From archive: Andy Gibb talks about “The Bee Gees and me” (1978)
Andy Gibb, the youngest of the Gibb brothers, was born on March 5, 1958 and left us much too soon on March 10, 1988.
So in this month of March, we would like to make him one of the focuses here on BGD. To start it off, here is a summary of an article from the June 10, 1978 issue of Juke, which has Andy on the cover and the Bee Gees on the back cover. At that time, Andy had "two Number One singles behind him and a new one that is probably ending up there" and the Flowing Rivers album is going platinum.
Does Andy resent being referred to as "the Bee Gees’ younger brother?
"I used to, because they used to actually bill me as that in my shows.
I sorta accepted it because I was an unknown and they were world famous. But with my records doing so well now, I think all that will die soon.
A lot of people say that I sound like them. Well, they’re obviously my brothers so the similarites will be there. I write like them, and they are my major influences.
But I’ve purposedly kept away from copying their style. That should be obvious on my next album. There will be more of an R&B and Latin feel."
But contacts are also very important. Being part of the Bee Gees and RSO Records clan has taken him further than his wildest dreams, and Andy is being practical about it.
"I don’t see why you shouldn’t take advantage of what’s there. I’ll admit that my brothers have done a lot for me. I think it’s important to get established. Once you’ve made it hten you can concentrate in what you’d like to do."
They help me a lot with my writing. I play my songs to them, and they’ll tell me what the good points are, and encourage me to strengthen them.
Andy left school at 13 ("I hated it, Ithought it was a waste of time") and left for Australia at 17. His brothers had told him that if he wanted to get a real hard apprenticeship, then he could do no worse than struggling in the Australian music scene. He released one single "Words and Music" which was ignored, supported the Bay City Rollers on their national tour in 1975 and opened for Sweet’s concert at the Sydeny Hordern. In 1976, Barry called him from Miami and asked him to "come over to America and do some recording." Soon aferwards, Robert Stigwood, RSO boss and Bee Gees manager, called and said that he’d heard Andy’s tapes and offered him a recording deal. Andy was honeymooning at the time in Bermuda, where Stigwood lives. Andy interrupted his honeymoon and rushed to Criteria Studios in Miami where he began recording with producers Alby Galuten and Karl Richardson, who had produced Bee Gees’ albums. Barry supervised the recording and acted as all-round adviser.
Andy had recorded the Flowing Rivers songs twice before in Australia, but they’d never worked out and the album was never released.
"I thought I might be just as disillusioned this time around."
Actually, the third try was very much a countrified effort because the Eagles’ Joe Walsh was in the same studio at the time recording their Hotel California, and dropped in to say hello. He ended up playing on a couple of the tracks, as did guitarist George Terry of the Eric Clapton Band.
"Getting to the top with I Just Want to Be Your Everything was an amazing shock for me, it really was. I’d worried so much about that album. I was worried that my songs weren’t very good, I didn’t rate myself as a songwriter at all.
For the next batch of songs I’d done, I’m more confident because my brothers keep raving about how good they are."
Success has also brought its heartaches. His wife divorced him. When he walks out of his front door, there are girls camped on the lawn. The screaming hysteria of concert audiences frightens him at times.
Andy lives in Miami in a rented house by the water with its own landing and goes out game fishing in his 20-foot boat to relax.
Until earlier this year he was living in a huge rented houseboat with a grand piano in the loounge and a mirrored ceiling in the bedroom, installed by the previous tenant who was shot to death on the boat. Barry lives around the corner on a large estate with his family, and Maurice just two doors away.
Andy says that it’ll take him two years before he is well known in America. He can afford to wait.
"This is the only thing I want to do, and the only thing I know how to do. And cut out for it or not, here I am."
(From Juke, June 10, 1978)