Before I made the trip to Atlanta, I had been trying to decide what piece of my reasonably large OMD collection would be the item to get signatures on at the meet and greet I was attending on the night of OMD’s March 14th date at The Loft. There was always this, the West Germany-only 4th single from “Architecture + Morality.”
The band denied their UK label Dindisc the option of a fourth single from their monster A+M album. Andy felt that it would be exploiting their fans and put his foot down… but not before the crafty W. German Virgin label snuck the single out any way. Lots of nice white space to accept a signature, but the rarity of this single made me less inclined to have my sleeve marked up. I have lots of their other singles in multiple copies. What among them would be good to have autographed? How about their “career-killing” advance single from the now well-regarded “Dazzle Ships” album, “Genetic Engineering?”
I did have multiple copies of this single and the stunning cover [r.i.p Trevor Key] was just calling out for some silver ink. Having the band sign what they consider their Waterloo would be a show of support. And then there’s the single of theirs that I love dearly from the A+M album. “Joan of Arc [Maid of Orleans]” is a song that grows with impact each time I’ve heard it the hundreds of times since it was released in 1981. The abstract opening! The Mellotrons®! Those drums!! And like “Genetic Engineering” I had the UK 7″ as well as a [less nicely printed] W. German pressing as well. The Germans thought well enough of this record to have made it the best selling single there for the year of 1982.
That was the thought I had going into this event, but I took all three of these sleeves with me to Atlanta in bags and in a 12″ mailer for protection. After the VIP CD for 2xLP slipup happened I determined that since I was there seeing them because of “History Of Modern” then that album would be the right and proper thing to get signed. After all, it is one hell of a return to form [minor quibbles aside]. It was by far the most compelling album I’d heard in the last decade. With that pre-trip question answered, my thoughts turned to wardrobe.
OMD’s infamous “bank clerk fashion sense” had an impact on me as a youth. White dress shirts and thin ties have always been a part of my fashion repertoire in the same way that khakis and jeans were not. As I was putting together my clothes for the evening, I settled on a blue French cuff dress shirt with my geeky atomic symbol cuff links. But which tie to wear…? I had decided on a vintage acetate beauty that I call my “black widow spider” tie when my wife called me out on the carpet. She simply could not believe that I was meeting OMD and not wearing my OMD tie!! This merits the tale of the tie.
Back in my younger days, I bought a lot of records via ads in Goldmine magazine. One of the dealers I dealt with on a regular basis were Vinyl Vendors in the Los Angeles area. They’re now known as Music Obsession, and I still buy from them from time to time. They had a subsidiary business that strictly sold music memorabilia. In one of the catalogs they had sent me a good 20 years ago, there was a listing for an official OMD promotional tie! Of course, I had to get it, and it’s been on my tie racks, unworn, ever since. It’s a relatively thin navy blue number with an OMD oval logo pattern. Subtle. Tasteful, in its own way, but this is why it had gone unworn. It was made of 100% polyester. <insert stinger>
Begorrah! In almost 2o years of owning this I was under the assumption that the OMD logos had been silkscreened on the tie. It always looked that way to the naked eye, but the macro shot above reveals [for the first time] that it is in fact embroidered into the fabric – just like a real tie! That had settled it. I would now be wearing my OMD tie for the first time while meeting the band. My wife was right. It had to happen! That it matched nicely with my shirt was not completely lost on me either.
My friend and I queued up in the receiving line and I assumed that about thirty minutes had been allotted for this event so that the group would have sufficient time to prepare for the show. When it was my turn to meet the band I offered my hand to Andy and introduced myself as REVO from the OMD forum. I then handed over my new US pressing of the “History Of Modern” 2xLP for autographing while I mentioned to the band that OMD were special among my favorite bands in that I was exposed to them with the first Factory single as an import on the radio and have been along for the ride ever since. I told them that OMD were the only of my favorite bands that I didn’t have to backtrack on. I also mentioned that my friend and I had seen them 25 years earlier opening for the Thompson Twins in Lakeland, Florida, and that I had also seen them in Atlanta earlier on that tour. They laughed when I said that both times my friends at either show blew off the Thompson Twins.
My friend and I both mentioned to Paul to give our best to his partner, Claudia Brücken; given that we were both huge fans of hers as well. Quite. Paul chimed in, mentioning that her recent London Scala gig promoting her new “ComBined” career retrospective disc was a veritable Who’s Who of New Wave. I responded that I had seen the great gig photos by Roger Goodgroves on the OMD forum and had been a little more than chagrined to have missed it, but this show was no small recompense. Having spent the requisite brief time chatting amiably, we forgot that we didn’t have any photos taken with the band. As Andy and Paul were speaking with the last few VIPers, we stood behind the receiving line as Martin smiled for the camera. I had wrestled with the taking of photos at this event even though non-professional cameras and video were okayed up front by the band. The admonition of friends as well as the notion that this would not happen again, ultimately tipped my hand. At the very least, these would enhance my blog posts about this seminal event in my musical life. It’s not every day that you get to meet one of your top “core collection” bands. Especially one that speaks so directly to me; moreso than most other groups that I may also love.
Next: Concert time…
p.s. – No. No one noticed the tie!