Tim Dry interview | Whiphid | Star Wars


Tim Dry was born deep in the heart of suburbia in the fifties. After dropping out of a Graphic Design course at Art School, he ended up as a hippie living in Brighton in the early 1970's.
He moved up to London in the hazy summer of 1976 to study Mime and Physical Theatre with Desmond Jones, and Lindsay Kemp (tutor to David Bowie and Kate Bush).
In 1980 Tim formed a rock/mime/burlesque/music troupe named Shock. They traveled the world, made some records, got a lot of press and found themselves in the vanguard of the New Romantic cult of the early eighties, alongside Boy George, Duran Duran, Adam Ant and Spandau Ballet.
Tim then created a robotic mime and music duo called Tik & Tok with Sean Crawford (also a member of Shock). They toured with Gary Numan on his UK "Warriors" tour in '83, worked with Vangelis, were supported by a fledgling Depeche Mode, got a lot more press coverage and released five singles and a well received album. They appeared on innumerable TV shows (including The Royal Variety Show 1983) and had a featured role in the third Star Wars movie Return of the Jedi.
I had the honor of having this interview (the weirdest I ever had) with him in 2006.



Tim Dry; Whiphid (left) and Tik and Tok (right)

Back in 1985 they made a toy of Yak-Face (Sean's character). It became one of the rarest Star Wars figures.
It took almost 20 years before they made a toy of Whiphid, your character. Did this feel as some sort of relief to you?


No, not really. The best things are always worth waiting for, Ha ha! I've always been a little bit older than Sean so I let the youngster strut his stuff before I made my grand entrance!
To be honest, back in 1982 neither of us ever imagined that there would be toys of our characters or indeed of any of the characters from the movies.
So they are a bonus.
Did you know that Whiphid went on to make some rather dubious porno movies in Belgium in the late 1980's after he escaped from Jabba's sail barge?
No, most people don't know about that other career of his.
These days he's shaved off all that fur, had some serious dental work done and is now an IT consultant in Luxembourg. Strange journey huh!


The Whiphid action figure

In the eighties you worked with some heroes of mine, the likes of Duran Duran, Gary Numan and Depeche Mode.
Of all artists: who is the best you have ever worked with? And if you could name one artist you want to work with, who would it be?


For us as Tik and Tok it's definitely Gary Numan. He played and sang on one track of our 1984 album Intolerance and actually donated a backing track of a beautiful song he'd written called 'A child with the ghost' for us to use on the same record. Plus he gave us the support slot on his seven week UK Warriors tour in '83. Now that is generous!
Duran Duran were friends at the time too. We supported them at some shows and made a memorable appearance at Nick Rhodes' wedding.
But to be honest, the naked but magnificently formed duo juggling feral cats wearing latex was never going to be a big earner for us, so we dropped that particular part of our act after our moment of glory at the Savoy hotel in London.
Who would we like to work with? Hmm... anybody who pays us enough?
If he was still with us I'd say that Salvador Dali would appreciate our surreal qualities. Bowie of course, but I don't think that he can afford us now!
For Tik and Tok it's about finding the joy and the humor in any situation.

Suppose you could do the soundtrack for Star Wars.... 80s (electro/new-wave/or something else) style! Which songs from which artists would you include in the movie, and why (and for which scenes? The opening credits for example would be....?)

‘Shaddap You Face’ by Joe Dolce over the opening credits as the ships pass over head. This would segue into 'Flashdance' with C-3PO strutting his stuff on a dance floor lined with mirrors. Cool, retro and edgy! Luke Skywalker, troubled but full of imminent adventure, gazes out over the desert skies of Tatooine as Belinda Carlisle sings 'Circles In The Sand'. Are you with me?
An Alec Guinness clone makes his first appearance to ‘I'm Too Sexy’ by Right Said Fred.
Darth Vader strides into view as the soundtrack plays 'Favorite Shirts' by Haircut 100. Oh, it's gonna be big! Think Priscilla Queen Of The Desert in outta space!

Actually, I'd go for Sakamoto, Vangelis, DAF, early Cabaret Voltaire, Yello, Tik and Tok, early Human League, William Orbit, Craig Armstrong, Goldfrapp and Nine Inch Nails for a truly cutting edge soundtrack to a new movie.


Sean Craford and Tim Dry: Tik and Tok

Looking back at Return of the Jedi, did you really like the movie? Which Star Wars movie is your favorite? (and why?)

It sucked! BIG TIME! NO, I am joking. Episodes IV, V and VI back to back would be enough. The saga is complete. You don't need CGI to tell a story. We like a journey, characters that evolve, who find their power and fight back against adversity. Characters that you can identify with. Return of the Jedi, for example has those qualities in spades.

The cult-band Devo made a song called 'Whip it'. Your character is called 'Whipid'! A coincidence?
Do you think that the one that gave Whipid his name was a Devo fan?


Oh honestly! The guys who wrote 'Whip It' must have e-mailed me a 1000 times begging for my permission to use my character's name as the title of one of their songs. And that was before the invention of the Internet.
All I used to say was: "If you're gonna Whiphid, Whiphid good!".
They agreed and all was happy ever after.


You have just released a new EP, together with Sean. Will you ever get back to acting in movies? (would you consider a role in the upcoming Star Wars TV-series?) Or will music remain your main focus?

We are shameless Tarts and we will go where anyone points us. Our motto is: "Never say Never”. If somebody were to offer us something that was cinematically suitable and rewarding we would be more than happy to go for it. We've been offered the lead roles in The Ronnie and Reggie Dome Story by 20th Century Fux but we're not quite sure if we're ready to commit to a major movie right now. As Tik & Tok our primary concern at the moment is the marketing of our CD EP Slightly Deranged.
And after that will come the release of our new album Deranged. So I guess that the answer is “Yes” to music being our main focus.
At the moment.......