Liner notes from US 1983 The Singles Collection

The following text is taken from the inner sleeve of the '83 US-LP "Fade To Grey - The Singles Collection" (Cat.-No. 815 347-1 Y-1):

No label bothered them quite as much being called a 'supergroup'. Obviously, the consortium built originally of Rusty Egan, Midge Ure, Billy Currie, John McGeogh, Dave Formula, Barry Adamson and Steve Strange had cast a long collective shadow on the changing musical fabric of late 70's. So deep were their individual resumes that the family tree stands as a tangle of cross references.

But VISAGE was not going to be associated with the eponymous fast-buck Titanics formed by convalescing hippies. This was a different deal and at its invention in 1979, VISAGE was truly a child of necessity.

There was a void to be filled. It was the historic 'Blitz' period in London and the lights had come on again in a manner of speaking. Steve and Rusty had captured the hearts and minds of the urbane youth caught between punk's pathos and the downwardly mobile disco scene. As club entrepreneurs, they had brought their nomadic nightlife experiments - stealing through Soho as furtively as a floating crap game - to rest at the Blitz Club in Covent Garden.

Rusty's turntables and Steve's fashionable turns opened the door and the floor to any suggestion. Distinctions blurred and there was no true single label for what went on. It just moved fast and the music was woven, made to measure, for the Blitz figure which seemed to change shape every night. But to play other people's music was too second hand for the visionary situation. VISAGE would give the whole movie a fresh soundtrack.

And true to it's announced intentions, VISAGE mirrored the chemistry of the club. Their music was a melting pot, gathering swatches of influence from Europe, America and England for something truly non-partisan and desegrated by design. Beat with meat, you could call it. Manna for the dance floor. Soon, the word spread and Blitz was cast by the world as the ground zero for the futurism that was taking over the pop charts.

VISAGE then started doing something for which it hadnÕt really planned. It sold records, lots of records like other bands. Unfortunately, they weren't meant to be a band. A collective, a project, a halfway house but not a band. And when the energy of Blitz started to dissipate, VISAGE lost its focus and began to erode for the reasons that usually befall an orphan band.

But this be no eulogy. The enclosed retrospective closes one chapter as it begins another. VISAGE still exists and the present compact configuration of Rusty, Steve and Dave will undoubtedly go on to create new com- plexions, some of which are hinted at herein. The last time I spoke to Rusty he vowed that if VISAGE was going to be a band, Òit is gonna be a real band.Ó

The only promise is promise itself.

Jonathan Gross, October 1983

Liner notes from '93 CD "The Best Of Visage"

The following text is taken from the booklet of the '93 CD "The Best Of Visage" (Polydor 521 053-2):

"Soho, London, 1978. Taking a turn off The Strand away from the cacophony and real life relics and into the outer spaces, myriad faces and sweet synthesised sounds of contemporary dance beats and dangerous melodies, listening to the music re-sounding, cutting the air like it was glass. RockÕnÕRoll juggernauts into demonic, elec- tronic, supersonic momentum".

Before W1 metamorphosised into an ugly A to Z of short lived one nighters, before warehouse parties with their extortionately priced warm beer and boom-hiss sound sytems, before raves full of sweaty Bridge and Tunnel denizens flaked out in bouncy castles, before London became intoxicated on a nauseous cocktail of house, ecstasy and Ribena, there was something else. Fifteen years ago every Tuesday night, in a little Covent Garden wine bar, something special and exciting was fracturing the post-punk complacency of London nightlife.

A likely Lad with more front than Selfridges called Rusty Egan (then drummer in the pop band Rich Kids) and a welsh boy calling himself Steve Strange, who looked like some happy accident at the Lancome factory, had done it before at a little gay club in Soho and now they'd found a new venue. Taking over Billy's for one night a week and renaming it Bowie night they dished out flyers (an ingenious innovation for the time) printed with the words "Fame, Fame, Fame. What's Your Name? A Club For Heroes." Rusty's vast record collection made him the na- tural choice for DJ. Ditching the usual turgid Brown Sugar and Hi-Ho Silver Lining bullshit you heard at the other clubs in favor of a sophisticated, European blend of Bowie, Roxy Music and Giorgio Moroder, Rusty pulled an audience of arty, party peacocks who crawled out from hibernation and began to fan their feathers.

Bowie Night was popular, sure, but keeping one step ahead of the game they switched their operation to Great Queen Street and Blitz (next door to what is now Brown's nightclub). Of course, in order to get in you had to get past Steve Strange, who had been appointed doorman. There was only one rule at Blitz - if you looked "right" heÕd let you through. If you didn't, forget it. This meant some seriously creative dressing. Theatrical get- ups were the clobber du jour; swashbuckling piratical gear, Kabuki mask, make-up, the lot. Trannies and cross dressers got a warm welcome (Boy George was a regular). There were sad Pierrot clowns, majorettes and Carmen Mirandas (and that was just the boys). Anyone else could shove it. For a while the Blitz and it's splinter clubs St. Moritz, Hell and Le Kilt were the maelstrom of the capital city's demi-monde.

Then the thing exploded. "The New Romantics. The Blitz Kids, The Now Crowd, Peacock Punks", the media machine worked overtime trying to think up names for the scene Strange and Egan had created. There were groups too. "Look bands" the press clumsily dubbed them. They had art-school names like Spandau Ballet, claimed working class soul-boy roots and played to invitation only crowds.

By now Steve Strange was an international celebrity, courted constantly by photographers from magazines like Stern, Vogue, Time and Donna. The Sunday Times Molly Parkin, a great admirer, wanted to know Steve's sartorial secrets and wrote "His larger than life attitude has been secret of the Strange success. At a time when the British economy is suffocating Steve Strange is firing on all creative cylinders, an example of superb self promotion." Steve was flattered of course, but heÕd already grown out of just fronting clubs, now he wanted to front a band.

Steve and Rusty had some influential and talented friends, image makers, hairdressers, artists but most impor-tantly, musicians who were intend on capturing the sound of the scene. They knew what they wanted - to make a record that would fill the floor at Blitz. Steve could sing (he'd previously exercised his vocal chords for the seminal punk band The Moors Murderers), Rusty was on drums and Midge Ure, a friend, had the right attitude and could play guitar. There was Bille Currie of Ultravox, who could get that really menacing Germanic sound out of the keyboard while Dave Formula, John McGeogh and Barry Adamson from the defunct band Magazine were keen as well. Working more as state-of-the-art jigsaw unit than some beery pub band they started recording their debut single "Tar", a paean to the pleasures and dangers of nicotine, released originally on Martin Hannett's Manchester label Genetic. Steve even had a name, VISAGE (french for "face").

With New Romantic now going national, and scenes breaking out in Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester, BritainÕs Blitz kids needed an anthem. They found it in "Fade To Grey", which became an instant classic upon release, the songÕs inventive video clip flashing on TV screens in nightclubs all over the country. Further tracks, "Mind Of A Toy" and "The Damned DonÕt Cry", reiterated the dark side of VISAGE. "Night Train" was Moroder-like trans-european electro bop, "Pleasure Boys", a celebration of hedonism while a song like "The Anvil" was made especially menacing when sung by Steve in German ("Der Amboss").

"This new rave, Steve Strange etc. is nothing more or less than glam rock that's opened the dictionary by chance at 'romantic' rather than 'bi-sexual'" wrote Julie Birchill in one of her typically barbed dispatches in "The Face" magazine. But the "new rave" was so much more than that. Steve Strange's VISAGE encapsulated the spirit, motion and technogroove of the moment. They were gloriously vain, atmospheric, ambient, pale, interesting metropolitans making industrial dance rock for misunderstood outsiders everywhere.

More than a decade since ist original release, "Fade To Grey" recently hit the top forty again in the UK, sensi- tively remixed for the nineties but still sounding strangely fresh and contemporary. This '93 compilation includes that re-release as well as eleven other original recordings. It's a tribute to the Visage sound, an album for Pleasure Boys and Pleasure Girls everywhere.

Simon Mills (with apologies to Simon Puxley, author of sleeve notes on "Roxy Music")

BRAVO (German music magazine) - 1981

The following biography is taken from the original autogram card (signed) by BRAVO (German music magazine) in 1981:

Steve Strange Biography:

Geburtstag: 28.05.1959
Geburtsort: Newport / Wales
Größe: 1,76 m
Haarfarbe: Naturfarbe braun (meistens bunt gefärbt)
Augenfarbe: blau Mutter: Jill (Restaurantbesitzerin)
Vater: gestorben - war Architekt
Geschwister: Tanya (geboren 1967)
Steve war 11 Jahre alt, als er nach der Scheidung seiner Eltern mit seiner Mutter und der jüngeren Schwester Tanya nach Wales zog. Schon immer hatte er eine besondere Vorliebe für Make-up und ausgeflippte Klamotten, die durch den Einfluß seines Cousins, eines stets piekfein gekleideten Skinheads, noch verstärkt wurde. Steve begann sich ebenfalls intensiv um sein Äußeres zu kümmern, aber so extrem, daß er mit seiner Schminke, den toupierten Haaren und verrückten Verkleidungen besonders in der Schule unangenehm auffiel.

In der Schule interessierte sich Steve sowieso nur für den Kunstunterricht. Mit 14 Jahren wurde er dann schließlich gefeuert, weil er mit orange-farbener Frisur zum Unterricht er- schien. Kurzentschlossen packte Steve seine Koffer, ging nach London und tauchte dort erst mal in der Punk-Szene unter, die gerade in vollem Gange war. Billy Idol von Genera- tion X gab Steve seine erste Chance, indem er ihn Plattenhüllen entwerfen ließ. Nebenbei lernte Steve Gitarrespielen, er trat mit unbekannten Punkbands auf, hatte aber bald genug von der Schmuddel-Szene.

Steve wandte sich nun dem genauen Gegenteil, den Londoner Jet-Set-Kreisen, zu und be- gann mit Rusty von den Rich Kids Clubs zu managen. Als ausgeflippter Rausschmeißer der "Blitz-Weinbar" machte er zum ersten Mal die Presse auf sich aufmerksam. Denn wenn er in rosaroter Glitzer-Livree, Rokoko-Rüschenhemd, toupierter Tolle und "psychedelic"- geschminkten Augen an der Eingangstür thronte, kannte er bei einfallslosen Alltagstypen keine Gnade und wies sie ab.

Steves Ideenreichtum scheint unerschöpflich zu sein. Ständig wühlt er in verstaubten Kostüm- verleihen, und ständig fällt dem Typ mit den tausend Gesichtern, der eine besondere Vorliebe für Harlekin-Puppen hat, eine neue Verkleidung ein. Mit seinen Hit-Singles "Fade To Grey" und "Mind Of A Toy", die er mit seiner Gruppe VISAGE aufnahm und die auch auf Video- Filmen phantasievoll dargestellt wurden, gelang es Steve sogar, seine Idee mit den Phantasie- kostümen international bekannt zu machen und dadurch eine neue Mode zu entwickeln - den New-Romantic-Look.

Visage-Singles: bis 1981 "Fade To Grey", "Mind Of A Toy".
Visage-Albums: bis 1981 "Visage" (1980).
Strange-TV-Film: 1981 - "Pommi Stern".

Smash Hits - 1981


Smash Hits 22/1/81


...of Steve Strange (ne Harrington, soul boy, punk rocker, exhibitionist, leader of fashion and leader of Visage.) Steve Taylor (nee cap) tells it like it was and is.


"I was not a Generation X roadie," Steve Strange is saying, "They saw some posters I'd done to advertise some Welsh gigs they were doing and asked me to do some artwork for them."

That's where it all started. Steve Strange was just your run-of-the-mill Newport schoolkid with orange hair and a tendency to spend the weekends thrashing around the Northern Soul circuit - until he discovered P-U-N-K.

"When I was fourteen," he casts his mind back even further,"I used to hitch up to Samantha's in Leeds on a Friday night, move to the Blackpool Mecca on Saturday until midnight, leave to hit the Wigan Casino around one, dance all night then go for a swim in the local pool and head over to the Torch in Manchester to finish the weekend off."

"The music," he recalls," was all rare '50's or '60's soul, not that new contrived crap like Wigan's Chosen Few."

He promises that Visage, the band he's in along with drummer Rusty Egan and various members of Magazine and Ultravox, won't be switching to a repertoire of Northern Soul, although he'd like to start playing it in the clubs which he and Rusty present in certain London Nightspots.

Rusty and Steve's clubs are as good a place as any to begin to explain the Steve Strange phenomenon.

They began, in late '77, by taking over a London drinking club called Billy's for a regular Friday "Bowie Night", where devotees of stylish rock and adventurous clothing could gather, be seen, dance and generally enjoy themselves. It Was a sharp, timely contrast to the grubbiness of punk.

Contrary to many people's assumptions, they weren't spoilt brats who actually had enough money behind them to own the clubs. They simply took the risk of hiring the places regularly one evening a week and taking enough money out of the receipts to keep themselves in porridge and eye-liner.

Steve would stand outside vetting the punters to sift out the trouble makers and anyone likely to destroy the sympathetic atmosphere. Rusty, formerly the Rich Kids' and later The Skids' drummer, was the DJ. His choice of music mixed Bowie and Roxy with more electronic "futurist" dance tracks from Kraftwerk and their clan. In the early days he just couldn't get enough of it.

Steve Strange gets annoyed by the jibes which often appear in print, accusing him of "drinking champagne on my father's credit card" and other such indulgences.

Apart from finding them personally upsetting - "my father died when I was thirteen and although my mother is well-off, I'd never go to her for money" - such unfounded criticisms ignore the amount of initiative and enterprise which has consistently gone into his ventures.

Now that he's a more well-known figure in the gossip-columns of the daily papers and a familiar man-about-town, people are tending to come to him with opportunities. He's pretty wary of that approach, however, having had his fingers burnt once already.

"After I left home, I went on the 'Anarchy' tour with The Pistols - as a friend of the band. Then I came to London and one particular guy - I'm naming no names - got me involved in something called The Moors Murderers."

Strange joined this outfit - tastelessly and provocatively named after two of Britain's most notorious child-murders - because "I wanted to be in a band."

The Sunday Mirror was as far as he got, pictures and all, captioned with a mouthful of his manager's words.

"I was frightened by it," he says ruefully. "It frightened me off music. I regretted it very much, but at least I learned not to trust anyone who puts me in that kind of position again."

Steve Strange retired from the public limelight after such a start to work in the Rich Kids' London office. There, in late '77, he met Rusty Egan. The Rich Kids fell apart and they began the Friday nights at Billy's.

In the beginning, Visage started out to remedy the shortage of suitable music for Rusty's disco. Midge Ure, another ex-Rich Kid, came to the club and offered Steve some free studio which he had left over from the band's deal with EMI.

They cut some demos with Steve singing and, although EMI passed them over, producer Martin Rushent - who was just beginning his own Genetic record label - heard them being played at Billy's and put up the money for more recording.

More musicians joined in: Billy Currie, who was weathering a difficult phase in Ultravox's history, and three members of Magazine - whose career sometimes seems, very unfairly, to be one long difficult phase - john McGeoch, Dave Formula and Barry Adamson.

An album was recorded at Rushent's studio in the garden of his Berkshire home, only to end up in cold storage for nearly a year when his record label collapsed through a complicated business cock-up.

Meanwhile, the club scene was blossoming. Rusty and Steve moved across Central London to the Blitz wine bar in Covent Garden, taking it over every Tuesday night. Commentators, lost for a label to describe Steve and the kids who share his tastes for costume and nightclubbing, still refer to the Blitz and him in one breath even though he hasn't been using the place for a year now.

Since then there's been Hell, where everyone dressed in gloomy black "ecclesiastical" garments. That was closed down somewhat abruptly by the police. More recently they've been using London's big soulless rock showcase, The Venue, on Thursday nights.

That hasn't worked out; Steve is dissatisfied " because half the people were dressing up and the half that weren't were just there to laugh at the rest; I can't handle that, it ruins the atmosphere."

Next they're moving on to a very expensive upmarket Mayfair club, Legends, though they've got the owners to drop the entrance fee to ?2.00 and halve the price of drinks. Legends will tide them over until their new, specially kitted-out club, The People's Palace, is ready.

They keep at it, says Steve, because "London's so absolutely dead. The only places you can go are gay clubs or very expensive places like the Embassy - what else is going on?"

Since Steve and Rusty began their clubs, there has been an explosion of small venues in Central London, not just discos, but places like the Comedy Store where budding comedians can try their hand, and the new clubs associated with Spandau Ballet and their followers, Le Kilt and Le Beetroot.

"The Ballet", as Steve likes to call them, are the first band to have emerged into the public eye - and the singles chart - from the audience at Steve's clubs. It's taken some time, as Steve explains:

" Originally there were no new bands, but I think that Visage and The Ballet putting out vinyl has pushed them on quite a bit.

" The bands are just starting to come through: we used our nights at The Venue as an opportunity to put on ones like Depeche Mode from Croc's clubs in Rayleigh near Southend and Duran Duran from the Rum Runner in Birmingham. We even put The Stray Cats on when they first came over.

" Now I get sent tapes all the time from kids at Croc's and places, asking if Rusty and I will put them on. It's great that they just get on with it and don't feel that they have to be in some bloody supergroup!"

Steve Strange also provides inspiration for another, totally different group of young people, a new generation of clothes designers. He's well known for the endless changes of image and clothing he's been through: clown, toy soldier, puritan, through to the indescribably weird outfits such as he wore when he appeared in the Face.

His huge teased-out quiff of hair used to be a major distinguishing mark, though it has gone in favor of a light-coloured thatch of strands which flop over one side of his face. This is part of the stranded-on-the-beach-for-days Robinson Crusoe look, which was recently featured in none other than The Sunday Times.

It consists of a large yellow blouse with huge billowing sleeves, a

brown leather breeches 'n' waistcoat suit and, lurking beneath a half-grown beard, what looks like a suntanned complexion. Steve laughs at this observation: "It's all out of a bottle, this tan."

The Strange look has been fashioned by "people who left art college, kicked it in the arse. They were told the things they were designing couldn't be done, so they just got on with it. Now there's even a shop, Axiom, in the same King's Road market where Rusty has his record stall, selling clothes by the people who've left college, like Melissa Kaplan (who designs a lot of Toyah's gear). And the turnover is amazing."

Asked to explain the dressing-up, Steve Strange explains it as "Self-expression; I often look at girls or whatever on the Tube and think 'You could easily be a model or something'. I'm just saying that people should do what they want to do, with clothes or whatever you're into."

Such an outrageous appearance can bring on heaviness from other people in public, but there's always a suspicion about anybody who dresses so provocatively that they're somehow asking to be abused. Steve denies that:

"I don't go out to get aggravation; half the time if you confront someone who's shouting at you, it just reveals their own ignorance. I can't get upset by people knocking me like that, only by the more personal sneers."

He recounts, in a mildly amused fashion, how one of the music papers recently printed a letter from a Scottish objector, saying that if Steve Strange so much as set foot North of the Border, he would personally give him a kicking. To Steve's delight, it provoked a flood of letter the following week defending his right to look how he likes.

Just now, the Robinson Crusoe look is going to have to do for a few days more, as there's a bundle of Visage commitments to get through. As he's the only member not signed to another record label already, Strange is the only one to appear in the current video of the band's first single "Fade To Grey".

So, as it's just notched up record of the week status on radio stations in Holland, Germany and France, he's off to Europe to promote it, along with his co-star in the video, Julia, his former girlfriend who's well known as the bouffanted assistant in PX - the Strange-style clothes shop.

Then it's back into the studio to remix "Mind Of A Toy" from the album as the next British single. And then there's America; Rusty and he have been asked to take their "electronic disco" over to New York where, again, the Visage single is already exciting a lot of interest (the U.S. arm of Polydor Records signed the band many months before the British).

Steve Strange speaks about this, as he does all his other activities, in a tone of genuine enthusiasm. His only worry, he says half petulantly, half joking, is his appearance:"I don't know what to do for New York".

DEBUT interview - 1984

From DEBUT 5 1984 by Peter Picton.

Steve strange is the sort of bloke the press either hate or hate. The proverbial whipping boy harangued for being a clothes-horse, a hedonist, and having the audacity to step out of the night-club scene to make records. Scoundrel! Funny how they took to Boy George though, isn't it. Musical tastes aside Steve was perhaps the first into the water. From the wreckage of punk he must take a fair amount of credit for the re- emergence of the 'night-club' attitude and all it entails. Image and presentation became once again important for bands. Whatever critics may have said others certainly haven't feared to tread where Mr.Strange has gone before. Obviously he didn't go alone but he was a catalyst in the forming of a few aspects of the music business; video being a good example. Parasite or prophet? We've never really found out. Analysts of his work have usually sniped at the easy targets and Steve does tend to leave himself open to criticism. He has been accused of being a glorified peacock with nothing concrete to contribute and being merely an opportunist. Indeed after reading his press cuttings I was surprised that he could even string a sentence together.

With a cup of coffee in his hand- no he doesn't always quaff expensive cocktails, he sat in the compact DEBUT office and attempted to put the record straight or at least straighter.

"I know that we please a lot of people with the music that we produce. I use to really worry about what people wrote about me in magazines or said when I was out at night and having a good time. I work hard at doing what I do. I wasn't just at the palace drinking, getting out of it and having a good time. There's a day scene that makes- or didn't make the Palace work from a nine to five point of view.

"When I go out, I go out for a good time the same as anybody does, but maybe it's because I'm in the public eye that people pick up on it. I don't worry about that sort of thing anymore, as long as what I'm doing is up to standard and quality and I know it's pleasing people then I'm quite happy.

"The funniest thing about it all is that the magazines that slagged us off now publish fashion features. All they wrote about us was 'why should this clothes-horse be involved in music?' I think I've become a much harder person now, I think you have to in order to survive. If you start taking every criticism to heart you'd be in a white room with a padded cell." Does he consider himself a trend setter?

"I don't think that anything that comes out is genuinely new anymore because most of it has more-or-less been done. You can go for the the completely obscure and then try and do something new but most of it is taken from the old pages of history books and then adapted in a new way. So no, I've never stood up and said 'Look what I'm doing is completely new'. It Just seems that whatever I did people latched on to and copied in the high street stories.

"To me the presentation with videos were like mini-movies and the way they were presented was like an added entertainment. People want to be entertained that's why people like Gorge and Adam do so well 'cause it's like pure entertainment. It's like show business and that's what people want and that's what we were giving them with our videos. When we do the tour it'll be more than just a straight tour it'll be more of a spectacular.

"I'm still doing image things but I think it did open a lot of doors for people like George or Marlyn however you can't live on that, you've just got to carry on and do your own things."

After a two year absence, Visage are now preparing to return with a new album called 'Beat Boy' and have paved the way with a new single, 'Love Glove'. But why has the wait been so long?

"We're now out of the contract with the management company that we sacked. I'm glad I made the decision to wait rather than release records and still let them own them. We had to fight for two years to get the tapes back, of the material we had recorded.

"There's always a clause in those contracts which you miss which even a solicitor misses. You think you know what you're doing but there's always one little clause in there and it's aggravating to know that they've got you. It drives me mad and it's been two years of frustration knowing that we had the music. Now we've had to scrap half the album because it just didn't work, it started to get dated and now we're out of the contract it's all one mad rush.

"We're bringing out a video documentary of the history of Visage from the first single to the present. Not just all the singles, but a documentary with footage from what went on in the Blitz; Club for Hell; Club for Heroes; the fashion show I took to Paris to launch 'The Anvil'; then up to the present with the new video which is going to be done like Fassbinder's Querelle. We will also be doing a tour, hopefully in November.

"I'm much happier with the situation as it is now. For instance The Anvil to me was a really mixed album because Midge (Ure) and I weren't getting on very well. It was a very confusing time of recording. Now the basis and structure of the band is much more together and permanent. When we were writing the material for the last album we'd rehearse for six weeks and write material in a block and then go and record it. To my mind there was too much time spent in a studio and then doing the mixing, also Ultravox were then away.

"Now I do demos at home with Steve Barnacle, he's got an 8-track studio at home, which is much easier for me, and the music is entirely different. It's much more of an aggressive sound. We've not used synths as much and there's hardly any drum machine. It's just the basics of bass, drums, guitars and lots of sax and flute. Gary and Steve Barnacle are on bass and keyboards, Andy Barnett plays guitar and Rusty (Egans) is on drums." After a very successful stint at the Camden Palas Steve has now moved on. What were his reasons for leaving?

"I want to concentrate more on Visage. In the contract it said that I was suppose to be in the Palace one or two nights a week and if I'm not there for three weeks or so they got very aggressive about me not being there. I really don't want to have that burden anymore, 'cause if I've got to work on Visage that's first and I've always said that. I've always tried to get out of clubs whilst the going has been good and I do want to do a new club but I'm not going to rush into it. What we're doing is a sort of party once a month. I also want to open a European nightclub with swimming pools and things and four different clubs inside but that's not going to happen for at least nine months."

During his two year absence from music, Steve had time to work on some of the projects he'd been planning but hadn't had the previous time for. One of these was the Creative Workforce. I asked him what exactly that was all about.

"We started in November and we represent four photographers, two make-up artists, two hair dressers, two choreographers and we're expanding to video people. We represent these people in their own fields. We take on people like make-up artists so that they can do tests and things if they haven't got a book. The same with hairdressers. We're taking on say three photographers outside the established photographers, to work with Peter Ashworth and Dave Levin on sessions and to learn more things. Moreover, generally it's representing people that have perhaps been ripped off by other management companies. I don't wish to actually grab hold of somebody and mould them and work with them like that, I don't believe in that." Finally I asked Steve how he came from being a school boy in Wales to being where he is now.

"I think it was a lot to do with my parents' divorce, something which made me aware of what was going on. My mother was very business minded and so was my father, but it was my mother that was the driving force behind my father. When she left him he went bankrupt. He then took an overdose and he had a tumor. I think it made me very much aware of the hardness of the outside world and reality and how to survive if something goes wrong. There's always something I can do.

"I knew there was nothing for me in Wales anyway. At school I never fitted in with all the kids. They just looked at me as this sort of weirdo and I didn't really want to be a rugby player or work down the mines, so I just left and moved to London. But even in Wales I was doing a club thing when I was fifteen, putting bands on etc. It didn't work really well but at least I tried to do something down there.

"Then I moved and got involved. I suppose it was a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time for a lot of things and also a lot of luck. However luck doesn't last forever, you've got to make it work. Maybe I did want to make things work and drove for it with ambition. I don't look at it that way but people tell me I'm very ambitious. I've got a lot of drive, a lot of push and if I want to make something happen I can make it happen. I never saw it like that, it was just the things that I did and how I worked at doing it. It was a day to day thing with me. "My one message is actually to have faith in yourself and if you believe in what you're doing, one day you'll get the recognition you deserve. If I can do it a lot of other people can."

So endeth the first lesson. The lad certainly seems to work hard and due to lack of space, half the projects Steve talked about haven't even been mentioned. As he himself put it, "when the time is right they'll see fruition." Love him or hate him, his work has and will be judged by whether the public want it and are prepared to pay for it. So far he hasn't done too badly and he's certainly well off as far as energy goes. I don't know where he gets it from.