Dave Stewart could have hardly picked a better name for his new autobiography, Sweet Dreams are Made of This: A Life in Music, which hits retailers on 9 February, via New American Library (NAL), an imprint of Penguin Random House. Stewart’s life has indeed been one of music, as he explores in his book. He had his first record deal as a teenager, which eventually led to an incredibly accomplished career that includes over 100 million albums sold, and is still going strong.
Stewart is best known for his enormously influential tenure with Annie Lennox in Eurythmics, with their nine acclaimed albums and hits such as “Here Comes the Rain Again”, “Would I Lie To You?”, “Missionary Man”, “Love is a Stranger”, the British chart-topper “There Must Be an Angel (Playing With My Heart)”, and of course their iconic #1 single in America, “Sweet Dreams (are made of this)”. Stewart has also enjoyed a fruitful post-Eurythmics career recording his own material in addition to collaborating with a wide range of artists from Mick Jagger, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, No Doubt, Sinéad O’Connor, Stevie Nicks, Bryan Ferry, Ringo Starr, Joss Stone, Daryl Hall and many others.
Stewart recently joined me for an in-depth interview that touches on all aspects of his life in music, including the early days with the Tourists, an album-by-album exploration of his work with Eurythmics, some of his most notable collaborations, his ventures into composing for films and television, and of course his highly anticipated new memoir. As a musician, composer, producer and artist, Stewart has been one of rock music’s most versatile and important figures of the past 35 years. His new memoir should solidify his tremendous legacy, which doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. (Including from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame selection committee, which has inexplicably failed to even nominate Eurythmics for Hall of Fame induction thus far — that needs to change).
Stewart was gracious and reflective during our lengthy conversation, and clearly excited about telling his story via his new memoir. The interview is a taste of what you can expect from the book, which includes many fascinating nuggets and anecdotes about his work and about many of the famous artists he’s crossed paths with over his career.
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It’s great to talk to you. So your new book coming out, Sweet Dreams Are Made of This, is very exciting. When did you decide to do a memoir?
It was kind of decided for me in a way. I was in a meeting about somebody else’s book at Penguin / Random House, and they were the ones that said, “Hey, you know, you should write a memoir.” Because basically I was going around the table telling stories about things that happened in a kind of fun way, like you do when you’re with a group of people. They pulled me aside and said, “You should actually do a memoir, because all of this stuff, and all the collaborations, and all the things you’ve been through in your life.” I was like, oh god, cause I always think, oh god, writing an autobiography…
People I know who’ve done it said it nearly killed them. Because if you’re a kind of person like me that likes to only look forward into the next day, or the next song that I’m writing, or the next project, then a whole load of time looking backwards is really weird and exhausting in a way.
Yeah, I can imagine. How long did it take you to put it together?
Ahh, probably, you know, not all the time, cause I would just keep dipping on and off. But you know, nine months or something like that, but in between cause I’d already been committed to do lots of other things, so I’d have to take four weeks and just do that. Then stop and then go back to it, and stop, and then find photographs and work out who took them and all the fun things that you have to do.
I assume you probably went went back and listened to a lot of old albums to refresh your memory?
Yeah, well, I mean the book starts basically with my first memory of a sound. I was about one year old, or whatever. Then me remembering stuff that my dad did that must have blown my mind about music, and then my brother going to college and him having some blues albums, and my cousin sending blues albums from Memphis. Then, you know, being at a ridiculously perfect age for music, which was being 16 in 1968.
Right. It doesn’t get much better than that.
No, just when you’re discovering girls, drugs and everything, the soundtrack to your life is just unbelievable.
Yeah, The White Album and Beggar’s Banquet, not bad.
Yeah, and all sorts of imported American music, like Neil Young and people that had took off and had arrived in England. I have children who are all into music and there are all sorts of music bombarding them from left, right and center. They dip into the world of music via their phone or the Internet, and one will listen to Aretha Franklin and the next will be listening to FKA twigs, and they jump around all the musical genres. They’ll just jump 50 years in one go. So like Etta James followed by Björk’s new tune.
We didn’t do that, you know? Everything was coming out and you queued at the local record shop for the door to open and get the first import of Buffalo Springfield, or whatever it was.
Yeah that’s funny. When I first heard In The Garden [Eurythmics first album] it had not been released in the US and I got that as an import. So I can kind of understand.
Yeah, and you see, also that whole thing about, you know why vinyl is obviously making a comeback is when you get this oversaturated marketplace of music coming from everywhere, there’s something great about honing in on one thing that you can hold and look at and read the liner notes and sort of understand. It’s a bit like it happens in the normal marketplace. Yeah, we can all go to these ginormous supermarkets and get all our vegetables, but it’s really nice going into a shop that just sells cheese, or homemade bread, you know what I mean?
[laughs] Of course back then it was like that all the time. Do you remember the movie High Fidelity?
Well, that was based on the record shop right opposite the Church where Annie and I recorded Sweet Dreams. Right across the road there was a shop called Harum Records. It was a record store and it was kinda what the High Fidelity movie was based on. You went in and it was like they knew everything about every record that you might pick up. It was really going into a sort of amazing library with a librarian.
In fact, you know, funny enough, there’s a few Amoeba Records like that, and Tower Records was a bit like that, ya know, people were just obsessed. I’ve never seen the Tower Record documentary, but you know the people that worked there were grilled about their music knowledge and stuff like that. And then, they were as obsessed as you were. So, “I need to find this album by German band Can, you know, like maybe 1960-whatever,” and they go, “Oh, you mean this one?” So that was so exciting and refreshing.
People would meet, it was almost like coffee shops, people met there and they had jukeboxes in them. This was the in ‘50s and ‘60s and still up to a little bit of the ‘70s. It was really great coffee machines that were imported, you know Jaguar espresso and cappuccino machines that made great coffee, and then the jukebox, and it was, you know, all the people hanging out in there. I suppose like in the folk scene in Greenwich Village and all that, the places where you would go, and this is what was going on and happening.
So I lived through all of that, and then I lived through all of it happening again, but it was then[punk clubs, you know. Annie and I lived above a record shop that my mate, our friend had, but it was a squat, but the people didn’t realize it was a squat because it had a painted sign called “Spanish Moon” named after a Little Feat song, I think. [laughs] It looked like a record store but actually it was a squat, and we lived upstairs.
In the basement, there were bands like the Adverts rehearsing. So we had dub music pounding through the floor from these Trojan, or import records, and then we had punk music blasting out of the basement. In the book there are photos of where we lived, and all this kinda stuff about the squat. Also, in the book I talk about how Annie and I lived together for four and a half years as a couple, and didn’t write one song together or apart, you know she didn’t write a song, I didn’t write a song, we didn’t write one together.
Just now, I think part of the reason was we couldn’t hear ourselves think! The music was so jumbled up because the basement was making completely different music than the record store was playing. [laughs] I had an acoustic guitar and Annie had a harmonium, so you could barely hear anything. But it was more to do with, like, we just didn’t think we were songwriters because in the band the Tourists, Pete Coombes wrote all the songs and he wrote literally ten a week. So were were just, “Okay, he’s the songwriter.”
In the book you talked about when you first met Annie you were impressed with her songwriting ability, she had the harmonium, and she had written some songs, and she was like, “Oh…”
Right. She hadn’t written a lot, she had written three or four songs, and she played this squeaky harmonium that you had to pedal and it was a big old thing. I don’t know how she got it down from Aberdeen. It nearly filled up the room, the room was a tiny… the size of a small bedroom, with a harmonium in it, a single bed and a wash-basin.
It was the Catch, “Borderline” / “Black Blood” was probably your first single… and that was with Pete Coombes as well, wasn’t it?
Well, that was sort of something that we really had no control over, and we just didn’t like it. What happened was we made this weird music — me, Annie and Peet, at the beginning — it was harmony and strange… Peet was very good at lyrics. It was kinda odd music. Then we got signed, and the record label immediately decided we should go to this studio and cut some tracks. Then when we got there, there were session musicians and a producer. We were like, hmmm?
Then they played, and we just didn’t really know what to think of it, cause it just sounds like very bland session-men music. So, we had no understanding or idea how to sort of counter-attack them and say, “Hey, no, that’s not what we do!” So then we decided the only way we could do this is get a bass player and a drummer, start playing electric guitars and things and saying, “No, we are a band, and we do this”.
You had a handful of hits there with the Tourists, the Dusty Springfield cover… [“I Only Want To Be With You”]
You see that one, that song was something that we did for a laugh at the end of the session, and of course the label were like, “That’s a hit!” [laughs] But you see, the other songs were all really strange and surreal lyrics and kinda depressing really, like songs like “All Life’s Tragedies”, and you know…
“The Loneliest Man in the World”
“The Loneliest Man in the World!” [laughs] They were very eerie kind of foreboding songs that Peet would write. So, In the Garden is where Annie and I — when we wrote those songs — they were a bit eerie and foreboding.
Yeah, that album I’ve always liked, and I don’t think that casual fans may be familiar with it, but it always struck me that it doesn’t really sound like any other Eurythmics album. It has this almost psychedelic rock kinda vibe to it, very dreamy. What are your thoughts on that album, looking back on it?
Well, the thing is, that was our big learning curve, because we went to Germany and we worked with an amazing guy called Conny Plank who produced Kraftwerk and Devo and lots of odd bands. He showed me how to record, and how to ignore everything everybody says about the rules of recording, and if I want to distort the bass drum I can, and if we want to record out in a field and mix in the sound of banging a big tom-tom drum in an empty cavern, we can.
This blew my mind and opened up my whole world, and that led to me and Annie wanting to get our own equipment. That was the beginning of borrowing £5,000 from a bank manager and buying the equipment to make Sweet Dreams. A TEAC eight track, we mixed it all onto an old ReVox, we had an old Klark Teknik Spring Reverb — we bought all this second-hand equipment and made the whole Sweet Dreams album on it.
A great guy, Adam Williams, helped us and taught me how to use it and helped me get the equipment. In the middle of all that we started to understand our world and we wrote a manifesto, and it was weird, it said things like, you know, “Likes — 1 to 10”, it would be like “Motown”, and then it would say “Andy Warhol” [laughs], and then it would say “Gilbert & George”, and then it would say “Stax R&B” and it would say “electro”. If you look at it now and listen to the album, it sounds and is like all those things.
Yeah, it does. I mean, you’ve got “Wrap it Up” which is kind of an old R&B song…
Well, we just… our version of soul was pretty weird because we were using electronic, but songs like “The Walk” and things like that could be like an old Motown bass line, but on top of it is all this strange other stuff. That experimentation, obviously, was successful when “Sweet Dreams” just blew up everywhere, and then followed up by “Love is a Stranger”. That gave us enough money to buy the little — well, not little, the huge Church that actually Paul Epworth just recently acquired. It’s where Adele recorded, and all sorts of people.
We made that into a little more like a studio and upped to a 24-track tape recorder and a Soundcraft desk, but mainly the album Touch, and that’s where we recorded “Here Comes the Rain Again” and “Who’s That Girl?” and all that stuff. Instead of scaling up, we then went back to using the eight track on our next album, in Paris, and hired a youth club and recorded Be Yourself Tonight which is “Would I Lie to You?” and all those tracks, back on the eight track.
One of the things that was always interesting to me, thinking about “Sweet Dreams” — and I read the part where you found out that it was a #1 single — you were in San Francisco and you were all excited. Such an unusual song, I mean you don’t hear it and think, “Oh, this is a Top 40 hit”. Were you surprised by that?
Well, you know, Annie and I always had this feeling as soon as we recorded it, like, god, this has hit the nail on the head of exactly what we’re trying to do. We didn’t know how to describe it. Then we would play it to people, and people in the music world, you know, like the publisher or record label, just didn’t understand it. They were saying, “Well we don’t really get it, like, where’s the chorus?” But then we always noticed that everybody would walk around and couldn’t stop singing it. We just decided, well, we don’t care where the chorus is or what the structure is, it’s just this thing from the second it starts.
Then I wrote the storyboard for a video, and it sort of starts with the fist hitting the table. We made this kind of surreal, weird video — I stole from all the French surrealist filmmakers. There’s a cow inside of a board room, we’re in a field with a computer, it’s all very odd. We didn’t know, really, all the time what we were doing when we made our first videos — there was no MTV that we knew of.
Then, when MTV happened we realized, oh, we’ve made all these films! Give ‘em to them! [laughs] Then they [MTV] started playing them and much to our surprise in America, “Sweet Dreams” became this incredibly popular video. [laughs]
That image of Annie with the orange flat-top and, you know, pounding her fist on the board-room table, and you’re there with the drum machine…It’s one of the more iconic videos of the decade, really.
Yeah, it definitely had a few people wondering and guessing what the hell was going on. [laughs]
I realized “Sweet Dreams” hit #1 in the United States in September of 1983 and by that time you had already released “Who’s That Girl?” You were already starting to promote your next album. That must have been kind of odd.
Well yeah, we were, if you think about people being prolific, I think in our nine years we made nine albums. We also toured the world constantly. But we didn’t think anything of it at the time. You know, we would write the songs and record the album in three weeks. So it would be written, and recorded, and done and mixed, and we’re back on tour.
I think because we did that we didn’t go through that thing that bands do with their third successful album or something and you go, oh shit, and take two years and really start doubting or second-guessing yourself. Bands often start to flounder about then. We just went plowing through them all, all nine in a row.
Yeah, and you had Sweet Dreams and Touch both came out in 1983, and in 1984 you had the 1984 soundtrack, and then Be Yourself Tonight in 1985, it was just boom, boom, boom.
Yeah, and then Revenge in 1986, Savage, We Too Are One. So they all came one after the other. So, In the Garden, Sweet Dreams, Touch, Be Yourself Tonight, 1984, Savage, Revenge…. no, Revenge then Savage…
Right, Revenge, Savage then We Too Are One.
Yeah, then the live album at the end.
That’s like an eight-year period, which is pretty amazing.
[laughs] Yeah, and what was interesting is that even our weirdest and most experimental stuff back then sold, you know, two to three million albums. Our less experimental stuff sold six to seven million albums.
Well, you know, even the songs that did really well on the charts, like “Sweet Dreams” or “Love is a Stranger”, “Missionary Man” or “Here Comes the Rain Again”, none of them were the sorts of songs that you would say that’s a commercial Top 40 pop hit. I mean, you were doing…
They were all over the different parts of the charts. One minute we would be winning a Grammy for Best Rock Group Performance, for “Missionary Man”, and before that everybody was saying we were an electronic duo. [laughs] And now, hang on, we’ve just won a rock performance and then, yeah, we came at it from all sides. We’d be like #1 on the dance chart, then we’d have a Stax R&B “Would I Lie to You?” riff come out with horns and everything.
We could never be categorized, really, and of course we had this between us, we played with the idea that Annie could be many different chameleon-type characters… and we could make videos… if we weren’t like, oh we’re in a band so everybody in the band has to be in the video, and then the video would be the band on the roof, or a band in a car. We were like, no, we’re weird. A weird duo, and it’s Annie in the desert with a neon sign on her hand.
I love that. I mean, “Beethoven”…
“Beethoven” was mad! [laughs]
Nobody was putting out videos like that.
“Beethoven” is still mad to this day. It’s like woman under the influence meets Diplo or something, I don’t know. [laughs]
It’s amazing. But, did you approach each album like, okay, this is going to be a rock album, or we’re gonna go back to an electronic vibe on Savage?
We kind of did in a way, like on Revenge we wanted to make — cause we’d already by then started to play big arenas and outside stadium type situations — and we wanted to make an album that we felt that we could just strut on to the stage and play, and we made that with Revenge. As soon as we did that, we said no, now we want to make an album that is really fucking weird which was Savage. That’s right, Savage with “Beethoven”, and “You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart”, and they’re all electronic. Actually they’re all done on this very cumbersome synclavier that I bought from the composer… what’s he called again, he did loads of film scores, was married to Buffy Sainte-Marie… can’t remember his name. [Jack Nitzsche]
That album, it’s got a very distinct sound, just the electronic beat to it, there’s nothing really that sounds like it.
I think partly that’s the synclavier and working with our drummer, Olle Romo, who was the only person who could work out how to use the bloody thing. Annie and I had rented a château a hundred miles outside of Paris in Normandy where we were in the fumoir, the smoking room, with this big synclavier. Just for three months and it was cheaper than a studio, but it had like 28 bedrooms, and it was owned by Napoleon’s political advisor. [laughs] Yeah, we always did things in an odd way like that.
I used to ride around the château on a bicycle and have the window open in the fumoir so I could hear Olle trying to work out how to make the synclavier work, and every now and then it was like an old engine trying to start up, and it would suddenly go dit-do-doon, dit-do-doon. Oh, something is going on in there, I’d run into the house. [laughs]
I know a lot of fans consider that their favorite album, even thought it didn’t do as well commercially at the time
It’s funny because, you see, that was one album where Annie didn’t really come out to the château much, she was in Paris, and so I was kinda making all the tracks myself with Olle and the synclavier, and it wasn’t until the very end when we moved back to Paris — cause Annie was not keen, she didn’t quite like them [the songs] — and then when we went to Paris with the tracks and she started think about doing vocals, she suddenly started to really love [the songs], and then it became her favorite album.
I guess you could call We Too Are One a more sophisticated pop album.
Yeah, well that was kind of interesting, because that album was co-produced with Jimmy Iovine, and we were in America. By that point, we’d toured and made all these other albums, and it became — it was the only album that was like, “Oh, we’re making an album”, you know what I mean? … People turned up to make the album, and there’s this great bass player, and here’s a drummer doing an overdub. Before it was always just me and Annie really conspiring together, and this one was more like, well, we have these songs and here are these players, and it’s more traditional.
The songwriting was great. We were doing them in hotel rooms, like the Mayflower, and we just had an eighth-track in this room, and we were writing weird things like “Angel”, that song with the strange video. We were like, yeah, this is going to be great. But when we went to do the album, it became very straight and traditional. That was the first time actually, stupidly, that we made demos. The other albums we didn’t make any demos for, and now I still say, “Don’t make demos!”
So when you go in to record, do you have a lot of leftover material, like outtakes and songs that you had worked up?
We didn’t really a lot, because we actually, as I said, didn’t make demos, and so we would just go and make the record, and this is it, you know? Here’s the 12 or 14 tracks, and then we’re on tour. I’ve got thousands of songs and tracks in the archives that I’ve written with tons of people, from Mick Jagger, to Sinéad … and a lot of them we weren’t really doing anything apart from messing about and making songs. Nobody was trying to make an album, we were just having a good time and yet it turned out to be great.
Yeah, you’ve worked with … Mick Jagger, Primitive Cool, “Let’s Work” — great single. “Don’t Come Around Here No More”, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Was “Don’t Come Around Here No More” the first one where you had a big hit with another artist, and did that open the door for other people to want to work with you?
Not so much, ’cause in England you see, I was always doing things… It’s hard to say ’cause it was all around the same time. I changed my name to different names, like pseudonyms, and wrote with Alison Moyet — a huge hit — and then I would write with another act … you know what I mean? But yeah, that was my first big American adventure.
With Mick Jagger we carried on writing songs all the time. At that point of, with Primitive Cool and “Let’s Work”, it didn’t really… He was making a solo album, but with lots of different people. When we started working on our own together, and just writing songs, they’re my favorites. A lot of my favorites are on the soundtrack album. You know we won the Golden Globe for “Old Habits Die Hard”. There’s one called “Blind Leading the Blind” on that album — that’s one of my favorites.
Wasn’t “Blind Leading the Blind” originally a b-side on one of your solo singles?
Oh yeah, that was an instrumental version, with just the chorus. Later on we turned it into a whole song with massive long verses and everything. But the first time I was ever doing it, I was doing an instrumental and I sent it to Carlos Santana, just before he made his big album when he did duets with people.
I sent it, and I got a really nice note from him because it gave him an idea of, hang on, I can play the guitar solos and someone could come in and sing on the chorus….
So after We Too Are One you started putting out solo records. You had a couple with the Spiritual Cowboys, and then Sly-Fi…
And Greetings from the Gutter…
Yeah, Greetings from the Gutter, great album. How different was it for you to get in front of the microphone and be the frontman after all those years with Eurythmics.
Well, probably more difficult than a lot of other people who were in male bands and the guitarist left and made an album. [laughs] I had just come out of a duo where the whole focus was a female front singer. So of course when I went to play live with the Spiritual Cowboys and everything, my album, I never played one Eurythmics song. We played Spiritual Cowboys songs, and I created a whole world around it so that it looked and sounded nothing like Eurythmics. It worked. I was living in France, and I was touring France and having a great time, and it really worked, you know, we became really successful there.
Yeah, those are some great songs, “King of the Hypocrites”, “This Little Town”, some really good ones.
Then I went back to London and met up with this huge art movement that was happening with Damien Hirst, and I became friends with all those people, and then I decided, oh, hang on a minute, there’s something really interesting happening here. I went to New York, made Greetings From the Gutter, and Damien Hirst did the album cover. I started to mess around with photography, and the art world.
I forgot about music for a little while after that, then made Sly-Fi in the Jungle in Jamaica. [laughs] I decided to do all this weird experimentation, and that led me to meeting all sorts of different characters from different worlds, you know, not particularly from the world of music.
Like the Deepak Chopra album?
Well, not even music things. I mean, about how the Internet works and stuff like that, and building 3-D worlds, and just exploring the fact that this thing is around that’s going to change everything forever.
Yeah, and it certainly did.
It certainly did! [laughs’ It ruined about half the things, and made a lot of things a lot better. As nearly all discoveries or inventions do, they make lots of things amazing and also then helps people annihilate other people.
You also did a lot of soundtrack work, you did some film work and TV work.
Yeah, my favorite was doing — two people that I worked with — was Robert Altman, and Ted Demme. I was best friends with Ted Demme, I did two of his movies. And Robert Altman, working with him on Cookie’s Fortune with Glenn Close and Julianne Moore down in Mississippi. Then I made a documentary called Deep Blues in Mississippi, and went back to the fact that my brother, as I said earlier, my cousin was sending me blues albums when I was 14. I just took it all the way back to then, again.
You had a pretty substantial hit with “Lily Was Here”, an instrumental like that you don’t typically see riding the pop charts.
Yeah, that was my first movie score, for a Dutch movie, and I just wanted to write a theme that was instrumental that was sort of the end titles theme, and I did it in about 15 minutes. I just told Candy Dulfer to play the melody, echo the melody I’m playing, and then we’d do solos — literally it was all one take. It became, probably one of the — there’s not very many instrumental hits — and that was one that in every country became so known, you know, Top 5 in most countries, Top 10 in the Billboard Chart in America, or Top 5, I can’t remember… which for an instrumental is pretty weird! [laughs]
It is, it’s unusual, but it’s a beautiful song. Has that nice shuffle beat to it… Candy Dulfer, she had… I don’t know if that was before or after she worked with Prince.
It was actually after. She actually did that with me, and she was in L.A. with me and Annie, and we had become friends, and she was playing a little bit in my house when she got the Prince call. It’s funny, cause Prince and I — although I’ve only met on a few occasions — I’ve often discovered girl players, and they’ve played with me, and then they’ve played with him. Like Judith Hill, I’d just written eight songs with her, and then Prince.. And bass players, drummers, Hannah Ford. [laughs] It’s so weird but I think it’s because we’ve both got our eye out for these great female musicians, and it’s just something that we both sort of can probably spot immediately — oh, hang on, she’s great.
Peace came at the end of the ‘90s. How was it stepping back into that role after being away from Eurythmics for nearly a decade?
That was kinda weird, cause we kinda stumbled into it. Annie, during the last four years of the ‘90s or whatever, would come and have dinner at our house, or stay at the farm that my wife — well, we weren’t married then — but my girlfriend and I were living in. She would stay the weekend, and we started… you know, it was natural jamming and playing together. Then we realized we had written a couple of songs, and then we were like, oh this sounds like a record, doesn’t it? And then it was like, oh well, yeah, maybe it is.
So we went right into the studio to start to write and record, like we did before, really quickly. Then that turned into, well, what do we do with it? Then we had the idea of doing the Peace Tour with Greenpeace and Amnesty. Yeah, that turned into a year and a half of recording, touring, doing all that stuff together.
Yeah, I guess you never know what’s going to happen, you know?
You never know. [laughs]
That “17 Again” video is just incredible, you know…
Well that was weird because what happened was, Annie and I had done some photos for Richard Avedon, and then we were doing an experimental video with him but it wasn’t, you know, the way we thought it would be. We were running out of time because the tour was about to start, and I shot two videos back-to-back where I directed them. One was “17 Again” and one was… I can’t remember now, but I made two of them.
“I Saved the World Today”, maybe.
Yeah, “I Saved the World Today”. They were both related because we were about to do the Peace Tour, and then it was like this weird theme of battling through this sort of awful… you know, the world of fame and fortune and trying not to get hanged was the one song. The other one was almost a false hope, or a dreamless hope, of being able to make anything happen and change. We have these generals signing this peace agreement, but the ink spills and everything is ruined.
I had to think of all of that in a day, literally in a day, and shoot the next day, and hire extras… that was a straight three or four days just doing all of that, because the tour was starting, and we already had Greenpeace who had the Rainbow Warrior in the Thames, and we were about to go on it and play and do an announcement to the TV and all that.
Right. The video of that tour was just fantastic.
Yeah, the DVD, yeah, which we also gave all the money from that to Greenpeace and Amnesty, and all our ticket sales money, and merch money.
When you did the reissues in 2005 of the Eurythmics catalog, and Peace…?
Yeah, that was a bit weird because the label kind of… it was a bit fucked up because we spent ages doing all these repacking, and photographs, and liner notes, and extra tracks… and then we did a boxed set called Boxed. They put it out only in England and then the world couldn’t get it. Then, they did this one compilation… I don’t know what it was called…
Ultimate Collection, I think.
Something like that, yeah. Which was like… what? We’ve just made all these huge changes to everything. Then they uploaded everything obviously to iTunes and Spotify, but then when you do that they’re all kinda jumbled up.
Yeah. People don’t know what song is from what album.
And some of the tracks on Peace were different mixes, you know, some of them were substantially different, which I thought was…
Yeah. We actually dug up tracks that we recorded on the eight track, like our version of “Satellite of Love”…
Oh yeah, I love that.
We had songs that we fiddled around with, like “4/4 in Leather” and all this weird early experimental stuff.
Were you able to find all the masters for that? Like for the b-sides, “Monkey Monkey”, and…
Well, the trouble was, “Monkey Monkey” was made on my porta-studio in my bedroom and I’m playing these Thai instruments and Annie’s just going (sings), “Monkey Monkey”… [laughs’ Lord knows what we were doing, it sounds like we took every drug on the planet.
I love it. It’s one of my favorites!
That’s such a weird track.
Do you foresee any future archival projects?
Ah, well, you know. [laughs]. My archives are pretty crazy. The other day I just posted one of Jimmy Cliff, this song I wrote with Sting singing as a duet. I don’t think anybody had ever heard that before. Then I probably got asked to take it down [laughs].
I have so much stuff, sometimes I feel like just making, you know, a huge database archive that people can go in and listen and dissect things without going through all the tangled, you know, different artists on labels. The artist is always like, “That’s cool!” and then the label is like, no that’s cool, you better take it down. [laughs]
Yeah, that sorta complicates things. Especially like, I think 1984 was on a different label if I remember correctly.
That was on Virgin, yeah.
That’s why it wasn’t included in the reissue series, I assume.
Yeah, I know. Sorta stupid. That was actually very stupid at the time, BMG, because they were offered that album, and they were also offered the film, you know, Eurythmics Live in Australia, and they said, “No, no, we don’t put out films” and so that came out on Polydor or something.
Was that the Live in Heaven?
No, no, that was just about our third or second gig. We still don’t know how that happened and became available. [laughs] No, that’s Live in Australia in 1987.
Thank you so much Dave, I know you have to go. Real quick, I wanted to get your take on something. Obviously — David Bowie — huge, huge loss. Did you ever have a chance to meet him or work with him?
Yeah, I met him on many, many occasions. Had dinner, and hung out, and then he’d play me his whole brand new album that hadn’t been released yet at his flat. Then he came to my apartment to listen to the songs I was writing for Greetings from the Gutter. Yeah, I met him on lots of occasions.
Also I was obviously really good friends with Mick Jagger, and I would stay in his brownstone in New York, and so Mick was really good friends with David. So yeah on many occasions. He was always immaculate, I don’t think I ever saw him never immaculate.
Well, thank you so much Dave. I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me. Best of luck with the book!
Great, thank you so much!