SXSW Interview: The Soul Boys of the Western World… Spandau Ballet!


The ’80s were an interesting time for music, especially in London, with fashion and politics often playing as large a part in a band’s image as the notes they played. One such band was Spandau Ballet, who formed during the late ’70s, but who didn’t become big until they released their global hit “True.”

The band started to drift apart by the end of the ’80s, leading to some disputes over royalties–guitarist Gary Kemp was the only credited writer on their songs–although a few members of the band tried to keep things going. Singer/frontman Tony Hadley and brothers Gary and Martin Kemp all remained present in various media, particularly television, but in 2009, the band reunited with the Kemps for a series of sold out British shows that generated new interest in a group that was far more than a one-hit wonder pretty much everywhere except maybe the States. They also released an album that reworked some of their old songs and added a couple new ones.

That brings us to Soul Boys of the Western World, a new documentary directed by George Hencken, that looks at the band’s incredible career going back to their working class roots, becoming London fashion icons and the careers leading up to and following their biggest hit. had a chance to meet the band and talk to them briefly about different points in their career, leading up to the debut of their film at SXSW. As we learned, the film’s director “George” is actually the striking blonde woman who joined them for the interview.

Soul Boys of the Western World has its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival, today, Wednesday, March 12 at 2 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, and then later tonight, the band will be playing their first North American show in 28 years at the Vulcan Gas Company.