Marginal Era formed in mid-1982 around the songwriting talents of Paul Agar, who had released his first single 'Your Eyes' as Paul Agar & The Set, recorded in February 1982 at Mandrill Studios with Glynn Tucker and Trevor Reekie at the desk.
Warwick Paul Agar had been in the band Vivid Militia, who appeared on Propeller's Class of 81 collection, for eight months in 1981 and before the band split, they had demoed 'Your Eyes'. The new 1982 recording was released on Mandrill Studio’s Reaction Records label.
When Glynn Tucker played the single to Kim Fowley in Los Angeles, the LA legend was enthusiastic and arranged publishing and representation for Agar. Fowley had been in New Zealand the year prior, recording Street Talk and the Crocodiles. ‘Your Eyes’ was also released in Australia on Glenn Baker's Rivet label.
In July 1982 Agar put together his band Marginal Era with Dave Larsen (drums), Martin Robson (bass) and Phil MacDonald (keyboards). The band rehearsed for several months and played low-key gigs in November and December 1982. The set was largely originals with a few covers of their favourite songs by Pete Shelley and The Teardrop Explodes.
In March 1983 bassist Robson left Marginal Era, leaving the nucleus of three to record the band's debut 12-inch single 'This Heaven' for the Reaction label. The single was released August 1983 with the B-side 'Best Thing', a song that was originally intended to be the A-side.
'This Heaven' started life as an instrumental B-side, but Agar chose to remix it and put words to it. When the single was released, Agar told RipItUp (August 1983), “This time we're doing what we want.”
Agar was dismissive of his debut single 'Your Eyes' and the track the Reaction label had planned as his follow-up: “'This Heaven' is more atmospheric. That's more the sort of thing we want to move towards. 'Best Thing' was just a pop song. I'll always write pop but I want to branch out and, without jumping on any bandwagon, try to do something new.”
Although 'This Heaven' did not chart, the instrumental version became well known to New Zealanders as the Radio With Pictures theme that played behind the TV show's opening credits. Live appearances to promote 'This Heaven' included new bass player David Mauger, formerly of Blond Comedy.
In 1984 Marginal Era would release two more singles on Reaction, 'Haven't I Seen Your Face Before' and 'You Fascinate'. The latter single was released in June 1984 and reached No.38 on the NZ Singles Chart. By this stage Agar had decided to head for Melbourne, Australia, where he formed another band, using the same name.
That band released a couple of singles on a label called Central, via PolyGram in 1985 and 1986 before splitting.
Agar now owns a studio in northern New South Wales where he records as The Universal Egg.
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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