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Exclusive Interview with Maurice Gibb by Peter Schavemaker,
Radio 192, The Netherlands.
April 1, 2002.

Part 2


PS: Yeah.
Maurice: ‘Cause we like to write songs of substance, we don’t like writing things that are just thrown away, and people forget in a year or two, and when these songs come back on us, we’re. We’re sort of floored that people still believe in them.

PS: Can you say you also write a musical heritage?
Maurice: I’m sorry?

PS: What should be the musical heritage of The Bee Gees? Let’s say, within a hundred years from now, how should The Bee Gees’ heritage be looked at?
Maurice: Oh, I don’t know, I can’t… I can’t picture that at all! I think it’s…I just believe in the em, the wonderful feeling I get, for instance, when I see, when I do a live show, and I see the audience, and we see how many people’s lives we’ve affected, and the age, eh, from young kids that are going for the new stuff, and then you got the younger adults, and then you got the young adults married with the young child on their shoulder, and their parents, and you’re stood on that stage going ‘my God, look at the array of these choices of ages, and the people to look back on our music.” Somebody once told me, a very lovely fan, said that without it…well, you’ve made my life because I always had your music to go back to. You know, people have told me they were in prison, or they got married, or they broke up, or whatever, but how their lives were affected. So I always think, with all they say to us, that “We came, we saw, we misunderstood.” (laughs)

PS: Yeah, And, um it’s a very unique sound we all know – I don’t know if you can explain the secret, but I think you just explained people in prison, people with, with…
Maurice: Oh, I mean, its amazing, the range of life, even in South Africa and different countries we’ve been to, and how many people we’ve affected, it’s just, it’s quite mind-boggling.

PS: Yeah. You just explained something about the live shows eh, what’s the difference between doing something live and recording in a studio without any light?
Maurice: Well, that’s the creative stage, ’cause the songs are like our kinds, they’re born in, born in the… in one of our houses or wherever we’ve written, and they’re brought to life in the studio, and the colors are added, and strength, and the meaning and the emotions and everything’s put into the song that we’ve just written. And, em, I think… let me think. What was your question again? Say again…

PS: You do live concerts, and you record…
Maurice: Yeah, the live concert thing, yeah, I was just gonna get to that. The live – when you get the song that far, and then you send it out in the world and hope it does well, like your kids, you hope they do well, ’cause you’re really, you’re just here to bring them into the world and care for them. That’s how we feel about our songs, so when we go on stage it’s the first time, eh, well,, not the first time, but it’s always that time when you get to meet the people who love what you do. And, then, you’re coming face to face with them. They’re the ones who put you up there.

PS: Yeah.
Maurice: And if it wasn’t for those people we wouldn’t be up there.

PS: But I… Are you always happy parents about songs?
Maurice: Yeah, oh yeah. Very much so. Very protective (laughs)

PS: Yeah.
Maurice: For instance, people have asked us to remix “Dancing” or “Stayin’ Alive” or something, to add something to them, or make them more contemporary in their eyes, or whatever, and uh, we’ve always refused that. They can’t have the masters, they can’t touch the tapes.

PS: No…
Maurice: We’ll not… It’s like sacrilege to us, you know? (laughs)

PS: Yeah. You did several, uh, let’s say, musical directions in the past. How did you choose those musical directions, besides the, the music at that moment, ’cause…

(some problems with the communications occurs here in the phone line from Holland via California to Miami)

PS: Maurice?
Maurice: I’m sorry?

PS: How, how did you choose the musical directions in the past?
Maurice: I’m sorry, you cut out. Yeah, I see what you’re saying. No, what we did is, eh, we’re being writers first, ’cause if we’re not writers, we don’t have anything to record. So, when we write, we write whatever we feel. We don’t really go out to say, “Okay, now, let’s just see, see what’s in the Top 10. Let’s see what’s going on out there.” And having the radio on constantly. Yes, we’re influenced by different things. But as writers, we try to do something that once again people will go ‘What is this? Oh, wow! You mean, The Bee Gees? “We did that with ‘Jive Talkin'”. Nobody expected that to come from us at all, and even the record companies were saying, you know, “Oh, no, no guys, you’ve got to stick to the ballads, you know, eh?”(laughs).

PS: Yeah, but, but…
Maurice: You know, we would say, ‘Well, we’re so much in to the American R&B side of it, that we really wanted to do something, you know, R&B-ish, that was the music we’ve always loved. Of course, R&B today is a different type of, what we knew R&B was back in, uh, the late sixties-early seventies.

PS: Yeah.
Maurice: So, you know, we’re influenced by that, so we got Arif Mardin to come in, who produced Aretha Franklin, and the, the Rascals, and scores of people, man – and a lot of black artists. So we wanted his input, and that’s where that came from. So we always like to shock people sometimes, but we also like to do records that people, as soon as you hear the intro, you know it’s us.

PS: Um-hmm.
Maurice: As soon as you hear the song start, you know it’s us. We always give some kind of signature – the most obvious one is “You Win Again”, with the stomps. And then, “To Love Somebody”, you had that lovely 9 Maurice sings this) “Da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da., so people know. “Massachusetts” had a theme before it, and so it’s that part of the substance. “Stayin’Alive” has the riff…

PS: Can you, can you say there are Bee Gees “trademarks”?
Maurice: Oh, definitely – they’re what we call thumbprints..

PS: Yeah.
Maurice: In fact, you can tell a Burt Bacharach song, or you could tell a Lennon-McCartney song right away. There’s a certain thumbprint that they leave on it, and you can tell it’s theirs.

PS: Mmmm-hmm. Let’s talk about the huge fan base you have all around the world, especially the BGFC fan club, which is enormously….!!
Maurice: Yes, yes!!

PS: How important are those people for you?
Maurice: To us these people are very important. I mean, it’s, it’s for them that’s kept us – em, what’s the word for it? – always, always in the, in the, in the eyes of everybody, and, and in the ears of the music. Be cause they never, all over the years that we’ve been going, and I’ll be honestly with you, the European fans are, particularly the Dutch fans and the Swiss and German fans, all have stuck by us, through everything. And , and not just I’m talking about all the different, em, periods of different kinds of music, they’ve never looked at the image. They’ve always thought, how good the music is.

PS: Did they inspire you as well?
Maurice: Of course, of course, because, once again, as I’m saying, it’s a live show feel. It’s the same kind of thing – without them, what – who would we be able to please? Who, who could we write songs – we love to write songs that we love ourselves first. And we have a fan base that feels just like us.

PS: um, hmmm.
Maurice: So to have that, they, they think the same way as we do.

PS: And regarding the different waves of success, eh, ’cause you had a lot of success, then a little bit
Maurice: Mountains and valleys, Peter…

PS: Yeah, yeah! How do you respond on that, what’s it doing to you personally, those waves of success? How do you react?
Maurice: It’s those kinds of experiences – just make you grow. You know, I mean, you learn from those things. There’s the first fame syndrome, there’s the second fame, there’s the, uh, things we’ve learnt ourselves, that we’ve got to go through. Through the drugs, through the drinking, through, through the growing period of experimentation, and learning and nurturing our talent to write songs. Things like these didn’t get in the way in those days, ’cause you were younger. But as you get through life, and you learn from the experiences, when periods were really bad, and we had nothing… From 1971, I think, to 1974, we had nothing! We had no management; we had no record company, nothing. And that’s when “Jive Talkin'” came out, and it all changed after that.

PS: Mmm-hmm.
Maurice: So we’ve had our mountains and valleys, but we survived the first fame. We realized that this stuff couldn’t last forever, so we have to get more – more practiced, more better at songwriting, and really persist. And that’s really what we’ve been doing – we just persist.

PS: Yeah… At this moment…
Maurice: Because we believe in ourselves.

PS: At this moment we talk, you’re without a record company contract? Is that true or…
Maurice: We’re in the middle right now, yeah. Which is cool – you know (laughs).

PS: You, you’ll get by, eh?
Maurice: Oh, absolutely (laughs)

PS: Yeah, yeah, yeah… but, are there serious plans to record a new album? Because I heard you were busy in the studio to do something new.
Maurice: Yes, we just started writing, ah, for the new one.

PS: Yeah…
Maurice: And, uh, so we’ll be at that for a couple of months, and then we start recording – we’re actually going to record as we go, because we don’t make demos anymore, so it’s um, it’s just gonna be fun, and then we’re just gonna speed ahead to the album, and get it done and then hopefully the world tour.

PS: Yeah..and how many records, how many songs have already been finished?
Maurice: We’ve got three down so far.

PS: And also recorded as well?
Maurice: Yes.

PS: okay, and, and you’re just…
Maurice: In a v…In a very rough state…

PS: Yeah, I can imagine, of course. Um, in the stage of the demo for Celine Dion, in that stage, you mean?
Maurice: Yeah.

PS: okay.
Maurice: Well we call it rough… A lot of people would think it was a record (laughs). But to us, it’s not quite right yet. There’s certain things we have to – make it grow.

PS: Um-hmm. And about the world tour, um. So there are serious plans to go around the world for…
Maurice: Yeah, we sort of had it all set up before the, um the eleventh of September tragedy. So we’re, everybody was sort of put on hold after that, until we see what, you know, happens in the world right now, because, it’s, it’s a bit tricky.

PS: Yeah.
Maurice: And, uh, so we were., we were at the set up stage, so everybody’s on hold now until we work out what we need to do, and how the world, you know, survives all this terrible terror.

PS: Yeah, And I think a lot of fans will be very pleased to hear you’re going to do another world tour, and busy with the album…
Maurice: Oh, I mean that’s why… It’s important to us too, and once again, I say, we’re persistent. We’re not gonna stop.

PS: No, I can imagine! And I think you’re also very happy with the success of “The Record”, which is a …
Maurice: Yes.

PS: double – CD with…
Maurice: Absolutely. Unbelievable. Once again, thank you fans!!! (laughs).

PS: Do you think maybe that the CD is like a photo book, in which you can just see all the different, um places and photographs of all different stages of time?
Maurice: Oh, absolutely, I mean when I was, I was, I was mastering it, and uh, putting them in order and stuff, and when, when we’d go back to the tapes, and we’re listening to stuff, and I mean, the memories and stuff we’d talked about and, em, you know – “Do you remember when we recorded this and what we were dong? And I was 20 then, and you know, Barry was 23, and what we were doing with our lives, and where we were, and where we were living,” and all that stuff. And it’s, it’s quite a movie (laughs).

PS: Yeah. But a nice movie to see eh?
Maurice: It is.. we’ve actually had people want to cut the… do a film, but they want to make them into mini-series, things like the Jackson Five, and we said “No, no, no, no no”.

PS: Just one film and nothing else?
Maurice: Yeah, because they can come back to haunt you! ( laughs)

PS: Yeah, okay, yeah! Right, right… how, how special was it to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, on…?
Maurice: Once again, a great high point.

PS: In what…
Maurice: An unbelievable high point.

PS: It was on May 7…
Maurice: An to have a legend like Brian Wilson induct us, that was, that made my night.

PS: Yeah.
Maurice: And Brian is a good friend of ours, and what a talented man. And you know, he’s one of our mentors when we were younger, you know? And to have him present… He actually sang “Too Much Heaven”, which blew me away, before we came on, before he gave us the awards. And it was just, it was a beautiful night. And Michael Jackson and the brothers – Michael Jackson all them got inducted the same night as well…

PS: incredible eh?
Maurice: So it was, it was a good fun night. We ended up in Michael’s suite and chatted for a bit. We’re sort of his adopted Eng, uh, English-speaking family, I think… Or English family (laughs).

PS: It’s really incred…
Maurice: But it was a nice night, beautiful night.

PS: It’s incredible to do that eh?
Maurice: Oh, yeah. Well, once again it’s, it’s that uh, we had it when we were inducted in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame about four years earlier, and we didn’t expect that. To be amongst the, you know, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s and the, the Burt Bacharach’s and the, uh, George Cohan’s and, and Henry Mancini’s and all these people there, and we’re going “Wow. We’ve joined this clan. “You know…

PS: Yeah.
Maurice: Of great writers.

PS: Um-hmm. You just…
Maurice: More high points.

PS: Maurice, we talked about your career, about the 110 million records, about the five decades, about the 19 number 1 singles, about these huge figures. Do you still have dreams about music, do you still…
Maurice: Yeah, oh yeah, I mean it’s, uh… I have three basic great loves in my life. My, my wife and kids, eh, my career, and paintball. I love to play paintball!

PS: I know, ’cause are you going to do something with a, um, championship in September with paintball I read somewhere.
Maurice: Yeah, we’re going to do actually one in the Bahamas in July. Actually it’s July 10 (ed. Note: postponed), and it’ll be the Commander Cup, because since I got the Commander of the British Empire, everybody calls me “Commander” now, which is quite weird (laughs).

PS: So later on you will be the Commander…
Maurice: Well, my friends and my paintball team suggested that we should call it the “Commander Cup”, and it will be the island tournaments. And we’re going to do the first on in the Bahamas, and then we’ll do the rest of the islands, like Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas, and, and it’ll be a championship. Yeah, it’ll be like the Stanley Cup of paintball.

PS: Um-hmm. And you’re also very proud of your son Adam and your daughter Samantha?
Maurice: Yes, my daughter’s just signed with BMG now, she and her brother write, uh, together with the songs, and her boyfriend Laz, who’s the lead guitarist in the band. And eh, the album’s – I just finished the album, actually, last week.

PS: So you produced the album?
Maurice: Yes.

PS: It was not the first time, ’cause you produced, also, things for the Osmonds, I read?
Maurice: Yes, uh, that was an experience…(laughs)

PS: It was a long time ago
Maurice: Yeah, that was my first attempt at doing something outside the Brothers, and, uh, it was quite an experience. But with my kids, it’s, it’s a different world. It’s something she’s come up with herself… I didn’t even help them with the songs, that’s what made me feel so good.

PS: Um-hmm
Maurice: You know, they actually wrote them themselves, and I didn’t change anything they’d written, and I just produced them the way they felt they, they wanted to hear them.

PS: Yeah. Maurice, can you explain me what will happen with “The Loner” and “A Breed Apart”, ’cause I, think they are unreleased albums so far.
Maurice: Well, “A Breed Apart” was, uh, a film that was only released on video, which was Rutger Hauer, great actor…

PS: It’s a Dutch actor, eh!
Maurice: Yeah, oh, I love him. Eh, Kathleen Turner, and Donald Pleasence, and Powers Boothe, I think were in it. And it was a film about the Carolinas, and about a man who was an ex-Vietnam vet, who moved to the island after his wife and family died in a car crash, and he raises birds and stuff. It’s about a rare eagle, but the mov… the film actually didn’t come out ’til, em, oh, actually, it just came out in video form and stuff, but the album – I don’t think the soundtrack album was actually ever cut.

PS: No. Um, would you like to say something to your Dutch fans?
Maurice: I would just say, ‘I love you all, and thank you so much for your support. ” And that, ah, hopefully, we’ll be there within the new year.

PS: When will you announce the concerts? Do you know already, or is it still…
Maurice: We will, we will know… It’ll be a couple of months away. See we… ‘Cause we’re trying to work out now what, um, the best places to start and so forth. ‘Cause as I say, everything’s just sort of put on hold right now.

PS: because of September 11?
Maurice: Yeah. Still a little bit sketchy in places we were gonna go to, and they’re not too sure whether it’s safe or whatever, ’cause we wanted to do places we’d never done before as well.

PS: Um-hmm, okay.
Maurice: You know, so… Particularly in the Far East, and that, it’s not too good.

PS: No… okay.
Maurice: Like we wanted to play India (laughs) but unfortunately, it’s, uh… I had mo idea the fan base we had in India until I was in Hong Kong not too long ago, and the, all the heads of the record companies in, uh, in the Far East were there for dinner, and I sat with a guy from, from New Delhi, and I had no idea that the sales were so good. And he said, “Please come, and we’d love to see you there, you would be an amazing show.” So we were planning that too, but with the problems with Pakistan right now, it’s not too good.

PS: We will wait…
Maurice: Unfortunately, we have to bide our time…

PS: Yeah… We will wait and see about your plans about a new CD and about the world tour…
Maurice: Yeah…

PS: Thanks very much for the interview!
Maurice: You’re very welcome, Peter, it was a pleasure!

PS: It was a very nice conversation.
Maurice: Okay… We had a rocky start there (with the phone connection), but it was pretty good.

PS: It ended up well. Eh?
Maurice: Absolutely. I loved it!

“End Of Interview”