Fred Fairbrass of Right Said Fred’s Early Punk Beginnings and The Success Of “I’m Too Sexy”

Fred Fairbrass, Right Said Fred: We never really fit in. When everyone else was doing post-punk New Wave, we were busy doing sort of … acoustic power-pop. Which just didn’t fit. We toured with Suicide and with Joy Division. We were just on the road in the U.K. mostly, from ’78, ’79 right through to when we moved to New York in ’86, ’87. Like most musicians, we had part-time jobs – we worked in video production, we both worked in gyms. People always thought we were going to do something, and we never did.

I saw a documentary on Twisted Sister and there were quite a few … parallels with things that went wrong, yeah. People falling out and people becoming ill or just moving out of the country. You sign to somebody then they get picked up by another company and you’re left with an A&R guy that hates you. All the stuff bands go through. What was interesting about New York in that period, it was very hedonistic. Big parties like [the drag hangout] Jackie 60. Richard worked at [nightclub] Nell’s. I worked at [the punk-rock clothier] Trash and Vaudeville. We just did a load of stuff – we went to a lot of really dodgy parties.

(After I’m Too Sexy broke big) We were channel surfing and we found this local Miami station, and it was just as we’d got there that he said, “Now, America’s Number One is Right Said Fred.” We’d just tuned in about five seconds before the guy said it. I have to say, that was the first moment I thought, “Fuck! That was actually pretty amazing.” An independent band with no money, making it. … Some bands had to get there if they’ve got a huge amount of debt from a major label. And they spend the next 10 years trying to pay it off. We were incredibly lucky, because everything we made was profit. Because we hadn’t spent any money. We didn’t have any.