Thursday, September 27, 2012

forever now

The Psychedelic Furs dealt with the loss of two members by going into the studio with Todd Rundgren to create the slick and synthesized sophistication of this transitional pop classic. With the departure of saxophonist Duncan Kilburn and guitarist Roger Morris, the remaining quartet went to Woodstock, New York to record with Todd Rundgren at Bearsville Studios.

Richard recalls: "I think it was a suggestion of Vince's, our drummer. He was a big Todd Rundgren fan, and though I wasn't a fan, I did like the Patti Smith album and the New York Dolls album he had done. And the idea of recording in America was pretty appealing. And also, Steve Lillywhite had said at that point he would do two albums but he wouldn't do three. So we were at that point looking elsewhere. And also because we wanted to put cellos and things in. It was a lso to do a lot with the mood in England at the time. After the big punk rock thing - the purity of guitars and everything - music was starting to have more synthesizers in it. People like Soft Cell were interesting, so it was like, Okay, let's try and get somebody with a synthesizer to do some stuff. With 'Forever Now', everyone said Todd Rundgren is the sort of person who'll sneak in and play things himself and he'll push you in this direction and he's very dictatorial in the studio, and we went in and everyone said 'Look what Todd Rundgren's done to the Psychedelic Furs, he's done this and this'. . .But when you listen to the demos we did for the album back in London before we even met him, there were cellos on it and marimbas. It wasn't that he pushed us in that direction, it was rather that we chose him because we needed up going in that direction and we thought,' Ah, Todd's a good person to use for that.'"

Rundgren played keyboards and saxophone and brought in the in-house horn section of Gary Windo and Donn Adams, cellist Ann Sheldon, as well as vocal duo Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan). Richard Butler sang lead vocals, John Ashton played guitar, with Tim Butler on bass, and Vince Ely on drums.

Tim Butler considers: "My personal favourite is 'Forever Now'. Musically I think those songs have extremely interesting arrangements and use both horns and strings very inventively, while still maintaining the energy and attitude of the earlier albums. And the lyrics are the best, from the best...The reduction in members had its good points and bad points. Less members meant less arguments, and also decisions could be made quicker and easier. Although arguments can sometimes be constructive, for us, it was becoming less and less the case. Having less permanent members also meant more space for more inventive arrangement and instrumentation."

'Forever Now' went to number eighty-three in Canada, sixty-one in the US, forty-nine in Australia, thirty-five in Sweden, twenty in the UK, and number four in New Zealand.

Richard reflects: "I sometimes wonder what would have happened or how we would have sounded if we had been the same group of people. I don't think there would have been the radical change that there was with 'Forever Now'."

"Love My Way" was the only single from the album to chart, going to forty-four in the US, forty-two in the UK, twenty-three in Australia, and number nine in New Zealand.

Richard: "I wasn't that keen on the idea at first. He wanted to use Flo and Eddie who had worked with Frank Zappa and also done a bunch of stuff with T Rex. He was only bringing them in for a couple of days; he said 'They're very quick workers, if you don't like it, don't use it,' and it's hard to argue with that. So we tried it and liked it. They're on 'Love My Way' most noticeably. As soon as Todd heard 'Love My Way,' he saw that as being the single...John and I were working together, and not wanting to go round to his place with no ideas - I'd supposed to have been working on a song which I hadn't done - so on the morning I was going round to his house I had one of those stylophone things and I had this 'dadadadadadananananananan' just those two changes, I think I'd been listening to 'Scary Monsters', that must have informed it a bit, and came up with this vocal melody and all the words within the space of about an hour, and he absolutely hated it and didn't get it. We put it down and then Ed Bueller, a friend of ours, came round with his keyboard a and put the marimba part on, it by which time John went 'wow, this sounds great now' and we sent it off to Todd who said 'well the vocals sound a little bit angry, why don't you try singing a little bit more,' and having been through that already with Sister Europe I was like, Yeah, okay."

There's an army on the dance floor
It's a fashion with a gun my love
In a room without a door
A kiss is not enough in
Love my way, it's a new road
I follow where my mind goes
They'd put us on a railroad
They'd dearly make us pay
For laughing in their faces
And making it our way
There's emptiness behind their eyes
There's dust in all their hearts
They just want to steal us all
And take us all apart
But not in
Love my way, it's a new road
I follow where my mind goes

"Forever Now" 

a banker in a tired suit
is counting in his head
he's standing in your overcoat
he's lying on your bed
president gas is tap dancing
for the banker he's a thief
he isn't very honest
but he's obvious at least
you and i are walking past yeah
having lost our way
we don't count our money
we are giving it away
yeah giving it away

this policeman is just sitting down
in sunglasses and dirt
undercover now at least
so nobody gets hurt
they go through this pantomime
they do it everyday
they'll be back again tomorrow
but they don't play for free
you and i are walking past yeah
having lost our way
we don't count our paper
we are giving it away
yeah giving it away

doesn't this remind you
of these things we've done before
like counting all the times
we've seen ourselves in other scenes
everybody's busy
listening and pulling blinds
this is all so stupid
we're just shouting i want you
you and i are walking past yeah
having lost our way
we don't count our money
we are giving it away
yeah giving it away
let it stay forever now


'Forever Now' 
full album:

All songs written by Richard Butler, John Ashton, Tim Butler and Vince Ely

Side A:
"Forever Now" – 5:35
"Love My Way" – 3:33
"Goodbye" – 3:55
"Only You and I" – 4:24
"Sleep Comes Down" – 3:51
Side B:
"President Gas" – 5:35
"Run and Run" – 3:48
"Danger" – 2:37
"No Easy Street" – 4:04
"Yes I Do" – 3:54

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