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THE OTHER SIDE OF MIKE BENNETT

This is a new series of films covering known artists from a different angle produced by Grey Area Productions.

Today TreTre did her first in a series of People You Might Know for One Thing, But Not Necessarily for Another. The first of this exciting 2 hour series explores the other career of writer, composer, producer Mike Bennett whose wide and diverse credits include Wishbone Ash, ELP, The Fall, Poly Styrene, The Specials, Neville Staple, Christine Sugary Staple and more. I caught up with Mike after grilling him for 2 hours today about his other side…. he was not expecting the questions I asked him. Initially flummoxed by the questions he was being asked, he held his ground and we ended up having great fun as the banter naturally enveloped into a conversation that revealed the other jobs he carries out in tandem with his work in music production. This is how our post show candid conversation went…

  1. How did you feel about doing a 2-hour interview about yourself with no stops and in one take?

 

  1. Well, I was mildly surprised to say the least how things went forward. I was led to believe I was doing an interview about the new Fuzzbox album we’ve done for Gonzo Multimedia and then you started asking me about my personal life, which I was up front about regarding my borstal days. I would like to take the opportunity to downgrade that to Approved School, I did not steal the car, I was just an unfortunate passenger, but I have to say at least you were gracious enough at the end of that tricky moment to acknowledge that my mild turbulent teenage behaviour for good grist for my poetry.

 

  1. Despite my lack of Fuzzbox questions you expected I managed to get to chat to you about your work writing for actors and comedians, you’ve written for Jim Bowen, Phil Cool, Frankie Howerd, Bobby Davro, Anita Harris… who have enjoyed writing for the most to date?

A Difficult question as usual, I was honoured to do the Grimm’s Fairy Tales with Rik Mayall, but I have to say I have just reimagined Aesop’s Fables for my favourite actress of all time, Anna Savva, who is the main reason I watch the period drama series The Durrells. I love the fact that you you’re working closely with Ian Hills because the Granada/ITV connection ties in with Anna Savva and The Durrells and although the connection is tenuous he made me feel easier as you were grilling me, and he was genuinely interested in my work with Anna in respect with my work with Aesop. During the pernicious pandemic pantomime, we have been creative on a daily basis taking a left field spin on Aesop who is a writer from six thousand years ago, whose is as relevant as it is today. Can we not talk just a little bit about the Fuzzbox album?

  1. Maybe later, what was Frankie Howerd like to work with? 

 

  1. He would have loved Fuzzbox, he was into all sorts of stuff, Pet Shop Boys, Motorhead and he did love Sinister Warts by The Fall…he was not as confident as you may imagine, but he was a kind and gifted man, after I did a play with Frank Skinner I was surprised and chuffed that he was a fan of The Fall as well.

 

  1. Not my bag as you know Mike, and as you know there’s a lot if your stuff I am not really into and I will never pull the wool over your eyes just to flatter your ego, which I have to say is rather healthy to put it politely, but I do like Pink Sunshine by Fuzzbox but my favourite version is the one you produced with Steve Etherington who I saw live with The Rubettes ft John, Mick and Steve! Your weird dub version is definitely not for me, it is the students that go to places like District in Manchester or hip students into Psyche music and all the subject’s genres that go with it.

 

  1. Steve Etherington gives every broadcast quality commercial aspect, he is the best! It would be a crap production model to work with the worst. Put a good team together and they will make you sound talented, I love spinning plates and I love throwing in a swerve ball and when I met him on the Shane McGowan sessions I never looked back, as I said in the interview, the artist’s job is to put the painting on the canvas, the production team, which incidentally includes Deborah Allen, who has helped me put the Polyfest stuff together in order to celebrate the life of the late, great Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex, she’s meticulous when it comes to strategic but out of the box manoeuvres, she takes good counsel and listens to the often troublesome menagerie of colourful artists. With Steve Bowden, Friedbananaand Andy Chester on audio visuals, Leah Mckavanagh on administration because I cannot even tie up my own shoe laces, and the artists themselves all being brilliant gives me confidence to carry on melding my script writing endeavours with pop music, any genre will do if I get it! I have had to turn down amazing jobs because I knew there were people better than me for that artist.

 

Well you don’t appear to be falsely self-deprecating and I have to say your artistic policy appears to be sound and talking about sounds I’m going to include some sounds from your recent work on the slightly seedy film you have made, Laundry Matt, which is finally coming out after 2 years which you amazingly claim you made on a budget of 15p!

 

Just some of the artists and songs to appear on the forthcoming film Laundry Matt.

 

The Rubettes ft John, Mick, and Steve 

Lady Starlight,

Born to Be Alone,

New York City

Mrs Pringle

Dynamite

Back to Drak

 

Melanie Williams

Ain’t No Love Ain’t No Use

 

Fuzzbox

Spirit in the Sky

 

Christina Sugary Staple

Way of life

 

5 Responses to " "

  1. I have been listening to Mike Bennett produce this album with Steve Etherington. One of my John Leckie produced songs Green Eyed Girl is being worked on by The Rubettes for inclusion on the album. I am delighted that John, Mick and Steve have included the track on Glamnezia. Another astonishing Mike Bennet production.

    • Morgan says:

      its great Mike Bennetts other side is being exposed properly and going on TValong with Durrels actor Anna saves . he had a really bad time having to get rid of actress of types Donna Grey but she was allegedly involved in heavy duty stuff an the new actress fits the bill great and she has no past . he is easy going , gifted and I’m pleased about all this

  2. Cindy x says:

    I’m delighted to be costed as crêpe Suzette in this film as I know there were issues with the casting and I am told I have fitted the bill quite well and do a vocal with The Rubettes featuring John Mick and Stev. I only do spoken word but I am thrilled to be part of the film and have been crowbarred in so I am over the moon. Thank you very much Mike Bennett for being So accommodating and can’t wait for the screening. It’s only my third film but the cast are so amazing and so many famous people on the soundtrack I’m over the moon

  3. Leah says:

    Fascinating read and the ‘show the other side of’ sounds amazing would like to know more about Fuzzbox tho. Love WFM and follow chit chat show and cant wait for it to be back on air. Love some of Mikes work but dont like the Fall or punk stuff but like Bananarama and Toyah cos at least you can hum to it

  4. Andy Chester says:

    I met Mike18 months ago and he already knew me because I was in One Lady Owner and Tony Berry from Pinnacle sake Mike to poach is from Creation while he was working Kim Fowley. We got on great and I ended up making videos for the Rubbettes and Fuzzbox who are in the film Mike is making Laundy Matt. I also met Simon Wolstencroft who is drumming on the new My Computer album Terrible Times. The film soundtrack features Daryl Hannah. Foo Fighters, Mark Refoy from Spirtualised and Spacemen 3, Neville and Christine sugary Staple, Fuzzbox and The Rubbettes featuring John, Mick and Steve.

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