This Wham! interview “Get Set to Go Go” was written by Debbi Voller and published in the May 12, 1984 issue of No. 1 magazine.
Wham are finally back with a bang, a new single, a new album in the making and plans for a new tour. Debbi Voller finds out why George now has the most expensive haircut in the history of pop music and why Andrew needs another holiday to recover from his last one in Miami.
George and Andrew have been staying at Miami’s wackiest, tackiest Mutiny Hotel. While Andrew lapped up the luxuries of his Wide Water room, George had nightmares in the grossly decorated Luna Dreams room. Each room there has a different name, theme and decor, you see – but over to George to elaborate upon his Luna trip… “It was more like staying in a disco than a bedroom. There were neon tubes and disco lights all round the bed, a picture of Saturn that lit up one of the walls, and mirrors on the ceiling so that if you were doing anything naughty you could watch! “Miami’s so perverse, there were even mirrors on the kitchen ceiling.”
George had previously been to Barbados for four days but decided it was “too dull”, and so jetted off to the decadent delights of cruisy, boozy Miami where he set to work on a video for his first solo single ‘Careless Whisper’ (to be released in July). Andrew joined him there for what he himself describes as “a holiday of pure alcoholic excess” – which is rather odd when you consider that recently he’d become something of a reclusive and sober stop-in … much to George’s disgust. “I’ve never seen such a turn-around in a character before!” gasps George. “One night he was so bad he fell asleep dribbling all over the bar and I had to carry him up to his bedroom.”
“Well, when it’s hot and sunny, that’s when I go out,” retorts Andrew. “I like to drink beer on a beach, not in some sweaty club. I like heat all year round. I think I get it from my dad’s Arab background.” George, it turns out, thinks there’s no place like Britain and no weather like an English spring.
George’s solo single in no way forbodes the end of Wham. “It’s more of a ballad and it’s simply not a Wham record,” George explains. “It stretches me as a songwriter to have a solo career as well. “But ‘Careless Whisper’ will still be on the new Wham album, so people can see the solidarity of the unit.” Andrew, on the other hand, has no intention of doing anything on his own and mumbles something about “having none of that solo shit.” “Oh, I must tell you a ridiculous story about my video!” George blurts excitedly. “I had a budget of 30,000 to make it and while we were shooting my hair was much longer than usual. I normally manage to straighten it with a blow-drier, but in Miami it’s so humid it went frizzy and I looked like Shirley Bassey. “You know that TV advert where an old chimp comes out from under a hair-drier with a blue rinse and curlers and goes
Well I looked and felt like that. “So I told the producer to start again because you want to look nice in your own video, don’t you? Fortunately my sister was with me and she cut my hair on the spot. That haircut cost me 17,000, because that’s how much I went over budget. “I’ve got the most expensive haircut in the history of pop!” Due to lack of money, the video for Wham’s new single ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ will be “basic and bright with lots of dancing”. The boys will storyboard it with their director sometime next week.
If George seems something of a ditherer at the moment, it’s because he’s intent on getting everything just right for Wham’s comeback. It seems it took him a fair old while to decide which song they should release as the new single. As revealed in No. 1, it was going to be ‘Whamshake’. But once they’d recorded it George threw it out because he wasn’t quite happy with it, and spent three days desperately trying to write something new. “I’d been thinking of using ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ as just a line in a song, and then it came into my head with a tune so I wrote it and decided to release it in the autumn. Then I thought, sod it, let’s do it now! “It’s easily the best record we’ve ever done. It’s the closest thing I’ve written to a No. 1.” So Wham are finally back in business after their long royalties dispute with former record company Innervision.
After Wham’s successful tour last year they’re bubbling with new ideas for the next. The boys have a festive urge to play somewhere huge at Christmas – and dates have already been fixed on December 23, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day at Wembley Arena. In July they’ll be working on the new album in the South of France. It should take six weeks. George will have written everything before they go. “The writing’s been coming to me so much easier this year that I’ve got no worries about it at all. I think this album’s gonna blow the last one away,” George enthuses. “It’s all starting up again – it’s a fresh start! We’ve had so much time twiddling our thumbs.” “I don’t twiddle my thumbs. I’ve got other things to twiddle,” argues Andrew. “Huh!” says George, grabbing the last word, “Roughly the same size!”
- Wham! Interview in Miami During the ‘Careless Whisper’ Filming (1984)
- Last Wham! Interview: No. 1 Magazine (1986)
- Andrew Ridgeley on Life With and After Wham! (Hello!, 1997)
- Wham! Teen Dreams Come True (NME, 1983)
- List of Duets and Backup Vocals