We caught up with Ralph Tavares, to discuss tours, life and music.
Ralph gave us an insight into what it’s like being a member of popular group, Tavares, and what it’s like touring with The Four Tops, and The Temptations.
When did you first realise that music was what you wanted to do in life?
Oh gee, we were very young. We used to sing at picnics with my father, or when he had a break in his set with his band, we would go up and sing cape-verdean songs. Later on in our youth we started to hear rock’n’roll, and sing rock’n’roll, and our father quit, saying he “wasn’t playing that kind of music”.
What’s it like being on tour with The Four Tops and Temptations?
Oh fabulous, absolutely fabulous. Like a dream come true, I mean, this is our third time out with them, but each time we do it, we find it totally unbelievable because we admired them so much.
I imagine it’s not something you thought you would ever be doing when you first started out?
Absolutely not. We used to listen to them on the radio, and buy all their records, but never dreamed we’d be doing what we are doing today.
In terms of set-lists, is it easy to decide which songs you will do? Are there certain songs that go down better than the others?
Well, we have 16 albums, but it seems to be whenever we change the set-up, they want what was popular last time. We occasionally add in one or two songs, but most of the time, it’s the same set of the most popular songs we’ve ever had. Oh yeah. ‘Don’t Take Away The Music’, ‘Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel’, ‘Who Dunnit’, ‘More Than A Woman’, ‘Check It Out’, ‘It Only Takes A Minute’. That one seems to be the one that they request all the time.
In terms of the success of the band, is it something you ever thought would happen?
We always tried. We stuck with it through our teenage years. Through the beginning of our adult years. we just stayed with it. Played all the clubs in Boston, then started travelling to Puerto Rico and the Bahamas and hoped someone would discover us, and notice us, and finally they did. We always worked for it, but honestly, I didn’t think it was gonna happen myself.
What was it like finding out you had a record deal?
We have to thank our manager at the time, Brian Panella. He brought us to the attention of Capitol Records, and the deal was we would sing one song to be released, and it all depended on how that song did as to whether we got the contract for the record deal. It’s something I still pinch myself talking about today.
Is touring easier being with your family? At the same time, do you ever get on each others nerves, or get fed up of being around family?
Yes it is, it is. We seem to know what each other will do, and what each other is thinking. Even getting up for breakfast, we all seem to go down at the same time. It is kinda unique. As family, and brothers, it does happen. But we play golf together, and tennis, and there’s always a competition but when it’s time to go on stage, there’s always unity, and all for one, one for all is the motto.
In your years of touring, is there a tour that stood out the most?
The very first time we played England. The London Palladium, and also Japan. We’ve never seen an audience that didn’t cheer or clap after each song. They just clapped at the end. That was unique, and really different for us, we were really taken back.
Are you gonna try and keep going until the end? Have you considered calling it a day?
We will try and tour until the end. We’re all fortunate for what God has given us. We’re all still here together, as brothers, and still doing what we love. We’ve always loved singing together. So, I guess things have a way of changing, and life goes on, so I don’t know, but if something was ever to happen to one of my brothers, I wouldn’t sing anymore.
Are there any bands that you would love to support, or be alongside on the bill?
Oh well, Mr Bruno Mars is who I admire now. I think he is a fabulous performer, and entertainer. There’s quite a few other acts too, that I admire, but he really stands out in my mind. He has that old flavour to him, the showmanship, and the stage presence, and audience satisfaction. Other big artists don’t seem to put as much into their shows anymore, but Bruno, I admire the way he handles an audience.
Going back to the touring aspect, is there anywhere you didn’t like touring?
I can’t think of anywhere off hand. Everywhere we’ve been, we’ve had a great reception. South America, Ireland, you name it, everywhere we have been, everyone has loved us. England has always been great to us, probably our favourite. God’s honest truth. Germany were better than I thought, much more responsive. When we get up there, we give them everything we’ve got. The only time we didn’t give them everything we got was when we all had the flu. But that’s between the brothers, the audience have always been great.
In your early days as a band, were there some people that didn’t like what you were doing because of the time that you grew up in?
In the United States, that happened. But once we got popular, people started to like us more and more. We didn’t expect to be liked everywhere we went, and we can’t always please everyone, but that’s just life. We lived by our mothers motto, which was ‘sing pretty for the people’. It was a good saying to live by, and great for when we were on stage.