Thursday, 29 October 2015

INTERVIEW - David Hasselhoff

IT'S quite an experience speaking to David Hasselhoff. Warm, friendly and chatty, he deviates from one subject to the next at random but with an enthusiasm and an energy which is infectious. Even so it's hard to keep up with him at times.
Better known these days as The Hoff, the 63 year old is starring in a touring production of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life and speaking to him about the show, it's clear he is totally pumped up about it.
David shot to fame in the early 1980s as Michael Knight in the cult crime-fighting car TV series Knight Rider, before securing his fame and status as a sex symbol by showing off his six pack as chief lifeguard Mitch Buchannon, in the long running American TV series Baywatch.
Since then he's been around the block a few times. Divorced twice, with two kids, he has been variously a pop star, done stints on Broadway and in the West End, been on hit TV shows including Hoff The Record, worked as a judge on America's Got Talent and has had a well-documented battle with the booze.
And now he's back treading the boards again, leaner, fitter and healthier, in fact so full of life you'd be forgiven for thinking he was 20 years younger.
Which is lucky because he describes the show he's currently in as one big full on party - crammed full of hit songs from the 80s and 90s and a rigorous tour schedule which includes a stop at Croydon's Fairfield Halls on November 12.
"It's a riot," he tells me. "It's got some great tunes - real party songs from that era which I love - and a great story.
"It's about how Ibiza became the party island of the world, how dance music took over, the raves and the influences of the nightclubs, the stuff that went on and the kids going there to party."
David plays the role of a DJ and club owner who likes to live life to the max, until that is his teenage daughter pitches up.
She announces she's staying for the summer and he has to face up to his fatherly responsibilities and cope being a single parent.
It's a role that could have been made for him. Although he insists he's no playboy, David does admit he has "lived it up" a bit during his career and now with two grown up daughters of his own, is well aware of the similarities.
"I can relate to him totally of course," he says. "He is a DJ and night club owner with a responsibility to the club where the most important thing to do is party.
"He's against drugs even though he's on this amazing party island of Ibiza but he does like to show off - a bit like me.
"His daughter comes back to visit him and he then has to cope with it - suddenly his motto is 'do as I say, not as I did!'."
"I relate to the challenge of being a father. I have two daughters and when you are a father you want to protect them from what's out there.
"I see a lot of stuff in the newspapers and on the street and I get nervous when they go out.
"It's a dangerous world we live in and although you can't stop them from doing stuff and you can't keep them locked up forever, you can give them advice and be there to guide them and try and protect them from the bad stuff.
"I think it's very dangerous - in the UK you see people really take it to the limit. I think I see it more here than in America because here it's such a compact area where everything is so crammed in.
"You go out somewhere like Croydon and it's full of bars, whereas America isn't like that. It also has to do with the weather I think - there is no sunshine here!
"In the 80s people were into all kinds of fun stuff and we all knew it was bad. I don't drink any more because it ages you - you just have to be honest with kids," he muses.
"It's about protecting them in the best way and telling them what the consequences will be."
Underscoring this coming of age tale of love, laughter and friendship are a string of hits from the era including renditions of Everything I Do I Do it For You, MC Hammer’s Can't Touch This, Ride on Time, The Only Way Is Up and the Spice Girls' Spice Up Your Life.
"It's such a feel good story and the soundtrack is superb," he says. "The audience reaction has been great and they really get into it. We always have people dancing and singing in the aisles - it's fantastic.
"It's like everyone is remembering their childhood, their youth and the good happy days. It was such a fantastic era because we had people like Madonna, Michael Jackson, Rick Astley, Katrina And The Waves, just great, great songs that have lasted 30 years.
"I want the audience involved so they don't just watch the show - they are part of it.
"And we get so many kids coming with their parents - they don't know the era but they do know the music.
"It's so great - we have a blast."

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life is on at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, on Thursday November 12 at 7.30pm. Tickets cost from £30.50. Visit or call the box office on 020 8688 9291.

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