My friend Dr Beatrice has directed me to the new Myspace page of her legendary goth-funk combo The Souls of Dead Librarians, which flourished long enough for them to release a demo tape (remember them?) in 1986.
I do wonder whether there's some sort of mathematical constant, similar to pi or the Golden Mean, that lays down the ratio of bands that actually make it to a debut performance, or even just rehearsal, and those that retain the purity and enthusiasm of conceptuality. About 1:5, maybe?
I was in at least two conceptual bands, as far as I can recall. Around the age of 14, I was a founder member of Yeux Bleus. The name came first, then the logo, which I happily etched onto my army surplus rucksack and several exercise books. I even concocted some lyrics, all scrupulously marked "© TJ Footman 1982".
The music wasn't so easy. My friend Alex had taken a few guitar lessons. Stephen liked the idea of the bass (John Taylor and Martin Kemp were the babe magnets of their respective combos at the time, remember), which left the drums for me, on the basis that they required the least talent. (Apologies to any drummers out there: it must be dreadful for you.)
Before any of us actually went out and bought proper instruments, Alex went off the idea, but by that stage Stephen and I had become increasingly enamoured of various synth combos, so the loss of the neophyte axeman could be presented as "creative differences". Moreover, "Yeux Bleus" (we'd briefly been The Morons, but returned to the original name after becoming a two-piece) would look better on the posters when we landed that crucial support slot with Depeche Mode, or even Classix Nouveaux.
But Stephen and I had both fallen under the spell of the mighty Trio (famed for the glorious 'Da Da Da'), and pledged fealty to their less-is-more philosophy, which applied as much to expenditure and ability as to any specifically musical concept of minimalism. Spurning even the cheap-and-cheerful accessibility of the Casiotone keyboard, Stephen announced that he would build his own synthesiser, a device that turned out to be little more than a joy buzzer glued to a piece of balsa wood. Confronted with this, I announced that I would play my own analogue drum machine, which was a single maraca from a pair that my grandmother had brought back from a holiday in Spain.
I think that was the moment we both realised that it was time to go our separate ways. Stephen eventually went off to be a bank clerk and a devout Catholic, in that order. Alex currently manages all the property for the Anglican Church in Wales. And I went to university, where I was a founder member of equally conceptual Geschirrspülmaschine im Arschlock (which translates as "Dishwasher up the arse", if I recall correctly). All the songs would also be called 'Geschirrspülmaschine im Arschlock', and they would consist solely of the barked phrase 'Geschirrspülmaschine im Arschlock'. In a terribly elliptical tribute to Roxy Music, the line-up would consist of a fluctuating number of bass-players, with no other musicians present.
I can't remember what stopped Geschirrspülmaschine im Arschlock from moving from conceptuality to actuality, let alone Madison Square Garden. A combination of idleness and tequila, I suspect. But hey, enough of my yakkin'. Tell me about your own bands, real or imagined. Or somewhere in between. Because aren't those always the best kind?