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About the CD - Interview from Lexicon: New Wave And Beyond, Fall 1998

AND DREAM OF KATE: Thomas Dunning Talks About His Kate Bush Tribute

by David Richards

Thomas Dunning remembers the first time he heard a Kate Bush song. It was Pat Benatar's version of "Wuthering Heights." Amazingly enough he didn't run screaming away, but actually became a huge fan of Kate, collecting everything she put out, from 7" singles to the CD box set. Now, almost 20 years later, Mr. Dunning has turned his obsession into the new Kate Bush tribute album I WANNA BE KATE.

The project was started a couple of years ago when Dunning, host of weekly roots rock shows in a Chicago club, was listening to a mix tape of his with "Not This Time" on it. He realized that Ms. Bush's songs were virtually unknown here in the US. His solution was the tribute album, as a way not only to pay homage to Kate, but also to introduce more people to her great songs.

Growing up, Dunning remembers that the kind of people who put out CDs were "People like the Osmands, people who were rich and experienced." Despite his lack of funds and experience, Dunning convinced about a dozen of Chicago's finest bands to contribute to the project. In the end, as word got out, 17 bands gave him songs for the project. He ended up having to go to a CD manufacturer who could give him a 78-minute CD just to fit most of it on. The first songs recorded were done by the Aluminum Group and Nora O'Connor, who used a studio owned by a member of the Pulsars. The two bands bought 12 hours of studio time, but the studio was so impressed with the project that they didn't say a word as the session stretched into 18 hours.

One of the most interesting tracks for Dunning was the J Davis Trio's take of "There Goes a Tenner." He tells the story of how at first, when he was handed a tape of the finished song, he thought, "How am I going to tell these guys I can't use their version? I didn't think it had much to do with the original. Then I heard their line about 'Where the hell is my attorney' and I realized that they were translating the line in the song about the solicitor, British for attorney. Then as I listened to their version more carefully I began to realize that they had translated all the songs lyrics into "street" American. It was just so brilliant I knew it had to go up front."

Dunning says the reaction has been very positive so far. People as random as the Indigo Girls and Jane Sibbery have given their approval. And what about She herself? "I've sent her a copy, but haven't heard back yet. I hear she is busy working on a new album. I hope to get a note from her. I hope to God she doesn't call me, I'd probably faint or something!"

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