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Q&A: The Bee Gees

The long-lasting trio answer their own questions and dish on disco

The Bee Gees

The Bee Gees during The 38th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, February 27th, 1996.

SGranitz/WireImage/Getty

It’s now pretty well established that disco didn’t suck, and neither do the Bee Gees. The brothers Gibb – Barry, Robin and the one some people call Maurice – were first unfairly written off in the ’60s, when they were tagged as mere Beatles wanna-be’s (which they eventually became in the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club movie, which did kinda suck). In 1977 the massive success of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack brought a tidal wave of fame to the Bee Gees. Ever since, they’ve put out a lot of memorable and, yes, soulful music. The Miami-based power trio’s latest outing, Still Waters, is no exception. This month the Bee Gees will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Here’s hoping they wear those white suits proudly.

At the height of your ’70s overexposure, did you ever get sick of yourselves?
Barry: Yes.
Robin: It wasn’t sick of ourselves so much as afraid we were out of control of what was happening to an image that we weren’t necessarily endorsing.

How can you mend a broken heart?
Barry: By coming back together, which is what happened to us about the time that song was written.

How can a loser ever win?
Barry: Hmm . . . I don’t know. How does a loser ever win?
Robin: In that song we posed the questions. Doesn’t mean we had the answers.

How deep is your love?
Barry: Extremely deep.
Maurice: Oh, it’s fucking deep – it’s an endless pit.
Robin: A huge, festering pit.

Wasn’t Festering Pit an alternative title for the new album?
Robin: No, that was Shit for Brains.
Maurice: Originally the album was going to be called Fuck You. Shit for Brains was a compromise between Fuck You and Still Waters.

You guys were so associated with disco. Can any of you dance worth a damn?
Barry: We never could dance, but we’re bopping like crazy inside.
Maurice: As a matter of fact, I’m dancing inside right now.

Robin, would you like to start a joke?
Robin: Not particularly.

Heard any good Bee Gees jokes?
Barry: No, we’ve never heard a good Bee Gees joke.
Maurice: We’ve heard a lot of bad Bee Gees jokes.

Are you the brother act with the least sibling rivalry?
Barry: They’ve had so much trauma in the Beach Boys – who’d want to go through that?
Maurice: We’ve heard of Ray and Dave [Davies] from the Kinks coming to fisticuffs, but we’ve never done that.

Is grease still the word?
Barry: Oh, yeah. I think most things are not possible without grease.
Maurice: Especially in your personal life [laughs.]
Barry: Which takes you right back to “How deep is your love?”

How do you feel about entering the Hall of Fame?
Maurice: Brilliant. It’s a hell of an honor, the cream of the cake.
Barry: It’s a club someone’s letting you in. So where’s the bar?

In Cleveland. When’s the last time you watched Sgt. Pepper?
Maurice: About three months ago.
Barry: You don’t watch it.
Robin: You tolerate it.
Barry: What was incredible is that people like Aerosmith and Earth, Wind and Fire got into that. You would have never thought any of them would have gotten into that . . . thing.

It’s like Vietnam in that sense.
Barry: Yeah, very similar. A lot of people fell. Lives were lost.
Maurice: Drugs were flowing.
Barry: We had people blowing grass down the barrel of a gun – but that’s another story.
Maurice: That was the makeup man.
Robin: And in the end, there were a lot of casualties.

Did you hear from the Beatles about it?
Maurice: I spoke to George [Harrison] about a year after it was out. He told me he loved it – he thought it was so gay and that we sang the songs marvelously.
Barry: But no one ever wrote us and said, “Great work, lads.”
Maurice: George Burns was never the same after that.

Do you think that real men sing falsetto?
Maurice: Frankie Valli had trouble with that for years.
Barry: Real men do sing falsetto!

What do you hope to accomplish with the new album?
Maurice: World domination!
Barry: In fact, we’re despots.
Robin: The three of us can form a very cheap Cabinet.

I’m the proud owner of a Bee Gees lunch box. Any old merchandise you regret?
Robin: I thought the Bee Gees condom was going too far.
Maurice: I thought so, too, but the testicle tickler was a big seller.

Robin, any personal repercussions of discussing your experiences with lesbianism with Howard Stern?
Robin: It was a lot of fun, and I got into the spirit of things.

So you got in no trouble?
Robin: Terrible trouble. The case comes up next week.

What exactly is more than a woman?
Robin: Three tits. Two vaginas.

Can there be too much heaven?
Barry: No, but that was a good idea: “Nobody gets too much heaven no more.” Very bad grammar, but the message is great.

Tonight you’re taping an appearance on Ellen. Will you be coming out?
Barry: We already came out, looked about a bit and went right back in.

In This Article: Coverwall, The Bee Gees

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