Frank Tovey: Fad Gadget
~by Uncle Nemesis
(photos courtesy of the Fad Gadget site - credits listed on individual pictures in the cursor-over;
Tribute jpg by Rick A Mortis)

Frank Tovey, the man who was Fad Gadget, is dead.

He died, suddenly, shockingly, of heart failure at his home in London on April 3, shortly after returning from a successful European tour. Although Frank had a history of heart problems, he was generally in good health and was making plans for new Fad Gadget recordings and more tours, energised by the enthusiastic reaction to his comeback shows. His death came without warning, leaving family, friends and fans in shock.

Only a few hours before he died, he posted a cheerful, optimistic message to the Fad Gadget website -  It's still there now, glinting with shards of his dry wit, and dropping hints of future plans which, of course, will now never happen. It's impossible to read his words now without feeling an aching sense of loss:

Thank you my children of the night. Fad loves you. The Sama festival in Gotenburg was great... The short European tour was a gas and we were pleased to see so many of our fans. I read all the messages in the guest book. Its good to see what real people think. The music biz is so full of bullshitters. The guestbook keeps me in touch so don't stop writing.

As you may know I'm currently writing new material. Be patient my little rodents, I know you crave blood but these things take time. You may not see me again for a few months while I check my circuits, reprogram my nerve system and regenerate some new flesh for you to devour. I hope that there will be something for you to consume by the end of the year but, in the meantime we will be playing some festivals in the summer (dates to be announced when gigs are confirmed).

And for our Amercan fans (North & Latin) and Japanese fans we hope to visit you as soon as we find suitable agents in your territories. Keep the letters coming in We will see you soon

Love Fad Gadget x

In the early 1980s, Fad Gadget was a post-punk innovator, a pioneer of electronica, a mesmerising stage performer, and an inspiration to countless other artists. Even if you've never heard a Fad Gadget track, you've almost certainly heard music which owes a debt to his influence. He was the first-ever signing to the Mute record label, and Daniel Miller, founder of Mute, remained a great friend and supporter. The label has its own tribute here:

Fad Gadget was one of the select few artists who inspired me, teenage weirdo that I was, to immerse myself in the glorious, illogical, contradictory and fascinating world of alternative music. It's not far-fetched to say that Fad Gadget is one of the reasons I'm here, now, still obsessed by music, still finding new marvels in the most unlikely places, and never wanting to stop. I'm glad I caught the final Fad Gadget gig in London a while back. It was a marvellous, crazed, night, and it's hard to believe a performer who exhibited such energy, such life, on stage could die so soon.

Goodbye, Fad. The world will spin more slowly and more sadly without you...

Following is a recent concert review and CD review of Fad Gadget we ran previously in StarVox...
~ Blu

"....Frank Tovey - he who is Fad Gadget - probably has 'for real' written through him like a stick of rock. Right next to where it says 'hero of the old skool'"

Fad Gadget
@ The Garage, London
January 18, 2002
~reviewed by Uncle Nemesis

....Frank Tovey - he who is Fad Gadget - probably has 'for real' written through him like a stick of rock. Right next to where it says 'hero of the old skool'. He crawled into our consciousness in 1979 as the first-ever signing to Mute - the label Daniel Miller initially created to release his own slice of electro-punk minimalism, The Normal's 'Warm Leatherette'. Fad Gadget's early recordings were very much up the same alley - strange electronic pulses over which Fad would intone surreal, fetishistic lyrics. Later material featured slightly more lavish musical arrangements as Fad Gadget eased gently from his original status as a solo electro-weirdo towards being a real band. Then, in 1985, Fad Gadget was put back in his box. Frank Tovey emerged as an artist under his own name (and embarked upon an entirely new career - a tale I have no time to tell here, alas) and we all thought we'd seen the last of post-punk's greatest maverick.

Until now. Quite what has prompted Frank Tovey to awaken Fad Gadget almost 20 years after putting him to bed is a mystery - but I'm very glad he did. He prowls the stage in orange comedy trousers and a black rubber lizard skin shirt, as lean and fit and as intense as ever. His band, a punk gangster heavy on electro-drums and two skinny Manic Street Preacher types on bass and guitar, swirl and thump and grind behind him. He gives us all the classics, like the years since 1985 hadn't happened - 'Lady Shave', 'Fireside Favourite', 'Ricky's Hand' - even his goth-seeking missile, 'Collapsing New People', which is greeted with cheers by a black-clad audience who long ago adopted the song as an ironic anthem. With a voice like a hungover Peter Murphy plus the bug-eyed stare and manic on-stage moves of an animatronic Lux Interior, Fad is the consummate post-modern, post-rock, rock star. It's astonishing to think he's giving us an act essentially the same as when he was last on stage in '85. Have we moved on so little? Or was Fad Gadget so far ahead of his time? A bit of both, I suspect. He launches himself upon the crowd, and surfs out to the mixing desk and back. He strips off his lizard shirt to reveal a torso painted with latex and covered in feathers. He is, quite simply, magnificent. Whether his return heralds new material is something I don't know - so far, there's a new compilation to be going on with, but I hope new stuff is on the way. Paradoxical though it may seem, I'd say Fad Gadget - 80s vintage weirdo that he is - has a few things to teach us in the 21st Century...

"There was nobody like him then, and there's nobody like him now."

Fad Gadget
The Best of Fad Gadget (Mute)
~reviewed by Uncle Nemesis

Set the coordinates for the aftermath of punk. It's the end of the 70s, but instead of everything dying away as punk coasts to a halt, it's all starting to get *very* interesting. Punk provided a necessary kick up the arse, but in purely musical terms much of it wasn't particularly radical stuff. Sure, it was played with suitably enhanced levels of fire and brimstone, but most of it was meat and potatoes rock music. It took the bands of the post-punk era to apply the principal rule of punk - that there *are* no rules - to music itself. And all of a sudden the really intriguing stuff started to come through. Public Image Limited, Magazine, Cabaret Voltaire, Bauhaus, Killing Joke, Sex Gang Children, UK Decay, Lemon Kittens, The Birthday Party, to name a few of the more famous names. And also - rustling in the undergrowth - a veritable swarm of lesser-known curious creatures. Among them, a parallel universe performance artist going by the name of Fad Gadget.

Over a career-span of six years, from 1979 to 1985, Fad Gadget's music ran the gamut from bleakly minimalist electronic workouts to loping, sleazy, virtual-jazz. His live shows were legendary - you could usually rely on Fad to do something ludicrous like hang himself upside down from the lighting rig while clad in nothing but tar and feathers. Now, almost 20 years on, Fad Gadget is touring again (the tar replaced by latex body paint - that's progress!) and this compilation of his finest moments has been released to tie in.

Obviously, it's not new material. It's not even the first compilation of the old material. To a great extent, this album covers similar territory to the 'Fad Gadget Singles' album of 1985. But 'The Best of Fad Gadget', as the title implies, goes further than just singles. There are choice album cuts here too - and an entire second CD of 12" versions and remixes. Some of these, it has to be admitted, sound dated now - remember the days when a remix involved taking the song down to the basic beat, letting this run for a bit, and then bringing everything back in? Oh, how simple things were! However, most of the tracks have a certain timeless cool. It's particularly pleasing to hear the glorious Toasted Crumpet Mix of 'Fireside Favourite' - a meanacing, swaggering bassline with a wonderful TCHOK! snare sound, and *those* lyrics: 'Melting flesh on my front room floor/That's what the fireside favourite's for.' Ah, they don't write 'em like that any more. There's also the Regurgitated mix of 'Swallow It', a pounding runaway subway train of a song. These two justify the remix CD by themselves.

The unremixed CD provides a quick-access guide to the essential musical landmarks of Fad Gadget's career: the bleak, windswept, grey skies electronica of Back To Nature', the miniature soap opera of doom that is 'Ricky's Hand' ('Six pints later he waves goodbye/Picks his nose and squashes a fly - RICKY'S HAND!'), the croon-to-a-scream of 'Lady Shave' and the warped big-band sound of 'I Discover Love', in which Fad comes on like Frank Sinatra (if you dug him up tomorrow). There's also 'Collapsing New People', a controversial song in its day, in which Fad bit the hand that fed him with a swipe at goths: 'Stay awake all night/But never see the stars/It must take hours of preparation/To get that wasted look.' Curiously enough, that song is now regarded as an ironic anthem in goth circles today. What the hell - Fad shamelessly stole (and mutated) the intro to the Addams Family theme for 'One Man's Meat', so we can forgive him.

Exactly who Fad Gadget's audience might be these days is a bit of a mystery - he was never famous enough first time round to command an instant crowd of diehard old-skoolers almost two decades on - as (for example) Bauhaus managed to do. Judging by his recent London gig, he's pulling in the younger industrio-goths for whom this album will doubtless sound very fresh. But then, it sounds fresh to me, too, and I've known most of these tunes for years. That's Fad Gadget for you. There was nobody like him then, and there's nobody like him now.

Track Listing
CD One:
Back To Nature
The Box
Ricky's Hand
Handshake Fireside Favourite
Make Room
Lady Shave
Saturday Night Special
King Of the Flies
Life On The Line
For Whom The Bells Toll
Love Parasite
I Discover Love
Collapsing New People
One Man's Meat

CD Two:
Collapsing New People (Berlin Mix)
Fireside Favourite (Toasted Crumpet Mix)
Swallow It (Regurgitated)
Love Parasite 2
Luxury (Remix)
For Whom The Bells Toll 3
I Discover Love (Extended Version)
Sleep (Electro-induced Original)
Life On The Line (Version 2)
One Man's Meat (Remix)
Immobilise (Foot Binding Trot Mix)
Collapsing New People (London Mix)

Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis:

Fad Gadget official site:
Fad Gadget page on the Mute Records site:

Rock/Jazz Fusion Feature
~ by Eric Rasmussen

This month we are going to take a look at some relatively unheard of musicians from various genres we wouldn't normally cover. Particularly the realm that lies somewhere between rock and jazz and is known as fusion. The top bands in any genre usually have a wide range of influences, so it does pay to expand your listening experience. Keep an open mind and keep on reading - here  are some of my favorite musicians that blur the lines between genres:

Ben Graves
~ by Eric Rasmussen

The world of music that lies between rock and jazz isn't all free-form madness without melody. Ben Graves best demonstrates this on his second release, "Memphis," which provides a laid back and melodic take on rock. It also has a very definite jazz feel that works its way into the mix.

Ben Graves' music is characterized by the strong and catchy vocal melodies. He has excellent range, and mixes things up adeptly throughout the album. The title track features jazz singing with a laidback feel, while "Wake Me Up When the War is Over" has more of a bitter edge. The softer melodies on "Downey Street" provide a nice contrast to the other songs. I'm actually surprised this one never ended up on alternative radio stations.

Graves also handles all lead and rhythm guitars. The singing is definitely the focal point of "Memphis," so the guitars provide generally easy-going background rhythms. Ben Graves is a very talented guitarist, and his ability is displayed in subtle ways. For the most part you will likely find yourself listening to the vocals while the guitar comfortably rides along in the background. It never demands attention, but it does not become repetitive either. On "Second Story Window" the jazzy rhythms are subtle, but noticeably different than the guitar sounds provided elsewhere on the CD. They also lead into saxophone playing, adding to the jazz feel in this track. Ben Graves is quite skilled with the saxophone; he plays dobro, alto, and soprano saxophones at various spots throughout "Memphis."

The more rock oriented "Hitchiking" is another song that I'm surprised isn't played on the radio. The catchy rhythms and excellent vocal melodies make this very listenable. As with all of the songs on here, there is an intelligence that you don't often see in bands that get radio play. "Memphis" is a great CD to listen to when you want to indulge any pop-rock tendencies you may have, because it is full of interesting ideas and songwriting. The variety across songs and the thoughtful composition ensure you won't find any filler here.

"Memphis" was released in 2000, but you can still pick it up on Ben Graves' website (link below). Also, if you live near the San Francisco area be sure to check his show listings on his website. It's worth watching his original live performances someday, and most of the shows are free. The guitar that he is using for live performances now is custom fit with two bass strings, so he can sing while playing his own guitar and bass accompaniment. It not only sounds original, but it is impressive to watch him perform something that would require three separate musicians in many bands.

If you've got any interest in pop-rock or melodic jazz rock, be sure to visit the website link below.

Ben Graves - Official Website:

Brett Garsed and TJ Helmerich
~ by Eric Rasmussen

If Lane and Hellborg don't interest you, there is another crazy duo worth looking at. Brett Garsed and TJ Helmerich make even the most off-beat bands sound conservative. I was first introduced to Garsed's work on the now out of print "Centrifugal Funk" CD, which was full of the fastest guitar solos ever recorded. Skeptical? The album was a Mike Varney Project, and Mr. Varney (still president of Shrapnel Records as far as I know) hand picked the fastest and most talented musicians on the planet to take part in his projects. There is even one song, "Hey Tee Bone," where Garsed teams up with Shawn Lane to create soloing that pushes the limits of physical ability. I was inspired to check out some more of his work, and I figured the easiest place to start would be with one of his newest releases: "Uncle Moe's Space Ranch."

This is an effort by a group of wacked out virtuosos with Garsed on guitar and Helmerich handling other guitars (I think he even plays some kind of midi guitar for the extra bizarre solos). That combination alone is full of endlessly wacky possibilities. Add to that bass player Gary Willis of Tribal Tech, drummer Dennis Chambers, and keyboardist Scott Kinsey, and you've got a result that I can only think to call experimental. I'll be straight with you - not many of you will like this. The songs follow only the loosest of common themes and many might not call them songs at all. This is basically a playground for musicians. It is full of inexplicably weird ideas and tons of solos by each musicians. Helmerich's soloing makes some... unusual sounds.

Chambers provides some extreme drumming over it all, and I'm sure he pounded through a few drumkits during the recording, he plays those snare drums way too fast. Kinsey layers over it all different kinds of keyboard effects and sounds that I can't even begin to describe. The bass solos are perhaps the most normal of all because it sounds like an actual bass and not some perverted version of an instrument, but even then I'd be lying if I called the bass playing normal. It's as zany and incomprehensible as everything else here.

If you're into music that is just "out there" and full of amazing solos, give this CD a chance. I think Garsed and Helmerich have released far more normal music in the past, and they've got some of it up on But when you need something suitable for scaring your friends, just spin this disc and act like nothing is out of the ordinary.

For more information visit Brett Garsed's official web page:

Chris Poland
~ by Eric Rasmussen

First we'll take a look at Chris Poland. If the name sounds familiar, it's probably because you heard his name back in the '80s when Megadeth got started. He was one of the band's original guitarists. Eventually he started his own solo project and released "Return to Metalopolis", an album that had heavy metal rhythm guitar and drumming...  but it's hard to classify the lead guitar work.

Poland is exceptional because of his very fluid and melodic lead playing. It's very expressive, and I've never got the feeling he wrote a solo to show off or because it was the thing to do. His bluesy but fast soloing style fit the music on "Return to Metalopolis" well, but I think the metal tendencies in the work held him back when he could have focused more on his emotive solo guitar.

Eventually he did just that on his second release: "Chasing the Sun." There isn't a thing on the CD that feels out of place, and Poland pours his heart out on most of the tracks. Songs like "Mercy" are distilled down to pure emotion, just a man and his guitar. There are very competent drummers and bassists playing on various songs, and while it fits the music great, I can't help but use the majority of my attention to marvel at Poland's playing.

Although the songs are basic in terms of the elements used, the guitar is really enough to communicate feeling. Songs like "Interference Blues" and "Wendell's Place" show that fully. Other songs do mix things up, however, such as "Hip Hop Karma." This song has a hip hop beat and some funky bass, which meshes surprisingly well with the lead guitar. "Chasing The Sun" even has some metal-ish riffs going on to give the song a heavier feel than anything else on the album.

Chris Poland isn't the kind of guitarist everyone will enjoy listening to, but I think he is worth looking into if you have any interest in solo guitarists (or if you enjoyed his work in Megadeth). The strong blues influence on his soloing gives it a unique sound, because rarely would you ever hear blues guitar played at both slow and very fast speeds. The general fluidity of it all makes his solos flow gracefully. These days Poland has formed a group known as "Ohm." I haven't been down to the LA area to see them live, but rumor has it they will eventually release a CD. They're a group to keep an eye on, for sure.

Official website:

Shawn Lane and Jonas Hellborg
~ by Eric Rasmussen

This is one wacky duo. For those of you unfamiliar with Hellborg and Lane, let me first introduce them individually.

Shawn Lane is a virtuoso of the highest order. If you know of a guitarist who can play faster than him with the same precision and elaborate composition, let me know. Out of everyone I've ever heard, Lane is the fastest guitarist - and believe me, I have heard a lot of incredibly fast and well-respected guitarists. Yet, oddly enough, he rarely chooses to show it. On his first solo release the music ranged from rock, to pop, to jazz, and to otherworldy compositions that are just plain confusing (see "Paris"). His speedy playing popped up in a couple of spots, but he held back considerably and focused more on the songwriting and his keyboard/piano playing. Oh, if I forgot to mention it, he's also a virtuoso pianist. In addition to that first solo album of his, "Powers of Ten" (now out of print), he has a second release that is much the same, and a newly released live recording of "Powers of Ten." Both are worth checking out, though I suspect most people will find more interest in the work he has done with Jonas Hellborg (hold on, I'm getting there).

Jonas Hellborg is easily my favorite bass player. Aside from the incredible amount of skill he has, he's truly one of the best songwriters I have ever heard. His discography is giant and I've only heard his most recent work, but all of it is very unique and interesting. Like Lane, he rarely shows off or goes fast, but when he wants to he can kick out some mean bass licks that'll have you running for cover.

If you're wondering what happens when you pair two of the world's greatest musicians, well, I'll tell ya, it's nuts. They have worked with a number of incredible drummers over the years. On "Abstract Logic," they worked with Kofi Baker, who is a really talented rock/jazz drummer. The result was an album of totally original compositions with the three playing together and doing solo pieces. The solo pieces are most notable for being so listenable. Who would have thought 6 minutes of pure drumming could be that enjoyable? The first time I listened to it took me three minutes to realize that only the drummer was playing because he managed to keep things so interesting. There is also an excellent bass solo that never gets boring, and Hellborg even lets loose and goes fast in a few spots. Shawn Lane, always the humble guitarist, chose to play piano for his solo song. The result is a maddeningly fast and complex piano track that is as beautiful as it is frightening.

My favorite work the two have done is with Michael Shrieve (a drummer) on "Two Doors." It's not the fastest they've played, but it keeps a quick pace and sounds more like rock in many spots than any jazz you'll ever hear. A lot of the playing sounds improvised, you just can't sit down and write out songs like this. There are no definite riffs in most of them, but when there is a central melodic theme, they'll never play it exactly the same way twice.

Another favorite CD of mine is "Good People in Times of Evil." I assure you that you haven't encountered something like this before. Lane stays mostly in the background on this one providing the occasional Middle Eastern melody, but the real beauty of it is in the bass and percussion work. Percussionist V. Selvaganesh plays some exotic Indian instruments and provides one of the coolest rhythm sections I have ever heard. It is thoroughly energetic and varied - he keeps up with Hellborg's rhythmic bass lines the whole way through. There is even one song where Selvaganesh does some vocal percussion. This scares me. It sounds something like "Tak-tahk a din, tak a din din a tak tak" and so on. He keeps it varied and it progresses rather impressively, but the speed and amount of weird noises he makes with his vocal chords just isn't normal.

Hellborg and Lane have also released several live albums together. The most technically impressive is "Personae." This has the most extreme and advanced musicmanship I've ever heard. It's hard to compare to classical, but it's easy to say that on a technical level it blows away the most respected musicans in rock, metal, or jazz. Yeah, that includes Dream Theater, and even Spastic Ink. Jeff Sipe (aka Apt. Q-258) is on drums, and the man just never quits pounding at hyper speed. The live performance is based on complete re-interpretations of their own songs including a ton of improvisation. One song in particular is 20 minutes long, featuring extended drum, bass, and guitar soloing. All of which will blow you away. The last track is a completely reworked version of "Rice with the Angels," which features guitar soloing only Lane could manage. This also happens to be the only CD where Hellborg and Lane let loose and rarely slow down.

It's hard to condense so much of their work into such short descriptions, but you can always visit their label web page to hear samples. Some of it takes some getting used to for general listening, but if you admire accomplished musicanmanship and jazz/fusion improvisation, there's nothing else like it.

Bardo Records:

Virgil Donati
~ by Eric Rasmussen

One look at a picture of the Australian Virgil Donati can speak volumes. Particularly the picture on his web site where he is topless and doing the splits. Yeah, that one. I still don't know what to think of it, or understand why there is a picture of him doing the splits on his web page - after all, he's supposed to be a drummer, right? Sure, sure. And he is. We think.

Joking aside, Virgil Donati is the most incredible drummer I have ever heard. He's even, in my humble opinion, far better than Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater. You know, that guy from Dream Theater that drum fanatics can't stop talking about. Donati's style is characterized by the unrelenting rhythmic complexity. He uses every part of the drumkit to layer complex rhythms on top of each other and play them with seeming ease.

His drumming doesn't always sound exceptionally fast, but that's only because the beats he's playing would require four arms for us humans to manage. He's moving very quick to play so many different things at once, and the accuracy even at high speeds is perfect. I wouldn't be surprised if he could make a metronome rethink its ability to keep time. This approach is refreshing when compared to drummers who play fast on only one or two parts of the drumkit at a time.

Donati fans seem to most enjoy his older work. Unfortunately, I've only heard his more recent progressive metal album, "Serious Young Insects." It's also listed under the band name "On The Virg." The songs should appeal to fans of progressive music as well as fusion, and they're full of technical playing. The aforementioned Helmerich and Garsed duo even pop up in a few spots to weird everyone out. Just listen to "Alien Hip Hop" and you'll know what I mean. Some of the songwriting can be hit or miss, but the ever present and amazing drumming is what makes it all work. Virgil Donati even adds some keyboards to give specific songs even more character.

I don't know what it is about talented virtuosos, but they must have some sort of union since they all appear on each others CDs. There is a song on Garsed and Helmerich's "Uncle Moe's Space Ranch" featuring Virgil on drums. It is a suitably odd song with robot noises and mechanical drumming that isn't electronic at all. With a name like "SighBorg," you know it must be a fun song.

There's not much else to say about the man. I may have made it sound like his compositions are just machine like, but that's just because I'm so impressed with his ability. He definitely takes the time to write songs. There are no other drummers who have a similar sound, playing ability aside. He mixes interesting beats with the music on "Serious Young Insects," adding a lot of dynamics and punch to the sound. It's rare that a drummer can make or break an album. But when Virgil is behind the drumkit, I find myself listening to the drumming far more than any other instrument.

Official website:

New Orleans
~by Sonya Brown
(Photo Credit: Jett Black)

After all of the last minute hotel changes, shifting and shuffling of schedules, and the hectic packing and unpacking associated with my travel to New Orleans this year; I'm finally home.  Tired and contemplative.

I reflect upon all of the wonderful people that I met, the musicians that I saw perform, and those that I was unable to see perform as I spent much of my time in the vendors area.   Also, I missed the company of both Blu and DJ Batty who were unable to attend GothCon this year.

Riley Bordelon (of Kali Yuga) and his companion, Kimberly, met Jett Black and I at the airport in New Orleans.   I immediately adored both Riley and Kimberly.  It was wonderful to be greeted by friends, rather than an impersonal cab ride to the hotel.  The back of the big black truck was filled with boxes that Jett had previously mailed to Riley. The boxes contained hundreds of "goodie bags" that we would be giving out to the patrons of GothCon 2002. Thanks Riley, we're forever grateful!  Riley maneuvered his truck through the traffic, and we finally find our way to "Coops" (1109 Decatur) for a mellow dinner in the French Quarter.  A rare relaxed moment to catch our breath before the GothCon festivities begin.

Thursday arrives and I have finally met Steven Holiday, owner of Gothic Beauty magazine; and Doreen, who is in charge of overseas sales and distribution.  Doreen is one of the most charming creatures I have had the pleasure of meeting.  Steven is also most charming, and I felt fortunate to be helping out at the Gothic Beauty table.

As usually happens, most of the band schedules were delayed, and I only saw a portion of the Gossamer set.  Gossamerplayed beautifully.  The highlight for me was to watch a very pregnant Lisa, of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, swirling and dancing to Gossamer's dark melodies.  (Note: Lisa will be performing at Projectkfest'02 in Philadelphia on May 25.)

Upstairs, in the panel room,  the occult thriller "Liberata' Me" is premiering.  I sneak in a few minutes late and Arron of Second Skin calls me over to the seat next to him.  Finally I have met Arron!  I have worked with him for the past two years or so, but we had never met in person until now.  What a pleasure to finally meet Arron and his band-mates!  Second Skin provides the title track to the movie; yet I also notice a track ("Chicks Suck") by The Strand.  Also heard in Liberata' Me is new music from Naked Dead.

Liberata' Me is one creepy movie, guaranteed to disturb even the most jaded of horror movie fans.  Directed by Pearry Reginald Teo, and Produced by Effie Flemming, Liberata' Me is a controversial journey into the madness of your soul.  The souls' vehicle, in this case a tattooed ouijiboard, propels its host to death and back (but was he already dead???).  I meet the costume designer, Reagan True, who informs me that this movie was partially filmed in a haunted house in Tucson in the dead of night.  The live concert footage featuring Second Skin was filmed at Fineline in Tucson, Arizona and features the "regular" clientele of the club as the rabid fans.  I'm sure they needed no coaching, judging from Skin's performance on-stage.  The set designer for Liberata' Me (also responsible for props and the fight scene) is Allen Tant, with assistant Jason Evans.  Liberata' Me premiered in Tucson and New Orleans, but is now on its way to New York and Los Angeles International Film Festivals.  You can get information regarding the film at  And speaking of Ouija boards... Director Pearry Teo sports one awesome tattoo on his arm!

A quick rush back downstairs to catch a few minutes of Provision from Houston, Texas.  What I saw of Provision, I liked.  Upbeat, danceable synthpop.  This is when I wish the carpeted area in front of the stage was not carpeted!  Though I never heard Provision prior to GothCon, I have a feeling I will be hearing more of them.  The set list for Provision for GothCon 2002 includes: Emptiness (Intro), Devotion, Inertia, Breathe, Sacrifice, Evaporate, My Only Question, Lies, Uncertainty, December Morning - and the New Order Cover of Vanishing Point as their encore.

Now it's late and another very full day awaits, so I say good night to Thursday.  GothCon is definitely off with a BANG!

Friday arrives and I spend the day in the vendors room.  I emerge for a few moments to catch a glimpse of the PACKED Ballroom where the fashion show with DJ Ad Mortem is taking place.  Sadly, I missed the earlier performance of Butterfly Messiah, but I did bring home one of their CD's (so be sure to check out the review of "Priestess"). Standing only 5'3", I'm no match for the crowd at the fashion show.  I get as close as I can, and stand on my toes, yet I'm still only able to view the models from the waist up.  Cheers erupt, and I see Lisa once more, her beautiful pregnant form, gliding down the "runway" in her lovely purple gown.  A woman of grace, talent and beauty.

Again I dash upstairs to the panel room for the Rift Arts Forum, hosted by MadameX.  A poetry reading begins in the dim light of the bar.  Patrons quiet and gather around MadameX as she begins her poem.  I was not expecting the emotions that came flooding to me as she read her powerful piece of poetry, "Mirror", (an original piece about her life in women thru history).  I feel warm listening to her exotic voice and strong, beautiful words.  Others bravely walk up to read their poems.  Jett Black reads "Pondering A Disintegrated Romance";  a Gothic Southern Belle reads from memory, and even sings one of her poems acapello...  as does another poet, Gray.  I spend the next hour completely immersed in the talents of the poets who bare their souls before us.  The winners of the poetry contest split the prize (a goodie bag filled with music and certificates).  Pixie and Annie are the "official" winners for the night.

Leaving the bar, we head back to the Ballroom just in time for Fiction8.  All I can say is "Fiction8 kicked ass". Featuring a multi-talented female bass player and violinist, Mardi "Paisli" Salazar, Fiction8 (Michael Smith, Steven Hart and Paisli) treated the crowd to a fantastic cover of The Cars, "The Dangerous Type".  Upon finishing their set, chants of "FIC-TION-EIGHT" erupt from the crown and the band returns to the stage for an encore.  Fiction8 performs the songs Stasis (instrumental), Set You Free (from their forthcoming US release of "Chaotica"), Sister Illusion, In the Dark, Break the Line, Time for Me, Somnabule, It's Over Now, Harbingers of Death, Let Go;  and their  two encore songs: Curse, and Nothing Undone.

Well, just one of these GothCon nights I would like to check out the DJ'd music! This year GothCon hosts a number of talented DJ's, including DJ Vulture & Voodoo, DJ Mindcage & Mistress Catherinna, as well as DJ De'ath... but my swollen feet scream out for sanctuary and I must, again, call it a night.

Saturday arrives.  The last day of GothCon, and before I head back into the vendors room I MUST get down to the French Quarter to purchase gifts for my daughters and a pair of comfortable shoes for myself!  After soaking in some of the ambiance of the Quarter (and a bowl of gumbo), we rush back in time for Jett to catch 13th Sky.  I must relieve Doreen in the vendors room.  I wanted to catch 13th Sky as I have heard so much about them, and Blu gave them a great review! Featuring the ex-vocalist from Exceed Six Doses, Juliette Storace, I tried to strain my ears to hear some of their set before we lost power! Yes, the lights in the vendor room went out, along with (from what I gather) power in the ballroom.  It made for a truly shadow-veiled GothCon afternoon.

Evening falls and hunger prevails.  A last evening out with good friends and good food finds us again at Angelis' in the French Quarter.  Jett & I are joined this time by Steven Holiday, Doreen, and Rob of Secret-Secret.  I met Rob, prior to GothCon, at the Tim Sweeney Music Strategies Conference in Las Vegas.  He had treated me to a slide show of photos he had taken during a recent trip to Japan.  Again he brings his Macintosh laptop and we are able to share the experience with Steven and Doreen.  Rob recently completed the compilation "San Francisco Goth Synth Industrial"  on the Denki Tiger label, and I was able to hear this just released cd featuring Claire Voyant, Trance to the Sun, Secret Secret, Bloodwire, Hungry Lucy, Sunshine Blind, B! Machine, Information Society, Battery, See Colin Slash, Ganymede, Moonlite, Galaxxy Chamber, Nuit, and Mark Pistel.  Rob presented me with a copy of the compilation, so look for a review soon!

After dinner, we pop into Mythique (atop the Crow Bar) for after-dinner drinks.  We then head back to The Crescent to catch ThouShaltNot.  Again I was disappointed to learn that I missed ThouShaltNot.  I have seen them perform once (in Portland, Oregon) and I REALLY enjoyed their show, and I had hoped to see them perform live in New Orleans.

We do make it back in time to see Judith, and I'm thrilled.  The appearance of Judith on the Neue Asthetik compilation, "Towards The Sky",  has left me dreaming of the day I could see them perform live.  I was not disappointed!  Christopher had me swaying to "La Bella" in pure rhapsody!  What a wonderful way to end the perfect evening; dancing to Judith and soaking in the aura of their electronic soundscapes.  Judith absolutely melts in my ears.  I emerge from my own blissful state to see Lisa (Black Tape for a Blue Girl) also dancing to the music of Judith.  Jett remarks, "what wonderful music for an unborn baby to experience".  I completely agree.  Judith's set list for GothCon 2002 includes: Play of Light, Dissolution, Valium, La Bella, Of a Heaven, Switchblade, Morningstar, Without Her, Future, and When Sleep Fell.

GothCon 2002 draws to an end as bags are packed and taxi's hailed.  Down in the lobby I finally have the pleasure of running into James and Kevin, and Kevin's wife Jenn of Middle Pillar Distribution who were there to support GothCon performers The Machine in the Garden and to hand out 200 CD samplers from their current roster.  I have met Kevin and James before, in Portland Oregon, at the CD release party for Sumerland's "Sivo", held at Dante's Inferno.  We chatted a bit about Sumerland, made introductions and goodbyes almost simultaneously, and parted ways for our long journeys home.

So now I am home, the swelling on my feet ebbs, and I ponder next years GothCon.  Good friends, new acquaintances, awesome music...  something enjoyable to think about for the year to come.

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Bands who performed at GothCon 2002:
Thursday 28 March
7pm - Noise Process
9pm - Gossamer
11pm - Noise Provision

Friday 29 March
1pm - Butterfly Messiah
3pm - Numeralia
5pm - Mindless Faith
8pm - The Machine in the Garden
10pm - Emergence
12am - Fiction 8

Saturday 30 March
2pm - 13th Sky
4pm - Schone Mashine
6pm - Shadow Cabinet
8pm - Eye Kandy
10pm - Thou Shalt Not
1am - Judith


LIBERATA' ME (the movie)

Denki Tiger

Projekt Records

THE RIFT Networking Group
(Poetry, Literature, Visual Art, Photography, Acoustic Music, Dance, Original Film, Fashion, Costuming and Performance Art)
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Playlist as posted to GothCon e-group by RoseMortem
dj Admortem's Set List:
Set 1: Designers Rose Mortem and Gallery Serpentine
"Scars Flown Proud" by Faith and the Muse
Set 2: Designer Enigma Fashions
"Vampire" by The Pet Shop Boys
Set 3: Designer Lady Maeve's Closet
"Omnis Mundi Creatura" by Helium Vola
Middle Eastern Dance: "Egypte" by Cirque de Soliel
Set 4: Designers Silks of Newe Making, Karen DeGuire, Gothique Boutique, &
"Obsession" by Animotion
Set 5: Designer Toxsin
"Ziggy Stardust" by Bauhaus (ok, this one was specially requested by
Deborah of Toxsin :)
Set 6: Designers Medusa Clothing and Flaming Angels
"Bedsitter" by Soft Cell