Transvision vamp are back and they are ready to set the world ablaze with their "earthy" new album "Little Magnets Versus The Bubble Of Babble." Shooting straight from the hip Diane Godley got down to the nitty gritty and asked the Vamp's outspoken vocalist - and Madonna's rival to sauciest pop star in the cosmiverse - Wendy James what it all means. Smash Hits June 1991 - Australia
"We consider The Little Magnets as nature in the way that nature pulls us in certain directions, wether it is to meet people, to have children - the way human beings are meant to behave," croaks Wendy. It seems all the rehearsing for the Vamp's latest world tour has left her a little hoarse. "And The Bubble Of Babble is all the chaos and man made destruction that inhabits our planet at the moment, whether it is homelessness, unemployment, lack of good education, poverty, war, drought, famine - all these things were created and could be equally solved by man but very rarely are. That's The Bubble Of Babble."
Blimey, what a mouthful and a half! It would seem the break that Transvision Vamp took after their last world tour had some mind searching effects on them, and has stuck them up close with the likes of Midnight Oil for being an ecologically aware pop group!
"It's nearly two years since we actually stopped touring. We finished public work at the end of 1989, we had intended to go straight on to do the album, but we found ourselves so tired that our mental and physical health was suffering and in turn our music would have suffered if we'd started it then. So basically we told our record company that we wanted the summer months of 1990 off just to relax and be ourselves, see our friends, take in some oxygen and basically settle down for a little while. In September we resumed the album and now we are rehearsing for a tour."
Where did you spend your holiday?
"I went to France for a while, which was nice, I needed to be in a country which had nothing to do my life here in England. I didn't take anyone from the band, but I did take a friend along. Basically because they have a drivers license and I can't drive ha! And I wouldn't have wanted to spend all that time out there by myself."
Would you say that the new album has succeeded Pop Art and Velveteen?
"So much, that was another reason why we had some months off, to re-look at what we were doing, get our creativity up to 10 on the dial. It's ten million times better than Velveteen. It's such an improvement. They're all such groovy songs, and the lyrics are just spot on. - the way I personally feel I have sung the songs, there is so much more emotion in them. Just the way we played the music, the way the album sounded, it sounds as if we've all grown up a bit."
Do you have a favorite song from the Bubble Of Babble?
"That's an impossible question. There are so many different songs and I like them all for different reasons. I couldn't possibly identify one. I'm so pleased with this album - as each track comes on I just get more and more excited, so I'd have to say all of them.
Although Wendy's extremely enthusiastic about the new album - as are Australians about the new single ( I Just Wanna B With U ), if the charts are anything to go by the Pommies were quite indifferent to the single. After it jumped feet first into the Top 40 , the very next week it slid out and never made a recovery. "It was still a hit," retorts Wendy, when asked about the quick fall. "We were away for 18 months and we went straight into the Top 40, we were greeted by millions of (magazine) front covers and the tours sold out so we are pretty happy at the moment."
It has been branded around music circles in OZ that Wendy was mimicking Madonna in her latest video by parodying clips such as 'Like A Prayer', 'Express Yourself" and 'Vogue'. When she was tackled by this however, Wendy was more suprised than anyone. "Why would you say that? Oh! Because of the flames!," she coos. "The reason we bought those in - God that has never occurred to me - the reason the flames are in there is because the whole album has a New Orleansy feel to it, and we are interested in the whole imagery of voodoo. The two things that occurent in the Tarot Cards are Fire and Water. It had nothing to do with Maddy, That's the last thing I want to do - mimic her. I appreciate completely what she has done for women. But as for following in her footsteps, that would be ridiculous. I front a rock 'n' roll band."
When do you plan on touring Australia?
"We kick off in about five weeks times with seven warm up dates in England and then we head off to Europe to do big festivals and gigs of our own, then after that we plan to go to Japan and Australia, We should be over there in your springtime.. This time we will be doing less gigs in Australia and playing at bigger venues so that we actually have more time to spend in each part of the country that we go to."
What did you like about our country last time you were here?
"I can remember it being a really happy time for us because it was at the beginning of the Velveteen Tour and we weren't tired, and that was coupled with the fact that Australia outside of England was the first country to really get into Transvision Vamp. So everywhere we went we go a really positive response. Apart from that, I liked the nature of Australians. How I perceived them to be was very fitting with my personality. No matter how rich and famous or incredibly talented you are, Australians still have their feet on the ground, which appeals to me immensely. There are parts of Europe and Certainly America where you have one hit single and everyone starts treating you like you are God, and that can be a little unnerving. I feel I could personally fit in with Australians, whether I am in a band or not."
Do you still think that Pop Stars are just glorified buskers?
"Yeah, completely, you know, if you're a busker and you pick up your guitar and play it to an audience and if they like what you're playing they chuck money at you. And that's what Pop Stars are like, except they are slightly more organized. It's just basic entertainment. You play music and if people like it they dance."
One last question, Would you ever pose nude for charity?
"Um I doubt it."