I was excited when Frank Tovey's booking agency emailed me asking about suggestions or recommendations for concerts in North America. I had been a fan of Fad Gadget for nearly 20 years and have never even dreamed of seeing him live. The best thing I could think of was to contact people who owe their entire careers to this man. So I dropped emails to the bands (and booking agent of) The Faint, Adult and I am Spoonbender, but sadly got no response.

Tovey could very well possibly be one of the most important pioneers in post-punk electronic synth music. While he may have not sold as many units as label mates Depeche Mode or contemporaries like Human League or OMD who had to change their sound to top charts, he was demonstrating that synth music didn't always have to be happy pop anthems and love songs. Unlike Gary Numan or Kraftwerk, he didn't paranoiacally or idealistically fanticize a future world ruled by robots and computers, which has completely worked to his advantage, giving his songs an amazing timeless feel. While his tunes were undoubtedly catchy, futuristic pop anthems with sinister lyrics, his live performances were raw and vicious, often ending with large amounts of blood loss and paramedic assistance.

In a time where Fischerspooner can sign a ?2M recording deal, Tovey was poised for a strong comeback—he had been recording new material and played a number of shows in the UK and Europe. Unfortunately, the exponentially growing scene of these modern groups may never truly understand how much they really owe to Tovey. There's a nice picture accompanying a short obituary at mute.com as well as some recent live pictures at the French web site, fadgadget.free.fr. He will be missed. -