Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thompson Twins: Here's To Future Days

There are CDs and then THERE ARE CDs! Thompson Twins' Here's To Future Days [1985] continues my ongoing series of looking back at the best of the 1980s with a CD that continues to truly rule my Sci-Fi Fanatic world.
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Thompson Twins, unlike OMD and The Human League, are a band no more. The act folded following Queer [1991]. Creatively, Thompson Twins were far from exhausted, but, like many bands of the 1980s [or any other era for that matter], commercial fortunes waned and the act simply ceased to be the musical juggernaut it once was or at least capable of sustaining viability.
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Comprised of Tom Bailey [vocals/synths/writer/producer], Alannah Currie [vocals/synths/writer] and third wheel conga man and background vocalist Joe Leeway, Thompson Twins disbanded. Joe Leeway actually exited following the band's commercial apex here, Here's To Future Days. One shouldn't overstate Leeway's contributions though he did add a certain spice. Here's To Future Days was an artistic and creative zenith in many ways for the trio, but Bailey and Currie pursued music in the band's name for another three albums before calling it a day. Where are the future days?
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Thompson Twins closed shop, but a new band was born with Bailey's love of dub and the act was dubbed Babble. Babble gave us two reasonably accessible pop dance recordings in The Stone [1993] and Ether [1996], before Babble concluded. Currie and Bailey were married and had a child, but divorced in 2003 after spending time together floundering artistically in New Zealand. Currie moved back to London, while Bailey went deeper into the realm of dub with his latest moniker International Observer. He's released several recordings under the name. As far as dub goes it's quite beautiful, but sadly there are no trademark, distinctive Tom Bailey vocals to be found and that's a real shame. At least with Babble, Bailey was bubbling to the surface. With International Observer, Thompson Twins truly were dead. Musically, Babble fell somewhere between Thompson Twins and the instrumental International Observer, and would be recommended for investigation, in particular Tribe from The Stone as a great example.
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In its formative years Thompson Twins was the creative output of several band members, but like The Human League, the group trimmed down. The Human League formed a core trio around Phil Oakey, Susan Sulley and Joanne Catherall following the departure of Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh and got better and stronger with Dare [1981]. Thompson Twins, too, ditched several members following the classic In The Name Of Love from Set [1982]. What came next was a massive shift in sound and style in keeping with that aforementioned classic. Just as The Human League changed up the game plan, Thompson Twins too were getting smarter and wiser. In 1983, Thompson Twins downsized to the trio for which they would be best remembered. Quick Step And Side Kick [1983] and Into The Gap [1984] were two huge releases and are notable for some major pop classics. Lies, If You Were Here, Love On Your Side and others make Quick Step And Side Kick an easy recommendation. Into The Gap followed with the even bigger mainstreaming of the band stateside with Hold Me Now, Doctor Doctor and You Take Me Up. Honestly, you can't go wrong with these amazing works. If I had to pick, my money goes behind the former, but two of my favorite hits are on the latter. The late producer Alex Sadkin [Arcadia, Duran Duran] working with writer/ creative mastermind Tom Bailey certainly had a a hand in making both of these projects unforgettable classics.
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With Thompson Twins on the map, Bailey's next move was arena in mentality [a la Live Aid] as a result of hooking up with former Chic man and producer Nile Rodgers [Duran Duran, Madonna]. It was nothing short of a stroke of genius. Here's To Future Days was a masterpiece from beginning to end. While it didn't contain my all time favorite Thompson Twins' singles, it was a cohesive and unified work of popular art and the album tracks as a unit were far more expansive and interesting than those collected for Into The Gap. This production classic was the work of Nile Rodgers and Tom Bailey. Alex Sadkin added a touch of class by keeping his hand in the mix for the lead off single Lay Your Hands On Me. Sadly, Sadkin [1949-1987] passed away not long after. Sadkin had left his mark on Simply Red's Men And Women [1987], Duran Duran's Seven And The Ragged Tiger [1983], Foreigner's Agent Provocateur [1984] and Arcadia's So Red The Rose [1985]. These combined with the two Thompson Twins productions rank as some of my personal favorites from the colorful decade. Sadkin died unexpectedly in a motorcycle accident at 38 years old. Duran Duran's Do You Believe In Shame from Big Thing [1988] was a tribute to the man.
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Most intriguing regarding Here's To Future Days is the troubled history surrounding its arrival. Bailey had worked hard year after year shaping the identity of Thompson Twins and the look of the group. He and Currie were the brains behind the operation while Leeway added his own personal touch. Thompson Twins had literally recorded and toured straight for four years easily. Bailey was exhausted. The shape of Here's To Future Days was actually slightly different which explains why there were two different versions of Lay Your Hands On Me when it was released. There was one by Sadkin and one remixed by Rodgers. Following a collapse and a nervous breakdown Bailey was in a bad way. Bailey's health was not good and doctors ordered him rest following a huge Into The Gap World Tour. Here's To Future Days was delayed and given a little guitar-laden production lustre. Ultimately, through and despite all of its troubles, Here's To Future Days remains a stud recording. The project should have sealed Bailey's reputation as the musical genius he was, but oddly things seemed to go awry following the dissolution of the trio to a duo. Odd, given Bailey and Currie truly were the creative engine in the machine.
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There is literally not a lemon in the bunch on Here's To Future Days. Each and every song is infinitely listenable. The hits range from opener Don't Mess With Doctor Dream to the more important Lay Your Hands On Me and King For A Day. But for my money, to be honest, it is the remainder of the project that gets my blood going whenever its on play in my vehicle. Future Days, like lead-off single Lay Your Hands On Me, is positively epic. Love Is The Law certainly riffs on a classic, but at least it's their own Love On Your Side. The sad, but beautiful You Killed A Clown and Emperor's Clothes [Part 1] [not sure what happened with Part 2] are just extremely well-penned pop compositions. Bailey is truly a genius of the Paddy McAloon [Prefab Sprout] or Green Gartside [Scritti Politti] variety when it comes to constructing his music. Tokyo and Breakway are energized, booming pop songs that are injected with massive fun and creative twists that are both unique and enjoyable. About the only track that feels lazy and uninspired is a remake of The Beatles' Revolution, a poor choice for the Thompson Twins stamp, but you can see where Bailey's mindset was at the time.
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Here's To Future Days was Bailey's artistic and commercial zenith as far as grand musical concepts go. It was Bailey's The Seeds Of Love [Tears For Fears] or So Red The Rose [Simon LeBon and Nick Rhodes' splinter project]. It was a work that defined a band as much as Roland Orzabal helped define Tears For Fears with his magnum-opus. It was indeed a mammoth work that he poured every ounce of his creative energy into, as his ill-health would attest, and the results are remarkable still.
Thank the God above that Edsel Records somehow acquired the rights to re-release the Thompson Twins catalogue because A Product Of..., Set, Quick Step And Side Kick, Into The Gap and Here's To Future Days have all been reissued as two disc deluxe editions fully remastered. They are available at a great price from the United Kingdom. What are you waiting for?
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Here's To Future Days Alone has over 154 minutes of music and while some of the additional remixes and instrumentals on the bonus disc are okay they are just that - a bonus. The official 11 track original release of Here's To Future Days is magnificent and to hear it in its glory is an aural experience.
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Better yet, Into The Gap and Quick Step And Side Kick [and it was really hard to choose] are both amazing deluxe editions as well. Some of the Into The Gap b-sides like Passion Planet are worth the price of admission. Furthermore, I purchased the Edsel Records Box set which included all four re-releases [A Product Of... and Set are combined for one release] and quite frankly they were dirt cheap. Music doesn't get made that achieves the kind of quality achieved by Thompson Twins and to think you can have the box set for the cost of a Britney Spears CD is nearly criminal. Seriously- it's a crime! These Edsel reissues of the best of Thompson Twins' catalogue are essential and will be all you need from the band if you look no further.
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There are a few random best of collections out there that do capture some of their other hit selections like Get That Love and Long Goodbye from Close To The Bone. You'll need to find Big Trash if you want Sugar Daddy or Bombers In The Sky. Those two works produced by a combination of Rupert Hine [The Fixx], Bailey, Currie, Steve Lillywhite [U2/ Big Country] and Keith Fernley, probably aren't as good as Queer, the recording for which Thompson Twins ended their career. Queer is a bit like pop ecstasy, but it's definitely stretching the boundaries of their original sound. If you want to hear Come Inside, Flower Girl or My Funky Valentine you'll need to find this one. It lays the groundwork and signals the fanbase they are clearly stepping toward dance and dub. It's clear from Queer Babble was waiting in the wings. Open letter to Tom Bailey: Please Mr. Tom Bailey, even if you don't reunite with Alannah Currie, you are a wizard, a musical genius, a master of word and sound, please reconsider the possibility of a return to the sweet sounds of Thompson Twins. You are missed. You are loved more than you know. You would be sincerely welcomed back into loving arms. Please, one more time. *// Fortunately, in the meantime, I have my classics. You'd be wise to seek these out. Here's To Future Days remains an '80s gem and one that captures the magic of Bailey, Currie and Leeway at their height before it all strangely dissolved.
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Thompson Twins Discography:
A Product Of... [Participation] [1981]
Set [1982]
In The Name Of Love [1982] [US]
Quick Step And Side Kick [1983]*
Side Kicks [1983]
Into The Gap [1984]*
Here's To Future Days [1985]*
Close To The Bone [1987]
The Best Of Thompson Twins: Greatest Mixes [1988]
Big Trash [1989]
Greatest Hits [1990]
Queer [1991]
Babble: The Stone [1993]
Babble: Ether [1996]

18 comments:

le0pard13 said...

Another stellar music post, my friend! It really causes me to eat up bandwidth, too, by having me flit over to YouTube to revisit the tunes/bands you name off in the piece. Kudos, SFF. I really enjoy these examinations.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Thrilled to have you right there along with me for an appreciation of the music my friend.

I'm glad my efforts aren't for naught as they say.

A terrific recording and honestly you cannot go wrong with that REMASTERED BOX SET! It's absolutely perfect. One of the finest offerings out there.

Jeremy Kennedy said...

Hello from Atlanta, USA. I just read your outstanding review of the Thompson Twins HTFD's notable reissue as I'm enlightened by the recognition this forgotten release has received. Personally, I've always sensed a yin-yang toward Future Days, even today as I revisit the original LP that's been part of my extensive collection for over 25 years.

I really enjoyed traveling down the Twins' street of career milestones. After the promising Sidekicks left me thirsty for more, the pinnacle Into the Gap excelled my interest in music altogether, so needless to say, when Future Days arrived, the bar was set unfairly, too high. As an American, the Thompson Twins were unconventional, cutting-edge and futuristic to me. Their atmospheric, worldly percussive instrumentation was unlike any other sound coming from US studios. So with great anticipation, I anxiously purchased Future Days (cassette & vinyl LP), virtually hugged the cover art, and embraced the album. However, what I heard was a familiar production from an unlikely effort. Soaked in hard-riff guitars, quirky choruses (i.e. "Have you heard that Love! Love! Love is the Law?", and lyrics that were no longer intriguing, Future Days was a struggle to fall in love with.

As the years pass, I make a point to re-listen to each of the Twins' records annually, making discoveries along the way still after countless listens. Future Days contains a helluva gem single with "Lay Your Hands on Me", trumping the record's other tracks. Tom's thinly frail voice is complimented with the choir echoes of the chorus, cheering a melodic hook that stretches beyond the 4 minutes, seeping deep in the mind of the listener minutes after the song completes. "Lay Your Hands on Me" is worth the price of admission alone. I agree, the title track screams solo in the shower, while "Breakaway" is strong enough to have made chart impact on pop radio. "King for a Day" was made for MTV while Live Aid was certainly prefaced with a cover of the poli-social theme of "Revolution". However, the rest of the album is perplexed with directions reflecting a tug-of-war within the band. (To be cont'd)

Jeremy Kennedy said...

I was lucky enough to spend some time with Joe Leeway in 2006 at his home outside of Los Angeles and he shared my delusion regarding Future Days. Joe confessed that making the album was a studio nightmare, as the Oberheim synth became a slave master and Tom became the slave. Tom would relinquish all hours of the day and night, polishing and perfecting a record to please the masses, while disenfranchising their fans. Joe also told me that when the record was delivered to Clive Davis of Arista, the former president looked at them and said "You've made the biggest mistake of your career." Working with Nile Rogers to make an American pop rock album was a tragic notion in hindsight, he said. As you mentioned, Joe took the high road and left for a pending solo career. In hindsight, Joe said that he was completely bored with the Future Days project, found himself wandering in and out of fame, and took time to reconnect with common people again. A few months after the album's release, Joe was asked to leave the Twins by manager John Hade after Joe requested a six-month hiatus following the US leg of the Future Days tour. Like your analysis, Hade felt that Joe was an unnecessary component on the hit machine and forced his exit. Ironically, Hade himself was ousted the next year in 1987.
"Close to the Bone", "Big Trash", and "Queer" were all definitive records of Tom Bailey, but Joe's influence is absent throughout the remaining life of the Twins' anthology. In the studio, his high-falsetto vocals were no longer available; however it was the Thompson Twins unforgettable live sets that experienced death following his demise as a band member. Tom and Alannah ran with one tour post-Joe and sadly it was a weak effort to be something that the Thompson Twins had vowed never to be: a boring rock n'roll band on stage.

Thank you again for the passion in your review. Here's to more Thompson Twins in future days...

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Jeremy

Thank you for your thoughtful and very informative comment. I found it very interesting.

It's funny, I do know what you mean about it.

It's a very Roland Orzabal moment for Tom Bailey isn't it?

I always loved the dictatorial power of Orzabal's vision and I suppose that translated here as well. Tom Bailey was a genius in so many ways.

Having said that, like the Curt Smith/ Orzabal relationship on the fascinating Songs From The Big Chair it's very clear to me there is something missing with Leeway's presence gone. I would agree. As much as I do love the project it lacks the seamless blend of style and sound that Into The Gap and even Quick Step And Side Kick possessed.

That latter recording is magic too and there's something to be said for the perfection in those recordings. They are undeniable.

Here's To Future Days can certainly sustain knocks for being over produced and your comments reflect that.

It doesn't look like Future Days was a labor of love by any stretch and clearly the marriage was over at this point, but it still holds up as a great recording even with all of its studio tinkering, pulling and tugging.

They often say great things come from chaos and friction. Maybe that was in play for the Twins for those three definitive recordings up to Close To The Bone.

I must play them all loud later this evening. : )

Thank you.
sff

Jeremy Kennedy said...

Sci-Fi,

I'm still pondering the odds of finding such an in-depth review of an album that's received a minor resurrection by Edsel (UK only), wondering what else awaits as I stumble into 2012.

I'm glad you mentioned Roland Orzabal. Like Tom Bailey, I would like to sit with him and get inside of his head, stimulating the mechanisms that make such brilliant records. There are only a few artists in my generation that can guarantee a catchy hook over and over again: Tom Bailey is one; Roland Orzabal is another. His post-Curt Tears achieve dimensions that weren't possible with his partnership with Curt. Critics have always written off TFF as an electronic synthpop outfit; however, there is power beyond the synth in "Elemental" and "Raoul & the Kings of Spain", two essential must-own records for any fan of music in general. These two records are Roland Orzabal's testimony, his personal convictions, and the expression of liberties exalted from being withheld all of those years prior to Curt's departure. Everywhere I go, people still glorify Tears for Fears, the '80s pop duo. However, I occasionally meet someone like you, who knows shares my revelation of the big secret about the 'big chair'. When Curt & Roland reunited in 2004, I confess I was 'excited' to see TFF working again; however, I was skeptical about what direction the talented Orzabal and the rather boring Smith would go; the result was an atrocious album that wasn't anything like any incarnation of Tears for Fears. I expected a genuine, mature TFF record; what we got was a collection of recycled Beatles ideas that were dramatically over-produced while dismally dissatisfying to a Tears fan.
By the way, Orzabal's only solo release, "Tomcats Screaming Outside" is just remarkable. Dabbling in drum n'bass and electroclash sounds, Orzabal stretches to new heights that extend beyond Tears boundaries as it emphasizes all of the attributes you love about him: his powerful vocals, his wondrous lyrics, and his craftsmanship with instrumentation. (To be Con'td)

Jeremy Kennedy said...

Unfortunately, Tom Bailey has yet to produce a solo effort as creative as Orzabal's "Tomcats..". Bailey's International Observer deconstructs music and molds it in the reconstruction process to new sounds but fails to integrate the results with any new original composition. It's catchy and clever, but Bailey seems to have lost his identity in the whole process. Babble on the other hand, was a fascinating experiment, especially the brilliant "The Stone". I met with Tom Bailey in London with his son at an Int'l Observer show at Cargo and Tom praised "The Stone" as his best work in nearly 30 years. History will decide that, but until then, I too hope that Tom Bailey reaches beyond Int'l Observer and delivers a record that compliments his dreamy vocals (as in "Storm of the Sea") while being induced with retro technology. If it is the last record Bailey records, I anticipate it impatiently with a headline that reads: Tom Bailey (1977-20??) Cause of recording death: Synthecide.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Jeremy,

Listening to you is like listening to a long lost brother. I can onnly tell you that I concur with you on nearly every thought. Further, you articulate those observations perfectly.

I'm glad I touched a nerve because you are absolutely on the money. First, the Orzabal recording is stunningly good, the solo that is. But also, as you so eloquently put it with the line "his personal convictions, and the expression of liberties exalted from being withheld all of those years", Orzabal, like so many artistic geniuses, truly broke free of those chains. I suppose we can count Green Gartside in that category to a lesser degree and more importantly Paddy McAloon.

But, as you said, even those post-Curt recordings are epic. Raoul And The Kings Of Spain remains a tour de force of genius. You have inspired me to reserve a spot here for it this year. It's absolutely essential we cover some TFF and that would be the recording to do it. Elemental is very good and I would only say that, while I agree with you on your point about Curt and Rolan reconnecting, that recording as you so accurately described, does have its moments and a few truly strong numbers I do love.

But, yes, Roland is truly one of a kind. Those projects are infused with magnificence. It's hard to put into words the poetry of Raoul, but that's for another day.

As for Bailey, I agree. For someone so incredibly talented he has gone off on a complete bender. He's lost his identity as you said. If not, it certainly feels that way to a degree.

Babble was interesting and there were moments I certainly enjoyed with that project, but this synthecide nonsense has lost its humanity with Bailey remaining silent behind the microphone.

He has such a warm, robust presence and yet we have seen nothing impressive or truly magical since Queer.

I, like you, would love just one Tom Bailey solo and see him get back to the basics of pop construction that he did so masterfully for a decade. I fear that shall never come to pass and that is truly sad because some of his songs that dart that music landscape are also genius. The audience may no longer be there like it once was, but it's not going to be there for his ambient projects. It's like, come back into the pop gap Mr. Bailey, people are waiting for your return.

Here's To Future Days indeed.

Thanks again Jeremy. And I'll have you know, you have inspired a new entry that is forthcoming. I won't give it away, but you got it rolling. Thank you.

Jeremy Kennedy said...

Sci-Fi,

Great read! You and I are both veteran champions for the Thompson Twins and Tears for Fears, as our postings speak high volumes about their music and the time of which it was celebrated. I look forward to reading more of your reviews, analysis and editorials on new wave / '80s pop. If you don't mind, add me to your distribution list (bandsreunited@yahoo.com) when you post new blogs related to Eighties' music. I'd like to keep your blogs on my radar. I contribute articles to Atlanta's
99x radio (Retro Beach) and the Examiner news source. I'm also a free lance PR project manager and have worked with Alan Wilder of Depeche Mode, Wang Chung, Kajagoogoo, Tony Hadley and ABC, who I'm alphabetically devoted to for the remainder of this life. I'll be interviewing Tom Bailey later this year and I'm going to pitch some of the ideas at him that we've proposed here, just to gauge his next direction. I think you and I have built a good case to proposition him with. Cheers + blessings, Jeremy Kennedy, PMP. Atlanta, GA USA

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Jeremy,

This exchange has been a pleasure and a refreshing reminder of why I, like you, adore the qualities and talent and the scope of artists that arrived in the 1980s.

I don't know if I've ever considered this before, but with something like the music we love I feel as though we may have been born at just the right time. : )

I'm right there with you on the alphabetically, criminally-underrated [today] ABC and Martin Fry. Fry has always been very respected as an artist thankfully over the years and it was unfortunate to see his impact drop off with the departure of Mark White following the underappreciated Abracadabra. Skyscraping and even his newest outing have some remarkable moments.

Anyway, your background is fantastic and I wish you all the best in your work and pursuing any efforts to continue to underscore the influence of the 80s.

I, too, would love a link to anything you write about or interviews you might post. If there is an avenue for someone like myself to read these efforts please let me know. I would be very interested as well.

Finally, all the best with that Tom Bailey interview. Again, I would love to see a transcript of that someday. Please urge him to reconsider a proper retro-inspired NEW effort employing that special voice. It would be a work of TT genius.

I immediately think of a group like Foster The People. Their recording is a brilliant album that is dripping with 80s influence. People, somewhat unknowingly, are still open to a great melody and inventiveness on that level.

Tell Tom I will buy 20 copies of his recording to help make it worth his while. : )

All the best,
sff

Dallas Marks said...

Listened to Roll Over this morning. Sad, as I think it could have been a big single for the Twins. Had no idea the song only appeared in the US.

Perhaps one day the record label will release more unreleased tracks from Here's to Future Days on iTunes.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Hi Dallas

I love that song. I stand by this post. Just an amazing work really.

Keep an eye out. I hope to get back to writing soon and I have Simple Minds on the docket up next.

Best
sff

Jake Plum said...

Well, this has got me interested enough again to go back and listen to my two-disk original vinyl UK version... (Which was ultimately a disappointment for the exclusion of Roll Over. Which disappointment was magnified by the teaser of Roll Under on some import 12".) I've got a record player handy for the first time in years, so I'll visit the main disk and the bonus remix disk.

But HTFD was a big let-down form me when it came out, akin to Waking up with the House on Fire--i.e., eagerly awaited to the point of setting myself up for let-down. Loved the two American singles (though as I was already intimately familiar with the original version of LYHOM, the new version was a bit hard to stomach) and a couple other tracks, but never got the vibe of most of the rest of the tracks.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Ah, vinyl. I have plenty of it and I even have a record player but I never use it. I've simply relented. I gave in. In fact, I'm even giving in to the digital world. I downloaded an ENTIRE album (look I even use the word album still) for Briana Corrigan (former vocalist of The Beautiful South) and I've never done that. I always bought the CD. So that was a first last night.

Well, I sure hope you can appreciate the energy and craft of this remarkable production upon your revisit.

The disappointing Waking Up With The House On Fire by Culture Club doesn't even come close.

Good luck with Future Days. It's a keeper!
best
sff

And thank you for writing. I really enjoyed reading your comment.

le0pard13 said...

Isn't that funny, SFF. I've put a turntable back in my life. Well, a couple now since I found an old German Dual and reanimated it ;-). While I still download and pick up some worth while CDs, I'm rebuilding my LP collection. Bizarre, I know ;-).

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Ha! Not really. There's nothing better than the sound of popping vinyl.

I'm still getting the CDs too, but I am a bit more discerning of late. My collections is too big and just sitting there.

Cheers Michael!

Tayles said...

I just stumbled across this piece and really enjoyed it. My mum ran the Thompson Twins fan club in the 80s, so the band was part of my family's life for quite a few years during that period.

My sister was a huge fan of the band and one day my mum ran into them in our town, while out shopping. They were doing some recording nearby, I think. Anyway, she invited them back to our house for tea and to our amazement they turned up and spent the afternoon with us.

My mum is a good artist and painted a picture of them and delivered it to their management office in London to say thank you. She ended up offering to help with their nascent and shambolic fan club, and after doing a better job than the incumbent (boyfriend of the band's graphic designer, Andy Airfix), the band's manager, John Hade, put my mum in charge.

Five or six years of madness followed, while my mum ran the fan club and turned it into something slick and computerised. I'd go as far as to say that she revolutionised the whole fan club scene, and lots of other bands asked her to run theirs, too.

She and my sister went on tour with the band, but the highlight for me was being invited to a sneak preview of Ghostbusters (the Twins were in the soundtrack) and sitting next to Quincy Jones.

Sad how the band faded, but the wheel of music turns and some people are left behind. Earlier this year, however, Tom Bailey resurfaced to do some Rewind gigs with other 80s artists and my mum met with him again for the first time in 20 years. Apparently he sounded great.

Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Tayles

I really enjoyed your story. Thanks for sharing that here. That was really special.

I had a chance to see Tom in Boston not too long ago for the tour you mentioned but I couldn't get a soul to go with me. I tried to sway one of my kids but they just wouldn't budge. Sadly, they are really missing out. ;)

Anyway, really enjoyed the angle of your story and how the band touched your family and how your family had an impact on what was going on with the group for a significant portion of their pop career. Awesome.

All the best.