NUNN ON ONE, MUSIC ABC's Martin Fry: Letter-perfect
by Jerry Nunn
ABC is headlining the Regeneration Tour in the U.S. and will be in Chicago June 26 with Wang Chung, Berlin and Missing Persons. Having a string of hits from "The Look of Love" to "Be Near Me," lead singer Martin Fry taught Windy City the 1-2-3's about ABC.
Windy City Times: Hi, Martin. We are excited about seeing you in Chicago. What made you want to go on this tour?
Martin Fry: I toured last year with The Human League and Belinda Carlisle on the Regeneration Tour. It worked out great. It was exciting traveling all around America. I realized there is an audience out there for what we do. I got the invitation to play along Wang Chung and Cutting Crew so I wanted to do it.
WCT: So what kind of music do you listen to?
MF: Tons of stuff; it's the iPod generation, isn't it? I never listen to ABC. I only hear it on advertisements in the U.K. I like The Killers and Goldfrapp. Lady Gaga is massive in the U.K. I really admire her. I am a completely different generation but she's working it.
WCT: Were you a big fan of Smokey Robinson to write that song?
MF: Yeah. We wrote "When Smokey Sings." That was a song about growing up and listening to Motown. I met Smokey Robinson and gave him a copy of our record.
WCT: You started as a music journalist, correct?
MF: I was trying to get courage to get a band together so what I did was start a little fanzine, which was the equivalent of a blog today. It was called "Modern Drugs" and in it I could write anything that I thought was stimulating. I could write about a TV show or a band. I picked it up the other day and in it was a sarcastic review of The Human League. I just hope they never saw the review, but it wasn't me that wrote it.
WCT: You just performed at the Royal Albert Hall. How did that go?
MF: Yes, I performed with the full ABC band and the BBC orchestra. We played our first album in its entirety and whole bunch of other songs. It was a great night. The Albert Hall is a prestigious place to play. People put their heads in a lion's mouth there so it's a historical place.
WCT: You actually had a B-side called "Chicago."
MF: It was the B-side of "When Smokey Sings." We were very influenced by the house-music scene. I went to Chicago and did some recording. That song is our homage to Chicago.
WCT: We are very excited about you coming here.
MF: It feels really good to perform onstage along Cutting Crew, Wang Chung and Berlin. It's a kind of an '80s fest.