From Only Music (May 1987)
Written by Sasha Stojanovic

A lot of bands are starting to realize that video isn't as important as it used to be. Nick Van Eede, the lead singer of England's Cutting Crew, isn't sure that's such as bad thing. "MTV is going down in terms of ratings," he observes. "People aren't watching it that much anymore. Hopefully, it will mean the importance of music will shift back to the actual song, as opposed to any visual side." Perhaps, yet video has made bands visible in places where otherwise they would not have been seen. "Imagine if there were no videos," he counters, "we'd have to go to all those places in person. Wouldn't that be better?"

To Van Eede and the rest of Cutting Crew - Kevin Macmichael, Martin Beedle and Colin Farley - things couldn't be better. Their debut single, "(I Just)Died In Your Arms," was a hit in Britain and received heavy rotation status on MTV long before their album Broadcast was even released in America. They are very grateful for any exposure they have attained through the medium, but Macmichael finds the incessant need for video unfortunate. "It's sad, but that's the way it is in the 80's. You do need videos to promote your songs. They are only commercials for selling the music. Consequently, the better the advert, the bigger the sales."

So far, sales have been no problem for the Crew. The aforementioned single not only went to Number Three in England, but also to Number Two in Germany, and Number One in six other European countries. For the band, it is a triumph they have worked hard to attain.

Having previously supported artists like David Essex, Alan Price, and Hot Chocolate, Van Eede was a frustrated singer anxious for recognition. Luckily, he found a soul mate in Macmichael. "In Canada, I was in a band called the Drivers, " recalls Van Eede. "We had some minor success, but we only had a contract in Canada. On one tour we were supported by a band Kevin was in. We got to be friends, and one night we got drunk and said 'let's start a real band, one we can be successful in.' So I worked on getting out of any contracts I was obliged to, and went back to England to form Cutting Crew with Kevin."

After enlisting the help of Farley and Beedle to fill out their ranks, the band set out to snag a much needed recording contract. Deciding that constant performing on the much dreaded English pub circuit would take too much time, they decided to approach it in a different fashion. Van Eede explains, "We organized a showcase for record company people, gave them free drinks and played them five songs. Our company [Virgin] came to see us three times before offering us a deal." He laughs and says, "The third time all of their employees came, including the tea ladies. We played them the only five songs we knew and that was it, they decided they liked our music."

That music is a highly original brand of rock with a definite emphasis on dynamics. "We're interested in making moody music," Van Eede explains. "It's great to make an album with songs that contain catch-phrases that grab and hit you, but we wanted something more; music that expressed many moods. The songs on Broadcast are not just pop songs, they are more."

Aren't they afraid that Americans might miss out on their music - shouldn't they make sure that they become known? "We get as much exposure as we can, especially on television," chimes in Van Eede. "I know at times our views on video sometimes sound hypocritical... but it is important to find a balance between commercial potential and art form. Honestly, we didn't get into the music business just to make three minute videos. We do understand that there is a need, and that gets us nearer to our goal."

And what might that goal be? "To be known all around the globe."

The Cutting Crew are Broadcasting their message loud and clear.

I've corrected a few mistakes such as the spelling of Nick's name and confusing Kevin with Colin - emphasis is the writer's.
Posted: Oct. 16/99