first heard of The Comsat Angels in early 1979 when
a friend excitedly waved a copy of their Red Planet
EP at me, but the band had already been going for some
time if you count their earlier incarnation as Radio
Earth, who people used to say sounded something
like Bebop Deluxe (remember them? I don’t).
made three LP’s for Polydor between 1980-82
and despite hardly ever receiving a bad review they
were destined to remain one of those acts only the music
They never got anywhere.
The problem in part was lack of promotion.
With Polydor they were just there.
They weren’t a big money signing so nobody made
the effort to make them successful, so they weren’t.
The period produced its fair share of classic
songs all the same, (Do The) Empty House perhaps
the best, Independence Day certainly the best
saw a transfer to Jive Records, where they joined
an illustrious roster which includes Tight Fit,
Lesley Ash, Percy Thrower and George
Best & Mary Stavin’s Shape Up For Sex
Jive Records tour featuring all these acts would really
The change has brought some obvious results in
terms of a higher profile.
Comsat Angels singles now get played on daytime
rerecorded Independence Day was on the Simon
Bates show almost daily weeks after it was obviously
not going to be a hit.
And they’ve done jingles for Radio 1,
a radio In Concert show, one of them even appeared
on Pop Quiz.
How did they achieve all this?
“Crawling”, according to Comsat Angel Kevin
Bacon, and I believe him.
(Do The) Empty House came out Dave McCullough
said it was a good record but it wouldn’t be a hit because
they looked like your binmen.
The “dustbin men of rock” tag stuck, and perhaps
it hurt, because these days the group are definitely
more image conscious.
“In order to get another record deal we had to
look as though we’d had some hit singles” says Steve
is, they’re getting a bit old for the cover of Smash
sound has changed too.
They say going into a studio, recording a song
just as they’ve rehearsed it and leaving it at that
is lazy. So
they spend longer recording, use more equipment and
take time to get it finished just as they want it.
In my opinion its not a change for the better.
Of their 4 LP’s my favourite is still their first,
Waiting For A Miracle.
Some of us still adhere to the Luddite spirit
of ’77. Technology subjugates the soul.
Changing recording techniques is the groups justification
for the revamping of Independence Day last year.
They like the song and so do I but it was blatantly
flogging a dead horse – after all these years they could
have come out with another obvious potential hit.
ahead, in September ’84 I visited Battery Studios in
Willesden where the group were recording a new LP which
should be out more or less as you read this.
Don’t expect it to make them stars overnight.
I can’t help thinking The Comsat Angels have
been left behind by the changes in the UK music market
over the past few years.
America, of course, could be a completely different
prospect – the rock group lives on, MTV doesn’t
let you get close enough to spot the wrinkles, and they
have a real cult following to build on.
Their last American tour was cut short when one
of the group (Kevin, I think) was struck down with appendicitis.
They can’t wait to get back, and America should
are they hungry enough?
Steve admits that their hopes and expectations
have swung so many times between believing they were
on the brink of megastardom to just not caring that
these days they just take what comes.
I thought the smaller set-up at Jive
would mean they were under pressure to succeed.
I suppose they can’t afford groups to fail?
no, Jive are loaded!”
wish them all the best.
The Comsat Angels are very nice people, they’re
talented and they’ve paid their dues, several times.
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