Republica’s Saffron Sprackling says the band are ready to go at Dubai’s new Barasti Band Stand

Republica look back on nineties hits Ready to Go and Drop Dead Gorgeous ahead of free Barasti gig.

Republica members, from left, Tim Dorney, Saffron Sprackling and Jonny Glue. Photo by David Titlow
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Remember the hit single Ready to Go? Even if you weren't stalking the dance floors in the United Kingdom back in the late 1990s, it's likely you have at least a passing familiarity with the tune from one of the hundreds of car adverts and sports teams, including the New York Rangers ice hockey team, that adopted the rabble-rousing chorus as their own.

Ready to Go, along with Drop Dead Gorgeous, is one of a handful of hits from the short-lived London techno-punk band Republica, who reformed in 2008 after a seven-year hiatus.

We caught up with the lead singer Saffron Sprackling ahead of a free gig at the newly launched Barasti Band Stand.

You’ve just come off the road supporting Bob Geldof’s Boomtown Rats reunion tour. How did that happen?

It was incredible – he just phoned up and asked us, and Bob’s one of those people you just don’t say no to. The crowds were just fantastic and everyone was very receptive.

You played in Dubai in 2011. How was that?

Yes, we played The Music Room and it was brilliant. We’ve wanted to come back but we’ve just been so busy.

The reviews from that night said you played Ready to Go twice. Is that something you normally do?

We do it as an encore – certainly the fans in England want us to – but twice in the set? We’d never do that.

Right. So, any chance of a new album? It’s been 16 years since Speed Ballads.

We put an EP out last year [called Christiana Obey] that did really well – it was a limited edition for fans and we've nearly sold out. We've got enough songs for a new album, and it's been a terribly long time to go without releasing an album, but we're such perfectionists.

You were pretty angry on Drop Dead Gorgeous – was that written about a real person?

It was a real person – it’s funny, because years later all my ex-boyfriends come and say “was that written about me?”

Ready to Go has been used in 300 films and adverts. Do you still get royalties on that? Is it a good earner?

We do ... I'd have to say lots of songs get to high chart positions, but they don't last as long in people's minds as Ready to Go – we can't understand how 20 years later so many people know these songs.

How did you end up working with The Cure, on 2001's Just Say Yes?

I got a phone call from [The Cure’s lead singer] Robert Smith – now I once dated someone called Robert Smith so when he rang up I said: “What do you want?” And he said: “I’m Robert Smith from The Cure. Will you sing a song for me? I’ve written a duet”. I said: “When?” He said: “Tomorrow – my tour manager will drop the song off tonight.” And I sat on my stairs until 3am watching the letterbox, waiting for it to come through. I went to the studio the next day and it was wonderful.

Before you go, can I check your age?

I’m 46. A lot of people lie, but I’m proud of it – I’ve earned every wrinkle.

• Republica perform at Barasti, Mina Seyahi, Dubai, on Friday, November 21, at 10pm, free entry