I think my younger self would be more amazed to know I was doing an interview for ‘The Spectator.’
— Gary Kemp
 
 

Gary grew up in the Sixties and Seventies in Islington, London, attending his local Grammar school, Dame Alice Owen’s, as well as the Anna Scher Children’s Theatre. He started work as a young, actor in TV and film in 1968 and continued throughout his teens, stopping eventually to concentrate on music. In 1971 he starred in the movie Hide & Seek (now released on DVD) with Roy Dotrice. Produced by the Children’s Film Foundation, it received a royal premier in the 20th anniversary year of the CFF, and an eleven year old Gary was interviewed for British TV’s Film ’71.

In 1976, after witnessing the Sex Pistols at the Screen on the Green in Islington, Gary, along with Steve Norman, John Keeble and Tony Hadley formed the band that, with the addition of Gary’s brother, Martin, would eventually be known as Spandau Ballet. Embraced by the cult Soho nightclubs of Billy’s and Blitz, and the new youth movement of post-punk London, the band would become one of the most successful groups of the eighties and beyond.

Gary has become one of pop’s most successful songwriters, responsible for the words and music of all of Spandau Ballet’s 23 hit singles, including classics like True (almost 5 million registered radio plays in the USA), Gold, Through The Barricades, Lifeline, Only When You Leave , To Cut A Long Story Short, Once More and more recently, Steal.

As well as having covers and interpolations made by artists such as Nelly, Lloyd and the Black Eyed Peas, Gary’s songs have been used for TV shows worldwide, including Spin City, the Simpsons (twice) and Ugly Betty. They have also appeared in Hollywood blockbusters such as the Wedding Singer, Charlie’s Angels, 50 First Dates, and Sky High.

During the band’s extended hiatus after 1990, Gary produced and wrote for other artists as well as returning to acting, first in the hit British gangster movie, the Krays, and then in Hollywood movies, including the Bodyguard with Kevin Costner, and the Quentin Tarantino production, Killing Zoe. He also made his theatrical debut in the London West End production of Art.

 

Gary has recorded a solo album for Sony called Little Bruises and written two musicals with Guy Pratt (Pink Floyd): A Terrible Beauty (book by the Oscar nominated writer, Shane Connaughton) is about the Irish uprising of 1916, and in particular the relationship between the poet W. B. Yeats and the English aristocratic revolutionary, Maud Gonne. The other, which had its debut at the National Theatre in 2004 and then revives in 2016, was co-written with Snoo Wilson and was a re-imagined adaptation of Mayakovsky’s 1922 play, the Bedbug.

In 2009 Spandau healed their problems and regrouped to announce their first world tour in 19 years. They also recorded an unplugged album (including two new songs) for Mercury Records. In the same year 4th Estate published Gary’s memoir, I Know This Much. Spandau toured again in 2015 and more recently in 2018.

Gary also plays guitar and sings with Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and his band, Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets and is currently touring the world with them.

In December and January 2018/19 Gary performed in Jamie Lloyd’s production of Harold Pinter’s Party Time and Celebration as part of a season of Pinter’s one-act plays called Pinter at the Pinter in London’s West End.

Gary works with Save the Children and is also a trustee of Theatres Trust in the UK.

He lives in London with his wife, Lauren, and his four sons, Fin, Milo, Kit and Rex. He’s an avid road cyclist and walker of hills.