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TR+ Extended Version – Welcome Back: The Mute Gods

Pop-turned-prog star Nick Beggs talks God, Kajagoogoo and the time Lemmy borrowed his Chapman Stick.

Nick Beggs first found fame in Kajagoogoo – whose single Too Shy topped the UK chart in 1983 – before going on to play bass for artists as diverse as John Paul Jones, Belinda Carlisle, Howard Jones, Gary Numan, Cliff Richard, Kim Wilde and Tina Turner.

He also worked as an A&R man for Phonogram during the 1990s. More recently, a mastery of the Chapman Stick has made Beggs the go-to guy for progressive rockers Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson. His own group The Mute Gods features alumni from the backing line-ups of both.

How do you look back on those days as a pop hero in Kajagoogoo? The mushroom cloud coiffure and hair-braids?

If you’re asking whether I’d have done things differently and planned things out better in the long term, then yes. But short term, I’ve no regrets. I was 21. I’d had some very difficult teenaged years and set my mind on being unashamedly commercial. I aimed to get as far up the mountain as quickly as possible, hoping to get lucky and have a career that would last a few years.

In fact, the baggage of that pop past would ultimately scupper the chances of your next band, Ellis, Beggs & Howard. 

I suppose that’s true, and the things one does and says will always affect perception of you. I can’t blame people for judging me on that [pop] stuff. But at the end of the day that catalogue still brings me quite a significant income. It might not sound very credible, but as a musician it’s always useful to have a kind of pension fund. 

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