THOSE purveyors of perfect pop, 10CC, are about to embark on a UK tour; performing the very best of their impressive hit catalogue.
From 1972 through to the end of the decade, 10CC was the band behind some of the most memorable hits of the decade.
Hits like Donna, Life Is A Minestrone, Art For Art’s Sake and a trio of chart-toppers – Rubber Bullets, Dreadlock Holiday and the sublime I’m Not In Love, came regularly from the quartet.
The band effectively split in the eighties, with a brief reunion in the nineties; but founder member Graham Gouldman put together a version of 10CC for touring purposes that included two musicians who had toured and recorded with the original band in the seventies: guitarist Rick Fenn and drummer Paul Burgess.
Ahead of the autumn tour, Graham tells me that the band is raring to go.
“We’re all very well indeed,” he says. “We’re busier than ever these days, we’ve just been touring places like Norway and Belgium – oh and St Albans.”
The core of the band is pretty stable, but there have been a few changes recently. Vocalist Mick Wilson has left and was replaced by Iain Hornall (who was support act to 10CC on their last UK tour), but Iain has joined Jeff Lynne’s ELO to join 10CC’s main keyboard player Mike Stevens (who acts as Lynne’s Musical Director). They have been replaced by singer Paul Canning and keyboard player Keith Hayman.
“Yes, it seems that when I find someone good, Jeff Lynne nicks ‘em.” Graham laughs. “Seriously, Keith has depped for Mike over the years and Paul is excellent, and I’m sure that between the two of them, they’ll do a great job.”
He continues. “I try to keep the line-up as stable as I can, but should the need arise we have subs for everyone. Everyone except me.”
When not on 10CC duty, Graham keeps himself busy. He has his acoustic tour – ‘Heartful Of Songs’ where he plays stripped down versions of 10CC hits, along with other hits he wrote, such as: Heartfull Of Soul (The Yardbirds), Bus Stop and Look Through Any Window (The Hollies) and No Milk Today (Hermans Hermits).
“And I’ve just been on a European tour as part of Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band, and I’m doing another tour with Ringo in September in the USA.”
For the 10CC dates, Graham tells me that it’ll be a hit-fest.
“We’ll do all the hits. In fact it’ll be hit after hit after hit – we show no mercy.”
“Also I’ll cherry-pick some tracks of the ‘Sheet Music’ album that we toured last year – and for that we’ll be doing Somewhere In Hollywood which has Kevin Godley [an original 10CC member] on film – which he directed himself.”
The live sound of the band is so good, it is almost like listening to the record.
“Even with the original band, we always strived to make the songs as near as dammit to the originals.”
Yet, even after all this time, he never feels tempted to play different arrangements of the songs.
“No, I always put myself in the audiences position. The main body of the song should be the same. I may extend the intros a bit though.”
“We usually do Donna our first hit, as an acapella song these days, which seems to work and we get a good laugh from the audience.”
“I wouldn’t do acoustic versions of the hits at 10CC shows though. I do some in my ‘Heartful Of Songs’ shows. Only certain songs work as acoustic though.”
And Graham himself is really looking forward to the tour.
“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. All the band are great musicians and great friends.”
“We also have a great crew. We’re blessed with a crew who have been with us a long time, and even though we tend to do a full sound check – if for some reason we can’t – say at a festival, I can still count on them to make us sound great.”
And the future looks like being as busy.
“That’s right. We’re going to Japan early nest year and I’ll be doing some ‘Heartful Of Songs’ dates in Holland, and we also have some festivals and a Swedish tour lined up.”
“Also, we have something else in mind for next year – but if I told you, I’d have to kill you.”
And Graham has one main ambition.
“To keep doing what I’m doing.” He says simply.
Graham Gouldman and 10CC will be appearing at
The De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea on Saturday 27th October and Dartford’s Orchard Theatre on Saturday 17th November.
For tickets and more information visit: https://www.10cc.world