‘IT’S GREAT.’ Uh…. what can l say, except it’s really great!!!’

Even the crackly, bacon ‘n’ eggs, transatlantic line which connected the Big Apple to the home of smaller apples – Covent Garden, couldn’t – dampen the enthusiastic • response of Pat Benatar who was literally left almost speechless at the news of winning the Kerrang! top female vocalist award for the second year running.

I spoke to the lady a matter of days before she was about to embark on a tour of Europe which comes after a successful sell out US tour which culminated with her first headline performance-at the prestigious Madison Square Gardens.

With the latest album ‘Get Nervous’ and single ‘Shadows Of The Night’ flying high in the charts Benatar seems to be going from strength to strength which is more than I can say about her musical direction.

With her first two stunning albums and some killer live shows, Pat paved the way, and was almost the sacrificial lamb, for the dozens of ladies in rock who have appeared since. People like Tane Caine and suchlike who thrive between the true rock thrash of tomcats like Chrissie Hynde and pure syrup of Olive Newton John, the new breed who now dominate the AOR circuit.

But sadly as Pat’s following has expanded she seems to have fallen into a succession of self created pitfalls, displaying acute bouts of insecurity and having an almost schizophrenic attitude towards her musical aspirations. Benatar has always stood on the shakey ground between rock and roll and cabaret and now judging from the few restrained comments she made in our short conversation I feel we could have lost her to the realms of wimpdom – although the stage appearance at the Hammy Odeon will be the final confirmation.

“Our show now”, she revealed, “is much closer to the album. We still do some of the dinosaur HM although overall there’s a lot less headbanging.”

I asked her how she felt about the album which overall I felt was a bit of a let down after the impressive ‘Promises In The Dark.

“I like the album a lot, unfortunately I didn’t have enough time and circumstances didn’t permit me to write much material. But l think the album’s a lot of fun, it’s more danceable than the rest, not so much crunch rock.”

Crunch rock! Jesus…

The title, although basically tongue in cheek, reflects a period which Benatar herself describes as being ‘fucked-up’.

It saw the group go under a lot of pressure due to rigorous touring schedules and almost marked the end of a relationship between Benatar and her old man guitarist Neal ‘Spider’ Geraldo. The couple are now happily married and the only reminder of that torturous time is the departure of rivvum-guitarist Scott St Sheets who has been replaced by Charlie; a keyboard player snatched from the ex Doll David Johansens band.

“Scott wanted more involvement than the situation would allow”, Benatar said ominously, “and we had been planning to add keyboards for quite a while. It’s worked out really well”.

One of Benatar’s ambitions at the moment is to record an EP of rock and roll standards under a pseudonym, although she’s putting aside any prospective projects, TV scripts, film offers etc, etc in favour of another ambition yet unfulfilled. “I really want to have a baby, that’s the next thing on the agenda.”

I suggested that she kept on practising.

“Oh no, I’ve done enough practising, l’ve got that part down to a tee”, she chuckled away merrily.


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