Torch Song “Toward The Unknown Region” 1995

This album was a long time in the making, as I have previously mentioned. Laurie Mayer started demoing it in 1988 at a studio called Bedlam in Wandsworth, owned by the Thompson Twins. She was aided initially by one Rik Kenton, a man whose immortality is assured by his short tenure with Roxy Music, and the fact that he played bass on their classic debut single Virginia Plain.

We then developed it for a while in our home studio and at Guerilla in Crouch End. But other projects kept getting in the way, and it wasn’t until 1993 that William Orbit started to mix it, a mix that ended up taking a couple of years. When William landed a label deal with Warner Brothers we finally had the means to finish it and release it, along with William’s Strange Cargo: Hinterland and his first volume of classical arrangements, Pieces In A Modern Style. These albums were unavailable for a long time but Warners have now kindly made them available on YouTube.

I feel that William’s mix of this album is one of his very best, and it still sounds good to me more than 20 years later. Uniquely, there was also a live performance, which took place at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and can be viewed here. Yes reader, that is me lurking behind Laurie, with the untenably long hair. I’m happy to say that my barber-phobia is now cured.

Bold “Visionary” 1995

Yes readers, that is indeed Naked Lunch author William Burroughs narrating this soap powder commercial, in a continuation of our “mad mid 90s” theme. This spot was produced by legendary ad agency Leo Burnett of Chicago.

In other news…today’s sad anniversary is even sadder this year with the passing of Chris Cornell, surely the most convincing rock star of the last 25 years. I also heard today that former Guerilla Studios team mate Marvin Slack has died of lung cancer. My deepest condolences to their families and friends.

Françoise Hardy “Vibrations” 1988

Sometimes, when life just gets a bit much, I pull myself up and say…dude, you wrote a song with Françoise Hardy

One of the demos I’d given to Etienne Daho a couple of years previously was a song called Days of Heaven. He wasn’t feeling it for himself but when Françoise Hardy was looking for songs for her album Décalages he passed it on to her and she penned new lyrics for it. And that’s how I came to write a song with Françoise Hardy.

During the preparation of Arnold’s album I was invited to the studio in Paris where she was recording. Some readers may not be altogether astonished to hear that I made an ass of myself. I was nervous, starstruck, very probably over refreshed. Françoise, of course, was all elegance and cordiality. She handed me a Fender Stratocaster, casually mentioning that she had borrowed it from her husband Jacques Dutronc, at which point I nearly dropped the thing. Most embarrassingly, I had hardly played guitar for 2 years and was completely unable to play my own song. Luckily the unfailing Xavier “Tox” Geronimi was there, and gave me that look given by natives of Brittany to convey “I got this”.

Torch Song “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” 1986

One more cinematic entry, and then we will leave this glitzy Hollywood environs, like drunken clubgoers stumbling out the back door into an alleyway at 5AM.

By the summer of 1986 Torch Song had completed their second album Ecstacy, and very good it was too. The first single was a cover of White Night, a song I had written back in 1976, and which had been the debut release by The Lines in 1978.

Coincidentally The Fall spinoff Adult Net did a version of this song at the same time, leading to a byline in the London Evening Standard newspaper about a “battle of the bands”.

Personally I thought both were great, but the Torch Song version was the one that featured in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Marking the triumphant return of my man Dennis Hopper from rehab, I can’t think of anything else to say about the film, except that around 3 minutes in the DJ throws Torch Song onto the turntable.