For those who thought that Robert Palmer was committing the equivalent of career hara-kiri by eschewing the Power Station's US tour last summer, the British singer has only one answer: "Sorry, but I'm suddenly a success."
And for those who think he will parlay his Top 10 single, Addicted To Love, and its album, Riptide, into one of those hockey-rink and outdoor-stadiums tours to maximize revenue, the veteran stylist has another response.
"To hell with it," he says. "There's just no intimacy at all in those places. Who gets anything out of it? I'd rather drive a bus."
Despite lavish critical praise and commercial success in Europe and other foreign territories over the years, Palmer is only now cracking the US market in a big way.
On April 9, the Island recording artist kicked off an extensive tour in Kitchener, Ont., and then played a handful of other Canadian venues to warm up for his US dates.
Manager David Harper says that the US tour will be interrupted on Sunday (27), when Palmer embarks on a brief trip to Japan and Guam. North American dates resume May 14, with concerts scheduled until the end of June.
Although Palmer has opted to perform in small halls, some slightly larger facilities are being scouted for the latter stages of the tour.
"We've sacrificed a lot of exposure on the road to play to our own audience," Harper says.
Many industry observers felt that Palmer's decision not to tour with the Power Station last summer was a gross mistake, since he would have benefitted from the exposure to a different crowd. Palmer shrugs it off; he's always been his own boss.
"It didn't seem to make any sense to tour," he says. "Originally, I was writiing for one song, then two, then an album. But it never crossed my mind that we would tour. If they had waited until after a second album, then maybe there would have been enough material. But with only 40 minutes of material, what can you do?"
After enlisting Michael Des Barres as a last-minute replacement for Palmer, the Duran Duran splinter group hit the road and enjoyed a relatively successful tour.
"Full marks for them," Palmer says. "When they saw it was a surprise for me to be asked, they didn't pursue the matter."
Although Palmer's association with the Power Station introduced him to producer Bernard Edwards, whom he subsequently hired to work on the Riptide album, the singer has mixed feelings as to welther his short-lived tenure with the band is the reason for his growing popularity as a solo artist.
"I don't think for certain that any people who heard me through the Power Station are coming out to the shows or buying my records," he says. "But then, you never really know what makes you a hit in this business."
Kirk LaPointe (Billboard -1986)