Features

Saturday Deluxe / 2 September 2017


Tori Amos was in Shoreditch on Wednesday night and played a few tracks from Native Invader.

Tori Amos plays intimate album launch in London

One of the problems with the music industry these days, especially on the reissue side, is that no one ever seems to have any money to spend on marketing. As we all know, sales of physical product are declining, margins are paper thin (at least on your average £9.99 CD) and so even releases from well-known artists aren’t guaranteed to be big-earners for the record labels any more. The last thing they want to do is spent whatever profit they might make on what might be perceived as unnecessary adverts, promotional videos etc. There’s a perception these days that you can do a bit of social media, reach the fanbase via the artist’s mailing list (if they have one) and job done!

OBI-gate

Some of you might recall a few ‘battles’ I had when I worked on the Paul Young Remixes and Rarities project. I wasn’t in love with the idea of packaging it in a double jewel case, but was overruled, because it was the cheapest option. I also wanted to create a Japanese-style OBI-strip to give the product a little bit of ‘collector’ appeal. It cost something like 20p a unit to do and although I got my way on that issue, when the set did quite well, the label refused to maintain it for the second production run. Their view was simply that it was a waste of money. They weren’t going to sell any more copies just because the release had an OBI strip. My argument in return was why do ANYTHING over and above the call of duty, then? I thought the OBI-strip added a certain je ne sais quois and was the kind of detail that collectors and fans liked.

All of this brings me on to Tori Amos. Her new album Native Invader is out next week, and I was delighted to be invited to a rather old school ‘album launch’ in the tiny Courtyard Theatre in East London last Wednesday. Admittedly, this wasn’t a reissue and was ‘frontline’ release, but regardless, it was a thrill to go along to this ‘industry’ event where someone had deemed it worth spending some cash on marking the occasion of a new album release. I’m sure the event didn’t compare to the lavish excesses of the seventies and eighties, but what the hell… there was free booze, some great canapés and best of all Tori was there in person to play a few songs!

I’ve been a Tori Amos fan ever since I bought the CD single of Me And A Gun in 1991, but for some bizarre reason I had never seen her play live. Earlier this year, I thought it was time to correct that and made sure I got tickets for the Royal Albert Hall in October, so you can imagine the excitement when the opportunity to see her play in an intimate setting (there was probably less than 100 people at this event) presented itself.

At just after 7pm we moved through to the main room where Tori’s trademark Bösendorfer piano was on stage, along with a red keyboard. After being introduced by an executive at Decca, she came on with a friendly double wave of the hands and played five songs:

  • • Reindeer King (from Native Invader)
  • • Ruby Through The Looking Glass (from Welcome to Sunny Florida CD/DVD)
  • • Breakaway (from Native Invader)
  • • Lust (from To Venus and Back)
  • • Mother Revolution (from The Beekeeper)

It was incredible and the night got even better when Tori hung around in the bar afterwards and chatted and posed for photos. She was friendly and charming – a class act. Our conversation was all too brief, but I’m hoping to get the opportunity to interview her properly at some point in the next few weeks.

Read more about Native Invader here.


Tori and Paul (photo taken by Jo Kendall)

Signed Blancmange back in stock

If you missed out on buying the Blancmange Blanc Tapes nine-CD set with the signed print (I think they sold out in a day) then you could be in luck, since Amazon UK appear to have some back in stock. These are quite likely to be as a result of cancelled orders, so I imagine they won’t have many and they will go out of stock again fairly quickly. You’ve been warned!

Click to order the signed amazon exclusive of Blanc Tapes


Sgt. Polyester

Pretty Green, the fashion label launched by Liam Gallagher in 2009, has launched a Beatles range which includes coats, shirts and T-shirts. If you head over the their website you’ll see the full range. There’s a few semi-tasteful T-shirts but some items are rather ludicrous, including the Mod-style Parka with various Beatles motifs on it and the 100% polyester (feel the quality) Sgt. Pepper T-shirt (pictured above) which costs a cool £50.

Click to check out Pretty Green’s Beatles range.

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53 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 2 September 2017

  1. Auntie Sabrina says:

    Yes, the Blancmange release is a good price too, cheaper than the standard version. Some chancers were asking ocer £125 for this a while ago, such a pity Amazon couldn’t have stopped them selling them on.

  2. Mike Melody says:

    Tori’s a diamond that’s for sure. In other Tori news, Y Kant Tori Read has just been reissued in remastered form, digital-only release at the moment.

  3. Straker says:

    I noticed last week the T-Rex remixes red vinyl was back for pre-order in quantity too (like this Blancmange set is now) and the cynic in me says that Amazon have sold many more than 500 of these both now. Far be it for me to throw the word “deceptive” about but if I’m buying a limited edition I would like to feel I’m being told the truth about exactly how limited it is.

    I just remembered that the exact same thing happened with the signed Saxon boxset as well – Sold out before release but then became available to order again and in-depth too, not just a handful of cancelled copies. Will the same thing happen with the upcoming Belinda Carlisle set and the Debbie Gibson one too? Both currently showing as unavailable.

    Something fishy going on with these Amazon LEs…….

  4. Tripp says:

    Y Kant Tori Read was officially reissued digitally yesterday. I hope they’re going to put out a physical ‘ version.

    • alan hansen says:

      now THAT is news i can use. (another reason to stay on-top of this site here.) let’s hope a SDE physical version of that first album is upcoming. (ANOTHER, another reason to stay on-top of this site here.)

      • CJ says:

        Having an official, physical reissue of YKTR would be amazing, especially if it’s expanded. I’m hoping we’re going to see the solo album reissues continue as well with From the Choirgirl Hotel.

  5. Greens Pizza says:

    She starting to look like Sonia!!

  6. Simonf says:

    You’d have to be pretty green to shell out for any of that stuff! Ha, ha, thankyou what a great audience…

    • Marshall Gooch says:

      You beat me to it, Simonf. The cheapest shirt there (and most tasteful) was $72 US. Yikes! I bet that “green” looks “pretty” in Liam’s bank account.

  7. Warren Mason says:

    Most have great things to say about Tori Amos live shows. Unfortunately the one time I saw her play, Summer of Sin tour (2005) at the PNC Bank Arts Center (Holmdel, NJ USA) was a near disaster. Hopefully enough time has passsed so we can all laugh about this now. After great sets by openers The Like and The Ditty Bops, Tori hit the stage. Her second song was “Little Earthquakes”, if I recall the only well-known song of the night, and there were some sound problems. What started as some cold stairs toward the soundboard quickly escalated into much more. The third song of her set was “Father Lucifer” which she abruptly stopped. Tori then had a massive meltdown, absolutely tore into her crew and threatened to not play the rest of the show. In her defense this was toward the end of a large international tour, the sound issues were disruptive and there could have been things that precipitated what the audience saw onstage. Nonetheless, this was an early years Axl Rose scale event and Tori stormed off the stage in a fit of rage. There was then a roughly 30 minute delay during which the audience was unsure if the show would continue. Eventually Tori reemerged, still visibly upset, to play an angry version of “Blood Roses”. Tough to recover as the rest of the set were deep album cuts and covers (think Prince’s 1995 tour). The highlight was the piano covers portion of the show during which Tori played an incredible version of “Purple Rain”.

    https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/tori-amos/2005/pnc-bank-arts-center-holmdel-nj-7bd45a20.html

  8. Chris Squires says:

    I am pathetic, with the willpower of a snail drowning in Ale. I ordered the Blancmange set on the day you first mentioned it Paul. Then I had some sanity and money issues creep into my life, so I cancelled and now I have just ordered it again because I cannot resist. So from “not buying anything this quarter” I have already bought The Blanc Tapes, The Tom Robinson Anthology and This is Trojan! and it’s only the bloody second of the month!

  9. Gazelle says:

    On the subject of Tori Amos, I believe she is the last female solo artist to score a UK number one single with an entirely self-written song. I refer to ‘Professional Widow (It’s Got To Be Big)’ which reached the chart summit over twenty years ago on 18/01/1997.

    Indeed, to my knowledge only two other female solo artists have ever achieved this feat: Kate Bush was the first with her classic ‘Wuthering Heights’ (11/03/1978) and Phyllis Nelson was the second with her 80’s school disco slow dance staple ‘Move Closer’ (04/05/1985).

  10. Jakob says:

    Apparently, according to an Amazon review, the Blancmange bonus mixes are MP3s ripped from vinyl. I don’t know how much stock I’d put in this person’s digital sleuthing, but that could be the cause of a number of cancelled orders. Anyone heard anything definitive about this?

    • Straker says:

      Amazon currently allowing me to add in excess of 500 copies to my basket for that signed Blancmange set. Is there a story in this Paul? Just how limited are these supposed 500 copy editions?

      I read that review about the vinyl rips too and it’s off-putting particularly as skimming what they said it seems as though some of them were sourced properly for the two disc sets that were out prior to this. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        I dont think adding 500 to your basket means anything, to be honest. The band’s management would only agree to them signing 500 so thats the quantity that exists.

        • Paul Murphy says:

          With an eye to ‘sales of physical product are declining’, it’s somewhat worrying to think that some artists – T.Rex, Blancmange, Wyman – are struggling to shift even 500 units of a limited edition/collectible/exclusive.
          Whilst here, I notice that the pre-order price on Queen’s News Of The World SDL Box has come down from £140 to just under £100 over the weekend, so that might be worth a save in the basket.

      • CJ says:

        Amazon will let you add any quantity you want to your basket. It doesn’t register with the inventory tracking until after you’ve checked out.

        • Straker says:

          No, if they only have a finite amount of copies then that’s all you’re able to add to cart. I’m beginning to think this is the regular unsigned edition that’s been added to the wrong page. It seems this has happened to some people prior to this too.

  11. Dylan says:

    Hi Paul

    “Quoi” doesn’t have an “s”. Apart from, great as ever.

  12. Wayne Klein says:

    Tori’s great but I wish someone would tell her to wear glasses that compliment her face. Those are waaaayyy too big.

    Looking forward to the album.

  13. PaulM says:

    I ordered the Blancmange set with a signed print, and all I got was the set [ minus the print ], Amazon had it straight back.

  14. Deano says:

    I had to send my first copy of the Blancmange Blanc Tapes back as some plum at Amazon had shipped it in the outer card box with no additional packaging. When the CDs turned up, they were all loose and a few were badly marked – so an instant return.

    So, does that mean that Amazon are now re-selling returned, opened and potentially damaged CDs? Maybe they are only sealing the sealed ones (or alternatively just popping the autograph in with a brand new sealed box).

  15. Zongadude says:

    Tori’s coming to Luxemburg today (sunday evening). I was about to go and that would have been my first live Tori experience, but halas I am working and so I won’t be able to go. :(

  16. WKRP says:

    Who wants a t-shirt where half the art is in your pants if you tuck it in?

  17. Paul E. says:

    Only buying The Beatles PolyPepper shirt if offered in a combo with polyester pants. Shoe attire is easy: white patent leather loafers.

  18. Derek Langsford says:

    A little peeved by Amazon UK on the Blancmange.

    I missed the initial signed copies because of lack of access to the internet the day it was announced, but I wanted the music so pre-ordered the regular boxed set immediately it was announced. The set was shipped, but two days after it was supposed to be delivered (while I was out of town) Amazon UK initiated a refund. Apparently it was lost despite tracking. I contacted Amazon UK and asked them to send another set and to honor the pre-order price that I originally secured as the price had risen. The first Customer Service person said they couldn’t do that so I had to get it elevated to Customer Escalations. Thankfully, they understood the issue and gave me a £10 gift card to cover the difference. So I reordered it less than a week ago. Now signed copies are available again. Damn!

    What’s the chance the copy I ordered is signed? Probably infinitesimally small. Sigh.

  19. Steve says:

    Listening to the In Concert show from the Believe You Me BBC disc right now. :)

    As a collector who wants the best sound from the best sources, the complete and the highest quality in packaging production, I don’t have a ton of respect for Edsel. Their products tend to be a maybe a little sloppy in execution. This release is no exception. A couple of the discs in my Blanc Tapes are definitely sketchy quality. The liner notes could be improved with more information about the previously unreleased tracks and new mixes.

    OTOH, they did put CD-text on the discs, unlike some major-label box sets (cough Sgt. Peppers *cough* *cough).

    I have to admit, I’m glad *somebody* is making these products. I mean, 3-disc deluxe editions from Blancmange? A few years ago, who would have ever expected that? I’ll take it and be happy.

  20. EPM says:

    Does anyone know why Stephen Luscombe left the band? Whilst I liked HAPPY FAMILIES TOO somewhat, I have not cared for anything that followed. Seems to me the level of songwriting has fallen in Stephen’s absence. I am also wondering, in general, if folks prefer these new edition reissues to the earlier Edsel editions?

    • Heraldo says:

      From a snippet of an interview I saw Stephen had quite serious health issues (heart) and had to leave the band / reduce his exertion etc on medical advice. He has had operations and is in better state than previously but still not in a position to play active part.

    • DJ Salinger says:

      I believe Stephen Luscombe had to leave due to ongoing serious illness. He was involved in the making of ‘Blanc Burn’ but had to step down from subsequent touring and hasn’t been involved since. Much as I love having the band back on active (and prolific) duty, I can’t help but feel some of the warmth and eclecticism has left the room along with him; Neil seems set on pursuing a more astringent brand of electronica. For now at least.

      The new reissues are a joy, quibbling over variable audio sources aside. Some of the demos on ‘Happy Families’ are particularly valuable for insight – you can hear them actually in transition from their ‘Irene & Mavis’ experimental electronica beginnings towards the inventive pop band they became.

      My biggest disappointment with the new editions is the sleeve notes from Neil aren’t long enough. He’s a dry and witty commentator but we get just over a page per album, which feels like the surface has barely been scratched. Mistaking Madonna as a pizza delivery girl is anecdote gold. Time for an autobiography, Neil?

  21. Maureen Elder says:

    Is it true she is working with Bananarama on their new sound/single?

  22. SimonP says:

    “Apparently, according to an Amazon review, the Blancmange bonus mixes are MP3s ripped from vinyl”

    You can rip vinyl to CD, but it won’t be an MP3, will it?

    On the subject of Obi strips; I throw them away. And any stickers on the outside of the cellophane wrapping.

  23. Andy B says:

    Hi EPM. I read a recent interview with Blancmange re the release of the box set. Both Neil and Stephen were interviewed. Stephen has serious heart problems. He reluctantly took the decision to leave the band. They are still good mates and are in regular contact. So that’s good to hear at least.

  24. Mark Reed says:

    “On the subject of Obi strips; I throw them away. And any stickers on the outside of the cellophane wrapping.”

    What madness is this?

  25. EPM says:

    Thank you Heraldo, DJ Salinger, SimonP and last but not least, Andy B. I could never discover the reason for Stephen Luscombe’s departure from Blancmange. Yes, DJ Salinger, it’s definitely a more generic sound palette on the Arthur-helmed albums. I expect little difference on the upcoming project. I could get excited with Stephen back but not to the detriment of his health. Thank you again, Paul, for hosting this Q & A.

  26. Simon says:

    And coming soon…Liam Gallagher designed Iron Maiden denim jacket with exclusive iron on Maiden patch… £379

  27. Paul English says:

    There’s a fairly exhaustive review of the Blancmange box on this thread.
    http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/blancmange-first-3cds-boxsets-happy-families-mangetout-believe-you-me.676908/

    Three posts by user negative1

    I bought it – for the most part, pretty great.

  28. revroth says:

    FYI, the printing technique for those all-over t-shirts only works on poly. I have some experience with them at my day job, cotton is not an option.

  29. Tim brooks says:

    Amazon inventory stock control system is normally spot on and active before check out (not after as someone suggested) thus is normally a very reliable indication of quantity they have, and as this is a different ASIN not likely to be muddled with the unsigned edition.

    I would wager having sold out so quickly Amazon have managed to get another 750 signed hence being back in stock.

    Which does indeed make one very cynical about future “limited editions”

    • Chris Squires says:

      Paul? Any word from management? They previously said that 500 is all that they would be signing.

      I can’t believe Amazon would do this. I know they aren’t considered *that* squeaky clean by many but this seems an odd thing to do for such an obscure, 30+ year old set of albums.
      It’s just that the same thing (pretty much exactly) happened to the T-Rex remixes red vinyl. Sold out in a few hours and then (miraculously) the week before release so many seem available again.

      Maybe it’s just that the market is so tiny that even 500 is a stretch.
      If they did make 500+ more then it would get out. It’s bound to, too many people in the chain from printing to signing to packing. I can’t imagine that two band members would want their lasting memory to be associated with an Amazon debacle for the sake of a few grand, But I just can’t see how I was able to order and receive one this week….. hmmmm.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        Hi Chris. For you – and everyone else – Demon have categorically stated that only 500 were signed. Those are the facts. They did indeed sell out quickly but as we all know, people lock-in a pre-order and cancel for all sorts of reasons. That is the only explanation for why Amazon have them listed. People can add as many of these as they want to their cart, but it doesn’t change the fact that Blancmange only signed 500 prints!

        • Chris Squires says:

          I reread my post and that’s why I hate the internet. It can be read two ways, it was meant to sound exactly what you said Paul. But “I can’t believe Amazon would do this” is too ambiguous without a voice behind it and sounds like they have already done it if one chooses to read it that way.. I previously put it down to cancellations, heck, even I cancelled my order, but re-ordered when the opportunity arose. So, basically it’s my fault.

  30. gwynogue says:

    Hang on a minute…a Gallagher ripping off the Beatles?!?!?! What is the world coming to? :)

    I love OBIs! I lay them out flat, then tuck them into the booklets. I have a copy of the Paul Young “Remixes And Rarities” but can’t remember if I got an OBI one (kenobi :)) or not.

  31. Clive says:

    The Blancmange Amazon Exclusive Box set has just arrived and guess what…… no signed print. I think that the ‘Exclusive’ in this instance is the box in came in, NOT the signed print.

    The only place it mentions a Signed Print is in the product description, and it clearly states it’s limited to 500 copies.

    What they have back in stock is the normal edition with the outer box.

  32. Clive says:

    *UPDATE* *UPDATE*

    It’s official, I’m an idiot. The signed print WAS inside the box. It fell out when I got home. It’s the same size as the box, and turned so the image is facing down so its hard to spot.

  33. Julian H says:

    I don’t need obi strips, but Universal finally doing away with any “deluxe edition” indication (sticker or whatever) is a bit poor…

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