TIME 10 Questions

10 Questions with Barry Gibb

The lord of the disco talks about family, comforting the King of Pop and weeping with Ryan Gosling

Why did you decide to tour again at 67?

Once I’d lost all my brothers, I just sat around for a long time. You never get past that, that’s what you learn. My wife just said, “Do something. Get out of the house. Get on the stage again.” She drove me to it.

The Mythology Tour features Maurice’s daughter and your son Stephen. Are you trying to re-create a touring family?

It’s instinctive. We all want to play together. It’s a treat to have Steve standing next to me and Sammy singing.

Do you miss your brothers more onstage or in daily life?

Both. I can be onstage and still imagine that they’re standing there, especially when we used to be around one microphone. I still feel that intensely, but I also feel it in real life. Robin and I became estranged about 10 years ago, and about five years ago he and I started to move toward each other again. Neither of us could really come to terms with Mo’s sudden death, or losing Andy when he was only 30. We were very close the three months before he passed.

Is it easier to be in a family band or for four strangers to get on?

When you’re blood, the rivalry is pretty intense. Everybody wants to be the favorite child.

Brian Wilson said that when songwriters run out of things to say, they won’t have any more songs. Have you still got things to say?

I still feel the urge to prove that I write songs. It doesn’t go away. I think there’s something about a song which will literally make you cry. Bluegrass music does that to me. I can’t watch Carousel without crying. I can’t watch South Pacific without crying.

You’re kind of sappy, as it turns out.

I’m really sappy. The Notebook–I sat with a towel on my knee.

Do you miss your former Justin Bieber level of fame?

No, no. Not having any privacy controls the way you think, and I don’t ever want to be like that again. What he’s experiencing now, it’s really like being lost. When Andy was around that age, he had a pet tiger. Well, there’s Justin with a pet monkey. I see the signs of someone who doesn’t know how to deal with it all. I hope he grows into the role, because this is not a good idea for young girls–it really isn’t–to [see him] behave like that. He’s probably very strong. But he may be surrounded by people who are not very strong.

How would you advise him?

Get a grip. Give it everything you’ve got, but be grownup about it.

Who would you go out to see on tour?

Bruce Springsteen. Paul McCartney. I would have liked to have seen the Beatles live. Justin [Timberlake] I think is fantastic. And Michael [Jackson], of course. Michael is eternal.

What happened to the song you recorded with Michael Jackson in 2002?

I wasn’t able to release it. I was only allowed to put it on my website. I suppose it never really was perfected. Michael was a little dazed from the [child molestation] court case. I don’t think he really recovered from any of that. He hung out a lot at my house, and I think he hung out at a lot of other people’s houses–anything to get away from his own environment. I feel bad for his kids. I think he was a great father–I did notice that.

I saw that you were on SNL‘s The Barry Gibb Talk Show.

Jimmy Fallon’s probably the most gifted man I’ve ever seen on TV. It’s like talking to yourself. But I promise you, I never shout that loud. I can’t do it. I want Jimmy to send me the wig.

Do you get jokers who come up to you and say, “Hey Barry, how deep is your love?”

I get people who come up to me and say, “Get out of the way.”


This appears in the May 19, 2014 issue of TIME.

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