What can I say about Kajagoogoo?
Well quite a lot actually……it all started with that now infamous, advert I placed in the ‘classified advertisements’ section of UK music magazine ‘Melody Maker’ (which was the bible for musicians in those days) and it went something like this:
“Good looking, talented singer/songwriter/frontman, looking for musicians to form what should be a successful band, influences: Japan, Yazoo, Soft Cell……no Des O’ Connor fans”
The reason for such a bold advert was more about being definite as to who it should attract rather than any over confidence on my part, although I think it’s safe to say I wasn’t lacking in selfassurance……hell, I was young lad from a little town up north (Wigan), with childhood dreams and a burning ambition.
Remember too, at this point (21) I’d already undergone a lot of singing, piano and guitar tuition, written several original songs, recorded demos, performed in professional theatre roles for three years including ‘Godspell’ & ‘Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ and also been lead singer in a couple of other unsigned bands, so I definitely felt ready for the next step.
Anyway, my rather bold ad thankfully caught the eye of a bass player with an unknown band from Leighton Buzzard (44 miles north of London) called ‘Art Nouveau’ who unbeknown to me had already placed their own advert looking for a ‘lead singer’ two weeks earlier but had been unsuccessful in finding the suitable applicant. On the phone, they explained that although my ad said I was looking for ‘individual’ musicians, they still thought we should meet and see if there was any musical spark……I had nothing to lose, so off I went by train from London to meet, or audition if you like, for the four piece group with it’s ‘lead singer’ vacancy.
Little did I know that joining an existing unit (they had been together for three or four years at this point) would probably render me the ‘outsider’ and is almost certainly one of the reasons for our subsequent, premature break up.
I liked my image to shock people in those days and I remember dressing up for that first meeting in one of my ‘new romantic’ outfits that I sometimes wore for night clubbing in London. It was a totally co-ordinated look, with bleached punkish hair, make-up with oil paint (very Adam Ant/Visage) on my face, it was more theatrical than camp and quite androgynous, although I don’t think I realised this at the time, I just thought it was necessary to stand out from the crowd in order to succeed in the highly competitive ‘music business’……besides, nearly everything in the charts at the time was quite daring visually, Soft Cell, Eurythmics, Human League, Toyah, Japan. Even the 70’s had their influence with it’s ‘Glam Rock’ images from Bowie, Marc Bolan, Slade, The Sweet and one of my favourites Abba.
The bass player met me at Leighton Buzzard station and we drove off to meet the rest of the guys, in the cold light of day on a fairly deserted platform in the suburbs, I’m sure he must have been fairly shocked as I stepped off the train (although I don’t recall him showing it). I’m not exactly sure what they all made of me when I arrived, looking back I can only imagine what was running through their minds, however I do remember feeling basically quite comfortable as we ran a few songs at the printing factory where the drummer worked in his day job. I wasn’t nervous about the audition, I was simply quite focused and gave it my best shot and more importantly, I definitely felt there was something gelling between us musically.
I remember I was trying to visualise them all with some work on their image because they did seem a bit ordinary (not that there’s anything wrong with ordinary) but hey, we were gonna be on stage weren’t we ? I was also scrutinising their musicianship and ambition because I didn’t want to join another band who was going to fail. As it turned out, they had wisely bought one of the latest synthesizers and used it on a couple of their own compositions so it sounded quite modern, something that could perhaps be in the charts ? This was probably the most important thing to me, the idea that we could possibly be in the charts, after all, that represented success didn’t it ?
So……was it destiny ? Was it fate ? Well whatever it was, it convinced me to fill their ‘lead singer’ vacancy and leave London……quite a dramatic gesture don’t you think ? I then called my theatre agent and proudly announced “I’m leaving town to go and live in Leighton Buzzard with a new band so don’t call me with any more auditions”……he must have chuckled and thought, “that’s the last we’ll hear of Chris Hamill” (the anagram Limahl came later) but thankfully, he would have been wrong.