My Shropshire Life - Carol Decker
PUBLISHED: 10:17 03 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:13 20 February 2013
It's been nearly a quarter century since Shropshire band T'Pau topped the charts with their biggest hit China in your Hand. Flame-haired frontwoman Carol Decker, raised in Wellington and Shrewsbury, relives the glory days
Its been nearly a quarter century since Shropshire band TPau topped the charts with their biggest hit China in your Hand. Flame-haired frontwoman Carol Decker, raised in Wellington and Shrewsbury, relives the glory days and reveals she is longing to write and perform new material.
So Carol, how are you and where are you?
I live in Henley-on-Thames now with my husband Richard and our two kids; it is a lot like Shrewsbury in many ways a great place to raise a family and its on the river! I love Shrewsbury and the county is incredible; the scenery takes my breath away. But when I was younger the big city was calling me and I needed to get away; and sometimes you just outgrow a place. Thats what happened to me.
For the past decade you have been part of the 1980s nostalgia circuit, performing your biggest hits to worldwide audiences once again. How is success second time around?
It hardly compares to what happened to us in the 80s. We were huge then! The pressure and the fame now is nothing like as intense; the audiences just want to have fun and relive their own younger days. We have a great laugh and Ive really enjoyed getting to know lots of people, like Nick Heyward and Martin Fry (ABC) Ive made lots of new friends and have been all over the world. Im just off to perform in the Middle East and then on to Australia for a Rewind Festival.
Tell us about the bands early days in Shropshire, before you found fame.
I was pretty miserable in the early 1980s. I was at Wellington Girls High School doing my A-levels when my parents announced they were moving to Warwickshire. My boyfriend dumped methen I completely failed my A levels. I headed to Europe for a bit and when I got back decided to go to Shrewsbury art college (at what is now Wakeman School), because my best friend was going. I could draw a bit but I really wasnt much good at art.
While at college Carol was encouraged to join a band and ended up in The Lazers (with a big Z) where she first met guitarist Ronnie Rogers, and before long they became a couple. Ronnie was working for BT, while Carol took a series of low paid jobs, working at bars and shops including The Three Fishes pub in Shrewsbury and Ironbridge Gorge Museums. They lived above the Pengwern boat house in the Quarry.
All the time we wrote and beavered away on songs; we were desperate to make it. I had a complete and abject fear of leading a mundane, boring life. Because Id fluffed my A-levels and blown my chance of going to university, I figured the only way I was going to escape a life of working at rubbish jobs was going to be by making a success of the music. As they say, failure was not an option.
TPau finally got their break when they were invited to showcase three songs in front of Virgin Records bosses. Suddenly we had a record contract.
What followed was six heady, giddy years of fame, paparazzi, platinum records and money. Says Carol: I loved being famous. Absolutely loved it. Ive always been desperate to make a success of my life, if only to prove something to other people, and this was what I had been craving.
But eventually, the party abruptly ended. The recording contract was not renewed, and Ronnie and Carol split up. It was a pretty dark period. I didnt really know what to do with myself.
For the last decade, though, the work has kept coming. Whats next for Carol Decker?
Its been lots of fun but Im beginning to seriously think about writing new material. I know I have a big gob at times and have strong opinions but I have always had a crushing lack of self confidence. Im not sure that people will be interested in hearing new songs from Carol Decker. But I might see what happens. Watch this space.