Published: 00:02, 08 November 2017
| Updated: 12:13, 08 November 2017
It’s 36 years since the original foursome delighted viewers across the continent with their skirt-ripping dance routine on the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest, but the remaining members of pop legends Bucks Fizz agree that nothing has changed.
Now re-branded The Fizz, original bandmates Cheryl Baker, Jay Aston, Mike Nolan and relative newcomer Bobby McVay (replacing Bobby G) are returning to the spotlight with a comeback tour that promises fans a balance of what Cheryl describes as “nostalgia and new stuff”.
The last two years have seen them back in the studio and working with acclaimed songwriter Mike Stock.
Cheryl, 63, who lives in Kent, said: “We are a bit older but the music hasn’t changed, the enthusiasm hasn’t changed and the fans haven’t changed – they’ve just got older with us.”
“Everyone’s getting older,” said Mike, 62.
“I think we’ve had a really good 36 years actually, really enjoyable. We have had some ups and downs like everyone else, but it has been more fun than anything else.”
It could very easily not have happened at all, as the band owe their fresh thrust into the limelight to a couple of casual Twitter messages kicked off by one loyal fan.
Cheryl and Mike started performing again in 2004, Jay came back in 2008 and Bobby joined later. In 2015 that they got in touch with the songwriter of Stock Aitken Waterman fame, Mike Stock.
Cheryl said: “In the 1980s he was the UK’s most prolific songwriter of all time. Everything he touched turned to gold or platinum.
“He followed me on Twitter and I followed him back, then a Bucks Fizz fan linked us in a message, asking, ‘how about a collaboration between the group and Mike Stock?’
“Mike said he would love to, so I sent him a private message and asked, ‘Really?’
“He said, ‘Yeah let’s do it’, and here we are.”
Bobby, who has established himself as the joker of the band since joining three years ago, said: “Of course, we had Twitter back in the day, but it was real pigeons then. Same logo.”
While they have all been on and off the stage and screen over the years – not to mention the Eurovision TV specials – it has been more than three decades since they brought their signature 1980s sound to some of Britain’s most major venues. And a lot has happened since then.
There have been marriages, children and new branches on the career tree, with Cheryl especially becoming better known in recent years for her work as a television presenter, which included a stint on Celebrity MasterChef in 2012. She is also an honorary patron of the KM Charity Team.
While their diehard fans remain as loyal as ever, mothers Cheryl and Jay confess their musical legacy is little more than an uncool hangover from a bygone era in the eyes of their own children.
On behalf of her teenager, Josie, 56-year-old Jay says: “She used to be a fan until about two years ago.
“There is a bit of teasing goes on at school about what her mum does. She’s at that age where it’s all got to be cool, but we’re not really cool, are we?”
For Cheryl, her twins are now in their early 20s and have passed their angst stage. In fact, her daughter Kyla is the writer behind album track, Amen.
One thing that has stood the test of time is that unforgettable moment of Eurovision telly gold, where, reaching the climax of Making Your Mind Up, the boys cried out “Do you wanna see some more?” before yanking the skirts from the girls’ waists, revealing brightly-coloured dance pants. While the unexpected move won the UK a rare contest victory and secured their fame for years to come, the idea of two blokes undressing their female counterparts on a public podium may not sit so comfortably with audiences today.
Asked if they are concerned about backlash or sexism accusations when they re-stage it for the tour, they unanimously agree: “Not at all.”
“People thought that back then,” said Jay. “There was an MP who thought it was a bit too much and I even got branded wally of the week by the media for my outfit. But it was music, it was entertainment, they can make of it what they wish.”
The Fizz make the only Kent stop on their national tour in Sevenoaks this weekend, playing the Stag Theatre on Saturday, November 11. For tickets go to stagsevenoaks.co.uk or call the box office on 01732 450175.
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