No Joy In Shriekville…

Shriekback live in Amsterdam ©2017 Frans Lahaye

It is with furrowed brow that I report that the Shriekback Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for an American tour in 2018 to progress from the UK/European dates they successfully raised funding for last year has ended in failure. Out of the £66,000 needed to make the big moves into North American soil for the eight piece band and crew, only £23,067 from just 96 backers manifested. This, in dramatic contrast to the 494 backers who pitched in to make the UK/Euro re-ignition of the band very successfully last year.

Of course, this being America, everything is bigger… including costs. The previous campaign was for a fraction of the asking this time. 494 people gave £43,597 [$57,082] for the £35,000 [$48,969] requested. But the last decade has seen the acquisition of work visas become both labyrinthian and more costly. Hell, Peter Murphy has the misfortune to live in Turkey and right now we’re in a war with Turkey over the issue of non-immigrant visas with that nation that sees Peter’s much-planned San Francisco residency shows being postponed twice [so far…] due to the US and Turkey not issuing any work visas for each other. So it could be worse.

The first campaign went so smoothly, I was fully confident that even with twice the asking amount, that Shriekfans would respond positively. After all, lots of Americans pledged to the first campaign even though it was not for these shores. As Barry Andrews put it, phase two [North America] was completely reliant on phase one [UK/Europe] happening first. It was not going to occur without the smaller step taken first. I kicked in a little to help make it happen, and this time I pledged a $50 sum to the goal. All for naught.

Normally, traveling to Major Cities outside of the Southeast for a concert is something that happens super infrequently with me. I’m fine with this state or Tennessee if necessary, but to see Shriekback, whom I’d never seen before, was something of a coup that had to happen. trips to D.C. or most likely, Chicago, would have to happen. Better yet, when I had to cancel my trip to see my friend Ron last November [alas, he died the day before I was set to fly West] I have $550 of credit that will last just through this year with Southwest Airlines, so my ticket to see Shriekback was in effect, already paid for. My friend JT in Chicago shares a love of Shriekback. Indeed, it was an early bonding point with us. The mooted US tour was in June. JT’s vacation was in July. Starts seemed to be in alignment here. There was even talk of calling up his friend Jim [with whom we all saw Kraftwerk in Chicago in 1998] for a 20th anniversary reunion for this show. All just tears in the rain now.

If I’m glum, imagine how Barry Andrews or Carl Marsh must feel. Still, as they are busy preparing their next album, “Why Anything? Why This?” for a release this Summer, they are also wondering aloud:

“We’re re-thinking this Live business.
It surely must be possible…
stay tuned” – Shriekback

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Dazzling Go-Betweens Documentary Lights The Fire Anew

Kriv Stenders’ film was an eye opener for this almost lapsed Go-Betweens fan

I can’t believe I haven’t written about The Go-Betweens in the nearly eight years of this blog. For many years I thought that I first heard of them when the video for “Spring Rain” was a staple of the early days of MTV’s “120 Minutes.” It was after seeing that video that I saw the import UK CD of “Liberty Belle + The Black Diamond Express” in the bins at Murmur Records as one of the CDs that had begun trickling into the former vinyl enclave by 1986. I bought the CD and immediately took a shine to its literate and richly emotional pop music. This was the first Go-Betweens album I can remember ever seeing. I stayed with The Go-Betweens for their next two albums from their fertile middle period. I assumed that this Oz band had hits at home since they seemed to have no problem getting US licensing on US labels like Capitol subsidiary Big Time, which was home to many other fine OZ bands as well as UK and US indie groups that certainly passed muster.

Their “Tallulah” album of 1987 introduced a fifth member to the groups lineup, who played oboe and violin as well as sang BVs. When I heard “Bye Bye Pride” I knew that I had just heard the pinnacle of finely etched, heartbreakingly gorgeous, pop music. When the next years brought the album “16 Lover’s Lane” it was a quick purchase as the band seemed to be honing their art to something even more direct and heartfelt.

Then, in the pre-internet world of 1989, The Go-Betweens seemed to simply evaporate, and there were no further CDs to buy. As we entered the cruel 90s, I would have preferred that there had still been The Go-Betweens to dive into when all around was lost. It was sometime in 1999, I think, that my wife had heard a song called “Lee Remick” on WPRK-FM college radio and had mentioned it to me. I soon discovered that it was by The Go-Betweens and dated back to the band’s roots in the late 70s. I had no idea they had such a broad legacy, since they weren’t even a blip on my cultural radar until I had seen that “Spring Rain” clip. But I did not dig deeply into it. I assumed there had been a compilation with early material but I never saw it.


Last month my wife brought home the DVD she’d ordered for the library where she works of “The Go-Betweens: Right Here.” We watched it and I was amazed at the story of the band which was fraught with enough ache and heartbreak to have inspired at least a dozen of the songs of Grant McLennan and Robert Forster; the pair who had met in college and had formed the core unit. Their recording of that indie 7″ of “Lee Remick” back in 1978 had seen the band grow to the quartet they were whenI first heard them. Which, if you absolutely needed to own, you should be prepared to part with a serious three to four figures for 40 years later. The band released several indie 7″ers in Australia that saw them attract the attention of  Berserkley Records, who made an offer but went bust before anything could come of it.

The band had left their native Brisbane in search of a deal in the UK and tried to engage Rough Trade to no avail. Then they linked up with Orange Juice, who issued their third single “I Need Two Heads” on the über hip Postcard label. This proved to be their calling card as they now found themselves with a deal with Rough Trade only after they received the blessings of Orange Juice. All of this was news to me in 2018. Which is why as a casual fan I was fascinated by this film. The lineup began to gel further after they returned to Brisbane and added drummer Lindy Morrison to the band because Robert Forster thought that the best bands had a mixture of men and women in the lineup. Or it could have been because he took a fancy to the outgoing Morrison, who was drumming in Xero, Brisbane’s New Wave hotbed. This saw Morrison and Forster becoming a couple for several years. I honestly had no idea.

The band had to albums that I never saw in the bins, but their fourth one, “Spring Hill Fair” now featured Robert Vickers on bass and watching this film and seeing the video clip of “Bachelor Kisses”  reminded me that this was actually the first Go-Betweens I had heard. This was the clip on the early “120 Minutes” airings, not “Spring Rain.” I certainly recall being taken with it now. But I never saw any Go-Betweens albums at the time. I didn’t even recognize the name of the corresponding “Spring Hill Fair.” Which was their sole release on Sire Records.

Drummer Morrison had an amusing anecdote where Sire honcho Seymour Stein wined and dined the band while regaling them with tales of his Life In The Industry. The astute Morrison told her bandmates later “that’s the last time we’ll see that guy.” And of course she was right. Between the pinched and reticent Forster and the no-holds-barred Morrison, the push and pull of the band mirrored the roiling sea beneath them as by the time that Amanda Brown joined in 1987, Forster and Morrison had split up but Brown and Grant McLennan had become a couple. It was like Fleetwood Mac … only with [much] better songs!

The telling of the tale was complicated by the sudden death of McLennan by a heart attack in 2006 at the age of of 48. Fortunately, he remains in the film via all of the footage in the can with him. Forster seemed a mixture of pride and regret as the band had never logged what could be called a hit single anywhere in the world, much to my surprise. They had  a tumultuous ten year rollercoaster before Forster convinced McLennan that they needed to dump the women and make a record as a duo. Once this was mentioned, Amanda Brown packed and left McLennan right then and there, leaving him stunned and turning to heroin for solace. All the worse for his friend Steve Kilbey of The Church who came along for the ride.

The telling of the tale was complicated by the sudden death of McLennan by a heart attack in 2006 at the age of of 48. Fortunately, he remains in the film via all of the footage in the can with him. Forster seemed a mixture of pride and regret as the band had never logged what could be called a hit single anywhere in the world, much to my surprise. They had  a tumultuous ten year rollercoaster before Forster convinced McLennan that they needed to dump the women and make a record as a duo. Once this was mentioned, Amanda Brown packed and left McLennan right then and there, leaving him stunned and turning to heroin for solace. All the worse for his friend Steve Kilbey of The Church who came along for the ride.

The rich music cojoined with the various interpersonal politics of the band was a great canvas upon which to paint this film, and director Stenders has made a beautiful film that prefers poetry to fast-cut action. Stenders past with the band [he directed the music video for “Streets Of Your Town”] probably held him in good stead with them. If the absent McLennan and the reluctant Forster [watching his constrained body English and arid expressions suggests the least likely pop star ever] were the twin suns of The Go-Betweens, then Lindy Morrison was certainly the moon that kept it all in balance. To this day she does not mince words and her scenes both with and without Amanda Brown [with whom she formed a band after The Go-Betweens called Cleopatra Wong] dredge up all of the pain and discontent just below the surface of it all. It made for fascinating watching.

And as it all unfolded there were those wonderful songs filing my mind in its every waking moment. Afterward, I hit my Go-Betweens albums pretty hard; discovering that I had bought a copy of Forster and McLennan’s 2001 reformation album “The Friends Of Rachel Worth” several yeas ago and I had not yet listened to it! I need copies [now on CD] of their first three and last two albums. There was recently volume one of a Go-Betweens BSOG which deserves another mention later, since it will set you back three big ones already. In the interim, “The Go-Betweens Right Here” is currently out as a Region 4 DVD. This is why we have a region-free, standards converting DVD player, and here’s the trailer below.

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Want List: PiL Logo Gold on Red Tee Shirt

Please, please, please let me get what I want…

Did I mention that I wanted this…?

It’s already pencilled into my budget for next week. Available in the Official PiL US webstore for the fair price of $27.00 if you are also inclined.

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Roxy Music BSOG Flash Sale Changes Everything…

Kari-Ann bares her teeth…

Newsflash: “Roxy Music” BSOG now on sale at Amazon for $79 [i.e. what I was willing/expecting to pay for six years prior]

Commenter Tim just sent me the notice that the 3xCD+DVD+Book edition of “Roxy Music” we just bemoaned was selling for $150 just yesterday… is now having a sale price of just $79 at Amazon.com right now. Click here if you are fine paying nearly half of retail for this like I am. My copy is just purchased and will be in the Record Cell sometime next week since it has been in release since the 2nd of February.

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Posted in BSOG, Core Collection, Want List | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Roxy Music Delights + Infuriates With Boxed Set Of Eponymous Album

What we have waited six years for…and we should have saved six years for it, too

Six or seven years ago there was a buzz on the 40th Anniversary of Roxy Music’s debut album. There was no shortage of leaky tales of Boxed Sets Of God™  being prepared for it’s 40th “birthday.” It would be a multi disc set with a DVD-A with a Steven Wilson 5.1 mix of the album as well as the original mix in 24/96! We know that it happened because Steven Wilson squawked about it online! At that point the NDA was tabled, presumably. It would have the A/B-sides, the BBC Sessions, and Who Knows What Else. As one of the most significant albums in my Record Cell, I was more than ready for this to happen. It was suggested that each of the eight Roxy Music albums would get this treatment in turn. And then, in 2012, we began to see new shapes emerge.

There would be a boxed set of all of the albums along with B-sides/single mixes/5.1 of each album on DVD-As. Then… crickets. I dug up something different six months later. Yes, the mega box of albums on CD was back, but the 5.1 was out of the picture. Along with the eight discrete albums, there were a pair of CDs with all of the non-LP A/B-sides/single mixes in a very thorough package. This hit the wilds in late 2012 and I saw it with my own eyes in stores, but didn’t bite. I was waiting for the 3-4xCD +DVD box of each album to appear months later, on schedule. I could have bought it for about $60 online but thought that it would be rendered obsolete by the DLX RMs of each album in boxed set form a little further down the line.

<insert five year wait>

In the ensuing five years, I still ignored the 10xCD “Complete” box. I was certain that there would be a BSOG for each album with everything and more. Steven Wilson did the remixing in 5.1. He said as much. They can’t just sit on it for years…can they?

Apparently so.

It was late last year when I caught wind of the by now 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Boxed Set for “Roxy Music;” the 1972 debut album that still casts a very long shadow today as the flashpoint of post-modernism in rock. As expected there would [finally] be a hyper deluxe BSOG of that amazing debut album. Here’s what it contains:

Disc 1 – The UK Album

The original 1972  album [in US form]

Roxy Music: Roxy Music US CD [2018]

  1. Re-Make/Re-Model
  2. Ladytron
  3. If There Is Something
  4. Virginia Plain
  5. 2 H.B.
  6. The Bob (Medley)
  7. Chance Meeting
  8. Would You Believe?
  9. Sea Breezes
  10. Bitters End

Disc 2 – Demos & Out-Takes

Roxy Music demos + out-takes

Roxy Music: Demos + Out-Takes UK CD [2018]

  1. Ladytron [demo]
  2. 2 HB [demo]
  3. Chance Meeting [demo]
  4. The Bob (Medley) [demo]
  5. Instrumental
  6. Re-Make/Re-Model
  7. Ladytron
  8. If There Is Something
  9. 2 H.B.
  10. The Bob (Medley)
  11. Chance Meeting
  12. Sea Breezes
  13. Bitters End
  14. Virginia Plain

Disc 3 – The BBC Sessions

Here were the amazing Peel Sessions

Roxy Music: The BBC Sessions UK CD [2018]

4/1/72
1.  If There Is Something
2.  The Bob (Medley)
3.  Would You Believe?
4.  Sea Breezes
5.  Re-Make/Re-Model
25/5/72
6.  2 HB
7.  Ladytron
8.  Chance Meeting
25/5/72
9.  Virginia Plain
10.  If There Is Something
BBC IN CONCERT 3/8/72
11.  The Bob (Medley)
12.  Sea Breezes
13.  Virginia Plain
14.  Chance Meeting
15.  Re-Make/Re-Model

Disc 4 – DVD

The evasive 5.1 mix…and more

Roxy Music: DVD [2018]

The full album remixed in 5.1 by Steven Wilson plus UK/French TV performances:

  1. Re-Make/Re-Model / The Royal College Of Art, 6/6/72
  2. Ladytron / The Old Grey Whistle Test, 20/6/72
  3. Virginia Plain / Top Of The Pops, 24/8/72
  4. Re-Make/Re-Model / Full House, 25/11/72
  5. Ladytron / Full House, 25/11/72
  6. Would You Believe / French TV, Bataclan, Paris, 26/11/72
  7. If There Is Something / French TV, Bataclan, Paris, 26/11/72
  8. Sea Breezes / French TV, Bataclan, Paris, 26/11/72
  9. Virginia Plain / French TV, Bataclan, Paris, 26/11/72

This was most of what I had been waiting for. As I have many Roxy Music bootlegs of the amazing BBC performances, the thought of getting these in top quality has been a goal for decades. If you’ve not heard the 12 minute version of “If There Is Something” with Davy O’List on lead guitar you’ve been getting shortchanged! I would absolutely demand that such a box contain those incredibly vital radio sessions. I also see they went with the US track listing for the album proper with “Virginia Plain” slotted in as track five. Truthfully, most pressings everywhere after 1972 followed suit.

There was a whole CD of unreleased studio outtakes and demos. Also, instead of useless vinyl LPs of any of this music, the space in the box instead went to a luxurious 136 page hard cover book inside of the box. Nice! A whole coffee table book dedicated to just this album? Yesssir. Still, I had the nagging thought that wasn’t there something missing here? How about the B-side to “Virginia Plain,” “The Numberer?” So this BSOG was less than thoroughly canonical; lovely as it was. It painted a picture that revealed that any further album boxes would undoubtedly follow suit. Well, at any rate, I could always buy the “Complete” box set for the B-sides and single mixes. How much were they asking for this bad boy, anyway? $80? $100? No. Try $150 smackers!!! Add shipping, and it could get very pricey, indeed. Yow! It was at that point that I reconsidered my commitment to buying BSOGs of each of the Roxy Music albums stuffed with such goodness.

Fortunately, saner heads offered the next best thing a better price point with a hardbook 2xCD with discs one and three for as little as $22.00 at my local emporium. Well, at least I would get that BBC material in the best quality possible. So I would be up for the 2xCD version of this. I would not begetting the album in 5.1 but how often can I listen to that, anyway? And then I could buy the “Complete Studio Recordings” 10xCD box for the two discs of non-LP B-sides and mixes which will obviously be omitted from all future boxed sets for around $50. Great! I’ll price one out right now.

I want those two bonus discs

Except that the going rate on that box in the horrorshow world of 2018 is now $150-$350.

doing a simon lebon

Doing a “Simon LeBon”

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OMD Celebrate 40th Anniversary with Book, Orchestra… and STANLOW!

OMD last played with the RLPO in 2009

We interrupt the loooooong OMD thread for some significant OMD news. Like another of my favorite bands [Simple Minds] this year is the group’s 40th anniversary. Simple Minds are doing a brief tour [now finished] with their new album played, followed by a Q+A session with the audience, and then a second set of catalog material. The new Simple Minds album is outstanding [more later], so I applaud playing it in its entirety, but the Q+A seems like a buzzkill bifurcating a live concert. No such tomfoolery for OMD! This morning they announced a two pronged attack on their 40 year legacy that sounds very intriguing indeed.

The Tome: Pretending To See The Future

It’s hard to believe, but to date I can tell of only a single book on the subject of OMD: 1987’s “Messages: An Official Biography” by Johnny [“The Phil Collins Story”] Waller and Mike [Paul’s brother] Humphreys. I’ve never seen the volume, and it’s apparently so thin on the ground that the former OMD forum had a pool whereby a single copy made the rounds to all who wanted to read it. One at a time. I never bit. I thought I’d wait for it to pop up in front of me one day and then buy it. Now I can give up that notion because OMD are making a new, up-to-date book that is being published later this year by Red Planet Publishing, who have an extensive line in music oriented books. Taking a look at their roster reveals – gasp!- rock-oriented books that are priced for all to buy and read instead of being £1459 bespoke hardcover editions of 25 with DNA samples of your favorite artists smeared on a special tipped in individually numbered swatch of glow-in-the-dark synthetic paper.

Another of my [many] beefs are the publishers [see: Genesis Publications] who craft alluring tomes that cost more than my paycheck for an audience of monied elites. I have no problem with every band I love getting their own coffee table book [preferably hardcover] and selling it for $50-100. I’m fine with that. Hopefully, this mooted OMD volume will be the sort of visually stunning tome that they can get Peter Saville to design the cover of. It’s provisionally entitled “Pretending To See The Future,” a good title, if you ask me. It will cover the band’s formation right through their current tour of 2018. Of course Andy + Paul are contributing to is as well as many of the people who have all worked on the OMD project over that time.

Where You Come Into It…

But this book is not being written in a vacuum. They are interested in everyone who likes the band contributing their own stories to it. How they discovered the band, details of any concert you may have attended, photos and ticket stubs. They will gladly review any submissions for possible inclusion. [and one hopes: a gratis copy of the book]. If you have anything to add to the pool, submit any materials to:

omdbook@gmail.com

and we’ll see what we end up with by the end of the year.


40th Anniversary Philharmonic Orchestral Manœuvres In The Dark

OMD 40th Anniversary Concert | Saturday 6 October 2018 7:30pm | Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

OMD 40th Anniversary Concert | Saturday 6 October 2018 7:30pmLiverpool Philharmonic Hall

Then there’s the OMD concert being held in Liverpool in October of this year to celebrate their 40 years on this planet. The group previously played with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 2009 where they played the only available recording of OMD’s Energy Suite installation soundtrack along with electro/orchestral versions of OMD canon on the second disc of the 2xDVD set that was issued in 2011. I have yet to view my copy since it takes me years to watch these music videos I buy. This year, they are playing two nights in October of this year to play special sets with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. All very delightful, but what makes these concerts extra spectacular is the assurance that will include such “ambient tone poems” as “Stanlow,” Sealand,” and “Ghost Star,” from “The Punishment Of Luxury.”

<SFX: Cue needle rip>

Hold everything right there…!!! You heard that correctly. In October of this year in Liverpool, OMD will play two concerts where the band’s first set with the Royal Liverpool Phiharmonic Orchestra will definitely include the epic “Stanlow!”

My [and probably your] favorite OMD song ever and one not likely played since 1980, if that. As if that weren’t enough, songs [and B-sides] never previously performed live such as “The Avenue” and “The New Dark Age” are on offer, along with a new instrumental entitled “And Then She Saw The Minotaur.” The second half will be the usual assortment of OMD hits and delights; often played, seldom returned. But mamacita – that first half sounds like OMD nirvana for yours truly. To bad the $550 of airline credit I have to use this year is with Southwest, who don’t fly internationally. The airfare alone for this starts at $1380 with Delta. Factor in food, lodging, shopping, travel from Manchester to Liverpool [not to mention the tickets] and I’m sure we’re looking at a serious two week vacation budget [i.e. $3K+] used up in just three nights. Still… “Stanlow!!!”

And how much are those tickets, anyway? They go on sale in person at the RLPO box office tomorrow morning, the 20th of February at 9:30 by phone and 10:00 a.m. online and in person for priority booking. For anyone else, the general sale is Thuesday, Feb 22 by phone at 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. online and in person. Tickets are at four agreeable price points:

  • £45
  • £55
  • £65
  • £115 [V.I.P. pkg. inc. laminate/lanyard/Signed program, front row seats]

If you’ve got the funding, all of the sales info can be found here. How I’d love to actually hear “Stanlow” in my lifetime, but I just don’t see it happening unless something shocking happens.

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Posted in Core Collection, Designed By Peter Saville, Organ Auction Live Event, Tourdates | 13 Comments

Rock GPA: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark [part 42]

Pay no attention to the Andy McCluskey behind the Atomic Kitten…

[continued from previous post…do not adjust your browser]

After the end of OMD MK II following the poor reception of “Universal” in 1996, Andy McCluskey found himself at a crossroads. It was the height of Britpop in the UK and guitar bands he thought were dinosaurs for the last 20 years were lording it over him on the charts. Nothing could have been less fashionable than synth pop in that environment. Elsewhere, by the time that OMD had petered out, the hottest thing on the UK charts were the manufactured “girl band” The Spice Girls.  Believe it or not, we can blame what happened next on Karl Bartos, formerly of Kraftwerk.

McCluskey was active with Bartos in a writing and performing partnership that saw them penning songs for each other’s albums in 1993-93. Bartos had opined to McCluskey that the best pop bands were all female, traditionally. When nursing his wounds after ending OMD, that thought came back to this notion and he realized that while no one was going to play a 37 year old man’s pop songs on the radio, he could still write them. So he and OMD partner Stuart Kershaw decided to manufacture their own pop band as the Death Of Rock® was almost complete by 1996-97. Labels hated dealing with ego-tripping, drug-taking miscreants who fancied themselves creative. The whole late 60s-70s rock era was a case of bands tipping the control factor in their favor and the labels had no choice but to follow along as that was the zeitgeist. They had to indulge their signings in the hopes that they would have a “Rumours” delivered after several millions of dollars invested in the recording of albums that took years to make.

Punk took control issues even further away from the label’s grasping hands with bands being conspicuously D.I.Y. to the point of releasing their own records with no actual label involved. Obviously, this was terrible [if you were a label]. The European market was always apart from the UK/US rock hegemony. There you could still get away with a Boney M style manufactured pop band; the label’s wet dream. Actually, it’s how the entirety of pop was before The Beatles changed everything. Labels had A+R/producers and songs from sweaty guys in brownstones who sat at a piano eight hours a day cranking out tunes. Labels matched up song/producer/singer to create the pop hits that they wanted to have. End of discussion.

Take That appeared at the same time as Andy re-upped OMD in the early 90s

The mid-late 80s saw Stock-Aitken-Waterman dominate the UK pop scene with a plethora of manufactured bands and stars; all produced on an efficient assembly-line basis. Pete Waterman started out working with fringe artists like Dead Or Alive and realized he could be writing the songs as well as producing them and control the whole enchilada. His team grabbed soap stars and made them recording acts. And they sold heaving bucketfuls of discs. Needless to say, they did not have the field to themselves forever. Others wanted a piece of that action. By the late 80s, moves were made to manufacture boy bands for the all important girl tween market. The New Pop image bands that had been self-made in the early 80s [Bananarama, Haircut 100] gave way to groups like Take That who were, in the very traditional fashion, assembled by management companies. By the time OMD threw in the towel, The Spice Girls, a female answer to Take That, were the biggest trend going. It didn’t take an Einstein to see that McCluskey, always a cynical chap, eventually realized that this could be his way out of his conundrum.

“His” band were called Atomic Kitten and though they were formed by the behest of songwriter Colin Pulse, McCluskey finessed his way into the writer’s seat, along with Stuart Kershaw.  The first two singles went top ten but the album, released in 2000, languished at #36. Just look at that cover [see right] … would you touch it? Their label [Innocent – I kid you not] were about to drop them but one more single was released. “Whole Again” went to number one for a month in the UK and went top five all over large portions of the globe not in North America. This changed everything. When it cam time to record the pressure cooker followup album, McCluskey and Kershaw saw themselves under attack by the label who wanted “Whole Again, Whole Again, and more ****-ing Whole Again,” according to an alienated McCluskey who was forced out of the package by a confluence of management, artist, and label issues before the second album was even finished. At least The Industry had taken 20 years to chew OMD up and spit them out. This drama played out in a fraction of that time.

Needless to say, I have avoided Atomic Kitten like the plague in the last 20 years. Aware of them, but taking care to know as little as possible abut them. Like much of the popular culture in the last 30 years. Heck, before this post, I had ever even seen their pictures.  Images like these [see left] need little commentary. This whole exercise looked like a huge leap backward for females as well as men! At the very least it gave a naïve McCluskey an up close and personal look at the dirty business of manufactured pop. Wiser and emboldened, he went out and created his own band, this time managing them as well.

The stillborn Genie Queen

McCluskey spent a few years after 2002, banging his head against the wall, trying to get The Genie Queen [see above] signed but all they have to show for it on Discogs is a promo CD-R on White Noise Records, McCluskey’s production company imprint. These adventures kept McCluskey preoccupied while his old label, Virgin Records, was beginning to burnish the OMD legacy with some judicious reissues. Even cobwebbed nostalgia had to be better than this horror.

Next: …Peel, and we don’t mean Emma

Posted in New Wave Hall Of Shame, Rock GPA | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments