80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Fad Gadget

No wonder why I love nearly everything I hear from Fad Gadget – a “band” that has been featured on both David Marsden’s and Ed-FM’s streaming shows. Wikipedia describes Fad Gadget, a pseudonym for the late Frank Tovey, as “(a)n influential British avant-garde electronic musician and vocalist, (who) was an exponent of both New Wave and early industrial music.” That can’t get any closer to the music that I adore.

Frank Tovey released LPs under both his own name and the Fad Gadget monicker. He shared a record label with Depeche Mode, who went on to critical world acclaim that continues today. In addition to being an extremely talented musician, Tovey was also well-known for his stage anctics that included tar and feathering himself, and covering himself with shaving cream while performing. Just listening to his timeless music all these years later, I can’t personally see the need for the performance art schtick because his music stands on its own merits.

In addition to synthesizers, Tovey experimented with the sounds of mechanical and electrical objects such as drills and electric razors. At one point, he was backed by a group known as Pyro when recording two of his LPs in the early 90’s. After a hiatus of several years, Tovey toured with Depeche Mode again as Fad Gadget in 2001. Unfortunately for the music world, Tovey suffered a fatal heart attack in 2002 at the age of 45. He left behind two children and a whole bunch of dedicated fans.

Visit the official Fad Gadget site for more information on this brilliant man’s short, but productive life. The photo on the left is from a collection shot by Rob Kints. View more of his photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robkints/2121140696/ . Thanks to Mr. Kints for permission to use this great shot.

“Collapsing New People” via YouTube user cecibeans:

“Ricky’s Hand” via YouTube user karsich00:

“Saturday Night Special” via YouTube user ronnyecke:

“Life On The Line” via YouTube user PrimetimeApocalypse:

“Coitus Interruptus” via YouTube user 350125GO:

In addition to accessing the official website, purchase Fad Gadget music here.
Purchase Frank Tovey music here.  

80’s Discography 

As Fad Gadget:
Fireside Favourites
Incontinent (1981)
Under The Flag (1982)
Gag (1984) 

As Frank Tovey:
Easy Listening For The Hard Of Hearing
(1984) (with Boyd Rice)
Snakes and Ladders (1986)
The Fad Gadget Singles (1986)
Civilian (1988)
Tyranny & the Hired Hand (1989)

5 thoughts on “80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Fad Gadget

  1. Thank you so much for this! I’ve just scraped the surface of your links, but will take some time and digest Tovey this week. This wasn’t at all what I expected this band to sound like. Somehow, I imagined something more like the Durutti Column! Anyhow, what a cool sound.


  2. Glad you like it (((((((((Joey)))))))))). I had only heard a handful of Fad Gadget songs, so this is my way of really discovering it as well. Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving!



  3. Very nice MissP, I have quite a bit of the Fad Gadget material. I need to start getting some of Frank Tovey`s work.
    A great snapshot of their work is included on the Mute Records box set.




  4. Hey (((((Ed)))))

    Thank you! I look forward to hearing more of Fad Gadget’s work on the show. And, I must look into the Frank Tovey catalog as well. “See” you tonight!



  5. It should be a crime not to give this guy credit for the influence he’s had on modern and past electronic music. If it weren’t for John Frusciante’s constant admiration of good music, I probably would have never heard this guy. I’m glad someone has written about him.


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