16 October 1959 |
Smithfield, London, England
|Genres||Pop, pop rock, blue-eyed soul, jazz, swing, new wave, funk, synthpop|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar synthesizer, drums|
|Associated acts||Spandau Ballet, Virgin Radio|
Gary James Kemp (born 16 October 1959) is an English pop musician and actor who is the guitar player and chief songwriter for the 1980s new wave band Spandau Ballet. His brother, Martin Kemp, plays bass guitar in the band. Gary Kemp also provided backing vocals on many of the tracks to lead singer Tony Hadley.
Kemp was born in St Bartholomew's Hospital, Smithfield, London, and grew up in Islington, London, in a working-class family. He attended Rotherfield Junior School and Dame Alice Owen's school, Islington, as well as the Anna Scher Children’s Theatre drama club, along with his brother, Martin. In 1968 he began appearing in TV and film, including a role in the 1972 film Hide & Seek, alongside Roy Dotrice.
After recording Spandau Ballet's final album, Heart Like A Sky, Kemp and his brother returned to acting. He won the contempt of his fellow band members, Tony Hadley, Steve Norman and John Keeble, but got good reviews for his performance as Ronnie Kray in The Krays (1990). Making this film was the death-knell for Spandau Ballet.
In 1999, Tony Hadley, Steve Norman and John Keeble attempted to sue Kemp for alleged unpaid royalties. They claimed that an agreement had existed between Kemp and the rest of the band, whereby Kemp, who was the main songwriter in the band, would pay his bandmates a share of the royalties earned. The claims were vigorously denied by Kemp, and Hadley, Norman and Keeble subsequently lost their court case. Although initially vowing to appeal the verdict, they later decided against this.
In early 2009, newspaper reports claimed that Spandau Ballet was set to reform later that year. The rumours were later confirmed by the band at a press conference held on board HMS Belfast in London on 25 March 2009.
Kemp released a solo album entitled Little Bruises in 1995, followed by a tour of the UK and Ireland. He has written songs with a number of other writers for other artists, although few of them have actually been recorded and released. Two of his songs appeared on the debut album by American soap star Jacob Young in 2001. He then made an abortive attempt to reform Spandau Ballet in 2004. He now uses MySpace to get his music heard.
Since 1995 Kemp has continued acting, taking the role of 'Serge' in the West End production of Art in 2001, film roles in Dog Eat Dog, Poppies and American Daylight, and TV roles in Murder In Mind, Murder Investigation Team, and Casualty.
He has since written music and additional lyrics with Guy Pratt for the musical production Bedbug, which was performed in a variety of venues during the Shell Connections Youth Drama Festival in 2004, and has written a musical, also with Guy Pratt, entitled "A Terrible Beauty", based on the life of William Butler Yeats and Maude Gonne.
In January 2008, Kemp appeared on a celebrity special of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire with his brother Martin, in order to raise awareness of and funds for the Encephalitis Society.
In March 2008, Kemp starred in a low-budget 20-minute short film directed by his brother, Martin, entitled Karma Magnet. This was released on the internet only.
On 28 March 2011, Kemp lent his support to the British Music Experience charity, by holding an "in conversation" session with an audience of 80 people. During a 90 minute interview, he performed several songs acoustically, including True and Gold. He also entertained questions from the audience, revealing that a couple of the songs he'd like to have written himself were "Shipbuilding" and "Alison" by Elvis Costello.
He was married to actress Sadie Frost with whom he had one son, Finlay Munro (born 1990). The couple divorced in 1995. In 2003, Kemp married costume designer Lauren Barber, with whom he has three sons, Milo Wolf, born in 2004, Kit, born in 2009, and Rex born in 2012.
Kemp's parents, Frank and Eileen, both died in 2009. Eileen was undergoing treatment for a heart bypass at Bournemouth Hospital, where Frank was brought in after suffering a fatal heart attack. Eileen died 48 hours later.
- Hide & Seek (1972)
- The Krays (1990)
- The Bodyguard (1992)
- Paper Marriage (1992)
- The Larry Sanders Show (1993)
- Killing Zoe (1994)
- Magic Hunter (1994)
- Dog Eat Dog (2001)
- American Daylight (2004)
- Poppies (2006)
- A Voice From Afar (2006)
- Lewis (2012)
- Kemp, Gary (2009). I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau. London: Fourth Estate. ISBN 0-00-732330-1.
- Martin Kemp, True: the Autobiography of Martin Kemp, p.12
- Biography on the Gary Kemp official website, retrieved 7 January 2009
- Martin Kemp, True: the Autobiography of Martin Kemp, p.36-37
- Spandau Ballet in court over royalties BBC News, retrieved 31 December 2008
- Spandau court bid fails BBC News, retrieved 31 December 2008
- Spandau three drop royalties appeal BBC News, retrieved 31 December 2008
- Gordon Smart, Is it act II of Spandau Ballet?, The Sun, 5 January 2009, retrieved 16 March 2009
- Gordon Smart, Spandau are Nou Romantics, The Sun, 13 February 2009, retrieved 16 March 2009
- Spandau Ballet to re-form 30 years on with hopes of 'doing a Take That', The Daily Mail, 15 February 2009, retrieved 16 March 2009
- "Gary Kemp 'Complete' With Ivor Novello Award". Contact Music. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- [dead link]
- "Dame Alice Owen's School - Old Owenians". Damealiceowens.herts.sch.uk. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
- "Dame Alice Owen's School -2013". Damealiceowens.herts.sch.uk. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
- Gary Kemp: Personal tragedy revived Spandau Ballet 14 May 2009, retrieved 14 May 2009
- Rollo, Sarah (17 January 2009). "Family tragedy for Kemp brothers". Digital Spy. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
- Saturday Live, BBC Radio 4, 2010-12-25
- Ellen, Barbara (30 August 2009), "To cut a long story short...", The Observer, retrieved 2010-12-25