From 1984 to 1987, Malicieux Garde were regulars on the London club circuit playing some legendary venues of the time such as The Rock Garden, The Ad Lib, Dingwall’s and The Half Moon.
In 1985 I got married and we had our first daughter. The flat was too small for our needs so we sold up and bought a house in Basildon, Essex, home town of Depeche Mode. In the new house there was a spare bedroom that I nabbed as my home recording studio. It was great. I could have all my equipment setup permanently so I could write and record when I needed too.
Believe me the need was great. When I’m having a good creative period I often can’t sleep. If I get a good musical idea in my head I have to get up to write it down or record it before I can get any rest. When I’m in the studio I often lose all track of time. I am regularly up until the small hours when working on a new track. It’s funny, but late at night or past midnight seems to be when I have my best ideas.
In 1987 we filmed a promotional video in Manchester, which was taken by a management company to the 1988 ‘Midem‘ event in Cannes, France to show to record companies. They later took it to New York, all to no avail.
In March 1989, we appeared on a television talent show. This was a last ditched attempt at getting a recording contract, but proved to be our swan song. We decided to call it a day shortly after.
I was still regularly writing and producing new songs in my home studio. Most of them were never used with Malicieux Garde because it was just too costly to go into a studio to record a new backing track for our live set. I still wanted to get out and perform live.
That’s what it’s always been about for me, getting out on stage and performing. It’s such a rush when you have the attention of an audience! But I didn’t want to go through the whole rigmarole of trying to find another band to sing with, so I went solo.
I decided not to perform under my own name. Instead I used the name Real World. This seemed like a good idea because I could bring other musicians in to work with me at any time.
Remember what I just said about not looking for another band?
Well, one day I noticed a card on the wall in the local music shop. It was a wanted ad for a vocalist. I took down the number and made a call. I met up with Colin the drummer of a cover band at his house and sang him a few songs. He explained that the band had been put together to do a one-off charity gig to raise money for a local girl who needed medical treatment abroad. I couldn’t refuse could I? So I jumped onboard.
I did a lot of rehearsing with that band just for one gig, but it was great fun and they were the best musicians I’d worked with up to then. The gig went really well, we had a full house and everyone enjoyed the event.
It was during one of our rehearsals that the bass player, also called Colin, played me a bass riff he’d written. He said he’d played it for a lot of musicians but no one had really had any success in using it in a song. I was up for the challenge as the riff sounded to me like it was better suited to a sequenced bass line rather than a bass guitar.
I went away, wrote a song I was very pleased with, and went to play it to him at his house. The song was called “Hold on to Love”. When the song finished I was surprised to get absolutely no reaction whatsoever. It was very strange because I was buzzing about this song. I though it was catchy and had a lot of energy.
What do you think?
Here’s that very recording of Hold On To Love, recorded on my 4 track in my home studio.
I was sitting there waiting for him to say something. I knew he liked the song, I could see it in his eyes. I guess he just didn’t know what to say about it, or maybe he was surprised that I was able to produce a song like that on my own? It did turn out to be a very useful moment a short time later though.
Does success finally beckon for me?