If you’re a music fan with the good fortune to have been born before the late ’80s, chances are you remember the thrill of spending a leisurely afternoon (or many afternoons) wandering the aisles of your favorite record store, thumbing through stacks of LPs/cassettes/CDs, just sort of…looking without hoping to find anything in particular. You can still do this today, of course, but only if you’re lucky enough to actually have a record store in your neighborhood — and on nothing like the scale of the “good old days.”
The reasons for this are too numerous to delve into in a silly little Cutouts Gone Wild! post, but for the sake of our time together today, let’s chalk it up to two things — the rise of big box retailers whose treatment of new music as a loss-leader product choked the life out of indie retailers, and the steep 21st century decline in major-label revenues. There’s still plenty of music out there — more than ever, in fact — but you’ve got to go online to find it, and as wonderful as it is to sample new albums before you buy them, nothing quite compares to that aisle-wandering experience. Be sad you missed it, kids — we might not be getting it back.
The point of all this rambling? Once upon a time, the major labels released a lot of music. I mean, really — lots. So much music, in fact, that it was a mathematical certainty that a not-inconsiderable percentage of this music would be utterly ridiculous. Case in point: Big Noise and their 1989 debut, Bang!
Don’t get excited. I don’t mean “ridiculous” as in “odd” or “funny” or “in any way interesting” — I mean it strictly in a “this never needed to come out” way. Actually, Big Noise was ridiculous on a few levels, including the band’s silly name and the fact that it consisted of seven — count ’em! — members:
Anthony Fenelle — vocals
Huw Lucas — guitars
Paul Johnson — keyboards
Gary Thompson — bass
Tony Lahiffe — drums
Linton Levy — saxophone
Tony Jones — percussion
What’s so crazy about a seven-piece band? Nothing, really, except when the music it makes sounds like “Let Me Be” (download), “Victim of Love” (download), and “Turn the Lights Down Low” (download). This is garden-variety ’80s pop music, meaning the only people who needed to be (and possibly were) involved in its creation were the singer, keyboard player, and maybe the guitarist.
Big Noise had a song or two penetrate the Hot 100, but just barely; their music made such a small impact, in fact, that there’s virtually no trace of them on the Web. The AMG lists Bang! (and what appears to be a 2003 reunion album titled Good Morning Baby), but no artwork or review. They’re one of the only bands on Earth not to rate a slavishly devoted fansite. Not even a Wikipedia entry preserves their memory. The only thing my (ten minutes of) research turned up was Fenelle’s stint as the singer in an early ’90s version of Ultravox.
From a certain point of view, I guess you could say we’re making history with this post. Aren’t you excited?