Muddy meets Nik Kershaw
Nik Kershaw is laconic, laid-back, and *very very* funny - read on for his views on Live Aid, embarrassing his kids, the Let's Rock the Moor pecking order and (OMG) being a grandfather!
You Rocked The Moor in 2018 – which of your besties is playing this year?
I’m not too sure! It’s not like you check who’s on the line-up and consult your mates – like ‘I don’t want to be in a field with that geezer!’ At the end of one season you get booked up for the next, so here I am.
What, so no bickering over the running order?
Well, I’m not completely immune to having an ego – of course I’ll get my tape measure out and compare the size of my font on the posters to everyone else’s! Actually, you know what, most of us know our place in the scheme of things. I’m pretty sure I’m not the top of the bill, but it’s a bit of a poison chalice anyway, because you never get out on time. The lower down the order means you can be one of the first at the bar. Hang on, you’ve got me curious now, I’m going to have a look! [checks out the website]. Oh, no order up yet but my bet is Andy Bell and Shalamar as headliners. And Marc Almond probably.
Are you planning to play new material?
I did used to say ‘… And here’s one from my new experimental album!’ as a joke but there’s definitely silence when that happens so I don’t do it anymore. As an Eighties act you know what your job is when you walk on that stage, and the fans know what they’re going to get too. But I definitely take it seriously and I still get nervous before every gig. There’s no sense of going through the motions, I want to do my best.
Which Eighties groups were tricky back in the day?
I don’t remember any trickiness – I was mostly just thinking, ‘What am I doing here on Top of the Pops, this is bonkers.’ Back then we didn’t have much to do with the other acts, we were all in our own bubble, with our own management, band, crew, entourage, travelling the world together. Although having said that, when I was backstage at Top of the Pops, it was quite funny to bump into the NME acts who all kind of resented being there and having to perform on the show. The Smiths were there keeping themselves to themselves – but what I’d done with a pair of secateurs.
How’s the fam?
I’ve got a 7 month old grandchild! It’s lovely but slightly freaky – I don’t want to mess things up! There’s a lot of spoiling going on. I’ve got five kids so there will be more of this to come.
Will your children be coming to see you in concert?
Well they’ve got over the acute embarrassment of having to watch me on You Tube looking like that in the Eighties, but you know, it’s their own fault for looking. I asked my eldest daughter if she wants to come to Let’s Rock the Moor, and she’s like ‘yeahhhhh alright, I suppose it’s a day out.’
Did Bohemian Rhapsody bring back Live Aid to you?
I was so impressed by how they did the Live Aid scenes in the film. They were so realistic that I had a bit of a shiver watching it. I remember Live Aid vividly, and for me that day was a game of two halves so to speak – kind of fitting for Wembley. Before I went on I just felt fear. Sheer panic and terror. Then afterwards, relief that I didn’t make too big a fool of myself. There was a small area set up for artists, a quadrangle of portocabins that you had for 20 minutes before you went on and off, and there was a Hard Rock Café where we did an impromptu rehearsal. I went on after Elvis Costello and Sade, and it was a massive privilege to have my name on that bill. I’d only been around for a year and my first hit had been the year before in 1984. To mix with the calibre of artists on that day was incredible.
My school friend used to sign her signature as Karen Kershaw because she wanted to marry you – can I pass a note back to her please?
Are you sure she liked me and not Andy Kershaw?! I’m very flattered, and I can remember being very silly about certain people myself. I lost the power of speech when I met David Bowie, I idolised him so much.
You’ve been famous for over 35 years. What’s it like?
I don’t consider myself famous any more. I don’t worry about going into Tesco’s without a body guard. It’s quite nice when it occasionally happens. Someone will come up to me and ask politely ‘Are you Nik Kershaw?’ and I say, ‘Well, yeah I am!’. I appreciate it! I’m human, and everyone likes to be the centre of attention, don’t they? But when I was properly famous I did find it a lot a bit awkward and a bit embarrassing. I never really understood what I was famous for, and didn’t know what people expected of me when they met me. So it’s better now.
Why are you such a big Muddy fan?
Well, it’s lovely that we can just have a chat, isn’t it? Full marks lovely Muddy Stilettos, you’re awesome.
Let’s Rock The Moor! Marsh Meadow, Cookham on Sat 18 May 2019.