The Magic Highway


An Interview with Kevin Moore
(Extracts from a series of chats conducted by Ray Chan)

KevinQ. When and how did you team up with Jeff Christie?

A. There is a slight Jimmy Saville connection. Simon Kay from our band Tubeless Hearts knew Jimmy through a mutual friend, David Gloan (who we did a record with for ITV's Telethon 90 with well-known DJ and presenter James Whale) and both David and Jimmy, of course, knew Jeff. Jeff was wanting to re-arrange Yellow River and re-record it with a different band. He would be "hands-on" with regard to production and arranging, but not play on it.
    And so we met, and began our long working relationship. The result was of course, the Tubeless Hearts version of Yellow River, which I was really proud of, and I must say, I was impressed with the way Jeff could take a step back from the song and look at it in a fresh way, which I'm sure must have been very difficult. He was willing to hear our input, which was good, and was, and is, very exacting in a studio environment, which, whilst sometimes nerve-shredding, teaches you a few things! I think Jeff is from the old school where songwriting really was a craft, and a sense of arrangement the key to a successful track.
    We really worked at getting our version of Yellow River off the ground, Jeff was still dealing with Brian Longley at Talent Incorporated (they were managing the likes of Imagination at that time) and we had several meetings with Brian in London I seem to remember. Brian seemed to me on first impression to be a rarity in showbusiness, a manager that cared, and a good guy. We were full of enthusiasm at his plans. We had great interest from a number of labels worldwide, including Powderworks in Australia, and I think MCA in America.
    Then, out of the blue, Brian was tragically killed in a road accident. We were all stunned. I'm sure it hit Jeff hard, they had worked together for many years. The idea of the single was dead in the water.
    However, we kept in touch with Jeff, and as the 80s drew to a close, the calls were getting louder for 20th Anniversary tours to celebrate Yellow River. I think Jeff was initially reticent to get back on the road, but I like to think that because we all had a good rapport it swung him in favour. The rest, as they say, is history!

Q. You sang on one of Jeff's songs for Eurovision.

A: The Eurovison project came later. Jeff was invited by the songwriters guild to submit a song for consideration, and we'd done a number of gigs by the time we went into our own studio to begin work on Safe In Your Arms. Once again, Jeff was meticulous in his requirements when we were recording. I think we all had the feeling that the song was "far too good for Eurovison!" My own memory of the sessions was of Jeff pushing me to take the edge out of my lead vocal, and to sing it very soft and breathy, which was something I had never tried before. I think it works really well.

Q. Can you provide a brief chronology of events and performances?


A. I'm pretty sure our first gig with Jeff was Barrow-In-Furness Abbey, an outdoor show with The Rubettes, followed by The Irish Centre, Leeds (I have film of Jeff interviewed prior to the gig, and us performing Fools Gold for the TV). Our first overseas show was The Sports Stadium, Antwerp, which I think was 1990.
    I remember getting ready for the Antwerp show, we'd gone into the make-up room pre-gig (it was a televised show, so I guess they needed to powder our shiny faces!) and we were asked to place our hands in this square of wet cement, which we duly did, and signed it. There were photos on the wall of the likes of Tina Turner and Rod Stewart doing the same, even Ivan Lendl, the tennis player. So I asked what the story was. "Oh," said the woman, "We have a wall of fame here, and each cement tile goes on it".
    "With Tina and Rod?" I asked. "Why yes!" came the reply. Good enough, I thought!
    Further recollections include our tour of Israel in 1994, which was humbling in many ways. We were very well looked after, and it was a privilege to have the chance to visit Jerusalem and Yad Vashem, the museum of the holocaust. Just getting off the plane at Ben Gurion and seeing young women in army combats toting Uzis was mind-blowing! Remember, this was pre-Lara Croft! It was while we were out there that I got confirmation that I was to appear on ITV's Stars In Their Eyes as Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott, so it was a memorable time.
    Our recorded output with Jeff has been a little thin on the ground. Apart from our Tubeless Hearts Yellow River, we did record Yellow River with Jeff in our studio, but I'm not sure what became of it ... it may be on one or two newer compilations. San Bernadino we did for Absence of Time CD, and Happy Christmas for the Thomas Gottschalk CD. Safe in Your Arms for Eurovision. However, we did record most of the Christie set at Academy Studios in Dewsbury, and I have a rough copy which I want to clean up. It has no lead vocals on, just backing vocals, and I want to record the vocals myself and perhaps do a "Kev sings Christie" CD, but I'd like to talk to Jeff about it first.
    It's a shame we never did more, I always wanted to. Last year I had an idea for Christie to perhaps perform For All Mankind in its entirety with guest artists, and film it for a live DVD. It hasn't happened, but 'd still love to do it!

Q. What's the current status with Christie?

A. I think the best way to describe Christie at the moment is like an emergency doctor: Always on call! I'm certainly always ready to gig if something comes along, as I'm sure the others are too. I imagine us being onstage sometime in the future and Jeff paraphrasing the Eagles: "For the record, we never broke up, we just took a vacation!"
    Tubeless Hearts still function on occasion, but feature only Simon and the very first guitarist from 1981, Trev Sargent. Although I haven't yet, I'm sure when I'm in the UK at some point I'll get up and jam with them. Fos and I are talking about collaborating on some songwriting.


Q. You have played with tribute bands and heavy metal bands. You also play various other forms of music. Which do you prefer?

A. Yes, I love the variety of what I do. I feel very privileged to have been able to play worldwide such a diverse selection of music. From country rock to punk, glam rock to heavy metal, not forgetting the reggae and standards of my solo shows. It's all part of a musical education.
    As a bass player, I wanted to really get beneath the surface of reggae for example. I spent the last two winters in the Caribbean and listened to the different styles coming out of all the islands. It is a tough discipline to sing lead and play bass on reggae songs, they go in opposite directions! I enjoy that sort of challenge.

Q. Any interesting anecdotes that you can recall?

A. Elsewhere in the site you have my thoughts on our Russian tour, which was wonderful, but regarding our flight from St Petersburg to London .... the trip between Moscow and St Petersburg had been eventful to say the least, taking off and landing in blizzard conditions in a very dodgy plane indeed. Anyway, we all did a great show in St. Petes, and boarded our flight home with some trepidation.
    In a surreal moment, we had been followed around Russia by John Major, ex-UK Prime Minister, who'd been on a book tour, and he was on our flight. So the plane was packed with 70s luminaries such as Slade, Glitter Band, Mungo Jerry, Christie and John Major, ex-PM. I think it was as we hit a particularly nasty bit of turbulence that Dave Hill piped up in his inimitable Brummie accent: "We'll make the front page tomorrow if this goes down!" It wasn't a well received announcement!

Kev's Christie career highlights


1990: Invited to reform Number 1 selling group Christie with Jeff Christie, following his production and arrangement of Tubeless Hearts version of Yellow River. The new Christie make their first appearance at the Golden Years festival in Antwerp, Belgium.
1992: Features with Christie on Absence of Time CD.
1994: Tubeless Hearts release their first full-length CD called Three. All songs written by Kev Moore and Fos Foster. Christie tours Israel, Belgium and Germany, and appears on TV all over Europe.
1994: After appearing on the ZDF special Let's Have a Party with German TV's Thomas Gottschalk, Christie feature on Thommy's Xmas Party CD (Happy Christmas, War is Over).
1998: Records Dedication - Under the Covers with acclaimed producer Clyde Ward; the album of covers includes Yellow River. Appears with Christie at the Golden Years festival in Antwerp.
2001: Tours Russia with Christie, a triumphant trip for the first Western pop group the Soviet bloc had seen on TV back in 1970.
2001-2003: Forms power trio The Hit List with Dave Sargent and Simon Kay from Tubeless Hearts. Appears with Christie at various German shows.
2003-present: Embarks on a solo career performing all over the Mediterranean and Caribbean regions, developing a wider musical repertoire, including a reggae show. Continues to perform with Christie at several gigs, as well with other bands.

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