Aidin Vaziri | Everything is going Bananarama. Last year, the insouciant British pop trio’s original lineup — Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward and Siobhan Fahey — reunited after nearly three decades apart. Now the group is gearing up for its first tour together. With its jubiliant ’80s synth-pop hits like “Cruel Summer,” “Robert De Niro’s Waiting” and “Venus,” the band not only offered a respite from the endless procession of men in the early days of MTV but inspired countless other female artists, from the Spice Girls to Gwen Stefani. Dallin checked in from rehearsals in London.
Q: It feels like the chemistry is right back with the three of you. Does it feel like no time has passed?
A: Well, you say no time has passed, but in fact 29 years has passed. Siobhan left in ’88. She never toured with us. Keren and I tour every year, doing these festivals and all kinds of things. It took some getting used to having a third person standing to my left. When you meet somebody when you’re really young, they feel like family. When they come back, for whatever reason things have gone wrong before, they’re still part of your family.
Q: How ambitious were you when Bananarama started?
A: Keren and I were teenagers when we started. We loved music. We loved fashion. We were going out to clubs. As teenagers, I don’t think you care whether it lasts two minutes or two years or, in mine and Keren’s case, over 30 years. It was just something that was fun.
Q: There weren’t many girl groups around when you were coming up — you look at the Band Aid photo and it’s just the three of you in a sea of men. Did that make things difficult?
A: It is a male-dominated business. I’m sure along the way, things happened where maybe men were paid more and got more for shows. I don’t know. We certainly went hell for leather after everything we wanted. We were tough.
Q: You started out as a punk band. Do you still have a bit of that in you?
A: People always say they were terrified of us. I don’t know what that is. We were so shy and we always moved together as one person. If one person went to the bathroom, all three of us went to the bathroom. If there was a big sofa and chairs in the room we would all squash on the sofa together. It wasn’t that we were hard, it was just that we knew what we wanted.
Q: You also opened the door for a lot of female artists.
A: That would be very nice if that’s true. I know the Spice Girls were modeled on us when they were put together. People who don’t care about the group or music might think, “Oh, it’s just three pretty girls doing other people’s songs. Someone’s putting them on tour. Someone’s dressing them up.” That’s not the case. We’ve always had as much in common with a male band as we have with female artists.
Q: The scrappiness of Bananarama was always part of the group’s charm. Is it hard to maintain that after doing this for more than 30 years?
A: We’re not a dance group. We’re not about to start throwing down great choreographed moves. It’s more of a — not rock show, but more authentic and less of a dance troupe kind of a thing. We’re no more polished now than we were then. Probably more confident, but that’s about all.