CLARE Grogan admits that for the first time in a number of years she’s found herself under pressure but that she’s really enjoying the experience.

For Clare is preparing to release the first new Altered Images album in more than 38 years - Mascara Streakz is due out later this year.

“To a certain extent what I’m experiencing now is a little bit of pressure which I haven’t had for a very long time, “ she said. “I’ve just been able to get up there and have the time of my life and feel very much like part of the audience but introducing new songs definitely changes that. That does makes me feel quite nervous but I’m quite enjoying it. It’s weird.”


INSPIRED: Clare Grogan

INSPIRED: Clare Grogan


In the early Eighties, Altered Images had a string of hits including I Could Be Happy, Don’t Talk To Me About Love and Happy Birthday. Clare has balanced separate careers ever since including acting, writing and continuing to play live.

Talking to her it’s hard to believe that she will be 60 next month as her joyful enthusiasm shines through.

“What’s been different is creating some new music at last. What a slacker I’ve been,” she laughed. “But I’ve been quite overwhelmed with the need to express myself through songs again. Once I started I couldn’t stop.

“Had the second lockdown not happened I’m not sure this album would have happened. There was something about the timing of it that made me go ‘I really have an opportunity here to create something’ and I just took the time and grabbed it.”

Clare wrote the album with a pretty all-star cast.

“The songs kind of wrote themselves,” she said, “with a lot of help and support from Steve (husband Steve Lironi), it’s very handy living with an amazing producer; my neighbour Bernard (Butler, he of Suede fame) and my old friend Robert (Bobby Bluebell).


Clare Grogan

Clare Grogan


“Sadly they won’t be joining me live so I don’t want anyone to be too disappointed about that. I’d love them to but they are all so busy.”

Given that it’s so long since Altered Images’ last album Bite, how did Clare approach writing songs for a new album?

“I like to think of it as a progression of Altered Images,” she said. “I started going back and listening to all the records that inspired me the first time round. So I really went back to being the teenager in my bedroom.

“I listened over and over again to songs that made me want to be in a band in the first place and then I just decided to take that somewhere. I view the record as the story of my life to some extent or at least a snapshot of it.


Clare Grogan

Clare Grogan


“I have written songs for other people over the years but I still had it in me. The thing I missed the most in lockdown was singing. I really did drive my family nuts. I had no idea how much singing meant to me, I really hadn’t. Singing and running are my two therapies.”

Now concerts are back on the agenda, Clare can get back to singing in front of an audience.

“I always have a really great time on stage,” she said. “I’m not just saying that, I simply couldn’t keep doing it if I didn’t.

“It’s hard to describe and I don’t mean it in a depressing way but I honestly approach every show as if it’s my last chance. To a certain extent I’m always so surprised that I’m still doing it and I think I have got to make the most of the opportunity that I have now to do this.”

On Wednesday, Clare and Altered Images will be at Manchester Academy.

“I don’t want to labour it too much but I do want to introduce the audience to some of the new songs as well as play many of the old ones,” she said.

With the benefit of hindsight Clare has finally come to appreciate the Altered Images’ legacy.

“When I revisited our songs in preparing the new album I realised that one of the reasons people still come to see us is because it’s good. We were good and the songs still work today.

“I have never taken anything for granted. People ask ‘what do you want to do next?’ but I just want to keep going. It’s such a tough business and to have kept it going at the level I have – it’s not mega but I’ve found the spot that works for me as a person – I feel really lucky to have found it. I get to do all the things that I love but have some control over it and not get swallowed up by it.

“It’s a funny thing being in a band but I love it; it’s just who I am.”

Altered Images, Manchester Academy, Wednesday, March 2. Details from