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17 June 2023

Kevin Rowland: “Dexys Was A Lot Of Pressure”

Kevin Rowland
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Kevin Rowland of Dexys has looked back at the group’s early days and opened up about how changes in his life have inspired his new album, The Feminine Divine, in an interview with The Guardian.

Rowland discussed a photograph taken in 1982 saying, “This point in my life was busy – a lot of photoshoots and promotion for Come on Eileen – but I mostly liked being in Dexys. It wasn’t until we started playing live that I didn’t enjoy things so much. It was a lot of pressure, and while I never admitted it at the time, anxiety would interfere with a lot of my performances.

“I wasn’t able to relax – I’d be singing and thinking: “What are the audience thinking?” Before a show, I’d get really manic. The concept of trying to calm myself down or breathe never even occurred to me. Getting older, I’ve had to learn how to regulate my nervous system, because otherwise it would eat me up.

He went on to discuss how a new sense of self had inspired The Feminine Divine, “Compared with the person in that original photo, I’m more honest now. I’m more aware of other people. I’m definitely more aware of myself. I don’t think I had any awareness whatsoever, really, of what life was about back then. I had no real interest in it either: I was quite a control freak and obsessive – and I still am – about work. But I didn’t know it was negative.

“These days I work hard at keeping that obsession at bay, because it’s not creative, especially when you burn out. I’d like to think I have left that kind of all-consuming attitude behind, but I still get nervous. I’m nervous now about things that are five months away! I’m already obsessing over what might happen when we play this summer: “Am I going to be able to manage it? Will my voice hold out?” I need to remember that it’ll be as it’s meant to be. I’m not in control, even if I sometimes think I am.”

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