Cover story for the July 1978 issue of Hit Parader features the Bee Gees getting interviewed during the Main Course Tour in 1975
Their manager Dick Ashby once said, "If you want to interview the brothers, catch them one by one. If you interview all the three of them together, all you ever get is Goon Show." So that's what happened, it seems!
Writer Jim Girard caught them at the very beginning of their 1975 Main Course Tour. And the result was what he called "the funniest interview I ever conducted." That Saturday afternoon in May at a Clevelad radio station, they were excited and happy about their latest album, Main Course, but nobody foresaw at that point what their change of direction would eventually bring. Here's a quick summary of the interview:
The Bee Gees Giggle Hour
Ironically, Main Course was just out and the band still hadn7t gotten any real reaciton to teh album. Their show the next evening drew a mere 500 people. Today, The Bee Gees can laugh at that show. I never forgot the excellent show they did that night though. But most of all, I couldn't forget "The Bee Gees Giggle Hour," as I always called it.
Below are selections from it:
JG: Let's talk about your earliest recollections of The Bee Gees.
B: We released about thirteen records in a row in Australia and they were all flops. None of them took off.
M: The we decided that we should take off. It was good in Australia; good training that is. We did a whole lot of recording and so forth, but it gave us a lot of training for England. And Robin won the 800 meters race in the Olympics.
B: Australia was good to us in that that's where we got our basic training. We worked adult clubs berfore we made records.
M: Yeah, we had to work to adults before we could work for kids.
JG: What do you think has changed most in over 20 years as a group?
M: Our underwear has changed the most. And me losing my hair. I think that we have really all grown older. Our music has changed...
R: On the contrary, underwear must be changed daily in order to maintain a fine balance of smell.
M: But really, our music has changed so much and will continue to do so.
JG: Originally there were five members of the band. What's happened to the other two now?
M: Oh, we got rid of them.
B: You mean our mum and dad? Dad's right here next to you.
JG: I know that, I mean Vince and Colin.
B: Oh, Colin wanted to go his own way. He is sitll somewhere in the business. Colin left on very bad terms and wanted to sue us. On the other hand, Vince is still a friend of ours and he just wanted to play the blues -- Eric Clapton and all that kind of blues. Vince left on amicable terms.
R: Those days were really funny; you've got to laugh because it was intense back then.
JG: How come The Bee Gees have gone back to a band format and left the orchestra behind?
M: Because we ran out of money. (Robin is rolling on the floor by this time.)
B: Actually about a year ago we realized that we were capable of doing more than we were doing with an orchestra.
R: Also, we ran out of money.
B: We knew we were capable of doing more than just harmonizing; we're more into R&B material, but people didn't want to hear that. I think they do now.
M: We always wanted to play R&B music too.
R: We got stuck is what it was. We're writers and writers shouldn't stay in one area. We are capable of writing in more formats and we like to do that.
JG: "Jive Talkin’" is a very funky tune, very American.
B: That's the truth. We are more affetcted by American music more than ever. We're writers and we need inspiration from other writers. You take inspiration from everyone.
R: Music in England at the moment is pretty small. There's really nothing going on that's original.
M: As I said before, we have always been able to play. On every record we have made, I have always played bass, Barry has played guitar and I'd do keyboards too. It's what we have always wanted to do. It's funkier playing the new material.
JG: Robin, you left The Bee Gees once. Why did you leave?
R: I just had a slight attack of TB and I was in the infrmary.
JG: Could you explain that more seriously?
R: Okay, I had a slight attack of TB and we were going in different directions or something stupid like that.
JG: How did the three of your get back together and why?
M: We all got TB and joined up in the infirmary. (At this point in the interview, their father, who was reading a newspaper, was holding his head in his hands and moaning.)
B: We found out we did have the same goals, so why do it separately?
M: Also, it was funny because when we cut solo stuff and put harmony on the songs, they all sounded like The Bee Gees any way -- like the three brothers again.
JG: Why are you still together as a group? Because you're all brothers?
M: Because we're nuts.
B: Yeah, because we're brothers.
We've been through so many ups and downs in our careers - not as just brothers, but as a group. We have a lot in common because of that. We want to do it well now.
JG: What was the most creative time for the group?
M: Actually, the most creative time is now. Really. But I think the most exciting time for us was where we got back together again and worked around the piano and wrote "Lonely Days." That was great. In America that went to number one for us. That was the biggest kick I ever had. After being separated for fifteen months or so and getting back together again and the first thing we wrote and recorded went to number one.
Barry: I would never say that period was our most inspirational period though. The album 2 Years On was not as strong as the single was.
JG: There's a number of entertainers in pop music who...
M: You mean there's others?
JG: Down, Maurice! I mean there's others who have done your songs. Do you have any farvorites?
M: Let's see, Dean Martin, Jose Feliciano and Andy Williams and, uh...
B: I liked Jose Feliciano's "Gotta Get A Message" and Andy Williams does nice versions of our sogns, really.
JG: Odessa was a bold concept album in its time. How do you look back on that album now?
M: I like the cover.
R: It's very difficult to say because we don't look back on our albums much. There are a lot of people who associate certain albums of ours with a particular period in their life. We don't put old albums down, of course. But I think when you're a writer, one tends to look towards tomorrow instead of the past. It's different for the people who buy the records though. It's like going up to a script writer and telling him: "Hey, that Sanford and Son show you wrote was really great." But he's already working on something else.
Well, I don't know if that's exactly theh same...
M (to Robin): What a load of rubbish!
B: There's more where that came from, too.
JG: Maurice, you're the only one of the group who seems to be into country music aand all sorts of other stuff. You're writing different songs than Robin or Barry.
M: Yes, well, I do tend to be that sort of person. Whatever you classify me as I am.
Really, I do like funky music and uptempo stuff. Robin's a sort of melancholy lad, very sad drivel. Robin is God's gift to music, ha, ha, ha. And Barry is too much "To Love Somebody." And when you mix us all together you get crap.. I think we're going to write separately from now on and that'll give us a Beach Boys sound. Never mind.
JG: "Jive Talkin" is an amazing song. How did that come about?
B: That was written in the car going from the Criteria Studios to 461 Ocean Blvd., which was where we were staying to record. We finished it in the studio, but when we played it for Arif Mardin, our producer, he asked us if we knew what "jive talkin'" meant in Ameica. We said we didn't and when he told us we had to change the lyrics so they'd make sense. That's also why the first line of the chorus is "Jive talkin' so misunderstood."
JG: Why are The Bee Ges so modern and disco and danceable now? Don't say because you ran out of money either.
R: You can only go on the mood of today and you can't write for tomorrow. Our trouble was we were writing in the past.
B: There were those couple of years when we weren't what you'd call currrent.
M: Other people have done our material and it sounded very modern. We had to start doing our material modern too.
B: We're definitely back onto an inspiratinal path. We know what we want to do and we will do it. It'll take hard work, but we're always collecting ideas for songs by looking around us. Everybody's dancing now and people should be able to dance to our music.
The interview is followed by these words of the writer who was looking back at then 3-year-old interview from the perspective of 1978.
Today it would be very hard to get the three Bee Gees to tape over an hour of interview /dialoge for a local radio station.
（From "Bee Gees Giggle Hour" by Jim Girard, Hit Parader, July 1978）
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