Friday, 16 May 2014

Still Beautiful - Back On The Road With The South - Dave Hemingway Interview

The South
Following the success of their Autumn / Winter 2013 UK Tour.  The South make a welcome return to the UK venues when they return with a ‘Sweet Refrains – Spring / Summer 2014 UK Tour’.

Ex members of The Beautiful South, Dave Hemingway and Alison Wheeler will be singing many of those hits including A Little Time, Don't Marry Her, Rotterdam, Good as Gold, Perfect 10 and many more from the back catalogue.

This 9 piece band will also be performing several songs from their wonderfully received debut album as The South, Sweet Refrains.

The Beautiful South were formed back in 1988 following the disbandment of The Housemartins which featured Dave on drums alongside founder member Paul Heaton.
Dave had joined The Housemartins a year previously when he replaced Hugh Whitaker on drums. “The Housemartins was the first eye opener for me,” Dave told Andy Howells, “I’d gone from playing in local bands in Hull to not many people to my first Housemartins gig in Belgium to 90,000 people. From that point on, I realised I’d stepped up to the top level.”
But Dave’s time with The Housemartins wasn’t to last long, “I think Paul initially wasn’t sure what he was going to do,” says Dave “he’d started writing some more songs as he'd always been prolific and he decided to put another band together. He approached me to see if I wanted to be in the new band, I thought he meant as a drummer but he meant as a singer. He wanted The Beautiful South to be markedly different from The Housemartins in terms of personnel, getting away from the bass, drums, guitar thing. It was a brave step to do something markedly different but a good one to take because we didn’t want to tarnish the songs of the Housemartins. That’s why we eventually got the girl singers involved to make it a bit different from the previous band.” 
The Beautiful South’s first single Song For Whoever reached number 2 in the UK singles chart in 1989 featuring Dave on vocals, “I had to learn from scratch really, I wasn’t used to been up front. It took me quite a while to adapt to it and to any level of confidence. It’s not just the singing, its how to behave, how to conduct yourself." 
In 1990, the band scored a number one with A Little Time.  “At the time getting a number one seemed to matter more than it does at the moment,” says Dave, “The charts as a whole seemed to be more important to bands. The Top 40 was like dreamland. Getting to the top, even if it was just for one week is something they can never take away from you.” 
The Beautiful South endured for the next 16 years until Paul Heaton’s departure in 2007, “I didn't have any plans I wasn’t thinking too much about the future,” says Dave, “We’d had a good run and I’d enjoyed it.”18 months after the Beautiful South disbanded Dave was approached by drummer Dave Stead to reform the band, which they did as The South with Paul Heaton’s blessing.  
Now featuring Dave and long-time Beautiful South vocalist Alison Wheeler, the band are touring the UK mixing in their rich back catalogue of hits with the very best of material from their latest album Sweet Refrains. 
“I’m proud we’ve got an album out there,” says Dave, “We’ve had to start from scratch to write the songs ourselves. We’re not after world domination or anything. What we’d really like to do is get some more music out there and show we still produce songs so that people come along and see us. We’ll mix old songs in with the new stuff and hopefully everyone comes along and has a good night.”  
For more on The South and current tour dates visit their official website

A version of this interview by Andy Howells was originally published in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide in 2013.

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