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STEVE NICHOL/LOOSE ENDS 2011 SOULMUSIC.COM INTERVIEW
PIONEERS IN TRANSATLANTIC SOUL
Phone interview recorded November 20, 2011

SoulMusic.com Records proudly reissued A LITTLE SPICE and SO WHERE ARE YOU? the classic first two albums by the seminal UK soul group Loose Ends this month. Formed originally in 1981 by Steve Nichol who was joined shortly thereafter by Jane Eugene with Carl McIntosh completing the lineup in 1982, Loose Ends became the first British black band to be sent to the U.S. by a U.K. record label to record a whole album. Expressing his excitement about the two reissues, Steve shares his thoughts on the group’s early years with David Nathan who has long appreciated the contribution that Loose Ends has made as a bridge between American soul music and homegrown British black music…

David Nathan: I am really delighted today to welcome to SoulMusic.com a gentleman that I met—I want to say somewhere in the mid-eighties; not sure exactly what year. I do know that at the time I was living in the United States and I was on a visit, I do remember that much. And of course at the time that we met was when this particular gentleman and the two other members of the group that he was a part of were experiencing some considerable success with their first two projects, released on Virgin Records in the UK. And I actually came across them through their manager at the time, Tony Hall, who I’ve known since I was a teenager, so we won’t go into how long ago that was. But I am extremely proud that SoulMusic.com Records the first two albums by Loose Ends, and really, it is just so wonderful to have this music available again. And let me add before I go on that they are expanded editions, so we do want you to check them out. Make sure you purchase them at SoulMusic.com or Amazon or wherever you would like to purchase them, because there are some great bonus tracks on them, and of course the original albums have been remastered. But it’s on that occasion that it gives me great pleasure to welcome to SoulMusic.com the gentleman who actually was the original founder of Loose Ends, and that’s Steve Nichol. So welcome, Steve.

Steve Nichol: Hi. Hi, David.

DN: All right. Well, for those who haven’t yet purchased the two expanded-edition CDs, could you tell us a little bit about the origination of Loose Ends? How it actually began back in the day?

SN: Well, back in the day I was actually modelling at the time when I met Jane. I’d just finished working with Paul Weller and The Jam on a world tour—I did the Trans Global Express tour. So after that I decided to form a band, get together a group of people that I thought could actually be in a band. I was just finishing a fashion show and Jane was at this fashion show, and one of her best friends was actually modelling with me. And I said to her best friend at the time, I said, “Would you like to come and join the band?” She said she wasn’t going to be the right person for the band but she had this person, Jane Eugene, that was actually a very good singer. So that’s how I actually met Jane and we decided to get together to do some material. That was the first encounter with Jane, and that was back in 1981. Then we decided to get together a group of people—it ended up being about nine people in all.

Yeah, it was quite a lot of people, David. And we actually auditioned quite a few bass players… I think there were three bass players. We actually auditioned Junior Bromfield from Second Image at the time, but he wasn’t available. He was already in the band, in Second Image. He would have been ideal at the time. But then we actually came across Carl [McIntosh], who played bass and guitar, and that’s how he became a part of Loose Ends, as well as all the other people that were in the band including my brother, Mike Nichol. So that’s how we formed.

DN: Now just one thing, of course, which I only discovered when I was doing the reissues: I actually had forgotten that you were originally not called Loose Ends, you were called Loose End.

SN: Yeah, we were called Loose End, yeah.

DN: Where did the name come from?

SN: Well, the name came from an actual hairdressers in Croydon, believe it or not. Jane came across this hairdressers and she thought, “Oh, that’d be a great name for the band—Loose End.” And so we took the name from a hairdressers in Croydon, which is kind of funny. And it’s still there today, the hairdressers.

DN: Really?

SN: Yeah, and they actually play Loose Ends music in the hairdressers, which is quite funny.

DN: You’re kidding.

SN: Yes, they still do.

DN: So now you’re a band. There’s actually, as you said, four of you: there’s yourself—

SN: Well, three of us.

DN: Three of you, and then you mentioned your brother, of course. And was it that quartet, in fact, that got signed to Virgin?

SN: No, there weren’t actually just four; there was about nine people in the band. There were loads of people, including [the singer] Vivienne McKone. She was there as well. It was actually literally nine people in the band. We whittled it down to three because it was too many people. And the way we got signed was we dumped some demos at Matthew Fisher’s house—Matthew Fisher from Procol Harum. And that’s where we did our original demos, in his house in South Croydon. So we went around there for a few days doing some demos, and at the end of the sessions I got in touch with a guy at Sound City Records, or City Sound?

DN: City Sounds, yes.

SN: City Sounds, sorry. Yeah, City Sounds. At the time they were in Holborn, just round the corner from Tottenham Court Road going towards Holborn. And the guy in the shop told me, “The person you need to speak to is a guy called Mick Clark, who just actually left there and has got a situation with Virgin.” So I ended up meeting Mick Clark in South Molton Street, out by the Hog in the Pound, a pub on the corner of South Molton Street and Oxford Street there. And basically what happened was, he listened to it on a Walkman—

DN: You’re joking!

SN: Yeah, it was on a little Walkman at the time—there was no sort of CDs or anything at that time. So now I’m showing my age [laughs].

DN: That’s okay.

SN: Yeah, so he listened to it on the Walkman and he said, “Okay, could you come in in the next few days and we’ll talk a deal.” It was that instant. There was no messing around, it was literally that instant.

DN: Well, how did you react?

SN: I was in shock. I had to go back and tell the guys, “I think we’re about to sign a deal.”
It was pretty amazing.

DN: I’m laughing only because I’m thinking, Steve, how different it was back then and there are certain generations who’ve come along since, they have no concept that that could actually have happened that way.

SN: Yeah. Well, basically they used to sign you on your talent, really; not, say, on your image like they do today. It’s pretty much manufactured. Everything’s manufactured today. You can go and you can create your own group easily without any problem, but back then it was based on raw talent.

DN: Now do you remember what songs were on that demo?

SN: Oh my God… “In the Sky”, “Only a Day Away” and a few others were on there as well that actually didn’t make the grade, so we ended up having a singles deal to start with.

DN: So then you went in to meet with Mick. Did Jane and Carl come with you or was it just you?

SN: No, it was myself. I actually went in there myself to meet with Mick Clark, and sat down and he said, “Well, we’d like to sign you. We want to know the other members of the group,” and stuff like that. And in the end that’s what happened; in the end all three of us went in.

DN: And as I remember the story unfolded through talking to you and through Carl and Jane’s recollections also for the notes for the first album, A LITTLE SPICE, that reissue, the next thing that happened was an encounter with the man who would become your manager, Tony Hall?

I can’t exactly remember the whole details, it’s so far back, but I remember this distinguished gentleman walking into the room and stuff. He was actually at the time managing Chris and Eddie Amoo, who actually did the first single.

DN: Right. That was the group The Real Thing.

SN: Yeah, that was The Real Thing. Yeah. Chris and Eddie Amoo were managed by Tony Hall and Jeff [from the management office]at the time. So there was the younger guy and the older-statesman guy, which was Tony. They were quite a good sort of double-act, really.

DN: A good mix.

SN: Yeah, a very good mix. So we didn’t have no management at the time so we thought, “Well, why not?” We talked to Chris and Eddie about it and they said, “Yeah, they’ll be very good for you.” So that’s how we ended up going into Tony Hall’s office and signing with Tony.

DN: Cool. And then of course you did a couple of singles: you did the single with Chris and Eddie, “In the Sky”, and then after that I know you did a session with two gentlemen whose names I’m probably going to mess up, but I know the first ones are George Hargreaves and Tony...

SN: Tony Ajagbe.

DN: And then you did a single with them, and then did one more single with Pete Walsh.

SN: “Don’t Hold Back Your Love”.

DN: Exactly. And all those singles are on the expanded edition, I’m pleased to say. And then what happened? Because of course the next part is probably the most crucial part for people who’ve been following the group, and particularly the people in the States who had never heard of Loose Ends at that point. Now before we go there, when did Loose End become Loose Ends?

SN: It was shortly after the first single, because we had an injunction thrown at us by Mike Reid, the DJ. He already had a company called Loose End, and said that if we actually used the name Loose End he was going to sue us. So we just turned around and put an S on the end. Problem solved. I’m sure he’s really eating his words for that one.

DN: I bet, I bet. So now you’re Loose Ends and you’ve had three singles, which from what I gathered, they did okay. They got some airplay from people like Robbie Vincent, the British DJ, and other DJs here in the UK. But what happened next of course was about how you came to make the first album, A LITTLE SPICE. Would you like to share with us a little bit about the story of how that came about?

SN: Well, that story materialized from Mick Clark meeting Nick Martinelli. He said he’d heard of this new producer out in Philadelphia that was actually making a lot of waves out there, and he decided that Nick Martinelli would be the ideal producer for us. So he flew Nick over to London to the Stanley Hotel in Notting Hill, which was a little, small hotel; a very, very nice little place. And that’s where we first met Nick Martinelli.

DN: Did you hit it off right away?

SN: Oh, yeah, he was hilarious—he was very, very funny. Actually, it was just like a laugh a minute with him. He was so warm. And we had a good vibe about him, and we knew that would be the right person.

DN: Now a couple of things: had he heard any of your music up to that point?

SN: No. Mick had just sent him a few of the old demos that we’d done, and Nicky said that he could hear something in it that he could actually work with. So we ended up writing some more demos in… I think it was the Barbican, or the music room in the Barbican, a little rehearsal-cum-demo studio sort of thing. So we went in there and started writing loads and loads of material. And we had another meeting with Nicky, and at that time Mick said he’d had a word with Simon Draper, who was the managing director of Virgin at the time. And they decided they were going to take a risk and send us to Philadelphia to actually record the stuff, because Nicky said that would be the ideal place for us to record; instead of recording in London, why not record it in his hometown in Philly?

DN: A couple of things: first, that was a major, major big deal for a British group at that time.
Well, let me say for a British black soul group, because I’m sure other British groups had been to Philadelphia and of course recorded throughout the United States. Actually, before we go on to talk a little bit about that, can you just give us some idea, Steve, what it was like as a British black soul group in Britain at the time, and how was it dealing with that? I’m sure it couldn’t have been that easy.

SN: No, it wasn’t. It wasn’t easy at all. When I walked into Virgin the first time—which was on Portobello Road at that time, in the little yard area on Portobello—the first person I bumped into was Boy George. And that was kind of strange, because you didn’t really know if he was a man or a woman… he came across as transsexual - it was really weird. And at that time things were changing; in the eighties anything went, really. It was almost a throwback to the sixties. That’s how I look at the eighties—it was almost like a throwback to the sixties: new styles, new dance movements were going on. It was a very good time to be around in the business. But as a British black group it was quite hard because you’d never really get the big budgets. You’d always be like a third of the budget, compared to somebody else on the label. That was our experience, really. I’m not saying that we didn’t have a good situation going. It was very strange. It was all new to Virgin because we were the first black band to be signed to them, so it was a completely new kettle of fish for them.

DN: That puts it a little bit more in context. So therefore, the idea of a record company spending the money to send you to the United States, to Philadelphia, was clearly a big deal.

SN: It was, yeah. They really actually had to believe in us, because it was quite a lot of expense when you think about it. It wasn’t a small budget. They actually did put us into apartments but we had to clean the apartments ourselves, and stuff like that. It was just basic, but we didn’t care because you’re in Philly and it’s a fun xperience. You know, the Sound of Philadelphia.

DN: Right. Well, I was going to say, what was it like for the three of you actually being in Philadelphia? As you just correctly pointed out, the Sound of Philadelphia, being around in the actual city where Gamble & Huff are making music, Thom Bell’s making music…

SN: Dexter Wansel…

DN: Absolutely. How did it feel to actually be there, for the three of you?

SN: It was weird. It was mind-boggling, to start with. Also, I used to think I was out of my depth because there were so many talented musicians out on the street corner. You’d turn up at the studio in the morning and there’d be guys outside singing harmony perfectly, and not even having a deal. They were sitting outside the studio trying to attract someone’s attention to get in the studio in order to go and meet someone to try and strike up a deal.

DN: Unbelievable.

SN: Yeah, it was that crazy. One day I saw a guy actually… you have to put this in. I saw a guy in the studio playing around, and he had three fingers on one hand and two on the other. And he was playing like [keyboardist] Joe Sample. I could not believe it. The guy must have only have been fifteen.

DN: So you finally get there, you’re in Philadelphia, you’re working with Nick, you’re already met him a couple of times so there’s a rapport there and now you’re in the studio for the first time working on your first album in Philadelphia. How was it?

SN: Exciting and nerve-wracking, both rolled into one. It was quite amazing. We had a fantastic engineer, Bruce Weeden, who’s a fantastic guy; very, very, very laidback, almost like a country-and-western guy. But he knew his sounds. He has probably the best ear for sounds that I’ve ever actually come across since I’ve been in the music business. He’s that good. So he did all the engineering, and he had a very good partnership with Nicky. They knew exactly what they were going for.

DN: And Nick had already sorted out which songs of yours that he wanted you to do, correct?

SN: Well, more or less, but we still ended up writing a couple while we were out there. So we did actually do maybe half the ones we’d done in America on the first album as well, but not all of them.

DN: Right. So then you finished the first album, which was A LITTLE SPICE. And how did you feel going back to London with a finished album?

SN: Very, very excited, because it was a sound that we knew didn’t sound English and we knew that the actual general public over here in England would think it was an American band. The sound was so polished compared to what was out there on the market at that time.

DN: And in fact, as I remember… I’m not sure if it was you or Carl, or one of the three of you told me that what actually happened was in order for the soul fans in Britain to actually think it was an American group, your guy at Virgin, Mick, used to send out white label copies so that people thought that it was an American band. Is that correct?

SN: That’s very, very true. He was actually sending it out on a fictitious label called Caroline Records. I’ve actually got a copy of that first record.

DN: You’re kidding.

SN: No, it came over as an import. It was very, very strange… it had an American label and everything but it was prepped here.

DN: That is really funny. Well, what happened? Did it create a buzz?

SN: Of course it did, yeah. Definitely created a buzz, because people actually thought that we were American.

DN: I love it, I love it, I love it.

SN: Yeah, it was nice and sneaky.

DN: So obviously that really worked. And then the album came out and I think, as I remember, it did quite well here in Britain. But then there was this interesting development, because through a friend of Nick Martinelli’s you ended up with an American deal with MCA.

SN: I think that was John Brown.

DN: It was John Brown, absolutely—the late John Brown. An interesting development also as I learned, as the story was told to me by the three of you along with quotes of course from Nicky and Tony Hall and Mick Clark, was that John Brown decided to put out A LITTLE SPICE, but it came out just after you had finished working on the second album, which was SO WHERE ARE YOU?

SN: Exactly.

DN: So you’d gone back to Philadelphia and you were working on the second album. So before we tell what happened then in America, obviously Virgin were happy enough to send you back again?

SN: Yeah, it was excellent. Yeah, they were so happy with the success of the first album they immediately upped the budget for the second album, moved us from the apartments we were in to apartments in Ritenour Square—

DN: Which is for those who don’t know is very…

SN: Right into the centre of the very, very posh area of Philadelphia.

DN: The posh part of Philly, yes.

SN: It’s actually where they filmed Trading Places. Very, very nice area right in the crux of it and a fabulous, fabulous apartment which was very good. Lovely, lovely doorman we had as well. It was an excellent, excellent, excellent time. And I think that was a really, really nice period because we actually were settled now in terms of we knew what to expect about Philadelphia and we knew our way around the city and stuff like that. It was great. We were able to go up to New York as well at the weekends if we wanted to.

DN: Oh, fantastic.

SN: We never worked at the weekends, even on the first album. We only really did Monday to Friday, like a nine-to-five job, so to speak. And second album, same sort of situation but a much easier scenario. And plus, we didn’t have to clean up our flat.

DN: Well, that’s important. So on the second album you had some great people: you had of course Dexter Wansel come in to play on a couple of tracks, most notably one of his own compositions, “The Sweetest Pain”, which he had recorded himself. And so I’m sure that was a thrill.

SN: It was exciting, especially for me. I’ve always loved Dexter Wansel’s stuff, from MFSB and The Jones Girls, stuff like that; absolutely excellent… “Nights Over Egypt”, all those sort of things. I loved that sound from way back, so it was quite exciting for Dexter to come and play.

DN: And then you had the Sweethearts of Soul, I believe is what they were called? Or the Sigma… I’m not sure what they were called, but anyway the ladies who sang background in fact came in and sang backgrounds on that particular song, I believe. Am I correct?

SN: Yes they did, yeah. And that was excellent.

DN: And then on that album you have, actually, my personal favourite Loose Ends track, which is “You Can’t Stop the Rain”.

SN: Right. Lovely track, “You Can’t Stop the Rain”.

DN: How was making the second album? Obviously you talked about how it was more comfortable in terms of the living situation. Did the three of you feel more confident?

SN: Yeah, I think our writing actually really developed on the second album. It was a lot deeper, more meaningful as well. A couple of my favourite tracks are on that album. I like the title track as well; that is probably one of my favourites on the album.

DN: Really?

SN: Yeah, I do like the title track. Quite meaningful.

DN: And then of course the song that’s on there that everybody knows is the biggest Loose Ends hit, “Hangin’ On a String”, which of course as I made reference before, I said that John Brown at MCA made the wise decision to add that to what was essentially the first Loose Ends album, A LITTLE SPICE, and put it out in America. And of course, “Hangin’ On a String” became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. But if you can, just share with us a little bit about that song and what you remember about the evolution of the song.

SN: Well, it was quite strange because it was actually called “Contemplating” to start with; it wasn’t called “Hangin’ On a String”. The actual title was “Contemplating” and we actually wrote the basis of the song in London. We took it to Nicky and Nicky said, “You should really call it ‘Hangin’ On a String’.” And while we were in the studio we were actually listening to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, “No One’s Gonna Love You”.

DN: The SOS Band, right?

SN: SOS Band, yeah. And we decided to use the beat, so we actually used the beat of their backing track for our backing track. It’s almost the same tempo, but obviously everything else was different. So at the time I don’t think Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were quite impressed with us. They thought we ripped them off. But I think that was maybe the start of everybody sort of nicking bits from everyone. There’s only so many notes you can use in a scale anyway, so.... But yes, that was the basis for the song “Hangin’ On a String”. And ironically, you were saying about it being added to A LITTLE SPICE… at the time when America wanted to put out A LITTLE SPICE, like you said, we’d just finished SO WHERE ARE YOU? And what the Americans decided to do, MCA, they decided to take some of the tracks off of SO WHERE ARE YOU? and put it with the best of the tracks on A LITTLE SPICE. So that’s how A LITTLE SPICE in America is a slightly different version to the English version.

DN: Absolutely. Now just as a point of reference, after you finished “Hangin’ On a String”, that particular track, did the three of you know it was a hit?

SN: No, we didn’t, actually. We didn’t actually think it was going to be the single because we thought the tempo was a little bit too slow. We actually would have preferred one of the dancier tracks, so we didn’t actually know which one we thought was going to be a hit. We just saw the album as actually quite a good, polished album, but we didn’t think that “Hangin’ On a String” was going to be the first single, which was quite a surprise to us.

DN: And how did it become the first single?

SN: Well, it was chosen by Simon Draper, our boss. He actually listened to the album and he said, “That is the single.” And he wasn’t wrong.

DN: No, apparently not.

SN: Everyone thought he was making a huge mistake, but as he turns out he was right.

DN: And the three of you didn’t think that? Were you also really surprised?

SN: Yeah, very surprised at the time. Very surprised.

DN: Wow. Interesting, interesting, interesting. Well, there you go. So you never know, do you?

SN: No, you don’t. That’s why they call it pop music, because if everyone knew what a pop single was I think we’d all be making tons of money by now.

DN: That is very true, that is very true. So of course it did become a hit and obviously it’d become a hit pretty quickly on both sides of the Atlantic. What was your reaction to the success it started to have, firstly here and then in the United States?

SN: It was really, really strange. When it actually started going up the charts here, we were really surprised but very glad. In fact we were doing so many interviews, lots of TV work and then eventually doing Top of the Pops, which was quite amazing. But when we got to the States and we saw it rising up the charts that was quite phenomenal, because at first… well, in America you’ve really got to go up the black charts first before you cross over onto the pop chart, so it’s only like the Top Ten on the black charts in America [that] literally cross over onto the pop chart and then you start rising up the pop chart. But to get to Number One on the black charts in America, it’s like a completely different market. You have to do so much work and spend a lot of time running about the country doing the one-stops, which is all the visits to the record shops and loads and loads and loads of radio interviews, all up and down the eastern coast and then over to California. So it’s a lot of hard work to really sustain a record over there.

DN: But it was a good feeling, obviously.

SN: It was fantastic. By the time we knew that it was a hit we were in New York in a limo with our limo driver, Romero, at the time—very, very nice guy—and he turned the radio on and all of a sudden “Hangin’ On a String” came on. And you’re in the centre of New York driving through Fifth Avenue and you’re realizing your actual record is actually going on in America.

DN: Right, right.

SN: So that’s when I actually realized it was a big hit.

DN: And obviously it really became Loose Ends’ anthem. I think it’s been used, it’s been sampled… all kinds of things have happened to the song since. But there were some other great, great… as I mentioned before, there’s “You Can’t Stop the Rain” on that second album—at least, on the second UK album, because it actually came out on the second U.S. album, which was Zagora, so it all got a little confusing in terms of what tracks going on what things. But I also know there were a couple of other tracks on that second album that did well, including your version of David Bowie’s “Golden Years”.

SN: “Golden Years”, yeah. That was quite interesting as well, because in the video we requested for David to come on and do a walk-on part. And he was actually going to come on and do a walk-on part, but at the time we were scheduling the video he wasn’t in the country. But he actually did like our version of it.

DN: Oh, good. Good, good, good. So how did you feel about the album as an entire piece of work? How did the three of you feel about it?

SN: Well, we thought it was progressive—it was a progressive album. We thought it was actually quite a good step up from the first one.

DN: Which obviously everyone else agreed.

SN: Yeah, exactly.

DN: Well, only because of the limitations of time and we don’t want this to be a two-hour interview, we’re going to pause about the Loose Ends albums at that point, because obviously these two are the ones that have come out, and hopefully we’ll resume when we have some more Loose Ends albums coming out. And so we won’t even go any further about what happened after SO WHERE ARE YOU? for now.

SN: Okay, fantastic no problem.

DN: So what I’d really like to do is fast-forward to now and to, obviously, two things: firstly, how you feel about the reissue of those two albums.

SN: Well, very, very, excited, actually. I love the way it’s actually been put together; the sleeve notes are actually quite fantastic. A very, very good read.

DN: Thank you.

SN: A very, very good read and fantastic on the part on you and your team, and it’s very, very nice. I just hope that everybody who hasn’t experienced any Loose Ends will experience it now. Because I know its twenty-odd years…

DN: Well, actually it’s closer to thirty (laughs).

SN: It’s closer to thirty, yeah. Next year is thirty years. I’m just trying to take ten years off my age!

DN: I know. We’re all trying to do that, Steve, trust me.

SN: I know. But for the younger generation now, I think it would be a good experience for them to actually check these albums, because there’s a lot to be learned from them as well. Even today when I listen to the albums there are still little things I forgot that I actually did on them, in terms of arrangements. It’s quite interesting.

DN: I was going to ask you, when you’ve listened to them—obviously you have copies—when you’ve listened, how do they sound to you?

SN: Quite a lot of the tracks actually sound quite fresh and they do take you on a different journey, which is quite nice. I found myself turning the lights off and actually listening to some of the tracks, which was quite nice; a very good feeling.

DN: Good.

SN: A nice, warm feeling inside. Yeah, absolutely.

DN: Well, also to know you were actually a founder of Loose Ends and actually that this is really your music. And to hear it freshly I’m sure must be very rewarding.

SN: It’s exciting, actually, to listen to the whole album all the way through instead of listening to songs now and then on the radio.

DN: Well, it’s funny you mention that, because one of the things that I discovered in working on these; I had forgotten about the instrumental track “A LITTLE SPICE”, the title track of the first album, and I actually fell in love with that track, the instrumental. It’s really, really great.

SN: Oh, thank you.

DN: You’re playing trumpet on that, am I right?

SN: I am, yeah. I am playing trumpet.

DN: Was that your primary instrument—your very first instrument?

SN: Well, it was, yeah. I actually ended up doing a joint first at Guildhall School of Music and Drama; I did both trumpet and piano, both classical. I ended up doing more piano because at that time I didn’t think that… even though it’s a novelty thing with the trumpet. I can still play my trumpet, which is not really a problem. I tend to lean towards the piano because there’s more arrangements and more writing, song-wise.

DN: Now I do remember when I interviewed you for the liner notes you mentioned that when you actually had to play that at the session in Philadelphia, you were extremely nervous.

SN: I was totally, totally nervous because you had all these other musicians around at the time, it was quite crazy. You had Howard Melvin and the Bluenotes in the next studio.

DN: Oh, my God.

SN: Yeah, and they would be popping their head in now and again to listen to what was going on. Oh, it was very, very nerve-wracking. Now having said that, the next day Nicky said, “I’ve got a session for you tomorrow.” I said, “Who’s it for?” He said, “You’re going to do keyboards on a Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes track.”

DN: Wow, I didn’t know you did that.

SN: Yeah, that was my first session in America.

DN: No kidding.

SN: “Don’t Give Me Up”...

DN: That’s amazing.

SN: I did the keyboard overdubs on that single, which is kind of strange.

DN: Incredible.

SN: It was my first wakeup call as a session player in America.

DN: All right. Well let’s bring it up to now. Thank you, actually, for reminiscing with us and sharing—

SN: Oh, that’s not a problem.

DN: —the memories of doing that. But let’s just catch up with you now and what you’re up to these days.

SN: Well, I’ve actually started writing some new material which I hope to get out sometime next year. So it’s going to be mainly not so much on the instrumental side—there’ll be vocalists and stuff—but I’ve actually got together at least four songs at the moment which I’m trying to work on, and I’ll probably go into the studio with those before Christmas.

DN: Oh, good.

SN: A few weeks in the studio before Christmas, and then after the festive period I’ll start back again. So that’s going to be the project for next year.

DN: Well, I hope the reissue of these albums has also been a positive for you in terms of inspiring you to continue on in some way?

SN: Yeah, certainly. I hope a lot of people get pleasure out of listening to these songs, or buying them and actually listening to them.

DN: Well, we wish you everything good and the very best with your new project, and I’m sure when it’s finished we’ll have to come back to you at SoulMusic.com and find out more about it; interview you for that.

SN: Most definitely.

DN: It would be a big treat for everybody who’s really followed Loose Ends from way back in the day.

SN: Well, you’re on top of the list for the moment, so there we go.

DN: All right. well, Steve, I really want to thank you again. It’s really been a pleasure talking to you. And so the last thing I can say to everybody who’s listening is, go buy those Loose Ends reissues and hear the great music that Loose Ends did back then, which of course you’re going to continue on with in 2012 yourself.

SN: That’s fantastic. Thank you very much.

DN: All right. Take care, now.

SN: Okay, you too. Best wishes.

DN: You too. Thanks a lot, Steve.


About the Writer
David Nathan is the founder and CEO of SoulMusic.com and began his writing career in 1965; beginning in 1967, he was a regular contributor to Blues & Soul magazine in London before relocating to the U.S. in 1975 where he served as U.S. editor for the publication for several decades and began being known as 'The British Ambassador Of Soul.' From 1988 to 2004, he wrote prolifically for Billboard, has penned bios, produced and written liner notes for box sets and reissue CDs for over a thousand projects. He returned to London in 2009 where he has helped create SoulMusic.com Records as a leading reissue label.
  
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