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HEATWAVE MARCH 1977 INTERVIEW
THE HARDEST WORKING BAND IN THE LAND
"We have always worked hard and that won't change because of a hit record. In fact, we may end up working harder"

MAYBE the London Weather Centre could use some assistance / advice from B&S because whereas they didn't predict last summer's hot-hot spell, B&S did advise you well in advance that another form of Heatwave was about to descend upon these islands of ours. All of which is a rather lavish (but original, you must admit!) way of saying that as we suggested, Heatwave have hit our charts with magnum force via their disco delight, "Boogie Nights".

"I certainly feel very happy about it," smiles Johnny Wilder, who — as leader — used to have his name preceding the group title as Johnny Wilder's Chicago Heatwave.

"We've been working at it for a long time now but I guess we are still a little surprised that we're actually there now. It's a case of the right company at the right time and to get the success in Britain is the most important thing of all because it's the focal point for all of Europe. And so many records bounce back from London to the States and that's where I would personally most like to succeed. That way, I could smile back at all my partners that I left behind in the States to concentrate on making it here in Europe.

"It's funny, though, because the record has been released in just about every country around the world other than the States. The company we are with are making a change there just now and it has left a void."

Having hit paydirt, has it affected the band that are acclaimed as "the hardest working show in Europe"? "No, there'll be no real changes," Johnny clearly points out. "We have always worked hard and that won't change because of a hit record. In fact, we may end up working harder!

"We've always had a tight show but we also believe in creative freedom and it's this spontaneous approach that has held us in good stead over the years, I think. Now, because of the success, we'll have a whole lot of new people to entertain — and that's where the accent should be…on the word "entertain". I guess the biggest change for us is that we'll earn more money now that we're a "hit act"!

"You see, even before the hit, we have been playing concerts and there was a certain buzz in the business about us. And we were confident from the beginning — we always felt that this day would come."

Much of the new-found success has to be laid at the feet of Rod Temperton, who hails from romantic Cleethorpes — and not Scunthorpe as we erroneously suggested in our last feature on Heatwave. Rod is the writer of "Boogie Nights" and he'd be the first to admit that Cleethorpes (or Scunthorpe, for that matter!) isn't exactly a breeding ground for class R&B songwriters.

"I've always tried to write my music with an American flavour," Rod explains — with still a hint of that Lincolnshire brogue to his voice. "Really, "Boogie Nights" is the most universal song that I've written — the rhythm is ideal for Britain whereas "Ain't No Half Steppin'" (their first and still highly acclaimed release) was too American perhaps for Britain. Sure, we would have liked "Half Steppin'" to have been a hit and maybe it would be more suitable for America."

Will the new found success affect Rod's style of writing? "Well, until now, I have always written totally the way I feel," he admits. "But now the hint of business starts to creep in and I have to be careful that I still write songs on my own terms.

"Let's put it this way, I always want to write from the heart and to do that now, I have to discipline myself. I never want to get to the point where I'm not proud of every single song I write."

Having just completed a tour of Holland and Sweden, Heatwave are about to embark on a two-month long tour of the U.K. and start work on their second album during the odd days off. Already, much of the material is ready and the success of "Boogie Nights" will permit them that hint of confidence that is necessary in the building of any superstar group.

Having known the group for some years now, I can honestly add that this new status couldn't have come to nicer bunch of guys.


  
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