Marc and the Mambas forever can be considered the blueprint for Marc Almond’s solo career. As Soft Cell developed into an excellent mix of pop and electronic “dark” dance music, Marc and the Mambas picked up there - but more and more got rid of the dance beat.
While their first album still was searching for its own voice - with a mix of ballads with and without dance beats, Torment and Toreros was an incredible mix of vaudeville, french chanson, goth sensibility, guitar noise, piano, string sections and a singing hero that went mad during the course of this album. Marc Almond later noted ironically, this album was an attempted suicide put on vinyl, and in a way it was. However, looking back at it almost 25 years later, it still goes strong, since there was never anything like that before and after.
Interesting was on top of that the group as such was an outfit that was closer to a jazz outfit rather than a rock group. The band members changed from album to performance and back each time something new was started. The only really consisting members were Marc Almond, of course, and Annie Hogan. Further members, such as Billy McGee and Martin McCarrick went later on to join Marc for his first solo efforts (called Marc Almond and The Willing Sinners). But Martin McCarrick left for Siouxsie and the Banshees in 1987, and the rest of that band (then called La Magia) dissolved in 1988. Since then Marc has been a true solo artist, working closely together with Neal X (of Sigue Sigue Sputnik fame) since 1993.
As for the Mambas, David Ball was an associated member for their first single, “Sleaze” and Matt Johnson from The The was a member for the first and second album but did not join anymore for the last concerts in 1983 (put to Vinyl and later to CD as Black, Bite & Blues.) Never a full but an associated member was Jim Foetus (aka Jim Thirlwell/Clint Ruin), who did guest vocals and percussion on “A Million Manias” as well as “Love Among the Ruined.”
It was in 1983, that Marc as well as Soft Cell were very close to the avant-garde scene around Foetus, Psychic TV, and Einstürzende Neubauten.
Antony from Antony and the Johnsons quotes “Torment and Toreros” as the most important influence on his life and his work.
Edited by poitiers on 3 Jan 2010, 17:10
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