Andy Bell is not one to rest on his laurels. In addition to logging more than a quarter of a century as Erasure’s charismatic vocalist, notorious for his dance moves and fondness for costumes ranging from elaborate to skimpy, he found the time to release a couple of solo discs. Bell also made a name for himself on the DJ circuit.
As one of the headliners at the 2012 Atlanta Pride, Bell is scheduled to perform at 8:05 p.m. on the Coca Cola Stage.
GA Voice: Erasure marked its 25th anniversary a couple of years ago. Looking back at the early days, did you ever imagine that you and Vince [Clarke] would be celebrating such a milestone?
Andy Bell: I knew that I was a massive fan of Vince Clarke and it is a massive pleasure to work with him. Every day that we are all here is a blessing! So I never imagined we’d still be here 25 years later because I tend to take each day as it comes.
Do you have one or two favorite or significant Erasure memories from that whole span of time that you would care to share?
There are so many and too numerous to mention, but I loved the fact that we were part of the True Colors tour with the amazing Cyndi Lauper. Her voice and personality are phenomenal, and of course the ultra glamorous Miss [Debbie] Harry. Also being part of a South American Tour with David Bowie and No Doubt.
I’m so glad that you mentioned Cyndi, because I recently read her new memoir and she mentions Erasure when she writes about the True Colors tour. Do you have any interest in writing a memoir?
My only fear is that I’d have to be brutally honest and I don’t think I’d like people to know about my warts and all [laughs]. But who knows, perhaps it could be semi-autobiographical [laughs].
This is probably like asking a parent to pick a favorite child, but out of the more than a dozen Erasure recordings, is there one album that is more meaningful to you than the others?
“Erasure,” the album, and “Chorus,” because they are sonically very beautiful.
In the midst of all the ongoing Erasure activities, you found time to release a couple of solo albums. What did you like the best about that experience?
I think the difference is it’s nice sometimes just to work outside of the parameters of Erasure because when we record an album there’s generally a tour and heaps of promotion. Your life is pretty much planned out at least for a couple of years.
Have you begun a new solo album?
Yes, I am working with Dave Aude and a few other writers. For the first time I’ve had songs written for me, which is a great position to be in.
You have also gained a reputation as a DJ. What do you like best about DJ-ing?
I like the randomness of DJing. You never really know what it’s going to be like or the crowd. I love getting to play all of my favorite tracks from the ‘80s up to the present day. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong [laughs] and other times it’s spot on.
You are a performer who has a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter. Please say something about how you utilize social media.
To be honest, I just like the one on one interaction. In some ways I hope that it doesn’t get too big because you kind of lose the personal touch.
You were in Atlanta in 2011 with the “Tomorrow’s World” tour. Did you have time to take in any sites, historic or otherwise, while you were in town and if so, which ones?
I went by Margaret Mitchell’s house, but didn’t go inside. I’ve hung out at people’s houses. I’m looking forward visiting the aquarium and Piedmont Park.
What does it mean to you to be performing during Atlanta’s Pride celebrations?
I loved our last Erasure show [in Atlanta]. The people are very friendly for such a big city.
Atlanta is famous for its music scene. Have you ever had any guests, such as members of Indigo Girls, the B-52’s or R.E.M., join you on stage while you were performing here?
No, I haven’t. But I’m in love with the B’s and have written with Kate Pierson. She’s a doll. I’ve seen Michael Stipe in L.A., outside Chateau Marmont, but was too shy to say hello. I thought he wouldn’t know who I was!
Top photo: Andy Bell of Erasure brings his solo show to Piedmont Park on Saturday night. (Publicity photo via Atlanta Pride)