December 3, 2020
He was ‘the first black punk in Hull’ and was named one of the world’s 50 most beautiful people. But the singer turned his back on pop stardom. He reveals why he’s returning with a gritty musical about a band called The Blacks
There are no film posters up in Roland Gift’s house in Holloway, London, and the platinum discs are all packed away. It’s a home that gives few clues to the remarkable life story the 59-year-old is about to recount: how the “first black punk in Hull” went on to become an international pop and movie star.
“I’ve always been afraid of getting wrapped up with fame and that glamour world,” is how he puts it today. Indeed, even when Gift’s band, Fine Young Cannibals, topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with their 1989 second album, The Raw & the Cooked (reissued this month, along with their eponymous 1985 debut), he had an uneasy relationship with stardom.