The members of Spandau Ballet are hoping the premiere of a documentary on the ‘80s New Romantic band will lead to career revival that includes the release of new music and their first tour of the United States in nearly 30 years.
Spandau Ballet will perform at SXSW on March 12, the day their film, “Soul Boys of the Western World,” has its world premiere. The show will be at Vulcan Gas Co in Austin after the film plays the Paramount Theater. The gig will mark the band’s first U.S. performance since 1985.
On March 3, Rhino Records will release their biggest seller in the U.S., “True.” Down the road they hope to see the release of a greatest hits package that incudes two new songs and a soundtrack to the film.
The band reunited in the U.K. four years ago for a tour and a new album and got the idea to do a film a couple of years ago. They tapped producer George Hencken to make her directorial debut, giving her two years to amass footage – she found 250 hours of film — and instructing her to tell the story without any talking heads.
“We had the idea because we have a good story and the story has a real arc,” says Gary Kemp, Spandau Ballet’s chief songwriter and guitarist. “It’s about friendship, kids who come from the shadows of the second World War growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, a period of great rock music from David Bowie and glam rock. They go through the whole punk experience and then had the experience of the whole New Romantic scene of working class kids dressing up and doing things that were outrageous against a recession.”
From there they start scoring hits, 10 top 10s in the U.K. and their signature song, “True,” a No. 4 hit in the U.S. in 1983. They break up in 1990, wind up in court with Kemp on one side and three bandmates on the other. Then four years ago, they bury the animosity and reunite.
In the last quarter of the movie that’s all archival footage and voiceover, Kemp says, “we’re quite hateful toward each other, but there’s redemption so the film ends on a good note.”
Much of the footage has never been seen, including their first U.S. appearance at the Underground Club in New York in 1981 and a gig aboard the HMS Belfast in the River Thames. Band members Tony Hadley, Martin Kemp, Steve Norman and John Keeble are also interviewed in the film.
The band is still looking for a sales agent to handle the U.S. Metro International is selling all other territories.
“We’re hoping for theatrical release and we hope to be announcing a tour with the U.S. late this year or early in 2015,” Kemp says. “We want to do everything this time.”