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It's All Gone Pete Tong - Paul Kaye interview



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. So, lets start with the obvious question – do you like dance music?
A.
I suppose I had better say yes really [laughs]. I don’t mind it, but I’m more of a punk guy. My music tastes are eclectic, I never really grew out of the punk, music I grew up with, but yes, some dance music is ok!
My music years were in London, Camden Town – the Music Machine, now the Camden palace was a regular haunt of mine. I had only been to Ibiza once before with my mum and dad in 1980, and it was a lot quieter then! I enjoyed the filming experience there thoroughly. One week we were filming in night clubs for about 100 hours!

Q. Tell us about the director, Michael Dowse...
A.
Mike is a young, creative film maker, in his 30’s from Canada. I watched his first movie, Fubar and I have to say I didn’t enjoy it [laughs] but when I got the script for It’s All Gone Pete Tong it changed my mind. I trusted him!

Q. What did you think of the movie when you read the script – how did you categorise the movie?
A.
It’s a tragedy. I think it is a dark, or very black comedy – it was never played for laughs, it was never played any other way then straight. I was intrigued, as all my heroes, Hendrix and Sid Viscous, all ended up dying, and this guy (Frankie Wilde) is only going one way, and his disability actually saves his life – it’s the profound thing about it. Had he not have gone deaf he would be six foot under.

Q. If you didn’t particularly like Fubar, what attracted you to this director, I presume there was a big element of trust?
A.
Yes, I liked Mike very much immediately, and it felt like a project I was right for, I thought I could do it, and I didn’t think anyone else could do it as good as me!

Q. Tell us about your co-star, Beatriz Batarda…
A.
Beatriz is Portuguese, and not deaf, even though I thought she was. I was kept apart from her until our first scene together. The first time I lay eyes on her was on camera, and I thought she was deaf. She was phenomenal - she trained for about two months with a deaf lady and learnt sign language. Everyone that has seen the film actually believes that she is deaf.
I didn’t really do much training myself – I just had ear plugs in! I thought that was the way to go. I figured that after about three days, they blocked out about 70% of my hearing.
I had a real sense in the night clubs, of what it would be like to be around something that loud, which was inaudible. The deaf reaction so far to the movie has been great. There have been a few deaf people who have seen it and loved it, which is promising.

Q. Like your character, have you ever pushed the self destruct button yourself? And are there elements of you on screen?
A.
I know a lot of people who have pushed the self destruct button, but not me personally. The one book I read before filming was Keith Moon’s biography, and I found it one of the most depressing reads ever. For all the highs, the lows were tenfold in comparison.
The fact he was a family man etc, it was a good book to read – it was such a desperate story, as people always remember him as being the ultimate rock and roll star, and he always will be remembered that way. But behind it the sadness and the tragedy of his life was so appalling, and I wanted to get that across. It wasn’t a celebration of the hedonistic lifestyle.
I am not in the celebrity world – I am out in the village in that respect. I have never had any intention or desire to be like that I don’t really know any celebrities, and I have my own life which is completely separate.
Dennis Pennis is coming up to being ten years ago, and it was the first acting job I had ever done – I came from a completely different background, with no intentions of performing. I fell into that as an accident, and it lasted for about a year and a half, that was proper punk rock telly – no make-up or wardrobe, it was just me and a mate doing our thing.
I cringe at a lot of that now, I’m glad I did it. I always liked the idea of doing it more than actually doing it. I guess this is when I would have hit the self destruct button. I think I was pissed most of the time I did that, so that’s about as close as I got to destruction!

Q. What nationality is the movie?
A.
It’s a British Canadian movie.

Q. Tell us about Pete Tongs involvement...
A.
I met him when he had just received the script, and I think he was a bit nervous about it. He waited to see if he liked the film before he allowed us to use his name in the title, and he has allowed us to use his name in the title. He is doing a tour in America to support it, so he is right behind it! He helped out on the musical side too.

Q. What are your thoughts on Ibiza? Also, there is a lot of different music involved in the movie, tell us about that.
A.
Apart from Kevin and Perry Go Large there hasn’t really been a movie about Ibiza , and we have a huge cultural investment in that place, it reminds me of modern day colonialism. When we were there mid summer there are about 60 – 70,000 brits turning up every week, so at least they will go and see it!
As for the music, Mike Dowse was always certain that dance music had to be used in the clubs, but his music tastes are very diverse, and eclectic, so I am glad that he added different tastes, as otherwise you will limit the amount of people who will enjoy the movie.

Q. Are you hoping to expand the serious side of your career?
A.
I would yes. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I have had the roles I feel qualified to do. I think people haven’t been sure what to do with me. I certainly wasn’t a comedian – I have never done stand up, and I think that’s how you define a comedian. I
like to think I have taken a few risks – I have never ever done a job knowing what I will do next. I have spent a lot of time in the last three or four years not working so this movie was heaven sent for me, as I could throw myself completely into it. I was dying to do something that felt right.

Q. The perception is you have a very varied television career – drama, sitcoms, the odd movie thrown in. Are you typecast in someone’s mind?
A.
I don’t think I am. You can look at in two ways – in one hand you can say I made bad choices, on the other I’m not frightened to take risks. I think in comedy people tend to stick at what they are good at, and a lot of comedians who move over to movies can be soulless in their acting. They don’t turn me on when I watch them. I don’t think I am as versatile as I think I am, if that makes any sense, but I am up for anything.

Q. We’ve heard that there was over 65 hours of footage shot. Was there anything you wished had made the final cut?
A.
Absolutely. But I know Mike had a colossal job collating it and trying to make sense of it. There were a few cuts that were way too long, and the narrative got lost. I think the movie makes sense now. I was dying to see so much, but there we go! There was some amazing stuff though. The opening sequence, was the toughest day we did, along with fighting with the badger – I was battered and bruised from that.

Q. Tell us about the badger… who was inside it?
A.
We lost a lot of badger inhabitants, because it was the hottest summer on record in Ibiza. So all the sweat was real! A guy who was making a behind-the-scenes thing for the DVD was coerced into being the badger.

Q. Going back to your Dennis Pennis days, there was a moment when you asked Steve Martin when he was going to be funny again, and he looked shattered by it, how did that make you feel?
A.
I look back and cringe. I expected him to give as good as he got, he has done 20 years of stand up, I figured he could come back with a response, I didn’t realise what he was going through. I don’t think he has done a BBC interview since, but maybe I’ve done the world a favour then [laughs]…

Q. You talk about not getting the roles you like, how much control do you have over your own career?
A.
Now I have more, I’ve written a film which is a serious film about an animator. I’ve been writing that for about a year and a half. I’m currently developing a show for Channel 4 which will be the Hiroshima of all chat shows, which should be fun! I haven’t done that much as I’m a lazy bastard more than anything.

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