A Prime Mover Speaks

An  exclusive interview with Severs Ramsey
Severs Ramsey died at the end of 2014,  member of The Prime Movers
and co-writer of "Strong As I Am". I was lucky enough to conduct a brief
interview with him when this site was in it's early days

MCRS :Thanks to you I now know that "Strong As I Am" was issued as a single and also had a promo video too.

It was shot by Dante Spinotti and was financed by Mann
himself. I have a copy of it that was taken from the television - honestly,
 was hoping that it would be included in the new double DVD, but I
guess not.
                                       The Promo single <Click to enlarge>

strong01.jpg (18519 bytes) Are the Prime Movers still performing after your departure or was there a general break up ?

The group broke up not too long after the Manhunter movie. We had
been around several years before that and had some success in
England with a song called "On The Trail" (B-side was "Strong As I
Am"). Even went on a UK tour with Big Country in 1986!

Was the song specifically written for Manhunter or does it come
from a Prime Movers album ? It just seems to work so well with
the scene.

No, it was a recording that existed before the film. Michael Mann had
come to see us live several times and I think that he already had the
idea for this song in his head.

Were any other songs from the Prime Movers catalogue considered for use ?

Not that I can remember. At that time, we had only recorded a five song
EP for Island and because of publishing concerns, these were the only
ones that could be considered. I don't believe that there was time to do
a new song. By the way, when we were first became involved, the movie
was still called "Red Dragon." I think that it was changed because it
sounded too much like a martial arts movie (I personally prefer "Red Dragon").

What was it like when you and the other Movers saw that scene
for the first time?

For months before we became involved with Manhunter, our
management had been shuttling us about to see the most horrible
movies that you can possibly imagine, wanting us to put music to
them. Lots of skateboard/surfer/frat dude stuff. Really awful. Us being
art-istes, said no, no and more no. We wanted to be involved with
quality projects.

When Michael Mann invited us to his office and told us about Red
Dragon, we were very excited. This is EXACTLY what we hoped to
be involved with.  So when we saw the finished scene, we were blown
away (no pun). We really had no idea that our song would be used in
such a pivotal spot in the movie. It was quite a compliment to us and
we were VERY impressed.

Opinion on the soundtrack is polarized between people who love
it, such as myself, and those who hate it. I think it might be a anti-
1980's thing. Do you have an opinion on this and what do you
think of the soundtrack as a whole ?

I was totally honored to be on the same soundtrack as Iron Butterfly. I am
a giant fan of what is called psychedelic, or garage sixties music and
grew up loving the IB. Also a fan of Shriekback.

In historical perspective, you have to remember that Michael Mann
was best known for the Miami Vice television show who's claim
to fame was incorporating contemporary rock music as well as the
pastel look of the filming. I think that by the time Manhunter was
released, there was a bit of a backlash because of the show. I
remember the film getting excellent reviews, but the box office
wasn't what was hoped for (and believe me, I had my fingers

What are you doing these days ?

It's funny, because I have just, in the last two weeks begun to work with
my old Prime Mover partner, Gary Putman, again. Maybe we'll have
some new Movers!