Advertisement
Music

Kevin Rowland: I was full of fear and too dictatorial

The Dexys mainman reflects on the perils of pop stardom in a Letter to My Younger Self

“I enjoyed success… for a couple of weeks. You think it is gonna take away all your feelings of low self-esteem and it doesn’t.”

Kevin Rowland, frontman of pop outfit Dexys (previous Dexys Midnight Runners), has learned a lot about fame.

In this week’s Big Issue, he looks back over a colourful career so far and pinpoints the band’s first showing on Top of the Popsas a turning point – but not in the way he expected.

Speaking of the quickly-growing stardom he experienced at the time, he said: “It’s an illusion. It doesn’t solve everything. I started to feel like people could see through me, like ‘they know I’m not worthy’. I felt it even more after we’d had a number one single.

“Now there’s a phrase for it, imposter syndrome, but I didn’t know any phrases like that. These thoughts totally dominated me. Me being me, I didn’t tell anybody. You are worried people can smell weakness. It’s a ridiculous way to live. It’s exhausting.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

But he feels differently about the band. If anything, the Come On Eileen singer wishes his younger self had trusted the band more. “Certainly with Kevin Archer,” he told The Big Issue. “He is such a great guy to have in a band.”

Rowland added: “As is well documented, I was too influenced by demos he played me in 1981. But I was also too dictatorial. I was full of fear so I was trying to control everything around me.

“I didn’t know that at the time, but I know it now. I have apologised for that.

“I don’t think success suits me and I don’t think a music career really suits me. My ego is very easily seduced, probably because of the low self-esteem. They are two sides of the same coin.”

This is an excerpt from a candid interview in this week’s Big Issue magazine. It’s available now from vendors all over the UK. If you’re unable to reach your local vendor, you can still subscribe to receive the magazine directly to your door or purchase through the Big Issue app.

Image: Eliza Hill

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
The Queen's funeral: The soundtrack to a sendoff
Music

The Queen's funeral: The soundtrack to a sendoff

Exclusive: 7 things we learned from Alex Turner about new Arctic Monkeys album The Car
Arctic Monkeys

Exclusive: 7 things we learned from Alex Turner about new Arctic Monkeys album The Car

Jarvis Cocker to raise money for NHS with new This Is Going To Hurt soundtrack LP 
Music

Jarvis Cocker to raise money for NHS with new This Is Going To Hurt soundtrack LP 

Blue Note Re:imagined II goes back in time to forge future paths
Music

Blue Note Re:imagined II goes back in time to forge future paths

Most Popular

Read All
How much will the Queen's funeral cost?
1.

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses
2.

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet
3.

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces
4.

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces

To mark our new Arctic Monkeys exclusive interview, we’ve picked out some of our best band and musician interviews from the past, featuring Arctic Monkeys (2018), When Jarvis met Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry and more. Sign up to our mailing list to receive your free digital copy.