Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Song of the Day: 'Never Never' by the Assembly

As I was filling Damian in on the history of Depeche Mode on the day we were going to see them -- Vince Clarke's genius in the band and after with Yaz(oo) -- I found myself not quite sure why he had left the band in the first place, after the critically acclaimed and very successful "Speak & Spell" album. A little research revealed that even he's not that sure -- Wikipedia collected quotes from a few different interviews in which he essentially stated that he didn't enjoy the public aspects of success (yawn!), such as touring and interviews, and found himself frequently "at odds" with his bandmates, particularly on the tour bus. This confirmed what I'd once suspected, that he'd left the straight world of Depeche Mode for a fun dyke and the a big queen because he too was gay, but recently learned Clarke's married (to a woman!) with child. He also stated: "I think everybody in the band, especially myself, imagined that the reason we were doing so well was because of themselves ... we were pretty young and very lucky, and things had happened very quickly for us and I don't think we were really mature to handle the situation." Fair enough. 

I do recall Clarke abruptly pulled the plug on equally successfully Yaz(oo) -- something he later apologized to Alison Moyet for, even hitting the road with her 25 years later to tie up that loose end -- but that time he claimed it was because the duo was always meant to be (in his mind, at least) a temporary thing. And he claimed that he'd actually wanted to be in a band with a revolving door of singers, something he briefly pulled off with the Assembly, alongside Eric Radcliffe, a noted producer and engineered with whom he had worked on his previous bands. The duo recruited Feargal Sharkey to sing on their divine debut single, "Never Never," but then dissolved. Much like Saint Etienne, I think the idea of being a "collective" is better in theory than in execution. (His second attempt to pair with a singer bombed.) So just as Saint Etienne settled down with Sarah Cracknell, Clarke eventually made a life with Andy Bell, which is unfortunate as I always felt it was his weakest pairing of all.


JimmyD said...

He sounds... complicated :)

Craig B. said...

I always loved the track Vince worked on with West India Company called Ave Maria (the group was connected to Blancmange).

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@JimmyD: He *is* the common denominator, right? At least he finally found someone he could make music with longterm!

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