Tag Archives: Human League

2012 ➤ February News Splurge at Shapersofthe80s

This post is being updated throughout the month

Blur, Brit Awards,pop music

Accidental reunion this month? Blur at the Brits in 1995 when they won four awards

“Blur reunion” scheduled for pre-Brit Awards fundraising gig — as reported at Live4ever: Blur members Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon will be among the special guests at this year’s Brit Awards party, which will take place at the Shepherds Bush Empire two nights before the official prize-giving ceremony (Tues Feb 21), aiming to raise money for the War Child charity. The two bandmates are then set to reunite on-stage with Alex James and Dave Rowntree at the Brit Awards event itself, when they will perform live after picking up the Outstanding Contribution gong… Deejay for the Brit Awards After Party at Indigo 2 is Rusty Egan.
New Head of Central Saint Martins announced — From August 2012 Professor Jeremy Till is to be the next Head of Central Saint Martins within the University of the Arts London. Currently Dean of the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Westminster, he takes over from retiring head, Professor Jane Rapley OBE who took up the role in 2006.
The Bedroom Philosopher and A Small Press cut the ribbon on The Bedroom Philosopher Diaries, Feb 17 at Trades Hall, Melbourne, Oz — The BPD is a collection of hilarious and melancholic reports from Justin Heazlewood’s (Frankie, Mess & Noise) experiences as a touring folkstar. Read about his epic battles with drunk punters, scatty rockstars, aloof groupies and mostly himself. Feb 17 is a literary danceathon featuring many guests, and of course the Boho Stripped Bare in conversation with himself: “Sometimes performing is like meeting yourself for the first time and not being that into it.” Buy BPD here
✱ 10,000 tickets will be selected by ballot for a star-studded concert at Buckingham Palace, celebrating The Queen’s 60-year reign. The Diamond Jubilee Concert will be produced by the BBC on June 4, 2012. Take That’s Gary Barlow is musical director and artists invited so far include Shirley Bassey, Alfie Boe, Jools Holland, Jessie J, JLS, Elton John, Tom Jones, Annie Lennox, Madness, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard and Ed Sheeran. Ticket applications are being received between Feb 7 and March 2, NOT first come first served.

Johnny Marr, Ray Ban, Raw Sounds, Dazed & Confused , interview, Polly Harvey✱ Guitar hero Johnny Marr has a tip-top new website … And in a video interview he’s thrilled to bits with the new Signature Jaguar he’s been developing with Fender — read more.
Anything goes at Wearable Art, the London Fashion Week special at Egg, Feb 18, 22–10:00 — Hosted by Malice, Wearable Art promises a mélange of design and performance and music from London’s most fashion friendly and visual DJs including a Frequenza Records showcase with Alex D’Elia, Nihil Young and CJ Hartmann, Larry Tee, Jodie Harsh…
Madonna’s 2012 World Tour starts Tel Aviv May 29, ends Atlanta GA Nov 17, calling at London July 17, Edinburgh July 21, Dublin July 24, NYC Sept 6 and LA Oct 10 … Madge, you’re a fool if you approve standing tickets for Hyde Park going on sale between £175 and £5,000 EACH! … Meanwhile 12-track edition of MDNA goes on sale March 26.

Lloyd Johnson, Modern Outfitter, exhibition, Chelsea Space

Lloyd Johnson Modern Outfitter exhibition, 2012: entrance to Johnson’s shop in Kensington Market from 1973 designed by Mojo Creative. On display, red leather-fronted ponyfur jacket, La Rocka 1984; gold leather fringed biker jacket, Mex Tex 1986; blue and red fleck zoot suit 1981

Lloyd Johnson The Modern Outfitter exhibition is at The Chelsea Space, 16 John Islip Street, London SW1 until Mar 3 — Read Robert Elms’s blog: “His King’s Road shop, with the scooter parked outside, was part of the hub of wild boutiques, along with Vivienne Westwood, Boy, Antony Price and Rockit, which made Chelsea the place to be throughout the punk era.” Lloyd Johnson will be at The Chelsea Space every Wednesday throughout the exhibition.
Pulp,US tour, dates, pop music ,festival murciano,
✱ Hot news! Pulp reissue their weird and groundbreaking first three albums on Feb 20. Then Jarvis and friends head for the States. We have the tour dates for Pulp in the US — plus Spain again in May. Can this be the year Pulp and Jarvis start delivering some answers?
Ringo Starr’s 17th solo studio record, Ringo 2012 was released on January 31. Of the nine tracks two are covers, Think It Over and Rock Island Line, and two are new versions of his own songs, Wings and Step Lightly.
Richard Strange, Gary Kemp, Mighty Big If , events
✱ At Facebook Richard Strange announces: “What a year it’s been… getting married to my amazing wife, Kelly, and culminating Jan 24 with the exciting launch of A Mighty Big If and Don Boyd’s online arts channel, HiBrow. My guests Alison Jackson and Richard Wilson were nothing short of inspirational, and having Gary Kemp [above] play three songs with me was the icing on a delicious cake. Thank you all!”

✱ Led by film maker Don Boyd, HiBrow is a highly personalised online platform for the performing and visual arts — Launch highlights include Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre performing David Eldridge’s All Is Vanity; the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performing Mahler’s Fifth Symphony; 2011 World Book Night readings and interviews presented by Graham Norton; coverage of the 2011 film festival in Burkina Faso; Raf Bonachela Company’s dance performance of The Land Of Yes and the Land of No; Gavin Turk in conversation with Richard Strange; and previews from the Tate St Ives.
Kid Creole, Coconuts, Victoria Park, Apple Cart Festival , Penguin Café, Billy Bragg Kid Creole & The Coconuts headline at The Apple Cart Festival 2012 in London’s Victoria Park E9 on June 3. Comedy, art, cabaret, magic — plus Billy Bragg, Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard, Marcus Foster, Marques Toliver, Martin Creed, Noah & The Whale, Penguin Café, Stornoway & more.
✱ Last month, the Preston-based Laboratory Project launched a new album Taste Masters 3 featuring Two Weeks Running, MC Tunes, Saturday Night Gym Club, Salford Jets, Twin Planets, Pangaea & Drew Smith.
✱ Singer Tony Hadley announces: “My wife and I are pleased to announce the safe arrival of our beautiful baby daughter born on February 6, 2012.”
We Can Be Heroes,Chris Sullivan, Graham Smith, Unbound Publishing,party✱ The definitive history of 80s clubbing We Can Be Heroes is throwing a Soho party Feb 22 where you can meet Graham Smith and co-author Chris Sullivan and buy signed copies downstairs at the The Sun & Thirteen Cantons, 21 Great Pulteney Street, W1F 9NG. From 7pm until late, with Sullivan on the turntables… View video of Sullivan telling his “Ribald tales of excess”.
i-D Magazine, Pre-Spring, Weather, Pan Yan✱ i-D magazine launches its Pre-Spring 2012 Whatever The Weather issue with covers inspired by the Chinese Year of The Dragon, Pan Yan [left] shot by Chinese fashion photographer Chen Man… Fashion forecasts for the season ahead include Wolfgang Tillmans on London Fashion Week and Juergen Teller at Pam Hogg’s Paris show, while Hedi Slimmane shoots Dylan Riley (don’t ask which one). Music includes Azealia Banks and the Albanian Rita Ora … Here at Shapersofthe80s Dazed and i-D hipster sounds go head to head
✱ Bowie’s friend Wendy spotted herself dancing in the newly discovered Jean Genie video — read her story here at Shapersofthe80s.
Martin Kemp, Hustle, bbc, series 8,Spandau bass player Martin Kemp returns to UK TV screens as a stylish gangster in the hit peaktime BBC1 drama series, Hustle, viewable on iPlayer until Feb 17. Martin talks about the show, veteran American actor Robert Vaughn, and being directed by one of its stars, Adrian Lester, in an interview at Cultbox
Martin Kemp, Stalker,DVD,psycho-thriller,film,Black & Blue,✱ Released Jan 30 on DVD: the moody psycho-thriller Martin Kemp’s Stalker — Amazon sold out early so visit Martin’s Facebook page. Signed poster cards also available…

At Shapersofthe80s view video interview with Martin as the popstar talks about becoming a movie mogul … and read how he got blood on his hands during his his directorial debut.
✱ Taking in London’s Albert Hall on Nov 26, the Human League XXXV Tour kicks off Nov 23, 2012 from Brighton with 14 UK dates so far.
Submotion Orchestra, Ruby Wood,Jazz, Grime, Classical, Dubstep, Soul, Dub, UK tour,LeedsSubmotion Orchestra, the live 7-piece from Leeds whose Facebook interests include “Jazz, Grime, Classical, Dubstep, Soul, Dub, Garage, Improv” announce their third headline tour March 12–17 from Fac251 in Manc via Scala London to Bristol Fleece, to promote a hotly anticipated new single and second album. Here’s Angel Eyes…

Listen at Soundcloud to their Finest Hour – The Remixes available now on iTunes featuring versions by Goth-Trad, Planas, Phaeleh, Synkro, Laxx, SeeMore Productions, Eddie Ranking and Jack Sparrow … “Submotion Orchestra carry both the funk and the groove into new dimensions” — The Word
Rewind, 80s Festival,Henley-on-Thames, Scone Palace,Perth, pop music✱ On sale now: Rewind The 80s Festival in Henley-on-Thames returns for a fourth successive year Aug 17–19 at Temple Island Meadows with Kool & The Gang, OMD, Grandmaster Flash, Rick Astley, Soul II Soul, Five Star, Starship, Jimmy Somerville, Sinitta, Tony Hadley, Marc Almond, Midge Ure and Adam Ant and The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse. Plus festival fun from silent discos to live karaoke … Also, Rewind Scotland — The 80s Festival at Scone Palace, Perthshire July 20–22, with 80s recording artists who include ABC, Holly Johnson, Marc Almond, Midge Ure, Squeeze, Jimmy Somerville, Altered Images, Five Star, Go West, Limahl, Village People and Adam Ant.
Amanda Mair,pop music, Leaving Early,debut✱ PopJustice has gone ape for two Nordic beauties: 16-year-old Swede Amanda Mair [pictured] whose debut album is “a nonstop amazeathon” while expressing “high hopes” for a new album from Norwegian electro-pop goddess Bertine Zetlitz, “whose last studio album is one of the best of the modern pop era”.
David Hockney, Royal Academy,exhibition,Bigger Picture ,London,interview,cubism,iPad,Yorkshire,landscape,art,Proust✱ The massive new exhibition of vibrantly coloured landscapes by David Hockney is not, he insists, a retrospective, but mainly new work responding to the unique skies over Yorkshire. The show concludes with an eye-popping series of “cubistic” multi-screen cine films of exactly the kind he was proposing to Shapersofthe80s in his 1983 landmark interview when he revealed “Suddenly I see cubism differently, more clearly”. Read it inside.
✱ The February issue of Dazed & Confused heads to Harlem to hang with 24-year-old rap sensation A$AP Rocky … Plus four interviews with groundbreaking designers Meadham Kirchhoff, Kris Van Assche, Kim Jones and Christopher Kane … Online at Dazed Digital: profile of John Brockman, vanguard of intellectual fashion.
Paul Oakenfold, BMX Remix, Gold (song),Spandau Ballet, Wispa Gold,Team GB,2012 Olympics✱ Spandau Ballet now offer a UK download bundle of three club and dub mixes of their anthemic hit single Gold at a special price … Paul Oakenfold’s BMX Remix of Gold on sale at iTunes and at Amazon Downloads
✱ View the ♫ pre-Olympics music video of the Gold BMX remix and read the story behind it here at Shapersofthe80s.
✱ Feb 19 from 8pm: Spandau’s songwriting Kemp brother is interviewed on Absolute 80s radio about The Lyrics of Gary Kemp to be published on March 27 by the Lyric Book Company, featuring all the songs the guitarist has written over four decades, including club anthems To Cut A Long Story Short, Chant No.1 and True — discover why Kemp found it “hard to write the next line” here at Shapersofthe80s.

Marc Almond in Concert: A Birthday Celebration, London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, July 9 — another milestone celebration on the night of his 55th birthday. A string and brass section will join Almond’s regular band and they promise a Northern Soul finale.
Rusty Egan, Blitz Club Live,Valentine, clubbing,UK✱ Rusty Egan will bring the authentic 80s sounds of The Blitz to a Very New Romantic Valentines Party at Bath’s recently enlarged Circo cocktail bar on Feb 11 … Other Saturdays there are cocktails, food and Egan deejaying at Jaks on Walton Street in Chelsea… Listen to his latest 16-track 80s mix L’amour et la Violence.
Lou Reed has announced a From Vu To Lulu European tour during summer 2012, without a single appearance in the UK. Kicking off in Luxembourg on June 6, ending in Slovakia July 5, he will perform material from his entire canon, Velvet Underground to his recent Metallica collaborative album Lulu. His five-piece band will include Tony ‘Thunder’ Smith (drums), Rob Wasserman (bass), Kevin Hearn (keyboards), and Aram Bajakian (guitar).
Fac51, Hacienda, Manchester, logo, nightclubbing, records, pop music✱ The first release of 2012 will be Dark Teenage Fantasy, the “slinky, twisted disco” debut EP on Feb 6 from synthpop duo Super White Assassin … Fac251’s Second Birthday comes in two parts at M1 7EN: Sat Feb 4 has 24Hr Party People onscreen, Covelles live, plus DJ sets inc Peter Hook … More on Feb 11, with free gig by Reverend and the Makers … Missionary every Tuesday at Fac251: three rooms with Bombed Out hosting the basement.
Verdicts on 2011: Picky people’s year-ending Best Ofs in fashion, TV, web and film … also Best Ofs across the music scene

➤ Martin Rushent — the man who made stars of the Human League — is dead

Martin Rushent , electronic music, British pop, swinging 80s,

Martin Rushent with Korg Super Section programmable sequencer (1985)

❚ A TRUE SHAPER OF THE 80s DIED YESTERDAY. Martin Rushent, the mould-breaking UK music producer, was 63 when he suffered a heart attack at his home in Berkshire. What he stamped on 80s electronica was a rhythmic template of synths and drum machines that came to characterise much mainstream pop, notably The Human League’s breakthrough album Dare in 1981, which spent 71 weeks in the UK chart, and became a worldwide smash. Rushent was known as a hard taskmaster. He insisted on bringing the Sheffield-based band south to escape the “unhealthy atmosphere” of Monumental Studios oop north, and his influence was not immediately welcomed by the League’s leader Phil Oakey, following the early band’s split and reconfiguration in 1980.

Dare, The Human League,album, pop music, Martin RushentIt began with their first single The Sound of the Crowd [see video below] which peaked at No 12. Rushent was a pioneer of the remix, who decided to improve on the League’s original version of Dare by creating 1982’s Love And Dancing, a complete makeover of the original album. It went to No 3 in the LP chart and is today regarded as his game-changing calling card. As with the Stranglers earlier, Rushent achieves a razor-sharp clarity for each instrument, here dominated by the electronics he so believed in. The Scottish pop group Altered Images also enjoyed chart hits thanks to Rushent’s production. He was named Best British producer in the 1982 BRIT Awards.

The Stranglers,rock music,No More HeroesMany also regard Rushent as the best new-wave producer of the late 70s through his work with The Stranglers, Britain’s longest-surviving rock band from that post-punk era (he produced their first three albums which would become both commercial and classic, Rattus Norvegicus, No More Heroes and Black and White), as well as Gen X, Buzzcocks, XTC, 999 and Hazel O’Connor. Other acts he engineered earlier in the 70s were T.Rex, David Essex, Fleetwood Mac, Yes and Shirley Bassey.

Rushent custom-built a £250,000 high-tech recording studio at his home near Reading where, he said, “The air-conditioning alone cost me £35,000”. Here ex-Buzzcock Pete Shelley made his debut album Homosapien (1981) as a solo artist for Rushent’s record label Genetic. This had its London office a couple of floors up from the legendary Blitz club where Rusty Egan and Steve Strange ushered in the New Romantics movement in 1979. Egan says that Rushent facilitated two Visage tracks, Tar and Frequency 7 (“recorded in his garage in 1979”).

His 37-year-old first son Tim says his father hated playing by any accepted rules of the game and brought irreverence to the production process. His musical signature was to add a sophisticated mix of vibrance and colour, so beefing up the musical temperature higher than a band managed to achieve for themselves. He cites The Human League’s first No 1 hit Don’t You Want Me, and Fascination (as well as Altered Images’ Happy Birthday album track). Dad’s tactic had been to bring into The Human League punk rocker Jo Callis from the Rezillos to act as a co-writer and catalyst.

Human League, Phil Oakey, Joanne Catherall ,Susan Sulley

The Human League, 1981: Phil Oakey and the girls he immortalised in that lyric, Joanne Catherall and Susan Sulley

BBC journalist Linda Serck recalls how Rushent made clear who was boss when he met The Human League: “They were under the impression that I was going to work on what they’d done so far and improve that and carry on. I said, ‘No I’m not doing that, we’re starting again’, which was a bit of a shock for Phil [Oakey]. He argued about that but I said, ‘No, if I’m going to produce you, you’re going to do what I tell you to do’. This is my attitude to everybody I produce, it’s a sort of democratic dictatorship!”

Tragically for producer and band, the end came abruptly after three years’ hard work. In a moment of pique, backing singer Susan Sulley (famously discovered while at school dancing “in a cocktail bar”) asked the perfectionist Rushent, who was old enough to be her father: “What do you know about what young people want?” In any normal workplace this would be grounds for her dismissal. In this case, the insult detonated the end of a lucrative, million-selling business partnership.

Today, Rushent leaves his wife, Ceri, and four children from two marriages.

➢ “When producer Martin Rushent took the Human League’s leaden new song and turned it into pop gold, the band hated it” — A revealing interview with Sound On Sound, 2010

♫ Peaches by The Stranglers — “Bass sound?! I asked him one time how he got that bass sound, he said: I turned everything up” — James Rushent, his second son, a musician.

♫ Three days ago Martin Rushent listened to two of his own tracks at his MySpace page: In Your Arms Again (from 2007) and Itchy Hips (2006).



Hugh Cornwell , The Stranglers,Hugh Cornwell (left), vocalist and guitarist with The Stranglers: “ It is with great sadness that I hear of Martin Rushent’s passing. He was a vibrant and gifted individual who was able to extract the essence of what The Stranglers began with, and translate it into something that could be played on radios across the UK. It was obviously no one-off success, as he was later to show with The Human League. I remember him fondly.

Midge Ure of Ultravox “ He saw the potential in synthesisers and a future in electronic music. Sad loss for all music.

Visage drummer Rusty Egan: “ Martin, Midge Ure, Barry Adamson, Billy Currie, Dave Formula, John McGeogh, myself and Steve Strange all hanging in your house in summer of 1979 recording our debut album VISAGE … Because YOU believed … THANK YOU … You were a total genius, and like all geniuses before you, you had a crazy life but an amazing body of work … I am welling up remembering your kindness and love for music…
➢ Listen to Rusty Egan’s set of Martin Rushent re-mixes from the 80s dancefloor newly uploaded to Soundcloud

Altered Images drummer ‘Tich’ Anderson: “ I’ll remember all those hours in Genetic studios fondly. Sorry for crashing your Jaguar. xxxxxx You were a genius Martin.

Visage vocalist Steve Strange: “ Martin one was not only a genius but as a 17-year-old making his first record, he was a true role model, inspiration and guiding figure. He signed our first record Tar to his record label and for us, started the ball rolling. We owe him so much. Thank you.

Tim Rushent, son and sound producer: “ As many of you know I had a VERY fractious relationship with my Dad. But I never doubted his work as a producer, friend and raconteur. Feeling even more proud of him professionally today than I have done for 37 years.

➢ Pay your own tribute at the Facebook page Martin Rushent Memories

Prof Ben Rosamond, Uni of Copenhagen: “ Just under 36 minutes of music, but thousands of hours in the making. According to Simon Reynolds in Rip it Up, Love and Dancing consisted of 2,200 main edits and a further 400 small edits. There were so many splices that the mastertape was close to disintegration. The work of a genius. Others have said this, but it’s true for me as well. Martin, you fashioned the soundtrack of my teenage years and so many of the melodies and musical phrases that pop in and out of my adult consciousness are yours. Thank you. Rest in peace.

Heather Priestley, anaesthetic ODP, London: “ Martin you were a much loved legend, RIP. I haven’t felt this sad since losing John Peel, like you, part of my youth and the music that made me who I am today.

➢ Telegraph obituary: “Rushent forged a new way of sequencing and programming synthesiser-based music — in the process pioneering the technique of sampling”