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BEYOND THE FRINGE; Oasis boss gives Haircut 100 star new lease of life.

Nick Heyward is the last guy you'd expect to find sharing a record label with hellraisers Oasis.

The former Haircut 100 singer was pop's Mr Clean when his group notched up a string of hits in the eighties.

Classy tunes such as Love Plus One, Fantastic Day and Favourite Shirts pushed Heyward into fame's fast lane ... until the bubble burst and the hits dried up as quickly as they arrived.

Now he's set for a comeback ... with a little help from Oasis's guru Alan McGee. Nick has signed up to the Scots label chief's Creation company which releases his latest album The Apple Bed on February 23.

And he just loves being on the same label as the mad-for-it Manics.

The one-time pop heart-throb is enjoying his best spell in years after the Scots music millionaire signed him on the strength of some of his early solo material.

Nick told me: "Alan signed me because he heard a solo single of mine called Kite and he liked it. And I like being on Creation because there's no pressure to make hit records.

"I didn't know what Alan wanted or whether I should think about what he wanted. Alan just said,`The last couple of albums are great. Just do whatever you do'. So, being on Creation is so easy-going."

He added: "I haven't met Oasis yet, but I keep bumping into Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream."

Despite being together for just a year, Haircut 100 enjoyed four Top Ten hits in a row, between 1981 and 1982, before the band fell apart.

In their one year together, the band - Nick, Graham Jones, Les Nemes, Blair Cunningham and Mark Fox - were mobbed everywhere by screaming fans in scenes reminiscent of Beatlemania.

Nick laughed: "There were police escorts, which were entertaining. I thought, great. I'm getting to live A Hard Day's Night."

Unlike today's boy bands, Nick's lads in Haircut 100 played their own instruments and made their own fashion statements.

But Nick denies being embarrassed about his early days with the band ... despite some dodgy pullovers. He said: "We were definitely a band that took the mickey out of the New Romantic thing.

"When everyone else was dressed up ridiculously in frilly shirts, I decided we should take our inspiration from Val Doonican and wear Aran sweaters.

"I was only 19, so it doesn't embarrass me.

"It was a happy accident that we formed in the first place and that meant it was a very vulnerable band.

"We were only together for a year so there was all this potential. And then it just folded."

When things turned sour, Nick's ex-bandmates launched a bitter fight in the law courts against the singer.

They tried to stop him going solo after the band ended but, eventually, gave up their legal battle.

Now Nick says there are no hard feelings, despite the angry split. He said: "With hindsight, it wasn't as bad as it seemed.

"We are really close again, as mates, because of what we experienced together. We know we all like each other now and I see the rest of the guys regularly.

"Blair drums for Paul McCartney and will be drumming on my tour.

"Les and Phil make instrumental dance music together have a really funny band name like Your Mother's Got Breasts. Mark is an executive at WEA Records. Graham went down to the coast to go surfing and didn't come back.

"He's been surfing for 15 years. And he thinks WE'RE the ones who are all bonkers!"

Nick claims he didn't make a penny from record sales with Haircut 100.

Despite solo hits such as Whistle Down The Wind, his career nose-dived in 1985.

After being one of Britain's top pop heart-throbs, he turned into pop's nowhere man. But he became a cult hit in America and toured there with Teenage Fanclub and The Smashing Pumpkins.

His 1996 song Roller-blade became a Top 40 hit and ended an 11-year chart absence. The new album contains the 36-year-old singer-songwriter's recent singles Today and The Man You Used To Be.

But Nick has squashed growing rumours that his next single, called Stars In Her Eyes, was written for old flame Patsy Kensit.

Patsy has been married to Big Audio Dynamite's Dan Donovan, Simple Minds' Jim Kerr and is now lhitched to Liam Gallagher.

But Nick revealed: "It isn't a veiled reference to Patsy. I wanted to write a `battered girlfriend' pop song without it being literal.

"She has stars in her eyes because she has gone to London and she's also got stars in her eyes because she's been hit on the head."

The new album is the follow up to last year's World's End, which was his first for the Creation company.

And Nick admits there's a strong Beatles' influence to the 12 songs on the album.

He said: "When I was young, I felt The Beatles, The Monkees and The Velvet Underground were pop music.

"So, to me, Creation's bands such as Teenage Fanclub, Super Furry Animals and Primal Scream are pop music. That's my taste."

Nick is now planning to enjoy a one-off Scottish gig at Glasgow's King Tut's as part of a UK tour and reckons his return to Glasgow will bring back happy memories. While in Scotland with Haircut 100 for some live shows, Nick fell in love and married Glaswegian Marion Killen in 1987.

He revealed: "I first went to Scotland as a teenager and that's when I met Marion.

"We're not married any more, but we're still great friends.

"We have two lovely children. Oliver is nearly 10 and Katie is seven.

"My children don't know what I do, probably because I'm not on the telly these days.

"At New Year we went out to a restaurant and Katie looked at me strangely and asked, `Why did that person come up and ask you to write your name?'

"She couldn't understand why someone would want my autograph.

"I said it was something to do with the bill. Then I realised it was the bill and it was all in my mind."
COPYRIGHT 1998 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Dingwall, John
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 13, 1998
Previous Article:CHART SLOT.
Next Article:GAME GUIDE; Running on empty.

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