With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“Stepping out from a backdrop poster wishing life wouldn’t be so dull” Blog Advent Calendar Day 22 December 22, 2014


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It’s the 22nd December and I reckon some kids can already hear the reindeer pulling hard on the old bearded weird one’s sleigh. That means of course that we are now up to Day 22 of this years advent calendar blog posts. The 22nd letter of the alphabet is ‘V’ so todays entry in the ABC of British bands is Visage.

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Visage were formed in 1978 by Steve Strange and Rusty Egan after the pair had hosted club nights at the Blitz night club in London. They were really keen to find new music to play to their paying punters and finally they opted on producing their own. Egan recruited Midge Ure who he had worked with in the Rich Kids and the three of them recorded a cover of the Zager and Evans one hit wonder from 1969, “In The Year 2525”. The band’s line-up was then enhanced with keyboard player Billy Currie off of Ultravox and three former members of Magazine; John McGeoch, Barry Adamson and Dave Formula.

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Their first album, entitled ‘Visage’ was released in November 1980. It made the top 20 in Austria, France, New Zealand and the UK. It also climbed to the top of the German album charts. The band’s highest charting album in the UK was 1982’s ‘The Anvil’ which reached number 6. “Tar” was their first single and it failed to chart when released in 1979. However the second single was “Fade To Grey” which was a hit across the world. It made the top ten in Austria, France, Italy, Belgium, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK. It hit the number one spot in Germany and Switzerland. None of their other singles have been anywhere near as successful.

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Earlier this month the band released an album called ‘Orchestral’ which has reworkings of their best songs by a symphony orchestra. In 2009 Rusty Egan and Steve Strange appeared in Living TV’s ‘Pop Goes The Band’ where former bands are given a make over and return the favour by undertaking a one-off performance. Strange also appeared in an episode of classic TV series ‘Ashes To ashes’ playing “Fade To Grey” in the Blitz club with Visage II keyboard player Sandrine Gouriou. That episode was set in 1981. Steve can also be seen, along with other Blitz regulars, in the 1980 video for David Bowie’s UK number one, “Ashes To Ashes”. Now it’s time for you to relive those Blitz days and maybe get yourself blitzed with eggnog while listening to Visage.

 

 

“Out of self respect I’m out of bread, I’m under loved I’m under fed” April 9, 2009


We took a day out to Whitby in North Yorkshire yesterday which is only about an hours drive from where I live in York. Many of you may know that Whitby is where much of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is set and much of the fabulously imposing structure of Whitby Abbey still remains. I think I will have to read the book again soon. Catwoman tells me that Whitby is supposed to be Goth Central, well apart from a couple of pre-teen girls with My Chemical Romance hoodies there was nothing even remotely close, maybe they just come out at night. By the way I know that MCR would not be considered goth, but really that is the closest thing I saw. But if the Daily Mail is to be believed, and I really don’t think it is, then these two kids were off to do some self harm and plan for suicide!

Whitby Abbey, it'll look good when it's finished won't it?

Whitby Abbey, it'll look good when it's finished won't it?

I did find a small independent music store though, as usual! I bought a copy of the supremely talented Julian Cope’s album ‘Black Sheep’ I got into Cope quite late really but I love his stuff now, especially his solo albums, I’m not so keen on the Teardrop Explodes. Incidentally did you know that the band got their name from issue 77 of Marvel Comics Daredevil from 1971 (which also featured Spiderman and Prince Namor)? Well they did and did you know that whilst I like Daredevil and Spidey the Silver Surfer is probably my favourite Marvel character? Well he is, but is followed in a very close second place by the Fantastic Four!

The page of the comic from which the Teardrop Explodes got their name

The page of the comic from which the Teardrop Explodes got their name

Whilst in Whitby we simply had to visit it’s most famous Fish and Chip restaurant, The Magpie and trust me it was well worth it! Click on the name to check it out. Speaking of fish,have any of you seen the new TV advert for Birds Eye Salmon Fish Fingers? I’m not sure if it is being shown outside the UK yet. Either way and just in case click here to see it. I think it is bloody hilarious and the best TV ad I’ve seen for ages.

I’ll cover just one birthday today 9th April. It’s the 29th birthday of Albert Hammond Jr off of the Strokes who has also produced a couple of solo albums in recent years too. He is the son of US singer songwriter Albert Hammond, I could make a joke here about his parents lacking creativity by giving him the same name as his Dad, but I won’t because that’s exactly what my parents did. no they didn’t name me Albert Hammond, he wasn’t my Dad ok, that’s just a “Big Stripey Lie” (you like the secret Kate reference Mickelodeon?). No my Dad, and therefore me too, were and are William Adamson, although no one ever calls me William anymore. Nowadays it’s Bill, Will, baldbloke or git. Anyway back to Mr Hammond Jr, I bought the Strokes’ first album ‘Is This It’ while I was on holiday in Canada in late August 2001. My copy contains the track “New York City Cops” which was removed from the US and some other territories releases after the terrible events of September 11th 2001. It was deemed disrespectful to the many public servants who risked and in many cases lost their lives on that day. I do understand that, but clearly it was written and recorded some time before those horrific murders so maybe now is a good time to reclaim it! Click here to see the band performing it live. Albert met Julian Casablancas, also off of the Strokes whilst at Boarding School in Switzerland. Albert’s dad had a massive hit in the early 70s with what I suppose would be termed one of my guilty pleasures these days, “It Never Rains In Southern California“. well maybe it does but surely it rains much, much less there than it does here in the UK.

Once again the Strokes fail to win at Giant Scrabble, spelling c;early wasn't their strong point!

Once again the Strokes fail to win at Giant Scrabble, spelling clearly wasn't their strong point!

It has been pointed out to me that Queen have not yet featured in my blog so far, well it’s nothing personal I do like them quite a lot. So here they are! On this day in 1973 Queen played a showcase gig for their new record label, EMI, at the Marquee Club in London. The late great (those l’s & g’s are getting very regular now, it must be all the Bran Flakes!) Freddie Mercury came up with the band’s name and claims he never even thought of it’s gay connotations, here is what he said about it; “I thought up the name Queen. It’s just a name, but it’s very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid, It’s a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. I was certainly aware of gay connotations, but that was just one facet of it.” For me Queen was more than just Freddie, it was a combination of him, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor. That is why I really don’t get stuff like the newish Paul Rodgers and Queen album. I think Paul Rodgers has one of the great rock voices but he’s not a part of Queen is he? I’m sure that some of you will disagree but that’s my opinion. Anyway let’s end this Queen piece on a fun note with another excellent Freddie quote. Queen and the Sex Pistols were recording in the same London studio complex in 1977 when Sid Vicious went into the wrong room and saw Freddie Mercury sitting at the piano alone. Sid allegedly said something like “Freddie Mercury, still bringing ballet to the masses are you?” Freddie’s excellent reply was allegedly something similar to “Oh yes Mr Ferocious dear, we are doing our best” Here are the mighty Queen with my favourite of all their songs “Seven Seas Of Rhye

Freddie loved to lord it over all those who were shorter than he was, which was basically..........everybody!

Freddie loved to lord it over all those who were shorter than he was, which was basically..........everybody!

And finally this day in 1991 saw the death of record producer Martin Hannett. He was born in Manchester and had produced many Manchester bands including; the Smiths, New Order, Joy Division, Happy Mondays and Magazine. He also worked with U2 and the Psychedelic Furs. He was credited as Martin zero for his first production job which was the “Spiral Scratch EP” by the Buzzcocks. He died of heart failure in 1991 after years of heavy drinking and drug addiction, which included heroin. Many people have a real misconception of the nature of addiction, myself included until recently. I have learned a lot from an Australian blog which now features on my BlogRoll, it’s called ‘The Australian Heroin Diaries‘ and you really should check it out. As far as Martin goes I had to finish with Joy Division’ fantastic “Love Will Tear Us Apart”

Martin was constantly being followed by two small UFOs that no one else could see

Martin was constantly being followed by two small UFOs that no one else could see

 

 
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