The State Of The Spice Girls

Hi, I'm Kurt Loder, and this is the 514th edition of "The Week In Rock," and the last. After stepping aside next week for our annual "Year In Rock" special, we'll be back in January with a new -- if not totally unfamiliar -- show, and a new name. We want to try some new things, basically... but more of that later.

At the end of a year of international chart-conquering infallibility, England's famously pre-fabricated Spice Girls have been taking some unaccustomed knocks lately: suddenly dumping their manager, getting booed offstage in Spain, stiffing with their second album -- well, apparently stiffing, anyway. The girls' "Spiceworld" album cracks the U.S. top 10 on Monday, and "Spiceworld" the movie is headed our way on January 23rd. So what's the state of the Spice Girls? John Norris asked the tough questions, and then felt really mean about it later.

MEL C.: Look at the state of the Spice Girls. How can they take themselves seriously?

JOHN NORRIS: Right.

MTV: But the state of '97's pop phenomenon looks to some people incredibly tenuous of late. With lackluster record sales, hostility from the press and even break up rumors, some have even said their fifteen minutes might be up.

NORRIS: The future of the group, is it... ?

GERI: The future of the group is stronger than ever.

EMMA: Definitely stronger than ever. Isn't it?

GERI: Yes.

EMMA: Also, if you look at the facts of our music, you know the second album is doing fantastic, you know everything is going really well and nobody is looking at the true facts of everything.

NORRIS: Much was made of the Spice Girls so-so number eight chart debut several weeks back with their second album "Spiceworld". But its sales have been steadily increasing since then. So, what could be the problem? Well, there is that little matter of the recent firing of their manager of two and a half years, Simon Fuller, which one story said came out of a busted

relationship with Baby Spice, Emma Bunton.

NORRIS: Can you tell me anything how that came down, letting Simon go?

GERI and EMMA: Mmmmmm... no.

GERI: No, nothing, no. All we can say about the speculation is we'd love to tell you but we can't, for business reasons.

NORRIS: And then I heard another story that you [Geri] were taking on the management.

EMMA: Oh please, don't believe it.

GERI: Oh come on.

NORRIS: How would you say your relationship with the press is these days?

MEL C.: In Britain, it's a bit dodgy.

MEL B. (taking John's hand and leaning toward him dramatically): Britain loves us. It's marvelous. Marvelous.

VICTORIA: Now hang on, I would say that not all the tabloids -- some of the tabloids have been great and have been honest and very supportive, but some of them aren't quite straight.

MEL B.: But hey, everybody has an opinion.

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NORRIS: And the girls will surely get a new host of opinions with the January release of their movie "Spiceworld."

EMMA: There was a parody of everything: of us, the media. It was just, you know, if you can't take the piss out of yourselves and the media... they should be able to laugh at it, I think.

MEL B.: Music is our first love, it is. But, we are like five little girls at a candy shop. We like to try everything.

NORRIS: Right.

MEL C.: We've just done a big adventure in Germany. You know, we wanted to be pop stars and then we were, and then we said, let's try to be movie stars, too!

NORRIS: Future movie stars or not, they do have their first world tour set for '98. So, it would seem reports of the Spice Girls imminent demise are at least premature.

EMMA: We don't even know where that came from.

GERI: It was about a month ago that rumor, and we are still together so...

MEL B.: I don't think

that needs to be spoken about.

MEL C. (sticking her tongue out and blowing): Pppptthhh!

Those for whom a new Spice Girls album and upcoming movie aren't enough will be happy to know the group is mounting a pay-per-view TV special on January 17th, as well. Keep an eye out.