I don't relate success to how much money you make. I know a lot of people who I consider to be successful who don't make a lot of dough. If you're happy with your career and about 75 per cent of the work you've done, you've achieved some sort of success in your own mind.
Everybody thinks our most successful record is Merry Xmas Everybody. I love it, but it's a song called Far Far Away that really twitches my heart-strings. It was written one night when we'd been away on tour for 12 months. We were having a drink in a hotel overlooking the Mississippi River. I still remember that feeling of sitting on the balcony in the lap of luxury and suddenly appreciating how far I'd come for a kid from the Black Country.
In the early days you're very enthusiastic and your aim is to make it; when you do you're keen to maintain that success. There are times when records aren't doing so well and you have to fight your way back to the top. That happened with us a few times. Most bands split up once the success starts to fade, but we kept going because we had confidence in ourselves. Funnily enough the name of our company is Perseverance Ltd.
My strength is knowing how to handle an audience. I can get over any barriers and conquer them. I made my first appearance on stage when I was seven years old singing in working men's clubs and I've been doing it so long it's second nature. Experience is something you can't buy, but I still believe you are born with the entertainer in you. You have to develop it and hone it into a career. When I saw Little Richard for the first time, I'd found my goal and I was intent on going into the entertainment business.
I've always been nice and tolerant to people and that has paid me back in kind. I have a good rapport with people and that comes back to you even many years later. I try not to lose my rag when things go wrong. They are bound to and losing your temper doesn't do much good. I think that is the secret of my success. But above all I just love being the over-the-top yobbo trying to entertain people.