July 13, 2012
Back in 1991 two brothers with shaved heads and buff bods unleashed "I’m Too Sexy" upon the world. People have been too sexy for their shirts, parties, cars, hats, cats, Milan, New York, and Japan ever since. Right Said Fred continued their mark on the Pop music world with hits like "Deeply Dippy," "Don’t Talk Just Kiss," "Stick It Out," and "You’re My Mate" selling over 4 million records worldwide. Currently they’re climbing up the dance charts with their newest song, "SXAHOLIC."
(Isn’t it a fun video? Love Richard’s muscle suit.) 90s 411 was lucky enough to chat with Fred Fairbrass, one half of Right Said Fred. Read on to learn more about the English duo, "I’m Too Sexy," and what they’ve been up to lately, but hurry before you become too sexy for this interview.
90s 411: What’s it like to work with your brother?
Fred: We’re lucky we get on very well, the positives far out way any negatives.
90s 411: What made you decide to name your group Right Said Fred after the Bernard Cribbins’ song?
Fred: A friend of ours (Katie Randall) heard it on the radio in 1989 and suggested it to us. We didn’t really analyze it.
90s 411: When did you decide to shave your heads? Love the pic of y’all in the background on the DVD with all your flowing 70s hair.
Fred: I shaved my head in 1989 when I noticed slight hair loss. I didn’t want to be one of those comb over guys! It wasn’t very common at the time so it felt pretty weird.
90s 411: I understand that before forming Right Said Fred, you both played with some amazing folks, including Joy Division, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and David Bowie. I just saw the Ian Curtis biopic, Control. What was it like to tour with Joy Division?
Fred: We didn’t tour with Joy division but we did shows with them at the Factory in Manchester. Nice guys, Ian Curtis and I swapped shirts. Playing guitar with Bob Dylan was my particular high at the time.
90s 411: "I’m Too Sexy" remains one of those songs that makes you reach for the volume when it comes on; you just have to crank it up. When you wrote it, did you have any idea that you were onto something?
Fred: The fact that all the labels turned it down led us to believe it was either shit or genius…so we pursued it and eventually got it to Simon Bates at Radio1.
90s 411: Can you talk a little about the writing of "I’m Too Sexy?"
Fred: We recorded and wrote it at the same time over a 6 month period in ’90-91. The verse melody was a bass line and the chorus melody was a guitar line, then I wrote the lyrics although it was Richard who first thought of the I’m too sexy lyric.
90s 411: In 2006 Saturday Night Live‘s Andy Samberg and guest host Tom Hanks spoofed "I’m Too Sexy" with a skit/song called "Please Don’t Cut My Testicles." How do you feel about that kind of parody?
Fred: We love it and we’re fans of Tom Hanks so it’s a win win. They went to a lot of trouble to copy the look and style.
90s 411: In 2009 you released a greatest hits album called Hits. Do you have a favorite song?
Fred: "I Know What Love Is" is still one of my favorites.
90s 411: Let’s talk about your new DVD, Night of the Living Fred (An Evening with Right Said Fred). What some people may not realize is that under all the fun and glamour, you are damn good songwriters with loads of talent. The unplugged versions of your songs really show that off. Tell us a bit about the DVD.
Fred: The UK is a painfully conservative market so the idea that we can actually write and play seems too impossible for a lot of people to grasp. We decided to do an audience with/acoustic show and film it. So we booked the Leicester Square Theater and did it. I’m really pleased with it. Richard and I have done a lot of acoustic shows since the 80’s so it was very natural for us.
90s 411: You just made a cameo appearance on the new BBC show Life’s Too Short (Episode 4) starring Warwick Davis, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. How did you get involved with the show? Tell us about it.
Fred: They approached us and we were delighted. The script made us laugh and we both love The Office. Ricky, Warwick and Stephen were very friendly and approachable. I think it’s a very funny series.
90s 411: What is RSF up to today? Is there a new album in the works?
Fred: We have a new single called "SXAHOLIC" and we start promo in Holland Christmas 2011. We’ll be following it up with shows and festivals in 2012. In the US we’ve had continued success in the dance charts so we’ll also be doing shows over there in 2012.
90s 411: What do you like to do when you’re not writing and playing music?
Fred: Workout, watch DVDs, read books, cycle, eat and drink.
90s 411: On your website, RSF is described as being "so English, you could scratch the surface and swear they taste of sausages and jam." What flavor of jam? 🙂
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