When you’re dead, you’re dead.
We know most politicians were born in the fiery pit of hell as the spawn of Satan, but what’s your opinion of the politics of the world today?
I’m sure David Cameron actually believes the sanctimonious, self righteous shite that comes out of his gob when he talks about bombing Libya but, at the end of the day, it’s all about the money. He knows it and we know it. Mind you, somebody has to be in charge. Being a politician is a thankless job and I have no idea why anybody would want to do it. I admire their courage, confidence and work ethic. That doesn’t mean they’re not all smug, self-aggrandizing, patronising scumbags.
Before I embark on a career in the music industry, is it true that pop stars like yourself get laid at least twice daily? Or is this a myth? And if not, what’s the point?
Not twice and not daily, but you do get to hang out with Roland Rat.
What’s your favourite Monty Python film and why?
“Life of Brian”, without a doubt. Not least because it pissed so many people off. It gets quoted more than Spinal Tap in this house. “Wolf nipple chips, get ‘em while they’re ‘ot”.
If you were an alien visiting planet earth, what would you do? Would turn around and go back? Or stay and try and help? Or maybe conquer?
I’d turn around and go back, were it not for the fact that I wouldn’t be able to afford to fill up my spaceship with diesel. I might have to get a Saturday job with my comrades in Games Workshop.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I think my crème brulee takes a bit of beating.
What has been mankind’s greatest achievement?
I’m torn between landing on the moon, sequencing DNA and ‘Cheeky song (touch my bum)’ by the Cheeky Girls.
If you had the chance to speak to every human being on earth, what would your message be?
New album, www.nikkershaw.net
If your life depended on it, which Soap Opera would you do a cameo in?
Eastenders. I am, by nature, a miserable git. I’d fit right in.
If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is around to see or hear it, does it make a sound?
We weren’t around when the big bang happened but I’m pretty sure that would’ve been quite loud. Anyway, if a squirrel or woodlouse heard it, it made a sound.
Have you ever felt pressured by the fact that what you sing about affects society? Have you ever wondered whether you were doing the right thing?
Christ, I’m not Bono. I just write and sing about stuff that interests me. If anyone’s dumb enough to think I’m some kind of oracle, that’s their problem. My songs are an NCP car park, anyone parking in it do so at their own risk.
What on earth was The Riddle all about?
Nothing on Earth. It was a guide lyric that never got changed. Bollocks from start to finish.
What advice would you give to musicians today? And what’s your opinion of the highly engineered and marketed music we see in the charts today?
Do it ‘cos you love it and play to anyone who’ll listen. I’m hoping that people will tire of the whole X Factor thing. Far too much attention being lavished on far too few people. Everything goes in cycles. The revolution is coming. Today Mubarak, tomorrow – Cowell.
Why do you think music and words seems to work so much better than just words as a means to get a message across?
“The music is the missile and the words are the payload”, I think somebody who knows stuff said that once. If they didn’t, they should’ve done. It’s bloody genius.
What kind of movies do you watch and why?
I love a good, intelligent Sci-Fi. Also clever, “out there” movies like “Being John Malkovich and “Memento”. Nothing annoys me more than a glossy, star studded, high-budget pile of crap.
What are your opinions about the power of the internet?
I don’t think there’s much point in having an opinion. It’s here and we have to deal with it. The music business spent years trying to stem the waters with sandbags before it figured out it was better off bunging on a pair of Speedos and going for a splash (I do love a good metaphor – songwriter, you know).
Do you think man is created in the image of God or the other way around?
I’m pretty sure we created God but, if we didn’t and Ed Milliband was created in his image, we’re all screwed.
A recent scientific report stated that religion will eventually die out completely. What’s your opinion on that? A good thing or a bad thing?
As an atheist, that’s fine with me. Too many people are still dying in the name of some God or other. Paradoxically, I find myself envious of those with an unshakeable belief system. My mum lived the last five years of her life totally convinced that one day she would be reunited with my dad in Heaven. It sustained her through each day and I wasn’t about to argue otherwise. Must be great to have that kind of faith in something. And think on this, without religion there would be no Sistine Chapel, no Mozart Requiem…..And no Aled Jones!
Is “free will” the whole of the law? Can man ever be truly free?
I’m free between 18:00 and 07:00. The rest of the time I’m £17.50 per hour.
As a pop star, it’s a given that you’re obviously deeply involved in the occult, child sacrifice, Satanism and taking the virginity of young ladies. Why is this?
There’s nothing on the telly.
Have you ever heard of Howard Jones?
Very funny. Howard is a worthy adversary and a true friend.
You are one of the giants from a period full of giants. Who, from that revolutionary period, do you admire and why, apart from Human League, which goes without saying!
I love Scritti Polliti. Green’s voice is something special, Dave Gamson’s arrangements were groundbreaking back in the 80s and the songs continue to be strong. Tears for Fears made some great records. There’s always Talk Talk and, if we’re talking of giants, fish is 6’7”.
Do you back Nuclear Power? If not, why not.
I did until a few weeks ago. Not wise to build a reactor on a fault line. Still think it’s better than burning an ever dwindling supply of fossil fuels.
Do you believe in Ghosts? UFO’s (i.e. aliens visiting planet earth)? God?
I’ve seen a ghost, seen a UFO (it was unidentified, it was flying and it was an object), have yet to see a God of any description. I’m not holding my breath. I believe in Our Lord Richard Dawkins (Ironic or what?)
Have you ever experienced altered states of consciousness? How, why and was it beneficial? And would you recommend it to all politicians, business and religious leaders?
I’m partial to a cheeky merlot but, fortunately, drugs either put me to sleep or kept me awake so I never really got a taste for them. I’d love to see prime minister’s questions on crack, most business leaders are off their face most of the time and religious leaders are permanently in an altered state.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I worked in an Unemployment Benefit Office for three years.
What would you still like to achieve?
I’d still like to score the winning goal in the FA cup final and win the Monaco Grand Prix but I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that these two achievements will ultimately elude me. I’d settle for writing the perfect song. Haven’t even come close yet.
Would you ever record a duet with Justin Bieber?
Although I can’t conceive of the series of events that would have to conspire to make such a liaison likely or possible, I cannot say for certain that it would never happen any more than I could say that I would never have Pope Benedict’s baby.
Do you believe in manmade global warming? Or is it natural?
I’d love to believe that the whole global warming thing was a big corporate conspiracy but most of the science tells us otherwise. I take solace in the fact that this planet will do fine without us; and that, in Universal terms, we’re completely insignificant.
And lastly. Please feel free to say anything at all you want to the world of readers and tell us all about what you’re up to these days, plug an album, website or carboot sale.
Thanks Nik, a truly entertaining interview, can I have my pen back?