What is going on at ZTT Records?
This time last year ZTT couldn’t put a foot wrong—Frankie were just about to have their third number one, and Propaganda and the Art Of Noise were having hits too. Now some people are muttering that it’s all going a bit wrong. Recent efforts by Anne Pigalle, Propaganda, Glenn Gregory and Claudia Brucken and Roy Orbison haven’t done too well, and Frankie have run off to Ibiza (apparently because they’re having a bit of trouble coming up with some new songs). Now weird things are happening with the Art Of Noise …
What seems to have happened is that three of the Noise, Anne Dudley, Gary Langan and J J Jeczalik (who reckons they were “responsible for 98.98% of the music” anyway) got fed up that Trevor Horn and Paul Morley were getting too much credit and writing strange things on their sleeves, so they’ve left ZTT and signed to another label. Their first single is “Legs”, which is along the same lines as “Close To the Edit” and was made in conjunction with “some video guys—video will be our new forte”. They are also planning to help Paul McCartney remix some of his new songs, and will play live in Japan next year.
In response ZTT have put out a press release saying things like “they have jettisoned themselves out into the pop arena where meaningless is a virtue” and talks about the Art Of Noise’s “career-besotted attitude”. J.J. describes the press release as “non-factual and impolite. The grammar’s appalling and the spelling’s terrible. When we saw it we laughed.”
Meanwhile ZTT, who originally tried to hold onto the name ‘Art Of Noise’ (one reason they failed was because the name was stolen from a pamphlet mentioning The Art Of Noises’ and it was J.J. who suggested they take the ‘s’ off the end), are starting up a new group Art and ACT—its members being Trevor Horn, Paul Morley and S.J. Lipson (who plays on most of the Frankie and Propaganda records). Their single “Life’s A Barrel Of Laughs” should be out before Christmas, accompanied by a pamphlet, “A Decent Way”. A ZTT spokesman defended the press release but insists that ZTT wish the Art Of Noise “good luck in whatever they do”. And he also seemed to think that ZTT is doing just fine, thank you very much—there are three LPs (“Sampled” and ones by Anne Pigalle and Andrew Poppy) just out, Grace Jones is shooting up the charts, the much-delayed Instinct single will be out by the end of the year and before that there’ll be a dance re-mix LP by Propaganda, probably called “Wishful Thinking”.