10cc Revisit Sheet Music Album For 2015 Tour – Graham Gouldman Interview

After the exceptional success of their festival shows in the summer of 2014, which included the 65,000-capacity British Summer Time in Hyde Park and a 23-date UK theatre tour through October-November, the legendary 10cc are back with 19 major shows including a return to Cardiff’s St David’s Hall On February 17.

The band will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of their highly inventive and creative album Sheet Music, and as a special treat for fans, the band are to perform the whole album in its entirety, including the Top 10 hits The Wall Street Shuffle and Silly Love, with a special video contribution from 10cc co-founder Kevin Godley.

The second half of the evening will feature all the usual 10cc classics, including Dreadlock Holiday, Rubber Bullets, I’m Not in Love, The Dean and I, and I’m Mandy Fly Me, making these shows a must-see for old and new fans alike.

Released in 1974 and produced by the band, Sheet Music reached No 9 in the UK charts and entered the Top 100 in the US. It remains a master class in the composition of popular music and typifies the eclecticism and breathless invention that characterised the band’s earlier work – soft and fuzzed art-rock guitar, immaculate harmonies and elements of spoof and parody.

Led by 10cc co-founder and recent Rock N Roll hall of fame inductee Graham Gouldman, the current live band has been together for over a decade. Andy Howells recently chatted to Graham about the tour.

How did you get into song writing?
Out of necessity in a funny sort of way. I sort of dabbled with song writing but the Beatles inspired me to take it more seriously and also the band I was in at the time we wanted to make a record. We went to the usual sources to try and find material and couldn’t find anything and I thought “I’ll write something” and so I did.

What was it like when you got your first taste of success?
Amazing, if you can imagine what it was like for a 19 year old to write such a big hit for the Yardbirds For Your Love.

Was it difficult breaking into finding success as a musician?
No. Things just happen. 10cc kind of just happened. You can do what you want but if the public don’t like it you’re not going to be successful at it. You just do your best and I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve been able to make a living as a songwriter and a musician as well.

Working with three other songwriters within 10cc in the form of Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Crème was there ever any trouble getting a satisfactory level of material on albums?
We never had any problems with things like that. In fact whoever wrote a song the others would adopt the songs as their own and try and make them better. We never rejected each others songs. We did change partners quite a lot. 

In this tour we’re going to be performing the Sheet Music album in its entirety. What’s interesting about that album is because I’ve obviously been listening to it a lot and looking at the credits and everything is how we swapped writing partners. I think that’s why its my favourite 10cc album and it seems to be the favourite of many other people as well since we announced the tour. I’m very pleased about that. its never been performed live.

What’s it like revisiting the songs after all this time?
I know the album is just slightly over 40 years old but I never think of their age I just think of them as songs it is quite awesome it is 40 years I can believe it. The fact is they’re great songs they are interesting they’ve got lots of things going on in them although it’s a challenge to perform them the way I want to do them its very satisfying.

It does seem incredible its 40 years one of my earliest memories of 10cc is seeing you perform Rubber Bullets on Top of the Pops.
It’s a great song. We’re doing Sheet Music in the first half and we’ll be doing the greatest his and more in the second half.

What was it like reaching number one?
We’ve been very lucky. We had three number ones with three different singers which prove that the strength of the band was with all the members.

What was the inspiration of I’m Not in Love?
We didn’t want to write a love song there are enough love songs in the world and I have to say Eric came up with the perfect title, kind of like an anti-love song, or is it?

Joe Brown recently covered that on his ukulele album.
He did and Diana Krall has done a very good version of it. To be able to do it on a ukulele was quite a feat and it sounded good.

Looking forward to the tour, there’s a contribution from Kevin Godley?
A visual contribution. He’s going to be performing one of the songs a classic song from the Sheet Music album

Are you all still in regular contact?
Kevin and I have been in regular contact over the years, we’ve never lost contact with one another. I originally wanted him to come on tour with us but that wasn’t possible but he said “I’ll make a video contribution.” What its lead on to, because of the way were going to present the show and Kevin’s appearance means that our whole visual side of the show is going to be upgraded quite drastically. Normally we have lights, backdrops and things but this is going to take it to a different level.

Beyond the 10cc tour, do you have any other projects lined up?
I’m doing something called Heart Full of Songs which is me and two other musicians in a sort of semi acoustic evening. It’s much more intimate where I get to sing a lot of the songs I wrote pre 10cc and post 10cc and talk about the songs as well which is nice. I’ve done it for two years and I’m hoping to do it again.

Please bring Heart Full of Songs to Wales.
Id love to, I’ve never done it in Wales. We’ve done it all over the country but I’ll make a point of telling my agent that we must go to Wales!

  • For ticket information visit stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk or call 029 2087 8444
  • Visit 10cc’s official website for more news on the band and Graham Gouldman.
  • A shortened version of this interview by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on February 13, 2015.

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