Michael Byrne, the co-creator of the new coffee table book, Finding Kate, which visually explores Kate’s songs is interviewed by Seán to discuss how the pandemic, and a successful Kickstarter campaign, lead to this stunning book being realised. You can find out more about ordering the book at www.findingkatebook.com. This is the first of two Kate Bush Fan podcast episodes we’ll have for you this week, so you’ll have plenty of KB chatter to have on in the background as you prepare for the holiday season!
You can subscribe to the Kate Bush Fan Podcast on iTunes or on any podcast app you happen to use, such as Stitcher or Tunein or listen below on Soundcloud.
I had the pleasure this afternoon of meeting up on Howth Head, Dublin, with Michael Byrne and Marius Herbert, the two gifted Irish creatives behind Finding Kate, an illustrated journey through five decades of the music of Kate Bush – a truly stunning coffee table book project that we’ve followed on the site here from its successful Kickstarter campaign through development and now, finally ready to ship put around the world from Monday. It was a joy to leaf through the pages of the book and talk through this impressive piece of work with its clearly relieved and delighted creators. As promised, the book is a visual feast, illustrating twenty six of Kate’s songs across sumptuous double-page spreads. The songs have been chosen by Michael, a major Kate Bush fan (it shows!) who writes beautifully about each song’s significance in Kate’s career and what they mean to him.
The unexpectedly generous introduction sections by Michael throughout constitute a wonderful, concise synopsis of Kate’s recording career, so there’s plenty of great reading here for both casual and more hardcore fans of Kate. But, this large LP-sized book is intended to be a visual feast and Marius has produced some breathtaking images filled with detail and touches that were agonised over for months between the pair – a honeybee flies across the pages from a near psychedelic explosion of Kate in colourful nature imagery (and a familiar yellow sun-design) for Delius, a floating, angel-winged electric guitar poignantly reflects the departed musicians name-checked in Blow Away (for Bill), a water-submerged Kate simultaneously floats, dreamlike, above the planet for Hello Earth, an Irish dancer’s feet captured in whirling mid-step on a flagstone floor for Jig of Life, four glorious pages devoted to A Sky of Honey where the crimson, red and rust of golden hour transform a female figure into an explosion of feathered wings and avian friends, soaring skyward…and so many, many more surprising visuals. The book can be ordered now for €39.95 per copy PLUS cost of delivery, and ships worldwide from Monday.
Italian writer, Antonello Saeli, has written an unusual English-language novel, ‘Aerie‘, that should be very interesting for Kate’s fans. It tells the story of singer Neve Rever, who is ready to come back to the music scene after a very long absence, with a new double album called ‘Aerie’ and a live show. And then her precious diary is stolen from her…
The book is littered from the start with references to Kate’s work (the name ‘Neve Rever’ should already be sounding familiar…) and because Antonello has previously had creative collaborations with the likes of Del Palmer and John Carder Bush you will see that he is indeed steeped in the lore and meaning behind the music we love. You can order your copy of “Aerie” here.
If you’ve been following the progress of this luxury coffee table book project by two Irish designers, you will know that it achieved and surpassed its funding goal on Kickstarter earlier this year. This beautifully crafted book is now taking preorders on the newly launched www.findingkatebook.com site. The book is on schedule to reach their original publishing target, printing on Oct 30th and beginning distribution on Nov 30th 2021. Pre-orders before Sept 30th also get a free set of high quality postcards – see below. We’ve been publishing a few sneak peeks of the project this year but you’ll see more over on the book site. Well done to Michael and Marius (both genuine Kate fans) on getting this far!
French Kate Bush fans may like to know that a new magazine, Les Légendes Du Rock N° 8 (similar to Classic Rock in the UK) is out in newsagents there now with Kate on the cover and an article about the 1979 tour. It can be ordered online here (French language website). Thanks, Tristan!
Our friend Antonello tells us: “A very beautiful book featuring some of Kate’s record covers has been recently published. The book is called ‘Cover Stories’ and it includes hundreds of photos of record covers that were made by Bill Smith Studio. The book is truly beautiful. High quality and definitely recommended.” Thanks, Antonello!
This 12-inch square book features original album art produced by Bill Smith Studio and the stories behind them. Across five decades Bill Smith Studio worked with more than 200 bands and artists, creating hundreds of album covers, singles bags, and CD covers. This design house worked with Kate for her album and single releases from 1985-1990 and included sleeves for singles like Running Up That Hill, Cloudbusting, Hounds of Love, The Big Sky, Experiment IV, The Sensual World, This Woman’s Work and Love and Anger, and for the albums Hounds of Love, The Whole Story, The Sensual World and the 1990 This Woman’s Work box set. The book can be ordered here.
We got a call one afternoon from Steve Davis, the Head of Marketing at EMI, he asked us if we would like to work on the next Kate Bush album, Hounds of Love. This would have been around April/May of ’85 and it was full steam ahead from that phone call on. We attended several meetings with Kate and EMI to discuss the cover concept. We must have produced more visuals for that project than just about any other. This was pre-Mac, everything by hand with finished visuals using colour photo prints and rub-down transfers for type etc … working with Kate was always a joy, she had the whole picture in her head for each project, the photos were normally ready for us to work from, we’d discuss ideas on layout and typography and then she would let us get on with it…
Michael Stewart is a multi-award winning writer, born and brought up in Salford, who moved to Yorkshire in 1995 and is now based in Bradford. You will remember that in 2018 Kate took part in the Brontë Stones project in Yorkshire which he instigated, four monumental stones situated in the landscape between the Brontë birthplace and the parsonage, inscribed with poems by Kate, Carol Ann Duffy, Jeannette Winterson and Jackie Kay. (you can read about Kate’s Brontë Stone in our news item here)
Michael has just published a new book, Walking the Invisible, dedicating it to Kate, which Grazia magazine has described as “an imaginative and elegant trek through the landscape of the Brontës.” Having sent a copy of the book to Kate he was delighted last month to receive a hand written note from her, saying in a tweet: “It’s not every day you get a letter from Kate Bush!”
The book is available from Amazon UK here or to support local bookshops in the UK visit https://uk.bookshop.org You can read more about Michael at his website here or follow him on Twitter here. As an Amazon Associate this site earns revenue to support running costs from qualifying purchases.
A treasure trove of amazing images surfaced for the first time over the last couple of years – the work of photographer Max Browne, who had the privilege of documenting the final three nights of Kate’s run of shows at the Hammersmith Odeon, 12th-14th May 1979, to round out her legendary Lionheart tour. Of course, she famously never performed a full show of her own again till she returned to that very same stage 35 years later in 2014.
In what he calls “a lockdown self-published special”, Max has now produced a large format hardback landscape book with dust jacket, sized 13×11″, with all proceeds beyond the cost of this edition to be donated to charities supporting the “endangered animals of our world disadvantaged by Man.” The book is titled “Three Nights in Hammersmith“. The book images, consistently stunning, are presented in performance order, as Kate sang each song. Renowned photographer Jill Furmanovsky has contributed the foreword. The book can be ordered here.
From the press release: Industry comments on the photographs: ‘ . . a new book which will showcase his incredible photographs.’ (KateBushNews) ‘ . . a revelation to many:’ (Record Collector magazine) ‘ . . the best live shots of her . .’ (Jill Furmanovsky, RockArchive) ‘This is a treasure trove!’ (Guido Harari, Wall of Sound) ‘Nice stuff Max . .’ (Del Palmer)
From the site: “This book is a photographic presentation of the last three concerts of a tour that is now regarded as one of the greatest in Rock Music history. The 250 photographs by Max Browne included here illustrate why, song by song, as Kate Bush sings, dances and role-plays her way into legend at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, in 1979.”
The May 2021 edition of Mojo Magazine features Kate on the cover and includes an article and unpublished archive interview. From the press release: “The genius of Kate Bush is explored from fresh angles: an unpublished interview, revelations from key collaborators, and the 40th birthday of Sat In Your Lap – the song that changed everything. In MOJO’s Kate Kompendium, the artist casts light on her creative urges in an unpublished interview. Plus: surprising new takes on Hounds Of Love, the Tour Of Life and a poignant window on her wilderness years.”
The editor tells me that “the main story is a long interview done in 1989 that was partially published in the Netherlands at the time. It’s around The Sensual World, but goes a fair bit deeper than most of the other interviews I have read from around that time. There are a bunch of other pieces, which include a very specific one about the making of Sat In Your Lap for its anniversary (new interviews with Hugh Padgham, Nick Launay, Geoff Downes). A good one about her videos, which talks to her collaborators and directors. A piece that touches on “druid philosophy” by Youth. Something about her in 2001. A bit more about the first tour. Lots to enjoy, hopefully.”
Pre-orders being sent out from 16th March 2021 from the Mojo site here. Appropriately enough, the cover photo is from her 1981 Company magazine feature shoot with photographer Clive Arrowsmith. You can read more about that session at his site here.
Update: Meanwhile, Mojo Magazine subscribers have been receiving a unique, enhanced design version of the latest issue which features a Kate Bush cover (below right), without all the usual text that appears on the regular edition (below left).
Rather unexpectedly, no less than three Kate Bush books have already come along in rapid succession from smaller UK publishers in 2021. Hot on the heels of the “Kate Bush On Track: Every Album, Every Song” book by Bill Thomas (see news item and brief review here) there are two more slim paperback titles being released in March about Kate’s work.
First up is “The Kick Inside: In-depth” by Laura Shenton (Wymer Publishing). The press release states that “The Kick Inside is one of our first four titles in our In-depth series launched in March 2021. The book takes an in-depth look at the album; the history behind it; the story about its creation; the songs, as well as detailed discographies listing release variations around the world….author Laura Shenton MA LLCM DipRSL offers an in-depth perspective on The Kick Inside from a range of angles including how the album came to be, how it was presented and received at the time (live as well as on record), and what it means in terms of Kate Bush’s legacy today.“
The publishers were kind enough to send me on a review copy and the author sets out her approach in the preface – that no weighty personal opinions or analysis will be included from her, rather that “throughout this book you’re going to see lots of quotes from vintage articles.” And this 112 page book is indeed a rich smorgasbord of quotes; from interviews, articles, KBC fan club magazines, TV appearances and promotional materials – a resource writers and researchers now enjoy thanks to the vast archives of fan-curated info on the likes of Gaffaweb and the Kate Bush Encyclopedia site. All quotes are cited up front right there in the text.
In fact, the author relies so much on the quotes to do the heavy-lifting of narrating the story of Kate’s first album that perhaps she assumed they cover the whole album “in-depth”. This approach falls short of that; the songs L’Amour Looks Something Like You, Feel it and Room For The Life aren’t even discussed, which is a pity. There is a lot to be said for the tried and trusted track-by-track approach most other books take when considering albums. On the plus side, while I originally wondered why so much space was given to discussing Lionheart and that album’s singles, it actually feels very appropriate in the light of the later pages covering the Tour of Life – a big part in the story of The Kick Inside, after all. I only noticed a couple of factual errors in the text (not every song from The Kick Inside was performed in the 1979 shows – Oh To Be In Love wasn’t) and the 8-page photo section includes some nice photos of the various album cover and single cover variations from 1978/79. The book is published 12th March 2021 (priced at £14.99) and can be ordered direct from the publishers at the Wymer Publishing site here or on Amazon Kindle edition here.
The second book, “Kate Bush: Song by Song” by John Van Der Kiste, is one I have yet to see a copy of myself, but has already been delivered to some fans via Ebay and other sites. This is a 164 page paperback, that seems remarkably similar in structure and approach to the recent Bill Thomas book in that it “provides a thorough examination of the songs on all her singles, albums, and occasional recorded collaborations with other artists.” I’ll update this article with my thoughts about the book when I’ve seen a copy, but this again features a spread of 50 colour photographs and unlike the Thomas and Shenton books appears to include article citations in the endnotes section for those wanting to read further. Kate Bush: Song by Song by John Van Der Kiste (priced at £18.00) can be ordered from the publisher, Fonthill Media here or on Amazon UK here. As an Amazon Associate this site earns revenue to support running costs from qualifying purchases.
Next month Sonicbond Publishing in the UK publish the latest in their series of “On Track” books, this time about Kate’s recorded work, written by Bill Thomas. It gets a UK release on February 12th and is released in the US on March 26th. A handy paperback guide for the casual music listener as much as for Kate’s fans, the book is freed from the demands of a full-blown biography of the artist. From the press release: “With a string of platinum albums and hit singles to her credit, Kate’s is a fascinating journey. This book examines her entire recorded catalogue from The Kick Inside through to Before The Dawn, hoovering up all the B‐sides and the rarities along the way. It’s a comprehensive guide to the extraordinary music of Kate Bush.” The book can be ordered here.
I’ve read a preview copy and the author has clearly researched his short pieces on each album/song very well, making this book bang up to date for 2021 readers. He generously uses quotes from Kate’s interviews over the years to allow her to speak about the work but his own observations and commentary are considered and warmly engaged with Kate’s music – he writes as a clear fan of her work. He includes a wealth of information about chart positions and single formats as well as discussing b-sides and other tracks related to each album era. Factual errors are almost non-existent (always nice to see) and this slim 128 page volume additionally includes 16 colour photo pages in the centre. Selling for £14.99, overall this is a nice addition to your Kate Bush book shelf.
We were very sad to hear that Q Magazine, a famous icon of the British music press since 1986, is to cease publication with its next issue as a result of being hit badly by the current pandemic and dwindling print sales. Kate has been featured in the magazine and on its cover many times, and in 2001 we had the great excitement of Kate emerging to accept their Classic Songwriter award. Who can forget that speech! Q gave Kate mostly very strong reviews throughout her career and only this month had Kate included in an illustrated cover montage. Thinking of all the staff at Q Magazine – thanks for all these years of writing about the music that we love. https://www.qthemusic.com/
Uncut Magazine have unveiled their new issue (March 2020) today and it’s a Kate Bush cover feature which is “a deep dive into Kate’s early years — accompanied by a Q&A comprising some (mostly) unseen interview material with Kate from 2011, where she talks about her childhood, early success etc.” The article features contributions from early collaborators like Unicorn bassist Pat Martin, Glenys Groves, Duncan McKay, studio engineer Peter Henderson, singer Roy Harper, David Paton, Brian Bath, Vic King and producer Joe Boyd. The piece neatly coincides with 45 years since Kate’s first professional recordings at Air Studios in 1975, following on from her sessions at Dave Gilmour’s house in 1973.
From the piece: “ENGLAND’S DREAMING – Forty-five years ago, KATE BUSH made her first professional recordings at AIR Studios. To celebrate this momentous anniversary, Peter Watts digs deep into Bush’s early years to unearth the roots of her enduring, incandescent power. Join us, then, on a phantasmagorical journey from the woolly fringes of Kent to the wild Yorkshire moors and beyond as we learn the untold story of Bush’s magical beginnings. “Her world is built on wonder,” says one collaborator…”
UPDATE: This book seems to have been delayed till September 2020, according to the Amazon listing.
Following on from the recent publication of his massive book of Kate photographs, Wow, photographer Gered Mankowitz is releasing an altogether more affordable collection of his iconic photos of Kate in September 2019. You can pre-order it here.
From the blurb: “Symphony of You is a complete celebration of Kate Bush – her music, her look, her impact, her creativity. Showcasing hundreds of Gered Mankowitz’s breathtaking photographs from the early years of Kate’s career, the majority of the images in this book have never been seen outside of the author’s own private works. The book also features essays from authors across a number of disciplines – from best-selling novelists and award-winning musicians to academics – offering their opinions on how Kate has shaped the cultural landscape. Symphony of You is a truly special collection, and a homage to a unique artist.”
Also in the works is a new book by photographer Max Browne, no publishing date yet. He took some great photos of Kate on her 1979 tour – see examples at his site here.