Monday, April 16, 2012
IN MEMORY OF JOHN McGEOCH (2)
Visage was founded in the late 70s by Steve Strange and Rusty Egan who were also the folk behind new wave club nights at Blitz nightclub in Great Queen Street, London.
Initially, the band was composed of Strange, Egan and Midge Ure. Ure and Egan began working with Strange during their last days with the band The Rich Kids, with Strange himself being at a loose end after leaving the new wave band The Photons. The trio recorded a demo which included a cover of the Zager and Evans hit In the Year 2525.
The band's line-up was completed with the addition of Ultravox keyboardist Billy Currie and three quarters of the post-punk band Magazine – guitarist John McGeoch, keyboardist Dave Formula and bassist Barry Adamson (who left the band early on after the band's debut single, but returned as a session musician) McGeoch also doubled up on saxophone.
Producer Martin Rushent had heard some of the band's material at Billy's nightclub and financed further recordings with a view to signing the band to his then-new Genetic Records label. Visage recorded their first album at Rushent's home studio in Berkshire, but Rushent's label collapsed before it had gotten off the ground and the band instead signed to Radar Records, a new independent label run by Rushent's former colleague Martin Davis (the pair had worked together at United Artists Records). Visage released their first single, Tar, on Radar in September 1979, though the single failed to chart.
Although the band's self-titled debut album had been completed for several months, it was not released until November 1980 when the band was now signed to the major label, Polydor Records. The band's second single, Fade to Grey, was released at the same time. The single became a huge hit in early 1981, making the top ten in the UK and several other countries, and reaching no.1 in Germany and Switzerland.
After further hits with the singles Mind of a Toy and the title track Visage, Strange struggled to reunite the band's members again to record a second album because of their commitments with their respective bands (Ure had now joined Currie in Ultravox, Formula and Adamson with Magazine, and McGeoch with Siouxsie and the Banshees). In the autumn of 1981 Visage went into the studio again and recorded The Anvil as a five-piece band without McGeoch and only limited guest work from Adamson. The album was released in March 1982 and became Visage's only UK top-ten album, producing two top-twenty singles with The Damned Don't Cry and Night Train.
Following this, Ure left the band to concentrate on his work with Ultravox, who were by now becoming even more successful than Visage were. Creative differences with Strange were also cited as reasons for his departure at the time. Visage, now without Ure, McGeoch and Adamson (who continued collaborating with Pete Shelley, and joined The Birthday Party) but now with the addition of bassist Steve Barnacle, recorded the stand-alone single Pleasure Boys, which was released in October 1982. However, the single failed to prolong their string of hits and peaked just outside the UK top 40.
Although still recording, Visage then took a two year hiatus from releasing any new material due to contractual difficulties with their management company. Polydor issued a "best of" compilation Fade to Grey - The Singles Collection
Visage would continue for a few more years, but clearly without the involvement of John McGeogh and so it seems appropriate to offer up, ripped direct from vinyl, the ten tracks on the singles collection LP from 83:-
mp3 : Visage - Fade To Grey (12 inch version)
mp3 : Visage - Mind Of A Toy
mp3 : Visage - Visage
mp3 : Visage - We Move (remix)
mp3 : Visage - Tar
mp3 : Visage - In The Year 2525
mp3 : Visage - The Anvil
mp3 : Visage - Night Train
mp3 : Visage - Pleasure Boys
mp3 : Visage - Damned Don't Cry
There's not much evidence of the great man's guitar playing abilities on the tracks he was involved in (he get's a co-writer credit on four of them) - indeed the sax is more prominent that his axe - so it's hardly a surprise that he moved on quickly to Siousxie & The Banshees....