Dennis Bryon interview for German magazine "Event. Das Veranstaltungs- und Freizeitmagazin"
How did you meet the Bee Gees?
In 1968 I was in a band from Wales named Amen Corner. We had six hit records including one number one hit. At that time the Bee Gees were enjoying their own success with a string of hits. Both bands did the same music television shows, so we got to know each other in the telecast studios. Maurice was always the social Bee Gee and would always come over for a conversation. In 1972 after Amen Corner broke up I was living in an apartment in London. In an apartment in the same building lived a guitar player named Alan Kendal. Alan played with the Bee Gees and one day came up to my apartment and told me the boys were looking for a drummer, and was I interested. I was, and Alan took me to Barry Gibb’s house for my audition. That’s when I met Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb.
What was the biggest difference in the music scene of the 70’s compared to today?
There were so many more live performances in the 70’s than today. Music was everywhere. There were more AM and FM radio stations playing music, more television music shows, and so many places for bands to play. In those days music was much more important, and worth more to the audience than it is today.
How did it work with having three brothers in the Band? Was that a reason for conflicts? How were you involved?
It wasn’t a problem that they were brothers. The Brothers were very close, and the whole family was as well. Most of the time the brothers would communicate with just a look or a motion to each other. I think it helped musically that they were brothers; mental understanding and musical awareness flowed between them. Yes, sometimes there was conflict between them but it was very occasional and would never last for long. I was never involved in any conflict between the brothers. They were family, so I let them resolve any differences they had with each other.
Which one of the three Bee Gees were you closest with?
I was always closest to Barry, and that’s not to say I wasn’t close with Maurice and Robin. We were all great friends. Barry was the musical leader of the group so I followed him closely. Also, my wife Jenny and Barry’s wife Linda were like sisters. They did everything together so the four of us spent a lot of time with each other.
Who of the Bee Gees was the number one for the ladies fans?
Barry was always the most popular with the ladies but he was married to Linda and everyone respected that. The girls always admired Maurice and Robin but it was Andy Gibb that drove the fans wild.
Are you still in contact with Barry Gibb?
The last time I saw Barry Gibb was in the winter of 2008. My wife Jenny was diagnosed with breast cancer and she desperately wanted to see Linda before starting chemotherapy and radiation treatment. We flew from Nashville to Miami and stayed with Barry and Linda for five days. Jenny passed in 2010.
How does he handle the early death of three of his brothers?
I was living in Nashville when all three brothers died. I tried to talk to Barry after each loss, but I was told Barry was too upset to talk with me. In short, the answer to that question is I don’t know, but I would imagine he was, and still is devastated as we all were. I recently saw Barry perform on a television show. He looked great.
Did you follow the bands history after their comeback in 1987?
No, I took a long break from music starting when I was 35. I lived in Nashville, Tennessee with my wife Jenny, and I was not in contact with anybody linked to the Bee Gees. I did miss the lifestyle but I didn’t want to go back to it.
How is it to play their eternal hits again now for the musical?
I start playing with the Italian Bee Gees in January of 2016 and very much look forward the playing those wonderful songs again. I flew to Germany earlier this year to meet the IBG’s. We hung out and jammed for almost a week. I went to three of their shows and sat in twice. It was great to play with them and Blue Weaver. Their whole entourage was comprised of fantastic people. From the Egiziano Brothers themselves, to their band, the singers, the dancers, the sound and lighting crew — everybody was wonderful.
What was the influence of the Bee Gees in the music scène?
The Bee Gees became the sixth biggest musical group of all time, selling more than 220 million records. It was difficult to escape their powerful, memorable songs as they were in heavy rotation on the radio. It’s hard for me to gage their influence as I was at the epicenter. I imagine there were plenty of writers trying to emulate their success right up until their music sparked a backlash, mostly from overexposure.
Which is your favorite song of the Bee Gees?
My favorite song written by the Bee Gees is Fanny Be Tender With My Love. I loved this song even when I heard it for the first time. When I was growing up in my hometown of Cardiff there was a song on the radio by an American singer named Brian Hyland. The song was called Sealed With A Kiss and it still remains one of my all time favorite songs. As soon as I heard Fanny it reminded me of Sealed With A Kiss. Fanny took me all the way back to Cardiff and that song.