Interview with Nick Van Eede, Co-Founder and Lead Singer of Cutting Crew

(This interview was originally published December 3, 2014 on the now-retired Kickin' it Old School blog. It is one installment in an incredible series of interviews we are republishing on Rediscover the '80s for posterity and your enjoyment. These are more than just interviews in a way; they are more like '80s timelines or oral histories on their respective subject matters. Please keep in mind the original date because some content could be specific to the time of the interview, though the majority should be timeless and totally rad.)

When the opportunity presents itself to ask a few questions to someone who contributed to the awesomeness of the '80s, I will continue to share those answers with you right here. Again, lucky for me (and hopefully you), I do get to share a little more awesomeness with you.

This time that awesomeness is Nick Van Eede. He is the co-founder, lead singer and songwriter of the band Cutting Crew. They are likely best known for their hit single "(I Just) Died In Your Arms" which thrust them on to the pop charts and radio airwaves in late 1986 into 1987. The late Kevin MacMichael was the other co-founder and played guitars with Colin Farley and Martin "Frosty" Beadle joining on bass and drums respectively. Cutting Crew received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1987. Find out a little about him, the band, their hits, what he is up to now and more as we get on to some selections from my interview with Nick Van Eede...

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a professional musician? When and how did you get your start in the music industry?
Nick: I played guitar and sang since the age of about 11. I was so lucky to go to a very cool and progressive working class rough and tough high school but still given so many opportunities to write and sing my own material. I wasn't really ever in a cover band as such as I always had enough songs knocking around that were good enough to play in front of 20 people and then 200 people and then 2000 people.

I started in high school bands and then on to the pub band called The Drivers which almost had a cult-like following in the south of England where we lived, and ended up getting a record deal in Canada in 1982 or 1983. These days were undeniably the happiest days of my life even compared with the amazing success we had with Cutting Crew a few years later. It was sweaty, sexy, crazy and, playing in a three-piece band, I got to play guitar every night loud, proud and bad!

Q: How did Cutting Crew come together as a band? What were your goals/intentions for the band when you were first starting out?
Nick: Following on from The Drivers in Canada, we were touring on the East coast and whilst through Nova Scotia I had what would be a life changing moment, when I met Mr. Kevin MacMichael. He was the guitarist in our support band, Fast Forward, and after some hilarious misunderstandings and faux pas, we became good mates and promised that if either of our bands split up in the future that we would get in touch to see if we could cobble something together. Although Kevin was Canadian (he had been playing in a Beatles cover band for years called Spice which was very well known and loved in that part of the world), he was essentially a Brit living in North America as everything he adored was English and especially from Liverpool.

He eventually moved over to England in 1985 and arrived famously at the airport with ONLY his trusted Larrivee acoustic guitar and hand luggage; that was him moving abroad to start a new life in Europe with Nick... and that really sums up Kevin as well. I had already written four songs and it's like you wait all your life to meet somebody as a partner whether it be in marriage and having kids or exactly the same in the music business. Kevin and I just sparked immediately. Suddenly we could write songs in half an hour and with his incredible ear for melody and simpatico to my words and chords, the songs almost fell together effortlessly.

We had no real musical goals as such but we did set ourselves a deadline. That was... give it two years and if nothing else happens at least let's have a great time... and we sure did!!!

Q: How and why was the band name Cutting Crew chosen?
Nick: A lot of people ask why we called the band Cutting Crew and it was simply that as Kevin and I were putting it together (and even when Frosty and Colin joined), all we were doing was recording demos, writing and looking for management and record deals! We never really played a proper gig as that band until everything went crazy. Of course as musicians collectively we probably had done 2,000 gigs in our various lineups but as this particular band we were purely in the studio recording and writing. A cutting crew... boring, eh?? What we did find hilarious was that the tag "Crew" in musical bands back in the early '80s implied urban dance stuff and when we were excitingly looking for our first-ever single hitting the charts we would eventually find it in the urban dance section in the record stores!

Q: Cutting Crew's debut single, "(I Just) Died In Your Arms", would go on to be the band's biggest hit. You are credited as the song's writer. Please take us back to when the song was written and recorded. What is the back story about how that song was conceived and written? What inspired it?
Nick: Of course this song will always be my calling card and passport and, even though it has dwarfed every other thing I've ever done in my life in the music business, I'm incredibly proud of it. Like many massive hits, it was written in about half a day with the next day to tidy up the lyrics; but more remarkable is the fact that I demoed it with all the strings and keyboard parts and just about the entire structure surviving, on a small four track recorder, all in about two days. I got my landlord, Pete Birch, to sing the harmonies and I piled on about eight tracks of guitars; which when Kevin arrived months later, he had to unravel. You should have heard the cursing and laughter as he tried to make one guitar part out of my lush cacophony.

The song tells a story about what you should NOT have done: about caution and not running back into a relationship. Basically, be careful and trust your instincts and it was written the following morning after a splendid all-nighter with my ex-girlfriend, after she had stomped on my heart, months earlier.

The band's debut single, "(I Just) Died In Your Arms" was released in the summer of 1986 in the UK, but not until March of 1987 in the U.S. I remember that summer that it was played on the radio almost constantly. It raced up the pop charts and spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May of 1987. It also charted on the Mainstream Rock, Adult Contemporary and even on the Dance charts in the U.S. while reaching the top 5 in at least four other countries. Here is the music video for "(I Just) Died In Your Arms" by Cutting Crew...

Q: When you recorded "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" did you have a feeling it was going to be something special? Could you have ever anticipated the incredible reaction this single would have? Not just in the UK , but in the U.S. even more so?
Nick: In these heady days of The X Factor, it is even easier to be tricked into thinking that the process from A to Z of getting an uber-hit is a fairly straightforward affair if you surround yourself by enough money and experts. And it's easy to be churlish and unkind about the youngsters coming through, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that from the moment I had written "(I Just) Died In Your Arms" to the moment it was number one in America, there had to be about 10 implicit things all lined up at exactly the same time, at exactly the right time in your life and at exactly the right time in the current climate of music in the universe. From writing the song to getting the right players to getting the right producer to getting the right studio to getting the right mix to getting the right photographs all to emerge at exactly the same time as Branson is launching his U.S. Virgin Records label. To have an MTV-friendly video and to have an image to the band that seemed to fit the 80s. And FINALLY that very hard-to-pull-off trick of being transatlantic and conquering both sides.

I do remember when we were recording it at Chipping Norton Studios in Oxfordshire that people were continually popping their head into the control room and asking... What the hell is this? Who is this band? What's the name of the song?? There was definitely something in the air, definitely.

The final nerve-jangling story in the process is that the song had been a big hit in Europe and the Far East, a full year before its American release. Then the American record company was convinced that it would take a remix to beef it up a bit for American radio. I thought what a great idea and then thought about slashing my wrists since I had waited 20 years to get a hit which has already proved itself half way around the world and then the biggest market in the world wants to fuck with it and make it even better?!?!

However, the story has a happy ending as we decamped to A&M Studios in Hollywood and the impeccable Shelly Yakus built a mountain of mixing equipment and spent days tweaking and shifting and improving whilst Kevin and I sat beside him sweating and drinking and drinking and sweating and drinking. Then, presto, an American number one! (With now apparently well over 3 million plays on U.S. radio so far and counting!)

Q: What do you feel makes this song so special, loved by so many and allowed it such long lasting durability?
Nick: It's a great title, isn't it? Seems to conjure up all kinds of images and also you can read into it what you want; which I can assure you is what has happened over the years. Also, I think crucially it survived on the radio because, even though it was from the '80s, it was based around a guitar band and a rock band and the sounds have not dated much. I don't mean that synth-pop is bad or we were doing anything clever or special, it's just that sonically the guitars drive it and it seems to have a sort of timelessness to it; and dare I say a sort of majesty!

All these years later, you have to respect that when we play live we have to give our very, very special fans exactly what they want but it's also so easy to give it a slight twist to keep me and the audience intrigued and interested. You can see our latest live version on YouTube and I'm sure it will not disappoint.

Q: How did things change for you personally and for Cutting Crew after this song's incredible worldwide success?
Nick: I remember singing the lead vocals for the album and my pregnant girlfriend standing in the control room looking at her watch. My daughter Lauren was born exactly the same time as the release of all the madness, success and demons. I tried my best to keep some kind of sense to the family life as well as balancing it with constantly being away; we effectively toured non-stop for three years and flew around the world twice. Suddenly we could pay the bills; suddenly you could buy that guitar you had always wanted. I remember Frosty our drummer being given about three drum kits for free as endorsements and then still secretly playing his old Premier kit every time we weren't on TV or doing photographs... perverse, eh??

We played the Budokan in Tokyo. We played the first show in Taiwan where they allowed the audience to stand up (honest). We were nominated for a Grammy and sat next to you to U2; and went to Prince's party in New York and Versace's in the Hollywood hills. It was the '80s and there were a lot of chemistry lessons and a lot of sitting up all night talking absolute shite.

Q: I am a big fan of your next hit single, "I've Been In Love Before". Again, please take us back to when the song was written and recorded. What is the back story about how that song was conceived and written? How long did it take to write? Any interesting facts or memories you can let us in on from creating this hit?
Nick: Over the years, so many people made the effort to tell me that "I've Been In Love Before" is their favorite Cutting Crew song, or at least their favorite of our hits. I've told the story many times to young writers that one of the best tricks ever to get a new rush of blood and the juices flowing is to get fresh equipment or new sounds into the studio. Of course that is so much easier done these days as you can access just about any sound on the planet through your computer, but back in the mid-80s I bought myself a Drumolator drum machine and a Korg POLY 800 keyboard. Ask any of us old guys and they will stifle a laugh as these made an essential 80s kit and were at the bottom end of the market, frankly. I was broke. I pressed pattern 01 on the drum machine and pattern 09 on the Korg and wrote and demoed "I've Been In Love Before" with lyrics, structure, guitar lines and arpeggios in about four hours... onto my trusty Tascam 4-track.

The song was recorded in a converted church in Manhattan, New York and was probably one of the most pleasant and easy tasks of the entire first album, as the recording of the rest of Broadcast really was a pain in the royal ass. It was produced by Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero and just came together really smoothly and has a lovely warm embrace and lilt to it. Frosty grooves brilliantly on the drums and Kev's guitar playing is so haunting and melodic.

We found an old acoustic guitar with nylon strings in the loft apartment we were renting in Tribeca. He thought it was a good omen and so insisted on playing it on the track and there it survives forever, slightly out of tune but full of charm and on a song that so far has over 4 million plays on the radio. Good call, Kevin.

"I've Been In Love Before" became the second major hit single from the Broadcast album peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and also reaching #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart. As I mentioned before, this is personally my favorite Cutting Crew song. Here is the music video for "I've Been In Love Before" by Cutting Crew...

Q: Other than maybe "Everything But My Pride", Cutting Crew was not able to repeat the success of Broadcast and those hit singles. Were you surprised or frustrated that Cutting Crew would not have another major pop hit in the U.S.? Do you have any explanation why the audience did not continue to react the same way to your later releases?
Nick: It's funny how time heals or at least you see things differently as the years pass, but I have to admit that I was extremely confused and sometimes bitter at the way I thought things might have worked out after having given a record company their first #1 and Grammy nominations but ending up with absolutely no power or say in anything really, as our second album was recorded.

The unique thing with Cutting Crew's career was that it all took off immediately within months; far too soon for any real planning and preparation and then, because the album was so successful and caught everybody a little by surprise, every territory seemed to want their piece of the action. And once the USA decided it wanted to fashion the album and all the videos (we shot two different clips for "I've Been in Love" and "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" for Europe and the U.S.) into an MTV-friendly format, then the whole album project lasted about two and a half years.

In the end, we shuffled back to England and recorded The Scattering album which I believe is our finest work by far (so many really killer songs)! But by then we had moved management and were being knocked back by the record company month after month after month and eventually the album finally came out after effectively a year in the wilderness (check out the song entitled "Year in the Wilderness" on The Scattering album).

But this is all personal stuff. What was really happening was that the musical world was inevitably changing as it does every seven or eight years and the world of the 80s and its big hair and shoulder pads and canyon reverbs and swirling choruses was giving way to a much cooler urban groove-based sound; goodbye Cutting Crew, goodbye Mister Mister, goodbye Foreigner and welcome Soul II Soul, Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack and frankly, to my ears, an invigorating change.

Cutting Crew had one more minor hit before the decade ended. "Everything But My Pride" didn't make the Billboard Hot 100, but it did make it all the way to #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1989. Another nice ballad, here is the music video for "Everything But My Pride" by Cutting Crew...

Q: Please describe the circumstances leading to and surrounding the band's ultimate break up in 1993.
Nick: By the time we got to record our third album, Compus Mentus, Frosty and Colin had already moved on and we were recording with session musicians at Jimmy Page's old studio on the River Thames, called The Mill Studios. It didn't have that honest band sound but we still wrote really strong tunes and some of the songs ("Frigid as England", "Sweet Auburn") stand up today alongside anything we ever recorded. And then one day later that year (1993) in Hamburg, Kevin and I mimed to our latest single "If That's the Way You Want It" as a support slot on a TV show for three fat ladies with pink hair and matching pink poodles (they are apparently really famous in Germany). I looked at Kevin and he looked at me; we hugged and we knew that was the end of Cutting Crew...for then at least.

Q: How do you personally deal with and keep the '80s alive and in perspective? What do you remember best about the decade of '80s music?
Nick: I mentioned before that my previous band The Drivers hold the fondest memories for me as it all seemed so simple and hand-to-mouth and honest and the first-time-ever standing on a stage where you could not move an inch for beautiful young things singing every word to every song you sang. All songs I'd written. This was the '80s too... this was 1980 to 1983.

But of course the explosion of Cutting Crew changed my life forever and I would sound ridiculous and churlish if I said that there weren't incredibly dizzy heights and some sensational experiences and memories but it all happened so very quickly and, as I was the lead singer and writer of the band, I found that I was in demand all the time for radio and TV (aahh poor, poor Nick) so somehow just seem to have missed some of the fun! Especially when I talk to the band and roadies and friends... (Or is it just my memory failing ha ha).

Speaking as a Brit, it is the decade that is referenced so often over the past 30 years; of course the 60s will always be the greatest decade as it spawned so much talent and so much radical change. The 80s (like every era) has a legacy of some quite cheesy and cringeworthy stuff, but if you choose carefully you'll find some of the greatest melodies and arrangements and vocal and guitar performances you'll ever hear. I wish engineers and producers had thrown away their reverbs and sampled drum sounds, but I guess every decade has its bad habits (like we now have the dreaded auto tune and God knows what else). As Elton and Gloria said, I'm still standing and I will survive!

Q: Please tell us about where your music career has gone since the '80s. Also, how about Kevin MacMichael?
Nick: Within a year of Cutting Crew splitting up, Kevin hooked up with Phil Johnstone, who was the keyboard player with Robert Plant and Hey Presto, joined up with Robert's band for the recording and touring of the excellent Fate of Nations album. Robert and Kevin became kindred spirits with their shared love of artists like Tim Hardin, Tim Buckley and Leon Russell. It was a strange experience to see Kevin playing with this iconic (and much adored by me) artist like Robert Plant. Kevin was a complete Fender guitar man and when I turned up to the small VIP/invited showcase gig in south London one night, there he was proudly ripping into Led Zeppelin riffs with his new Gibson gold top. Look out Jimmy!

For the first time in my life since I was 18, I wasn't in any kind of set-up that obligated me to gig or record. There was no management or record deal and I loved it. I know it's a well-used cliche, but I really did enjoy being able to spend much more quality time with the family especially my daughter Lauren. She was born within months of the explosion of Cutting Crew and had grown up alongside a Dad always on the road or at least overseas. I moved to Toronto and hooked up with my old mate Terry Brown. We put together with attorney, Greg Stevens, a production company called Vis-a-Vis and our first signing was the brilliant MIR from Halifax, Nova Scotia (anybody spot the geographical link?). This band wrote the best damn songs and was so unique in their sound. I helped fashion the songs, Terry produced and Greg did the law. Eventually I flew them to Bahrain to play in a club with me for six weeks in order to get the songs routined for any upcoming record deal. Then back to London where we showcased in front of record companies there. Close, but no cigar.

I wrote and produced with Katey Brooks and Cathy Burton, two excellent girl singer-songwriters who are carving out brilliant careers in the UK. I was really enjoying learning my gear in the studio and trying to keep up with the intense forward motion of recording techniques and technology. I'm still a bit of a purist at heart when it comes to writing and recording, as I will always believe the song is at the heart of the type of music I write.

In 1999, I signed a very special publishing deal with Sony and relocated to the east coast of Barbados where I stayed for four years and lived alongside my neighbor Eddy Grant who lived two cane fields away. These were very, very special times in my life where I was able to see myself more clearly and basically get off the merry-go-round for a while. I swam and boogie-boarded every day and got myself into good shape and felt that I really was finally living and enjoying some of the rewards that I'd earned through all the success then chaos and eventual disappointment of the Cutting Crew years. Steve Hogarth of Marillion flew out to live with us for a month and I penned with him a song for his brilliant band. "Map of the World" was born out of some melodies I had alongside the song title; this combined with a few bottles of local rum concocted to form a really cool song. You can find it on their Anoraknophobia album.

Then one day I received the hammer blow. I got a phone call from one of Kevin's mates in Canada to say that Kevin had lung cancer! He'd taken a fall in the snow, cracked a rib and the x-rays revealed a pretty bleak image. Within three days, I was beside him up in Canada and flew back and forth about five times to be with him and share in helping with that heavy burden. He was a courageous bugger and we shared lots of laughter and intimate secrets over those last months. The most un-together, random genius I've ever met, tided his life, put his albums in alphabetical order, did a full inventory of his possessions then left us. The funeral was held (typically?) in the middle of a complete white-out snow storm but, even then, you could not move inside the church as it was packed to the hilt. I miss him as my best friend and of course also as my fellow collaborator and life adviser. You sometimes don't realize what somebody truly meant to you until they're gone and he really did fill the void after my Dad died as the older, wiser man, in my life.

Q: In 2005, you reformed Cutting Crew with all different band members joining you. What made it the right time for you to bring Cutting Crew back? What were your goals and intentions this time around?
Nick: It didn't take long after we had said goodbye to Kevin that I realized there was a ton of music inside me and the songs started to seep out. Grinning Souls was recorded in Canada alongside all Kevin's old haunts and I'm convinced his spirit was spinning around the studio, as there were many magical moments where guitar parts or chord changes seemed to come from nowhere; and all were very, very Kevin in style.

Flying back to England with a new album, we toured Germany for a few months with Jamie Robinson, who played guitar on the album; he flew in from Canada and was a delight to work and play with. He was an exemplary musician and good friend, however logistics meant that it was time to form a proper British based band and within a few months the line-up was established: Dominic Finley on bass guitar, Tom Arnold on drums, Sam Flynn on keyboards and Gareth Moulton as my new guitarist. This time around it was a chance to form a band that was obviously very strong musically but I wanted it to be harder. I wanted it to be more intense and I didn't want any sequences tying the set down to bar lengths with no freedom to jam and twist and turn within a song... as it was back in the 80s. I finally had my rock band and it was as hard-edged and fun as the old days with my beloved Drivers.

We played songs from the Grinning Souls album, we played songs from the old Cutting Crew albums and invented some delicious cover versions of Alanis Morissette, REM and even ABBA. This all culminated in a full TV performance on Germany's Rockpalast: a career-defining moment capturing me playing in my brilliant band with songs from the past and present.

After that project was complete, I realized that I had become best friends with Gareth Moulton and his multi-talents, very dry sense of humor and well-honed drinking ability. We forged a very special relationship and he and I are basically the core of Cutting Crew now whenever we play live. An old-fashioned spark. I never ever thought that after losing Kevin I'd find a new friend who could share knowledge and teach me life and also play f'ing great guitar.

I'm definitely not one of those people who fastidiously has to do a certain number of hours writing or recording every day. In fact, I'd say I'm pretty lazy in that department but I do trust in the muse not ever deserting me totally. I've learned that my creativity comes in bursts and usually at the most inappropriate times. All this said, I continue to be lucky, as I penned a co-write on Mika's enormous (9 million sales) Life in Cartoon Motion album (the song was "Relax, Take it Easy" a big hit in Europe). I also co-wrote for Pixie Lott a song called "I'm Coming Home" which she sang as a duet with Jason Derulo. So my songwriting profile in the publishing world is pretty healthy, sometimes accidentally, may I add.

Q: What can you tell us about your upcoming album to be released early in 2015 and your plans for the future?
Nick: I have an album of 10 songs recorded, mixed and mastered. Hilariously, the album has had about six working titles so far. As I mentioned before, I am a Gemini and I exercise my right to change my mind often and inadvisably! The album's name has oscillated between Avec, Add to Favourites, Ransomed Healed Restored Forgiven, Gallivant and As Far as Eye Can See! However, regardless of what the f*** we call it, this is the best album I've recorded in 20 years. Alongside Gareth, I put together a bunch of musicians who had impressed me over the years or alternatively I had just met the month before at a gig. I then added four brass players, two female singers and this album sounded like no Cutting Crew album before. The full recording band lineup is: Gareth Moulton on guitar, Joolz Dunkley on guitar and keyboards, Jono Harrison on keyboards, Nick Kay on bass guitar, Martyn Barker on drums, Tom Arnold on percussion and organs, TJ Davis on vocals, Angie Brooks on vocals, Gary Barnacle on saxophone, Jack Birchwood on trumpet, Nik Carter on saxophone and Mak Norman on bass guitar.

I discovered an old retro style studio in the middle of the fields in rural Sussex here in England called Yellowfish; a box of delights with Hammond organs, Farfisas, Wurlitzer's and a sensational feng shui and vibe. The live room enabled us to set up a nine-piece band all at once with good sight lines so that we could record with honesty, warts and all, and achieve that frisson of nine people playing totally live, off the floor! I'd been listening avidly to classic Van Morrison, anything that Warren Zevon recorded (or said), tracks from Ry Cooder and Jackson Browne and I wanted to get that sense of rawness and scruffiness but with tons of heart and emotion.

I'm old enough and ugly enough to not have to kid myself or anybody around me that this collection of songs, the way we recorded it and the sound that was achieved (by our engineer Ian Caple) is evoking superlatives that I've not received for many a year. All being well, it should be released in February of 2015 so you can decide for yourself and I hope you do agree with some of my comments. The song list is: "Till the Money Run$ Out" / "Looking For a Friend" / "Berlin in Winter" / "Kept on Lovin' You" / "San Ferian" / "Already Gone" / "The Biggest Mistake of My Life" / "(She Just Happened to Be) Beautiful" / "Only for You" / "As Far as I Can See".

Q: What else is Nick Van Eede up to nowadays? Musically and otherwise?
Nick: Well, not that it really means that much, but it is the 30th anniversary of the formation of Cutting Crew in 2015 and I will have been published or signed to some record label consecutively for the past 35 years. I'm not sure if that's a statistic I should be proud of or not. The music business has changed beyond recognition over the past ten years and it is totally for "the good" but does demand a whole lot of new skills to be learned and applied. Now the modern, world-shrinking, social media is quite mind-blowingly powerful and anything that takes the money out of the fat-controlling record companies' coffers is okay by me. Publishers are great; they work hard and pay you what you earn; record companies however are now so corporate, so bloated that it's almost impossible to deal with them. Of course this is a generalization and of course there are brilliant individuals in that world... and I know there are excellent smaller labels, but I can completely see why bands/artists of 18 years old or 56, design and make their own CDs and sell them with a handshake and an autograph at the end of gigs. It is the old-fashioned way that has come full circle and I applaud it wholeheartedly!

My life today in the music business is fairly unique, I think, as I don't really go out and gig with Cutting Crew weekend on weekend. Instead, Gareth and I have played at the brilliant Rewind Festival for the past five years here in the UK with mates like Nik Kershaw, Wang Chung and Go West; I am also a member of the SoulMates band out of Germany. It's a multi-member lineup that has allowed me to play countless sensational gigs from Finland to Italy, alongside Chaka Khan, Greg Lake, Chris Thompson, Randy Brecker, Kim Wilde, Victor Bailey, Roger Hodgson, Bobby Kimball, Paul Carrack, Katrina (of the Waves), Jack Bruce (RIP), Bill Evans, Roger Chapman... the list is endless. Here, we sing original songs written for the show, share verses in each other's hits, jam and fall over too frequently at the end of the night! These shows can be in 40,000 seat football stadiums with a full symphony orchestra and choir or in front of 50 people at Angela Merkel's birthday party. (Honest). Without doubt, the biggest gig I ever did was with this set-up, when I sang with Bobby Kimball of Toto and Chris Thompson of Manfred Mann Band under the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin at midnight on New Year's Eve in front of a quarter million people on the street and 60 million people on live TV. We sang and played "Hold the Line", "Blinded By the Light" and "(I Just) Died in Your Arms". I think it's out there on YouTube somewhere.

Q: What does 2015 offer you?
Nick: 2015 will be a re-launch year for me. We will release the new album. I will fly to South Africa for three shows for the first time in my life and there is a 10-day British tour in April. That's just for starters as I am currently in deep talks with an exciting U.S. management team. I'm writing songs with an uber-talented and beautiful songstress from Germany named Shary Osman (look out for this lady as I foresee big things for her and hopefully with one of "our" songs). Singing and writing songs is all I've ever done as a day job since I was 20 years old and when, in 2009, I was rushed into hospital for three pretty serious heart operations, one can sometimes wonder if that's the end of the line for getting up on stage and doing your thang... but everything seems to have healed over very nicely, thank you.

I do see things much more clearly now as an older soul. I was born in 1958 in an old rural farming village in Sussex, England and it's been my privilege to have lived an absolutely charmed life, carved out of lots of hard work and some good fortune; it recently became apparent that the only men that I've ever truly loved (my dad, my brother Gary, best uncle Ern, dear Kevin) all have died (sometimes suddenly) and robbed me of much that is dear to me. However, I am, and always have been surrounded by beautiful, strong, enduring women (my mum, my wife Nikki and my daughter Lauren). They "keep me honest", like, I hope this interview has been too.

I am so pleased that Nick was able to take some time to answer some questions so I could share them with you here. To keep up with him and Cutting Crew, please visit the Cutting Crew official website.You can also check them out on Facebook and follow on Twitter. Be on the lookout for the new album and we wish him all the best in his new endeavors. I want to take this occasion to again thank Nick Van Eede for his contributions to '80s pop culture especially through Cutting Crew and, even more, for going back to the '80s with us here for a little while as well.

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