Tones On Tail
Born more by accident than intent, Tones On Tail began life simply as a request…a request by Bauhaus’ guitarist Daniel Ash to borrow house mate & Bauhaus back-line engineer Glenn Campling’s then state of the art Dr. Rhythm Boss DR55 drum machine. With Daniel keen to experiment with new ideas deemed “unsuitable” for Bauhaus, and Glenn nurturing an almost obsessive interest in the latest technology, a partnership of sorts evolved. The genesis of Tones On Tail’s future was created in the back of the tour van on the way home from a Bauhaus gig in Reading in October of 1981… Although it would be some five months before the first fruits from this embryonic partnership were tasted, this particular fruit; Copper (playable at both 45 and 33 rpm!) was one of a culmination of four tracks that would constitute their first eponymous titled four track 12” single. Issued on the seminal 4AD imprint, Tones On Tail was a masterpiece in experimental pop, an assemblage of Eno tinged sound-scapes.
Ash and Campling initially began stockpiling material and ideas during breaks in their respective hectic Bauhaus schedules, however, like the phoenix of legend, emerged with bright, shiny, vibrant new colours from the fall-out of the latter’s slow, dark disintegration.
Writing and recording initially as a duo until the Spring of 1983, when Ash’s former Bauhaus cohort Kevin Haskins was recruited to add a real, authentic drum sound. Together for little over two years Tones On Tail was, much like the mythological Lernaean Hydra, a multi-faceted beast. They successfully created a myriad of sound and style much too complex to even begin to categorise. Affectionately, summed up recently by Campling, as Dr. Frankenstein creating little monsters in a sound lab!
Tones On Tail were dissolved in the fall of 1984 but like Bauhaus before them, left behind some of the most original and highly influential pieces of music ever committed to tape, with the likes of New York Hip Hop Funksters’ The Fun Lovin’ Criminals (their smash hit single Scooby Snacks sampled Movement Of Fear) and Moby (snatching elements of the vocal from Go! for his top ten hit of the same name) to name just two of the many artists who had dipped into Tones’ repertoire to enhance their own. Go! can also be heard scoring a Lincoln Mercury television advertisement.