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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Surpassed the punk rising

Here's the second half of Frank Worrall's 18 September 1982 Melody Maker article on the Secret Seven, featuring Mike Finney.


Frank Worrall (words) and Zbysiu Road (picture) regress to the happy days of THE SECRET SEVEN

BUT isn't the Secret Seven simply another cog in the manufactured romantic pop wheel; in effect, just another Dollar?

"The crucial point here," Mike states, "is that yes, there are lots of pretty and at the same time succesful grops - like Duran Duran and Altered Images - but they're riding on hype.

"The end of the day they've not got a good song to their name.  So sure, we've got Julie and her good looks but we've also got Julie's good voice, my voice and bagful of good songs.

"If anything, we're a thinking man's Dollar," he conclude.  I take a sip of lager and try not to look too shocked.  But you've no depth to your music, I say, hoping to provoke him into submission.  "I wouldn't agree with that," he retorts.  "But what do you want - zenbudhism or pure metaphysics!

"I don't think love songs are lightweight.  I think anything you can touch is lightweight; anything you can't touch can't be lightweight."

Mike confesses that he has a special affection for the music produced by the old great soul artists.  "The best pop lyrics in the world are those by Sam Cooke and Otis Redding," he claims.  "They're so very ambitious, so very clever - and yet they say everything.

"I'd love us to be produced by Isaac Hayes or some of the other great Stax producers.  But I'd settle for someone in Britain like Trevor Horn!"

Yes, but don't you feel that the Seven are taking an easy way out by never broaching upon more topical subject matter?

"We're not the news and I'm not Reginald Bosanquet," he says smiling.  "And we don't want to be.  What's the point and how honest would it be for us to be mouthing off about what's happening in Ireland or Iran?

"Music is escapism that should be totally entertaining," he continues.  "My philosophy on life is if you don't like it don't do it: if you do like it do it again!"

We're just happy producing music that we feel is making a point about one particular aspect of life - emotion and feelings.

KNOWING that Mike has seen, survived and surpassed the punk rising of the late Seventies, I wonder if he accepts that the Secret Seven are just another notch in the post-punk complacency which has suffocated the music world over the last couple of years.

"I know what you're saying - that there's not the same urgency and rough passion - but I don't think that we could be compared to boring bands like Yes.

"Of course times have changed but we're not complacent or self-indulgent.  Bands like us and ABC and The Human League have drawn from the experiences of punk and now we're putting them into practice.

"That means we won't be dull like Yes but I'd also like to say that we don't want to be marketed as a rebellious band like The Sex Pistols were.  I mean they were just as big a part of the business as anyone else."
Julie has been present throughout these exchanges, but hasn't said a word because she's no nervous.  Which surprises me.  At the Hacienda she appeared to be exuberantly confident, pure bluff apparently.

"When I first joined the group I wouldn't even sing if Mike was in the same room," she eventually says.  "I used to go in the loo and he had to go to the bottom of the stairs and listen to me from there!"

Now can you imagine the bleached pumpkin out of Dollar saying that?  Neither can I: far from being artificial The Secret Seven pump real blood, real flesh and real passion through their music.

(c) Frank Worrall. Melody Maker.

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