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For the past thirty years, Garry Christian has fronted The Christians, one of the most well-known bands to come out of Britain in the eighties. Here, in an exclusive interview with “Pulse” author Steve Rudd, Garry chats about their latest tour and album…

Hi Garry, how are things, and how has 2016 treated you so far? 

Really good – this year has been one of our busiest yet, with around 50 gigs, plenty of interviews, and live radio acoustic sessions. Our track “Big Red Sky” got quite a lot of attention from the press, as it was written about Hillsborough, and the justice that the families deserved.

Which gigs have stood out the most this year, and why? 

We played Holmfirth last week, at The Picturedrome. It stood out not because I’ve got a bad memory and it was only a few days ago, but because it was packed, with people hanging off the balconies in adoration. The sound was amazing (we don’t always get a good soundman), and every song seemed to bring the house down.  Plus, they gave us plenty of prosecco backstage, which always makes a good gig!

Can you believe that 2017 will mark the 30th anniversary of the release of your debut album? What was it like when you found out that it had gone double-platinum? 

We were really shocked, because we’d already released 5 tracks as singles, which had all charted well, so we didn’t know if there was anyone left who wanted the whole album. Luckily, it turned out that there were a few million people who wanted it!

The late eighties must have heralded crazy times for you as a band given the fact that you were suddenly thrust into the limelight. How did you all cope? 

We didn’t really notice; we were so busy touring, the whole “crazy times” thing passed us by. We were always preparing for some overseas trip or tour of some kind. There were, however, a few crazy nights with the more beautiful fans… but that was about it!

How long had you been together, performing as a band, prior to the release of your first album? 

I’d been singing with my brothers for a few years. We were initially called Equal Temperament (rather unfittingly), and we backed for some great bands like It’s Immaterial.

Given that you effectively started out as a “family band,” do you not find it strange being up on stage without your brothers, Russell and Roger? 

Not at all. Roger sadly left the band before we really got to enjoy our fame, so he wasn’t around from ’87 onwards, and Russell hasn’t been in the band for many years. I’m much more comfortable with my current band, who are very tight and have been around for 10 years.

So what process led to you drafting in Joey Ankrah (lead guitar), Neil Griffiths (acoustic guitar) and Mike Triggs (keyboards)?

With me, there’s never a process. I believe that you attract the people you need in life, and these guys are all pretty special. They kind of landed on me, and made me sound great, so I couldn’t turn them away.

Do you find that the majority of people coming along to your shows are people who have grown up with your music, or do your audiences consist of people of all ages? 

We find that the majority of our fans come to around 10 gigs a year! I’m surprised they don’t get bored with us, but they really don’t. Many of them bring friends who don’t know us, along with their kids! In the words of Sly Stone: “It’s a family affair.”

Your most recent album – “We” – came out last year. Were you happy with the response it received? 

We really just wanted to try the “Pledge” funding system, because it was started by a friend of mine, Malcolm Dunbar, who was responsible for taking us to Island Records back in the day. It worked great for us, and we’ve been thrilled with the response it has received. We play a couple of the tracks from “We” on our tour, which means we normally sell around 100 CDs or vinyls afterwards, so our fans must like the tracks!

So have you written any new songs since “We” came out?

Yes. In fact, I wrote a great one only the other night, about one of my band member’s love-life. I hope he listens to the words!

Looking ahead, what does 2017 hold in store for you? Is there anything that you’re particularly looking forward to next year? 

We hope to play a couple of very big festivals, but we can’t tell you which, as we’re not allowed! We also hope to do a European tour to celebrate 30 years.

Finally, what is the best way for folk to find out more about upcoming Christians shows and releases? 

Search for us on Google, Twitter and Facebook. All dates are on – and so are links to all that silly social media stuff!




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