Fad Gadget was the stage name of Frank Tovey. One of the most influential electronic/post-punk/new wave artists of the late seventies and early eighties, his sound was accessible, dark and galvanizing. Creating music with pulsing drum machines and droning synths, he walked a thin line between dark pop and hard edged dance music. His lyrical content was theatrical, steeped in social commentary, and wry. On stage, he transcended beyond just a music artist to that of a performance artist. Charismatic, subversive and confrontational, his avant-garde approach to electronics, pop music, and performance, defines him as one of the singularly most unique electronic artists to this day. Bands such as Pet Shop Boys, New Order and a plethora of techno bands in the early nineties all cite his influence.
Difficult to categorize
In the late 80’s when electronic and new wave sounds dominated popular music, Tovey completely changed gears. He unplugged and chose to use instruments such as banjos and acoustic guitars. Eschewing his Fad Gadget persona, his new music had strong folk and bluegrass influences. Still with a strong bent on social commentary, his new work was was equally powerful. Never one to shy away from difficult subjects, his exquisite songwriting shines through his later work.
Resurrecting his Fad Gadget moniker in 2001, he supported Depeche Mode for their Exciter tour. While on tour he met a young electronic indie rock band by the name of Temple X. He would go on to produce their only album. Throughout his career, as Fad Gadget or Frank Tovey, he continually toured Europe, garnering a devout fan base.
Frank Tovey tragically passed away in 2002 at the age of 45. He left rich body of work that is still just as powerful today as his very first release in 1979. This documentary is a wonderful primer to the fascinating and complex world of Fad Gadget.
Learn more about Frank Tovey / Fad Gadget on his official website.