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Ian and Martyn initially considered asking their friend Glenn Gregory to join them as a vocalist, but at that time, Glenn was busy in London with his own band, 57 Men. So instead they invited Martyn's friend Philip Oakey (pictured right, born 2nd October 1955) to join the group, apparently by leaving a note stuck to his door.
Philip was then a hospital porter in a plastic surgery theatre and had never previously considered any form of performance, due to his shy nature. He later admitted that "if it wasn't for Ian and Martyn, I'd still be wheeling bodies around a hospital ward... I was completely without ambition..."
Martyn: "I used to go to school with Phil, from the age of 16 probably, and he looked like a pop star."
Philip Oakey
Philip: "I'd been watching with increased admiration as all these things happened to The Future, with them trotting off to London to see record companies, which seemed a fairly insane thing to do. Everybody used to laugh at them except me.
"I was very surprised when they asked me because, you know, everyone was trying to be in bands at that stage, and I wasn't."
Philip's first meeting with Ian was interesting - the two were introduced to each other in a nightclub, when Ian was wearing women's tights, a 13 amp plug around his neck and a baked bean tin on his head. (Sadly, photographs are not available!) Philip asked him, "What happens if I plug you into the mains? Does your head light up?" Ian was less than amused, but Philip still became part of the group.
Ian: "We wondered what role he was going to have because he hadn't got any money to buy a synthesizer or anything. He had a saxophone which he couldn't play." But when Philip came up with lyrics for Being Boiled, his future as lead vocalist was secured. And he certainly looked the part...
Philip: "When we started in this pop group business, I thought 'What have all big pop stars got that sets them apart?' And the only thing that I could think of that made them all different was a hairstyle. David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Marc Bolan, The Beatles - they all had odd hairstyles, so I thought I had better find myself one. Then one day, I saw a hair model on a bus, a girl called Penny, and I went over and said 'Where did you get your haircut? I want one of those.' It was as simple as that."
Determined to produce pop music in a modern and original way, the group then spent two thousand pounds on new hi-tech gear. Although their financial situation forced them to buy most of it under 'hire-purchase' agreements, they were soon the proud owners of a two-track tape recorder and a 100 System Synthesizer (with sequencer module).
Martyn: "We love technology, and we love the idea that things are gonna become more involved with machines in the future. I think rock 'n' roll's had a fair crack of the whip and now it's time for something different."
Ian: "It's not as if something new comes along and everything else disappears... you've still got jazz and folk and everything left, even though they're not carrying the forefront anymore."
Martyn: "We go out of our way to avoid sounding like Kraftwerk if possible, 'cause I think it's very easy to do, and I think that with the amount of money and equipment Kraftwerk've got, they could do a lot better. You know, to laymen, Kraftwerk are the epitome of electronic music... but in fact, the tunes and structures and noises they make are not particularly complex in any way."
Asked years later about the group's original choice of instrumentation, Philip remarked, "We really liked what pop music had turned into with David Bowie - suddenly there were new sounds. I lived my life for Bowie and Roxy Music for four or five years - I don't think I could have got through my adolescence without them, but they were using traditional instruments because that's all there was. We were interested in innovation. Suddenly, there were synthesizers and we were knocked out. Hearing Walter Carlos' soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange totally launched us into it."
"It's funny that people call us an Eighties group when in fact we were a Seventies group. Our influences were massively progressive. I loved King Crimson, I loved The Nice. We so liked Genesis. But the band we really cared about was Van der Graaf Generator - that music was so committed."
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