Best known as the man behind Fad Gadget, Frank Tovey is widely recognised as an influence on a generation of electronic musicians and as one of the most significant cult acts of the post-punk boom.
The first artist to be signed by Daniel Miller to Mute in 1979, Fad Gadget was a contemporary of the early Human League, Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle. Along with Miller – who recorded as The Normal and also as the Silicon Teens – these acts pioneered a type of electronic music which is now very much part of the mainstream but seemed totally alien in the post-punk era.
As Fad Gadget, Frank Tovey released four critically acclaimed albums and developed a cult following, as much for his fearless live performances as for his radical use of sound on tracks like Back To Nature and Ricky’s Hand, and his lyrical insights and observations on Collapsing New People and Luxury.
Never one to be typecast, in the mid-eighties, Frank Tovey ditched the Fad Gadget alias and became a more traditional singer-songwriter. He issued a further six albums, two of them backed by Irish cowpunk bluegrass band, the Pyros, as well as providing the soundtracks for theatre productions directed by his friend Michael Vale.
In 2001, Frank Tovey reverted to his Fad Gadget persona; he supported Depeche Mode throughout Europe on their Exciter tour, however, on the eve of a period of new songwriting and with plans to tour in the US and Japan, Frank Tovey died of a heart attack at his home in London on the 3rd of April 2002.
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