Kevin Kennedy is currently on tour with the stage musical The Commitments. I had the opportunity to catch up with Kevin before the tour arrives in Southampton.
With this show being full of classic songs, do you have a favourite?
It varies but at the moment it’s “I Heard it Through The Grapevine”. It’s been that for a couple of weeks now so yes I would say that?
What’s been your favourite role in your varied career?
I think this one has got to be up there it’s such a great role and a complete change for me. Normally I’m running around and Jimmy’s Da just sits in the chair and dishes out some killer lines. Both roles in Chitty as well were great. My kids loved that show as well, they got to sit in Chitty. Oh and Amos in Chicago that was a nice part, the only real character in it, really that people can relate to.
Reading your bio, I hadn’t realised that you started your career in music? Tell us about that.
Yes I started at 14, with Johnny Marr who later went on to become The Smiths, and I played bass guitar. I’ve always had a parallel career with my music. Played some great places, America, Nashville, Memphis, Australia and New Zealand, the Reading festival and got a gold album along the way.
What do you enjoy most – your music, stage or TV?
I enjoy it all. It’s just different levels of showing off really, on the telly more people see you, but then I’ve played stadiums so that’s a lot of people. Then you have the stage where it’s live and anything can happen.
Have you ever had anything go wrong?
Oh everything goes wrong but that’s the art it’s how you deal with it and get around it. You have to think on your feet and it’s that which keeps you focused, it’s edgy. The key is not to let the audience know about it unless they are in on it and then you can get away with it.
When did you first realise you wanted to perform?
My formative years there was a revolution going on in the arts, not just around music and the punk era. Views were changing and it really was an exciting time, anybody could do anything they want, you know get up and read poetry, it really was a remarkable time. It was different you could feel it. Then I went to drama school because it was the thing to do and it just cemented everything I’d felt and it was just something I wanted to do.
Was there a key influences at that time?
There were many that I magpie’d from, I was always very respectful and in awe of people like Olivier, Harris, O’Toole and other greats. I don’t think we’ll ever have people quite like them again. I’ve been lucky I’ve worked with some incredible people. But then I think you can always learn from people, this is a young cast and I can always learn. I’m never too proud to think I like the way they do that, I might try that. We’re all of us always learning.
Is there anyone you would aspire to work with in the future?
No not really not at this time in my life, I kind of take it as it comes. If you think to yourself I’d really love to work with a particular person and it doesn’t happen then you kind of set yourself up to fail and you can’t do that in this job. I’m just happy to work with anyone and see what comes along.
If you could go back in time to any era when would you go back to and why?
I’d like to go back to the 1950’s or 1960’s when the Carry On’s were being made. I’d have loved to be involved in them, They look so much fun although I know they worked really hard.
If you could have a super power what would it be?
To be able to transfer myself to another country in seconds. I’d like be able to think I’ve got the afternoon off I’ll pop to the beach in Barbados, I think that would be pretty good.
Who do you think is the most influential person in the world or your world today?
For me personally it’s my wife and children and in the world probably the Pope. I think he is making an impact, getting it right and it’s subtle but effective I like that.