In May 1980, with "Geno" sitting
at the top of the British charts, Dexys Midnight Runners were invited to appear on ITV Saturday Morning show "Tiswas". With
Dexys' reputation for being straight-faced, unsmiling interviewees and the tradition of Tiswas for irreverent, slap-stick
fun, it seemed like something of a mis-match. The resulting interview of Kevin Rowland and Kevin Archer (known as "Al
Archer" at the time) by Sally James created one of the legendary moments of children's
SALLY JAMES: Now, your music... I was reading that you say is inspired by Geno
Washington. I think there might be a lot of people, Kevin, watching who probably don't know who Geno Washington IS.
KEVIN ROWLAND: Um... he was
a soul singer from the Sixties, actually, he inspired the group. He was a totally under-rated soul singer that was sort of
a cult figure and never... never got any acceptance at all.
SALLY JAMES: And he just inspires you?
KEVIN ROWLAND: Well, yeah, he inspired the group initially. It's no big
deal, we write about lots of other things.
SALLY JAMES: Yeah, Yeah.
KEVIN ROWLAND: We just decided
to write about Geno, we wrote a song about him.
JAMES: Have you got a follow-up ready yet?
KEVIN ROWLAND: Uh... we're working on one, yeah.
SALLY JAMES: It's difficult to follow
a Number One, isn't it? So, then you've got... you're busy writing one at the moment, are you?
KEVIN ROWLAND: Yeah, that kind of thing.
KEVIN "AL" ARCHER: Yeah... just don't wanna rush it, y'know...
SALLY JAMES: Um... what about an album, are you working on that at the moment as well?
KEVIN "AL" ARCHER: Not really, no.
KEVIN "AL" ARCHER: Y'know, we just don't want to rush things
so, we're just gonna take our time and make a good album.
SALLY JAMES: Where did the name "Dexys
Midnight Runners" come from, ...Al?
KEVIN "AL" ARCHER: Well, it was just... Kevin thought of the name,
ROWLAND: You know what "Dexys" ARE?
SALLY JAMES: ...Yeah?!
KEVIN "AL" ARCHER: Well, you know now.
SALLY JAMES: ...Ha! Ha! Ha! ...Now ...um ...You were
just saying that you don't want to take things... um, you know, you want to take things very easy...
KEVIN "AL" ARCHER: Yeah.
SALLY JAMES: But the trouble is, that, I mean, if you don't sort
of... if you're Number One now, so this is the time that you've got to really make a lot of decisions, isn't it?
KEVIN ROWLAND: Not really...
don't see it as being any different now from any time before.
SALLY JAMES: I mean, don't you find now that you're asking to... you're
being asked to do tours and actually...
KEVIN ROWLAND: Yeah... but we're not gonna... we're
not gonna respond... I mean we're not necessarily just going to rush into the
studio and record an L.P. just because we've got a single at Number One. You know, like... a
lot of groups just do that and then the L.P.'s usually not a lot of good. We're gonna wait until... we
want our L.P. to be the L.P. of the year so, therefore, we're not just gonna rush
in and make an album for the sake of it.
SALLY JAMES: Now, you've just done one tour, haven't you, of Britain, you've
got another one planned, I believe...
KEVIN "AL" ARCHER: June...
SALLY JAMES: June and July, was it? Quite an extensive
"AL" ARCHER: I think so, yeah.
SALLY JAMES: You haven't really made any plans yet, though... Well, once
again congratulations. Thank you for coming to see us today and lots of congratulations at hitting the Number One spot
and let's hear the record currently at Number One in the singles chart... here's Dexys Midnight Runners
In the unlikely event that anyone visiting this page doesn't understand the reason for Sally James's embarrassment
during the above interview, it should be explained that, since "Dexys" is a shortening of the amphetamine Dexedrine
(popular at Northern Soul "all-nighters"), she had unwittingly invited Messrs Rowland and Archer to discuss the
topic of illegal drugs live on childrens' T.V. - a fact which clearly dawned on her only after she'd asked the
HISTORICAL NOTE: A few
minutes after this now-legendary interview, came another of T.V.'s most memorable moments when Trevor McDonald made an
unexpected - and somewhat unlikely - appearance on Tiswas while Lenny Henry was doing one of his Trevor McDoughnut routines!
Not a bad ten minutes or so of kids' entertainment. This was definitely what they wanted!