Fad Gadget

Frank Tovey
Fad Gadget


On April 3rd 2002 Frank Tovey died unexpectedly (apparently of a stroke) in his house in London.


Daniel Miller:


"Frank was the first artist I ever worked with on Mute, he made some very
special and influential records and was an exceptional live performer. Frank
played a big part in helping to lay the foundations of what the label was to
become in the ensuing years, I will miss him greatly.  My deepest sympathy and of
condolences go out to his family. "


Sentiments shared by myself and many others!


Fad Gadget Guestbook

 Obsessed with electronic sound, Frank Tovey made demo tapes using a drum machine and an electric piano. The newly formed Mute records became interested and he released his first single, the second to be released on the label (of course the first being The Normal with T.V.O.D/Warm Leatherette). His debut gig was at the Moonlight Club in London along with the Monochrome Set and Manicured Noise on 18th July 1979. Live appearances in those days consisted of standing motionless on stage, eyes directed at the floor, operating a keyboard and tape deck. Depeche Mode played support to him for their first gig as an all synth band. Later other musicians were recruited for a tour of the States and to help on the follow up album. Although popular in the independant charts it wasn't until the third album, Under the Flag, and the single For Whom the Bells Toll that he became more commercially successful.

Other live performances saw Tovey fracture both heels in Amsterdam after attemptimg one of his spectacular leaps into the audience and not noticing the moat around the stage. He continued the concert sitting on the edge of the stage but had to cancel the last 5 shows. On the opening of a local civic centre in England Fad Gadget took the stage with Einsturzende Neubarten and proceeded to do exactly that - they collapsed the stage with too much machinery.


Takes Hours of preparation

To get that wasted look

From the Documentary Evidence 2 released with Mute singles of the late 80's the description of Fad Gadget "Through a knothole on the world he composes sardonic responses to the media-brutalsed Britain". His single Back to Nature "deadpans naturlaist antics in closeclench with a dense synthetic slug refrain, its dancehall dialectic dissolving in an uneasy laughter". Also in 1980 the singles Ricky's Hand "written as a household hazard warning, is applauded as an electro classic", and Fireside Favourites "jauntily compares living reem glow with nuclear glow, flagging the broadrangeing concerns of his debut LP". For Whom the Bells Toll: "disarming evocation of a malleable Britain intoxicated with the Falklands 'adventure'".


Back to Nature

The Box

October 1979

Mute 2

March 1980

Mute 6

Ricky's Hand


September 1980

Mute 9

Fireside Favoutites


Make Room

Lady Shave

March 1981

Mute 12

January 1982

Mute 17

Saturday Night Special

Swallow It (Live)

April 1982

Mute 21

King of the Flies

Plain Clothes

Life on the Line II

4M Unaltered

September 1982

Mute 24

January 1983

Mute 26

For Whom the Bells Toll II

Love Parasite

October 1983

Mute 28

I Discover Love

Lemming's on Lovers Rocks

Collapsing New People

Spoil the Child

January 1984

Mute 30

May 1984

Mute 33

One Man's Meat

Sleep Electro-Induced Original


Fireside Favourites  September 1980

Stumm 3 

Incontinent  July 1981

Stumm 6 

Under the Flag  September 1982

Stumm 6 

Gag  February 1984

Stumm 15 

The Fad Gadget Singles  November 1985

Stumm 37 

Frank Tovey



Bed of Nails

August 1985

Mute 38

April 1986

Mute 44

Luddite Joe

Clean This Act

Bridge Street Shuffle

Brace of Shakes

April 1988

Mute 79

Sam Hall

Ricky's Hand

John Henry/Let Your Hammer Ring

House of the Rising Sun

August 1989

Mute 100

April 1991

Mute 121

The Liberty Tree

Victoria Falls


Easy Listening for the Hard of Hearing  November 1984

Stumm 20 

Snakes and Ladders  May 1985

Stumm 23 

Civilian  June 1988

Stumm 56 

Tyranny and the Hired Hand  August 1989

Stumm 73 

Grand Union  May 1991

Stumm 84 

Worried Me in Second Hand Suits  October 1992

Stumm 107 




2001 Interview

A History