This month it’s 34 years since Vancouver Industrial / EBM band Front Line Assembly released their third studio album Corrosion (February 1988), or fifth full length if we count in two self-released tapes Total Terror and Nerve War which were released earlier in 1986. It was their first release on Third Mind/Wax Trax! with PIAS (Play it Again Sam) manufacturing and distributing the Third Mind issue in Europe.
At this time Front Line Assembly was Bill Leeb only, while Michael Balch acted as producer and Dave 'The Rave Olgivi mixed some of the tracks. Third core member Rhys Fulber would join the band one year later, in 1987 and become Leeb’s right hand until this very day.
This eight track album captures very well the dark, almost claustrophobic, sound and atmosphere of Front Line Assembly before their ‘breakthrough’ with Gashed Senses & Crossfire (1989). A perfect stylistic blend between early Cabaret Voltaire and Front 242 but with a more American / Wax Trax industrial sounding touch.
The album received a 7/10 in the NME (New Musical Express) and was favoured by Melody Maker Magazine.
Corrosion - Tracklist
1) Lurid Sensation
2) Right Hand Of Heaven
4) On The Cross
7) Dark Dreams
8) The Wrack Part III - Wisdom
On this day, 41 years ago, Simon John Ritchie (°10 May 1957 – † 2 February 1979), known as Spiky John amongst his friends, better known to the world as Sid Vicious, died after overdosing on heroin. He became famous as the bass player of the Sex Pistols, replacing Glen Matlock, who had left the band due to internal tensions with the other members.
The Sex Pistols' stand-alone release-'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols’ features very little of Sid Vicious. Sid was not the greatest of musicians. Using the word musician was maybe not the best word to describe him. He was self-taught, he did hinges on the debut record of The Ramones. The Ramones self-titled debut album, the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ of the Punk generation, was the tool Sid used to learn to play bass. A marathon fourteen-hour session of purely listening and learning as you go taught Sid the bass. Or so the legend goes at least, throw in the story of being on speed to stay awake and focused and now it becomes more real.
Anyone associated with Sid or the Pistols always maintains that Sid was a far better singer than a bass player. The ‘Rock N Roll Swindle Soundtrack’ holds weight to that theory. Songs such as 'Something Else' and 'C'mon Everybody', and his apocalyptic version of 'My Way', are without a doubt extremely good as rock songs (let alone punk songs) and suited Sid perfectly. He had the snarl and could add that extra tone of aggression and malice in his vocals. In the background of Jim Callaghan's Labour-led Britain, heading into a winter of discontent, the Sex Pistols' ‘Never Mind The Bollox..’ must have given the young generation a spit in the face of hope
As the needle hits the marching intro of 'Holiday In The Sun', this is clearly not an album about escapism, but rather about aggressive acceptance of the state of the country. Like Bob Dylan in the sixties, the young had a voice again.
A monumental work is found in the Sex Pistols one and true release.
Sid plays two roles on that album. One as the image of the album, a projection on what a band with that much aggression should act and look like. The other was in the tune 'Bodies', the only song that Vicious is reported to have played bass on. By all accounts he was hospitalised during the recording, due to having contracted hepatitis or jaundice, depending on who is telling the story. Steve Jones is the man covering the bass lines throughout the rest of the recording as the legend goes.
Did he do it?
Nancy Laura Spungen was murdered on the 12th of October 1978 at the age of 20. The girlfriend of Sid Vicious suffered a stab wound at the Chelsea Hotel in New York and bled to death. All very bleak and sad.
Vicious was arrested and charged with her murder and served time in Rikers Island penitentiary in New York. Before Vicious stood trial and while out on bail, he died of an overdose, four months after Nancy on the 2nd of February 1979. This was an apparent assisted suicide as he had proclaimed he wanted to be: 'Under the ground!'. His previous suicide attempts pointed to this frame of mind. This led to the case being closed by the NYPD.
The theory of what happened that night has been told many times, which leads to two theories as to how Nancy (or ‘Nauseating Nancy’ as the British tabloids named her) died that night. Neither involves Vicious murdering her.
The first is that Spungen made it clear she did not want to live past the age of 21. A suicide pact which went wrong, as in Sid being too stoned to kill himself and Spungen stabbing herself with the hunting knife Sid had obtained for that very reason. It would explain Sid's testimony: 'She must have fallen on the knife'. By that, he meant stabbing or pushing the knife into herself. In the days and weeks that followed Vicious had tried to commit suicide, one attempt involved jumping out of a window screaming: “I want to be with Nancy!”.Sid's mother, Anne Beverly, is thought to have assisted in the suicide and presented a letter after Sid's passing that read: 'We had a death pact and I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye.'
That is one theory. The second (that may be very close to the truth) is it was a botched robbery, botched in the sense that Vicious was out cold but Nancy disturbed whoever it was that had entered the room. A fact not widely publicised is that Sid's royalty-money was gone from the room's safe.There had been two people present earlier that night, an apparent drug dealer only named as 'Michael' and a comedian-dealer known as Rockets Redglare, who had been to the room to deliver a batch of drugs earlier that evening and were due to return. So when he or this supposed 'Michael' returned to rob the royalty payment, they would have found Sid passed out and maybe got disturbed by Spungen which led to her murder. Apparently, Rocket Redglare did admit to the murder years after but to friends and not the NYPD. If there's truth in it it’s long-buried.
The NYPD closed the case quickly, no investigation was ever done to find out what happened to Sid's royalty-money, nor were the fingerprints on the knife and in the apartment ever fully investigated. It was a dead Punk, a dead junky, but behind it all there was a twenty-year-old girl and a twenty-one-year-old guy.
Today, 5th February 1990, it’s exactly 30 years ago that British EBM/Industrial band Nitzer Ebb released Lightningman, the preliminary single from their upcoming third album Showtime.
The single stayed in the US Billboard dance charts for 8 weeks and peaked at 14th position on 26th May 1990.
Lightnigman - Lyrics
It seems some story was told
But what is there to tell?
Well, some song had been sung
But none of it sings
So let's spell it out
A, B, and C
Up and down from A is to Z
You meant zed, you said zed
From nothing to something
And something for nothing
From no one to someone
From someone to same one
Same old thing
The only way out
Leads to no way back
What can you do?
You shove it back where it came
You never let yourself down
So you got up
And you ran
And you run to get up
To slip right down
Soho's a town in every downtown
On this day, 36 years ago, Fad Gadget released its last studio album Gag!
On this day, XXXYEARSXXX years ago, Frank Tovey released his last studio album under his alter ego Fad Gadget. This album was called Gag and was released on 1 February 1984 by Mute Records. It features one of Fad Gadget's best-known songs and biggest club hits ‘Collapsing New People’ which was also released as a single and supposedly features German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten.
Almost sure is the fact the song was Frank Tovey’s tribute to his Mute label mates.
Blixa Bargeld, head and voice of Einstürzende Neubauten, once mentioned this collaboration in an interview which was recorded in the 2005 Einsturzende Neubauten out of print book ‘No Beauty Without Danger’.
“ We got together through a chain of coincidences. Fad Gadget did a record with Gareth at Hansa Studio and the lead singer Frank Tovey wrote the song “Collapsing New People” with the line: “Sat awake all night / But never see the stars / And sleep all day / On a chain-link bed of nails.” That was a direct reference to the Neubauten. Now Tovey had the clever idea to ask the Neubauten whether we’d play on it so that the whole thing wouldn’t be misinterpreted as criticism. That’s when we did our first recordings with Gareth. At the same time, those were also the first recordings that the Neubauten did at Hansa Studio. After all, in this session, Gareth was confronted with our instruments for the first time. That had sweeping consequences because directly afterwards he recorded Depeche Mode, also at Hansa, and used our overdubs from the Fad Gadget reels for “People Are People.” He later told me about that.”
At the time of the album's release, Frank Tovey made the decision to retire his Fad Gadget persona for good and released all future recordings under his own name.
Gag - Track listing
- "Ideal World" - 5:39
- "Collapsing New People" - 4:22
- "Sleep" - 3:25
- "Stand Up" - 3:30
- "Speak to Me" - 3:23
- "One Man's Meat" - 4:06
- "Ring" - 3:53
- "Jump" - 4:09
- "Ad Nauseam" - 6:32
31 years ago this month, the album “Technique” arrived as New Order closed out the nineteen-eighties with one, last breath of creative genius in FACT-275 (Released 30 January 1989).
This is an album which has split fans since it inception, between the dark-brilliance of “Power, Corruption & Lies”, to this their more accessible side.
“Technique” was more disco inspired effort, displayed fully in the track “Mr Disco”, highly danceable with that-orchestral-synth crescendo after the first chorus, it manages to still sound fresh against their previous work.
In the single “Fine Time", we find a satirical brilliance in the simplest of themes, based wholly on sex. With an eruption of drums and random guitar that cranks to the high point of eighties-music. Throughout the lyrics are more playful though remaining honest, this is by no means a commercial move but a natural progression in style.
The more mellow sides of the album have a charm all of their own, “Vanishing Point” is a more softly-constructed synth based song, reflective and mood ridden. Throughout “Technique” manages to balance evenly, the guitar-disco anthems and the euphoric dance style already verging on the horizon as ‘House Music’ made its entry into the world. This is the sound of a band at the top of their game, fearlessly treading waters of experimentation and executing with ease all manners of directions taken.
A submerged sound of progressive-rock can surprisingly be found in the abrasive “Run”, although certainly different in style, it does not so much take away from the flow of the album but adds that extra dimension instead. The proceedings close with heavy-synth and guitar solos in the glorious “Dream Attack”, a song built to bring not only “Technique” to a close but also the decade and this chapter in the story of New Order.
“Nothing in this world
Can touch the music that I heard
When I woke up this morning
It put the sun into my life
It cut my heartbeat with a knife
It was like no other morning
I don't belong to no one
But I want to be with you
I can't be owned by no one
What am I supposed to do”
Technique (Original 1989 Track List)
01. Fine Time 4:42
02. All the Way 3:22
03. Love Less 2:58
04. Round & Round 4:29
05. Guilty Partner 4:44
06. Run 4:26
07. Mr. Disco 4:20
08. Vanishing Point 5:14
09. Dream Attack 5:13