Fad Gadget was the pseudonym used by British musician, synthesizer pioneer, and performance artist Frank Tovey - an influential electronic music/New Wave artist throughout his career- from 1979 until 1984. Tovey began his musical career after studying performance art at Leeds Polytechnic, but started recording upon his move back to his native London, UK. The songs of his early career (under the pseudonym) all feature synthesizers plus, sometimes, machine sounds like that of an electric razor or an electric drill.
Tovey began his musical career after studying performance art at Leeds Polytechnic, but started recording upon his move back to his native London, UK. The songs of his early career (under the pseudonym) all feature synthesizers plus, sometimes, machine sounds like that of an electric razor or an electric drill. Almost all of his songs create a dark, mystical atmosphere, with Gadget's voice hovering monotonously over then unheard of, groundbreaking and still brilliant synthesizer sound effects. The lyrics are either very earnest, discussing subjects like guilt or life and death, or convey a black, sarcastic humour.
Initially, Fad Gadget was merely a moniker for Tovey, but as time went on a band was formed (although keeping Tovey as the main focal point). His longest-serving sidekick was drummer Nick Cash. Other members were keyboardist David Simmonds, bassist Peter Balmer, guitarist & bassist David Rogers and viola player & backing vocalist Joni Sackett
Singles included Back to Nature, Ricky's Hand and Collapsing New People. Fad Gadget was the first artist signed to the then-fledgling Mute label, on which he released four full length albums, Fireside Favourites (1980), Incontinent (1981), Under The Flag (1982) and Gag (1984). After 1984's Gag, Tovey released a compilation, (The Fad Gadget Singles), and recorded five more albums under his own name, whose styles ranged from semi-industrial electronic ballads to folk-oriented protest songs. He last appeared on a European tour supporting his latest album in 1993 and then virtually disappeared for some eight years.
In 2001 Tovey (and Cash) resurfaced with a comeback appearance and subsequently supported Depeche Mode on the Exciter tour later that year, again under his pseudonym Fad Gadget and backed by members of Temple X, whose album he had been producing. (Depeche Mode cite Tovey/Gadget as an icon and a paragon, and his influences can be heard in their music.) Tovey died of a heart attack on 3 April, 2002, aged 45, having suffered heart problems throughout his life.