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Interview: Six Questions For The Sound's Mike Dudley

Interview: Six Questions For The Sound's Mike Dudley

Chris Cudby / Tuesday 14th January, 2020 11:40AM

The Sound Revisited are performing in Aotearoa for the first time ever this coming Friday, featuring UK post-punk legends The Sound's original drummer Mike Dudley alongside Malcolm Foster (ex-Pretenders, Simple Minds), and local members for the occasion John Kempt and David Parry. They'll be celebrating the pioneering work Dudley created in collaboration with singer / guitarist Adrian Borland, bassist Graham Bailey, multi-instrumentalist Benita "Bi" Marshall (who left the group after their first album in 1980), and Colvin "Max" Mayers, embodied on such classic records as 1980's Jeopardy, 1981's From The Lion's Mouth and several Peel Sessions recordings. The Sound's story is that of significant triumphs and challenges – a true cult favourite, the South London group's critical and fan appeal was not met with commercial success, while Borland's mental health struggles with depression sadly led to his death by suicide in 1999.

Mike Dudley recently played a series of The Sound gigs in Europe, sparked into action by the forthcoming release of Walking in the Opposite Direction, a documentary by Mark Waltman telling the story of Adrian Borland. Ahead of this weekend's headline appearance at Tāmaki Makaurau's Neck Of The Woods, supported by local heroes Voom, Dudley generously filled us in on The Sound Revisited's debut New Zealand show...

The Sound Revisited w/ Voom
Friday 17th January - Neck Of The Woods, Auckland

Tickets available HERE via UTR

1. What inspired you to get this version of The Sound together - why now? Who's in the touring band?

It all started as a simple trip down under to visit my friends Malcolm and Carolyn Foster and have a holiday. Pretty soon it started to develop into a gig at Malcolm's suggestion. I've played with Malcolm before, if a long time ago, the last time in 1983. Nothing serious, just for fun.

This one-off performance comprises myself, Malcolm (ex-Pretenders and Simple Minds) on bass plus New Zealand musicians John Kempt on vocals / guitar and David Parry on keyboards. John and David are long-time fans of the original The Sound. John came on board via contact with Malcolm, and brought David along with him.

I have a band playing in Europe that was founded on the idea of keeping the songs by Adrian Borland and The Sound alive, often in support of a documentary about his life called Walking In The Opposite Direction, to be released on DVD and for streaming later this year.

2. Are you aware your song 'Heartland' is a bit of a local live favourite in Auckland? It's covered by local group Guardian Singles. Have you found The Sound's music has been attracting a new generation of fans?

That's news to me. We are including it in our performance. It's a real energy crowd-pleaser and in its energy and lyrics pretty much encapsulates what Adrian was about.

A large percentage of fans who come to see my European concerts are completely new to the material, having discovered us on the internet...

3. Have The Sound ever played in New Zealand before?

No, we never made it down under.

4. With The Sound, you gained rapid success which also came along with significant struggle – looking back, what stands out for you as highlights from your career with the band in the late '70s / '80s?

My audition with Adrian and Graham for the drum seat in what was called  The Outsiders. Life on the road. Many memorable concerts in Europe – the Utrecht No Nukes festival in 1982 – and two forays into America. Our many appearances at the original Marquee Club in Wardour Street in London. Rehearsing and recording the albums.

5. The Sound are often cited as a band that deserved wider popular recognition. Was there debate in the band around whether to pursue a more commercial direction in the early 80s?

There was no debate as such. The record company (Warner Bros.) wanted us to start writing calculatedly commercial songs. They suggested Duran Duran as a template. Our attitude was to ignore them, basically.

6. What can fans look forward to with The Sound's New Zealand show with Voom on 17th January?

The Auckland Gig Of The Year, I should think.

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