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Exclusive Interviews

In this section we aim to bring you many more Exclusive Interviews. Not only from the Artists who played at the Apollo and the Green's Playhouse, but also from the behind the scenes people who help create the Apollo legend. Watch out for interviews with Richard Park, Ten Years after and Budgie.

author - Scott McArthur
Andy McCluskey of OMD interviewed - 11/02/2004
"it was such a strange venue because of the height of that stage.  You could never forget it and I think also, to be perfectly honest, the Glasgow audiences are some of the greatest audiences in the world to perform to.  They are very vocal, very loud and very responsive and the atmosphere in any gig in Glasgow is usually very good"
What do you think it was that made the Apollo so popular? 
The first thing you've got to say is that it was such a strange venue because of the height of that stage. You could never forget it and I think also, to be perfectly honest, the Glasgow audiences are some of the greatest audiences in the world to perform to. They are very vocal, very loud and very responsive and the atmosphere in any gig in Glasgow is usually very good. I've played the Barrowlands and the SECC amongst others in Glasgow, but most of the times I played in Glasgow was at the Apollo. 
The 1983 Dazzle Ships tour is the subject of a lot of interest on Apollomemories. What was it about that particular show that has made it so memorable? 
Dazzle Ships Album Cover - was a gig when our stage set was very striking and people do remember that. It was very strongly visual. If you are into your early 20th century art it was sort of like a Russian constructivist stage set. It was made up of gantries, time zones, flags and ramps and things. It was a major construction on the stage that we played on and in front of. The set itself moved and had lights and we actually used the set to perform a couple of the tracks. The Dazzle Ships album had a lot of found sounds, robots and radio.

The set itself actually played a couple of the tracks on the tour. The very first song that we performed on that tour was ABC Auto Industry and we didn't actually play any instruments. We came out with semaphore flags and a box that had the rolling words on it. It was a very unusual way of performing. Obviously people remember that.

Our first show at the Apollo was actually supporting Gary Numan.  That was a great show as it was the first night of the tour.  Having just finished the production rehearsals in London, we then all drove up to Glasgow.We were nervous and he must have been crapping himself as it was his first big gig.  We were nobodies at the time and had just had one record out on an Indi label, a song called Electricity. So we played and did alright and then I remember watching Gary's set from the balcony where the mixing desk was.

Off course at any good rockin' gig at the Apollo the balconies used to move.  People used to dance on the balconies and I was standing on the balcony thinking "this thing is going up and down!"
Electricity Cover - year later, after we'd had Enola Gay from our second album, we came and played the Apollo ourselves.  Now I'm standing on the stage looking at the first balcony in front of me thinking I can see moving.  That was the other strange thing about the Apollo.  When you stood on the stage you were basically at eye level with the first balcony.  You had to consciously look down to see the stalls.  I have never since been on a theatre stage that was that high. I tell you, you worked your neck muscles if you wanted to play to the whole audience.  It was much more vertical than it was deep that venue.

Another thing I remember about the Apollo was related to the fact that I was notorious for the slightly bizarre way that I danced on stage. The front of the stage had to have white tape across it, as I was always nervous that I was going to fall off it. I used to hurl myself around. 
One of our contributors referred to it as your "epileptic" dancing. 
Yeah. I myself have described it as dancing like an "epileptic windmill" so I don't think there is anything I haven't heard about my dancing.

There was also a personal connection for me to the Apollo as my father, who was born in Dundee, was raised in Glasgow. He would often come and see us play and make a day of it by meeting his old cronies and going to Shawfield dog track before the show.

I think he used to tell me that he remembers the venue before the huge stage was put in when it was used as a ballroom. Did they used to dance in there? 
Yes, it used to have a very large ballroom which was very popular during the war years in Glasgow and through to the 1950s. 
My dad remembers dancing there in the 1940s and going to the cinema. Then he saw his son on the stage. It was always quite a family event as my uncle used to come along to the shows as well. 
Do you still play concerts in Glasgow? 
I haven't played live really since 1993. Since the Apollo closed, we have played at the SECC.  It was ok, but it's a big cavernous place. However, the audience was good. We also played at the Barrowlands with that famous sprung floor where they used to have to strap the PA down otherwise it would fall over, but I digress as we are talking about the Apollo. 

The other great thing about Glasgow is often when we played there, and particularly with the early OMD songs, I would sing the verse and the chorus was essentially a synth melody.  You'd get the entire audience singing along with the melody. I had to get used to the fact that that was going on, I would look at Paul and say "are you out of tune?" because every one was singing (or shouting!) along slightly out of key and when you got to Enola Gay or Souvenir or something, the whole crowd would be shouting the melody. It sounded really weird. 
SRH (River Records) have recently unearthed a load of recordings from Scottish gigs which they hope to release over the years, many of which are from the Apollo. 
Really, that should be interesting. Interestingly enough, and I possibly shouldn't say this for the sake of Scottish politics, but normally when you went to Scotland you would play 2 nights, one in Glasgow and the other in Edinburgh, usually back to back.

One of the things that you loved about the Glasgow Apollo, although it was a large venue, was the intimacy of it and the over the top enthusiasm of the audience.

This was always in stark contrast to the frankly frosty vibe of the Edinburgh Playhouse. Venues clearly effect how the audience respond to what they are watching. 
Did you ever take any photographs of you at the Apollo? 
OMD Apollo 1980 - I have plenty of pictures of us performing, I don't think we ever took any at the Apollo. What I could do for you is to get Paul Browne to put a little thing on our website news page asking if any Scottish fans have got pictures of the band on stage at the Glasgow Apollo. 
Andy, that's been really great and we appreciate you taking time to have a word with us about the Apollo. 
I'm quite happy to review fond memories. I shall definitely go and make the time to have a look at the site and am more than happy to talk to you. 
Official OMD Website 
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