Keeping it in the family ...

Jive Talkin' Bee Gees tribute
Jive Talkin' Bee Gees tribute

The sounds of the Bee Gees are known by many the world over.

And next month one of the country’s leading tribute acts brings these sounds to life at the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline.

‘Jive Talkin’: The Bee Gees Story’ comes to the Canmore Road venue on September 13.

And this week the Press caught up with Gary Simmons, who plays the part of Robin Gibb, to find out more about the show.

Gary stars alongside his brother Darren (Barry Gibb) and his nephew, Jarrod Loughlin (Maurice Gibb).

He explained that along with Darren he has been performing in tribute to the Bee Gees since 1987.

He said: “We started off doing clubs as a duo playing general music, not doing the Bee Gees.

“People came up to us and said you sound like the Bee Gees maybe you should do something with that.

“We didn’t really react to that at the time.

“An agent of ours, not that we asked them to, put us in for the first ever Stars in Their Eyes when Leslie Crowther presented it.

“It was just the two of us as the three Bee Gees.

“After that aired on television Piers Morgan made a comment that we were really cool in The Sun.

“Then we had folk phoning trying to book our Bee Gees tribute act, which we didn’t really have.

“We had been going out to pubs and clubs for a pittance and then we were being offered money that was quite different to what we used to be earning.

“We formed a three piece and started playing at clubs and holiday camps.

“Then from 2004 things got to a point where we wanted to do it properly with a live band and string section in a proper theatre.

“Now we’ve got many years of experience performing this show with a team behind us.”

But what is it about the music of the brothers Gibb that still makes it popular today?

“I think one of the things we have noticed throughout the years – we’re of an age now we’ve performed to several generations – is that a lot of the songs have been covered by other people,” Gary continued.

“You might have a young person dragged along with their parents to the theatre thinking they don’t know any of the songs.

“Then it turns out that they know most of them, but from them being covered by someone more recently.

“The other thing that gives them their staying power is they were able to adapt from their first fame in the 60s with orchestral psychedelic pop.

“Then when they fell out of favour with the music business they went to America, took two years out and came back with a completely different style. Then again they came back again in the 80s with a completely different sound again.

“Another thing, the most obvious thing, is that all their songs are just fantastic.

“A lot of songs, many 
written in the past 10-20 years, don’t have a shelf life beyond when they first 
appear.

“It’s testament to how good their songs are.”

With Jive Talkin’ there’s also a similarity to the Gibbs in that there’s a strong family connection in the trio.

And it’s a connection that Gary feels is a huge benefit.

Gary said: “The good thing is we have been together for a ridiculous amount of time and I don’t think that would happen if we were not members of the same family.

“With family members you know that even if you have a little blow out on the road or someone is acting like an idiot you know that when you’re at your mother’s having a family meal it’s all forgotten about.

“You’ve got people in the band that aren’t just into their own interests, but they are looking out for your interests too.

“What gave the Bee Gees the unique and close harmony blend was they were all from the same genetic stock and I think we capture that same blend.”

The Jive Talkin’ story covers every era of the Bee Gees’ careers.

“It’s chronologically organised,” he said. “The first half is focused on the 60s and early 70s. It’s more down beat, orchestrated ballads and that sort of stuff.

“Then we come back and get into the Saturday Night Fever times. The place erupts because of the beat of that music.”

Gary said that he’s “really looking forward” to performing at the Alhambra as he’s heard good things about it.

So, from the whole show does Gary have any favourite songs?

He said: “I’ve always loved the Bee Gees’ version of ‘How Deep is Your Love’ – that’s probably one of my favourites. I’m generally more of a ballad guy.

“The one I love performing the most is probably ‘Staying Alive’. When that guitar kicks in everyone goes crazy. We get to experience a smidgen of what the real Bee Gees would get when they played.”

He added: “We had the good fortune of performing with the real Bee Gees. We did a duet of ‘Somebody to Love’ on Heart Radio.

“They were very supportive of what we’re doing.

“I found them utterly charming and nice. They didn’t have any airs and graces and they were just really nice guys.”