Tag Archives: album

2015 ➤ TV doc pits Boy George versus the rest in Culture Club reunion

Boy George, Mikey Craig, Roy Hay, Jon Moss, Culture Club, documentary, TV, Mike Nicholls, reunion, album, New Romantics

Culture Club 2015 style: fractious and bickering, as ever

◼ IN THE EARLY 1980s, Culture Club fronted by the gender-bending Boy George was one of the six British supergroups which dominated pop charts around the world. They won a Brit Award and a Grammy, notched up ten top 40 hits and sold 50 million records before they disbanded in 1986 after George fell victim to drug addiction. A brief reunion around the millennium yielded a tour and an album that didn’t even make the top 40.

Since then temperamental George invested time as a club deejay and in 2009 served time as a jailbird for “falsely imprisoning” and beating a male escort with a metal chain. Other attempted band reunions proved abortive, until the past year when a new album titled Tribes was written though it seemingly cannot be released until funds have been raised through a crowd-sourcing website. This year the deadline for pre-orders was extended to the end of March. And you thought George was millionaire pop royalty living on his royalty stream! Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Meanwhile, 21 putative tour dates for Culture Club in the UK and US had been cancelled because, according to George, a polyp was found on one of his vocal chords. No mention was made of the state of advance ticket sales. So far so bad.

On Friday 6 March BBC4 is scheduled to screen a documentary titled Boy George and Culture Club: Karma to Calamity. Director Mike Nicholls was given unique access and witnessed a fractious band reunion in George’s London home to write new material. From then on, all is chaos (and parental guidance is advised throughout). Under George’s headstrong leadership, tensions from their past emerged and faultlines developed further when the band spent two weeks together in Spain. Relations became even more strained when George and the band signed to separate managers. If these business partners pitched for Dragons’ Den using this film, they’d be sent back to busking on the streets.

George O'Dowd, culture Club, pop music

George quoted at the Culture Club website

BBC publicity says the hour-long film turns over “the band’s troubled past, examining the themes of success, fame and ego”, which means this is likely to be one for diehard fans only. OK, and voyeurs who want the inside track on the always frought love affair between George and drummer Jon Moss, who today is happily married. In one revealing scene online, Jon himself says: “I fell I love with him, he happened to be a man. We were instantly attracted to each other. It was very exciting.” Guitarist Roy Hay adds the reality check: “I just wanted to be in a band and have fun. I ended up in a ******* homosexual drama. The fighting was the problem.” So much for the glamour of life in pop’s fast lane.

❏ After an hour of tedious on-screen bickering, the closing captions read:
The tour needs to be rescheduled but the different managers can’t reach an agreement. Since the cancellation of the tour, George and the band are no longer speaking to each other. [Apart from George] the other band members have declined to be interviewed. The album release is on hold.

➢ View the Culture Club documentary on BBC iPlayer for the next week; or a selection of clips. (Parental guidance advised)

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Romance blossoms: Drummer Jon Moss gives George a peck at Planets club in July 1981 way before Culture Club existed. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
2010, Ex-jailbird George takes his first trancey steps on the path to sainthood

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
2010, Three key men in Boy George’s life, but why has TV changed some of the names?

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
2013, George still in denial over past misdeeds

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➤ The non-Bowie tribute super-duper group Holy Holy to stage The Man Who Sold The World

Tony Visconti, Woody Woodmansey , Holy Holy, The Man Who Sold The World,David Bowie,album, live concert,UK, pop music

TMWSTW: Bowie’s ambitious album to be updated in live performance by Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey’s band Holy Holy

➢ David Bowie’s website announces:
Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey perform David Bowie’s classic The Man Who Sold the World album with supergroup Holy Holy. Keep reading for further details of this and Holy Holy’s debut 45 with a Bowie cover on the B-side, not to mention a few words from a clearly excited Tony and Woody regarding the event. [Today’s update: After the Sept 17 London gig, a second performance is announced for Sheffield, Sept 18.]

David Bowie’s seminal album The Man Who Sold the World, produced by Tony Visconti, was recorded in 1970. It is unusually sonically heavy and dystopian for a Bowie album, with lyrical themes including annihilation and a totalitarian machine. The sound combines riff-laden heavy rock with futurist synth sounds and Visconti’s innovative production techniques.

Tony Visconti says: “I’ve rarely played anything as ambitious and demanding as the music of that great batch of songs conceived by David Bowie. With Woody Woodmansey and Mick Ronson, two of the finest musicians I’ve had the pleasure of recording and playing with, we set out to create something both new and classic, we called it our Sgt. Pepper. David gave us a chance to bring our unique talents to the table and we made up our parts within David’s framework. Mick forced me to listen to Jack Bruce, however, and told me ‘That’s what great bass playing was all about’. I got it, lead bass playing – as a guitarist this came natural to me. With David as our charismatic frontman we were Young Turks determined to spin heads and change the world of music… / Continued at davidbowie.com

Holy Holy, The Man Who Sold The World,David Bowie,album, live concert,UK, pop music,Malcolm Doherty, Steve Norman,

Holy Holy at Peckham Liberal Club last December: Malcolm Doherty on guitar and Steve Norman on sax. Photograph © Marilyn Kingwill

➢ A few tickets remain for Holy Holy’s TMWSTW on Sept 17 at The Garage, London
➢ Buy tickets for Holy Holy’s second performance on Sept 18 at the O2 Academy, Sheffield
➢ Update 5 June: more dates added, for Glasgow and Shepherd’s Bush Empire, plus a live discussion about the Bowie album at the ICA

Tony Visconti on bass, and Woody Woodmansey on drums, will be joined by this stellar Holy Holy line-up:
Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), lead vocals
Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet), sax, guitar, percussion and vocals
Erdal Kizilcay (David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Freddie Mercury), keyboards and vocals
James Stevenson (Generation X, Scott Walker, Gene Loves Jezebel), guitar
Paul Cuddeford (Ian Hunter, Bob Geldof), guitar
Rod Melvin (Ian Dury, Brian Eno), piano
Malcolm Doherty (Rumer), 12-string guitar and vocals
Lisa Ronson (A Secret History), vocals
Maggi Ronson backing vocals and recorder
Hannah Berridge Ronson backing vocals, recorder and keyboards

➢ Bowie collaborators Woody Woodmansey and Tony Visconti will lead a 12-strong ensemble, says The Guardian:
Woodmansey said the time was right to revive the album that first brought him, Visconti and Bowie together, and that it would be a fitting tribute to Mick Ronson, the guitarist and musical genius behind Bowie’s most successful run of albums, who died in 1993. The Man Who Sold the World was the first album Mick Ronson and I played on, our first even in a proper London studio, yet it never got played live,” Woodmansey said. “It was the forerunner of what we could do sound-wise, and we just let rip. We spent three weeks recording [it] because we were creating the songs as we went… / Continued at Guardian Online

David Bowie, Mick Ronson, 1971,

The day they signed the deal for Hunky Dory in 1971… In a band called Hype, Bowie, Visconti and Ronson (right) created a sound that led to The Man Who Sold the World. And that meant the future was hunky-dory

➢ At Facebook Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman confirms: “And if that’s not enough, there’s a brand new track scheduled for release on the day of the gig, We Are King. I can’t wait!” A little bird says Steve himself wrote it as the Holy Holy debut single, backed with their cover version of Bowie’s Holy Holy.

❑ Not forgetting possibly the definitive performance of the title track The Man Who, with Klaus Nomi. This thrillingly exact video is (for rights reasons) available to view only in the V&A’s touring exhibition, Bowie Is, which is currently at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany, until August 10, later visiting Chicago and next year Paris.

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Bowie drags up in the Mr Fish “man-dress” that appears on the sleeve for The Man Who Sold The World

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: How Bowie defined the difference between glam and glitter

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➤ Spandau confirms one-off live reunion gig in Texas – for a tiny elite!

Spandau Ballet,1984,pop music,reunion,Blitz Kids, New Romantics,, Parade, album

Parade’s 30th birthday celebration! In 1984 the fourth studio album by Spandau Ballet yielded two UK Top 10 hits, Only When You Leave and I’ll Fly for You. It introduced the imagery of artist David Band which became the band’s leitmotif

FEB 12 – UPDATE FROM SPANDAU BALLET

Spandau Ballet (Official) – “Awesome Spandau meeting yesterday! 2014 and 2015 are shaping up rather nicely”

FEB 14 – BIG TONE TO HIT THE ROAD

Tickets go on sale for Spandau singer Tony Hadley’s 10-stop UK tour in October, once again with a full orchestra, climaxing at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane

FEB 20 – LIVE REUNION GIG CONFIRMED

Gary Kemp says – “We’re in rehearsals next week!”

❚ SPANDAU BALLET WILL PLAY TOGETHER on March 12 – their first live date in North America since 1985. On the same day that their biopic Soul Boys of the Western World premieres in Austin, Texas, the five Angel Boys will later perform at the Vulcan Gas Company on E 6th Street, a refurbished new entertainment space named after a psychedelic venue from the hippie 60s. It will host 20 gigs during the massive SXSW new-media conference and its music and film festivals.

entertainment

The new Vulcan in Austin: a steam-punk interior and cutting-edge sounds

What will stymie hordes of Spandau’s hopeful American fans is that a registered Music Badge to attend SXSW costs $750 and, even then, does not guarantee admission to specific events.  Platinum and Gold conference delegates are given priority admission before Music and Film Badge holders. Also, the new Vulcan with “an industrial steam-punk feel” is a modest venue – with a typical capacity of 535 – so spare tickets are likely to be thin on the ground. The Festival operates a Queue Card system with updates online, via Venue Status Boards and @sxsw on Twitter. However, before travelling to Austin, Spandau fans are advised to ensure they have secured a ticket (see the comment from SXSW, below). Hints from the Spandau team suggest there may be more news soon.

Elsewhere on the same evening the UK singer Damon Albarn is performing at one of Austin’s 100 venues that stage live music nightly – the town does claim to be the “Live Music Capital of the World”. For three years from 1967 the Vulcan Gas Company on Congress Avenue became its first successful psychedelic music venue, featuring Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat, Muddy Waters and other greats, then morphing into the Armadillo World Headquarters with a broader musical bill that embraced Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, blues and jazz.

Jimi Hendrix , Johnny Winter, music, Vulcan Gas Company

Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Winter playing live in 1968: Google identifies this photo as being “the original Vulcan on Congress Avenue with its notorious drainpipe backdrop”. However reader Trent Lesikar believes this to be The Scene in New York City (see Comments below).  

Now in the 30th anniversary year of Spandau Ballet’s fourth album, Parade, one of Britain’s iconic supergroups of the 80s returns to the States.

Tony, Gary, Martin, Steve and John will be flying in to attend the 2pm premiere of their archive-only documentary film, Soul Boys of The Western World. Songwriter Gary Kemp says: “We had the idea because we have a good story and the story has a real arc. It’s about friendship, kids who come from the shadows of the Second World War growing up in the 60s and 70s, a period of great rock music from David Bowie and glam rock. They go through the whole punk experience and then had the experience of the whole New Romantic scene of working-class kids dressing up and doing things that were outrageous against a recession.”

ENTRY TO SXSW EVENTS CANNOT BE GUARANTEED

❏ SXSW says: “As far as films go, tickets will be for sale at the door after delegates with badges and wristbands are seated, if there is room. For the music portion of the event, the situation is very similar. There will most likely be tickets for sale at the door but it varies from venue to venue. After badges and wristband holders are admitted, tickets may be sold if capacity allows. Our best advice is to get to the venue early or contact them to see if they will be selling tickets at the door and also see how long the wristband/badge lines are to judge if you could even get in.”

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Video gems unearthed by the Spandau Ballet documentary movie

Spandau Ballet,1984,pop music,reunion,Blitz Kids, New Romantics,, Parade, album

2014… Spandau Ballet’s next parade is about to begin!

FIRST REACTIONS FROM THE FANS

Jennifer Schmaltz Robbers Aw, this is so bittersweet! It would be great if you guys could add another show outside of SXSW. It will be hard for a lot of your US fans to swing the SXSW pass.

Ricky Resurreccion $795 for a music badge???? My wife and I huge fans from California and she’d die to see you guys perform. Come on, Gary, help us out here!

Molly Fanton It better be a US tour. Come on guys come to Buffalo, Boston or NYC. I so want to see you guys.

Shell Stringer When are Spandau Ballet going to tour round more local places? Come to The Dome, Doncaster please :-)))

Carlos Hidalgo Regular Sud America

Christine Turner Hopefully another tour Down Under.

Tony Baker Get your sens darn to the Echo @ Liverpool lads

Brigitte Supercan We want you in Italy very soon please

Catriona Stokes Please come to Dublin again, you were fab in 2009 xx

Gregg Daniell Toronto. Canada would live to have you.

Debbie Meyers Praying for anywhere in the USA

Cecy Blue Pax We want a Spandau Ballet concert in South America too

Cristina Martínez Queralt Barcelona waiting for you

Layne Wheeler ok, about that meeting. when are you coming over to the states, anywhere over the atlantic, the wife and I AND our friends will come see you… here is a incentive… I will cook!!

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➤ Gary Kemp and Tony Hadley in two-man Spandau reunion

 Tony Hadley, Gary Kemp,Spandau Ballet, True, album,Mastertapes ,Maida Vale

Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp: Mastertapes recording at BBC Maida Vale

➢ First part of the Radio 4 Mastertapes recording will be broadcast on Monday June 24 at 11pm BST: Ep 5, True with Gary Kemp and Tony Hadley:

John Wilson talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios in two episodes, Wilson initially quizzes the artist about the album in question, and then the audience puts the questions.

Thirty years ago Spandau Ballet released their third album True. It peaked at number one in UK on May 14 and became a worldwide smash hit featuring tracks such as Gold, Pleasure, Communication and the title track, which spent four weeks at the top of the charts. Singer Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp, the man who wrote all of these songs, both went to the BBC Maida Vale studios last Thursday to discuss their inspiration and influence.

Spandau in the Bahamas, 1982: Martin, Gary, Steve, John and Tony. © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis

Spandau in the Bahamas, 1982: Martin, Gary, Steve, John and Tony. © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis

Released in 1983, True became one of the stand-out albums of the New Romantic movement. It was recorded at the Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas, where producers Steve Jolley and Tony Swain gave the band a slicker, more R&B sound aimed at squarely at the charts. The B-side of the programme, where it’s the turn of the audience to ask the questions, can be heard on Tuesday June 25 at 3.30pm.

➢ Update June 25: BBC podcast available for download – Kemp and Hadley (A side) True 24.06.13

➢ Tony Hadley will release a DVD + CD package titled Live from Metropolis Studios in September, recorded in front of only 100 fans. A deluxe limited edition features pictures and an authentic signed picture for pre-orders before July 26.

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➤ Reborn Alison Moyet lets herself off the mainstream leash

Robert Elms ,interview,album, Alison Moyet

No longer “a cheap date”: Robert Elms with Alison Moyet today

❚ ALISON MOYET HAS COMPLETED her eighth solo album, The Minutes, with Guy Sigsworth on production creating a whole new synthesised sound. It is released on May 6 on the Cooking Vinyl label. Today she talked to Robert Elms on his BBC London show about slipping into “electro-jazz” and being able to say No to merely doing more cover versions. “I wanted to play a bit.”

She surprises Robert by saying, yes she is a mainstream artist, but regards herself as an instrumentalist, that her first instrument is “a voice – I love chanson, like Brel or Michel Legrand. But as well as being a voice, I’m an artist where voice is not the main thing, it can be about the lyric or the melody. I don’t always want the voice to be the focus!”

Alison Moyet, the Basildon punk, high priestess of electronic pop and peerless soul singer, set out as Genevieve Alison Jane. An Essex girl born to a French father and English mother, she left school at 16, became famous at 21 as singer in Yazoo, and released her triple-platinum solo debut, Alf, at 23. She found fame hard to handle at such a young age, but hindsight has helped her appreciate those experiences. “For a while in the mid-80s, it was amusing to be a pop bitch, but that changed, and it stopped being enough. Now I am able to put my early work into context and find pleasure in the innocence of it.” Between 1984 and 1987, Moyet was Britain’s biggest female solo star.

➢ Robert Elms interviews Alison Moyet on BBC London 94.9 and plays two singles, 4 May 2013 (last half hour) – on iPlayer for seven days

➢ On video, May 15: Alison Moyet talks to Absolute 80s Martyn Lee about her new album The Minutes

♫ Preview clips from Alison Moyet’s The Minutes, out May 6. The first single When I Was Your Girl is on sale already

➢ The Minutes tour starts Sep 30 in Cork and hits London’s Royal Festival Hall on Oct 15, ends Oct 31

➢ Moyet’s comeback single – ‘my happiest studio experience’

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