There are in the age-old battle between art and commerce, casualties. Here I detail some of the works that languished like shipwrecks in the record company vaults, unseen or heard for decades and in some cases not at all.
1 MR MISTER – PULL
For 20 years this album was stranded in limbo for no reason other than record company politics, declaring the misters artistic merits unfit for the zeitgeist (it being the beginning of the nineties). The sad thing is, PULL is a very strong album from a band of musicians who had a lot left to give. Its shelving cost the band their career (at least as Mr Mister) and an audience who will always wonder what might have followed. It eventually surfaced in 2010. Here’s drummer Pat Mastelotto on events prior to and after PULL..
‘..when RCA heard the mixes they didn’t get it (to be honest we were not done and planned to do more mixing) so they dropped us.. we thought we could get a new deal but couldn’t. I remember Irv Azoff heard the record and said ‘ great record, but i can’t sell it’ our name was linked to the past. Then we tried to get Rich (Page) a solo deal, but no takers. . so it sat. . and sat. . then we asked RCA for the record but they wanted money we didn’t have.’ To quote the Misters, life moved on, Pat continues.. ‘at some point years later we asked again and they said ok take it.’
‘even between Broken Wings and Go On, the label had completely changed, all the folks that signed us were out, so we took our time and went slow making PULL because we heard that RCA was going to sell again and it did – to BMG.’
2 PAULA COLE – 4TH ALBUM (UNTITLED)
Another one trapped in a vault, the fourth Hugh Padgham produced record is a bonafide spirit of the musical world with zero mention of it on her site or elsewhere.
3 SIMPLE MINDS – OUR SECRETS ARE THE SAME
Most bands of longevity eventually stumble against either an artistic wall or corporate blockade. At the end of the nineties the Minds were as artistically prolific as ever but the relationship with labels floundered and the album was shelved. It eventually appeared as part of the silver box but has never been given an official release in its own right. More comprehensive info here..
4 BRIAN ENO – MY SQUELCHY LIFE
Yet another ‘lost’ album making its debut 20 years late;. available as part of the expanded Nerve Net reissue and as a double vinyl edition. Squelchy was originally slated for release in 1991 but at the chime of the 11th hour the release was aborted and the album slid into myth …until now.
5 BOOM CRASH OPERA – BORN AGAIN
While Born exists its commercial failure ensured its sisters still birth. In other words their then new record company used it as an excuse to shelve what is probably their strongest effort. Much like Pull and Eno’s record above it’s running at a 20 year delay but again the band now have the rights to it, so a release date is more likely – better late than never.
*at the time of writing Peter Farnan says there is no release planned, however a ‘deep’ anthology which will include tracks from it is in progress.
6 ICEHOUSE – BI-POLAR POEMS
Bi-Polar would have been the follow up to Big wheel – still Iva Davies most fun and adventurous recording but after only a few tracks, the album was put on ice (so to speak) in favour of soundtrack work and The Ghost of Time (quite apt for this blog). At least five tracks were finished but Davies himself has said there will be no return to the project and it doesn’t merit a full release making it a true ghost album.
7 DURAN DURAN – REPORTAGE
Medazzaland came close to being a relic entombed in art v commerce dust but Duran would go one better in the mid-00s by starting an album with Andy Taylor called Reportage. Taylor quit and the album was halted in favour of Red Carpet Massacre; depending on which side of the Duranesphere you sit a masterpiece or disaster. Reportage remains missing in action.
‘Regarding REPORTAGE, there were multiple reasons why we chose to shelve the record at that time, the main one being our excitement at the discovery of a new direction, with Timbaland which we wished to explore further. It was this that led to the RED CARPET MASSACRE album being a more complete and unique experience. The songs from REPORTAGE simply didn’t seem to fit with the new material. That said, I think the album has held up quite well so I believe we all agree it would be good to finish the material and release it some time in the future.’
Nick Rhodes answer to a fan question on duranduran.com – may 2010
8 DAVID SYLVIAN/JOAN WASSER – DUETS (NO OFFICIAL TITLE)
This is one of the more discerning artefacts, both are no stranger to collaboration but the record remains at 66% finished according to Wasser. The hiatus came about due to Sylvian’s health troubles which also halted his own tour plans. So the wait continues. For now the only officially released track is Ballad of a Deadman released on Steve Jansen’s Slope record in 2007, while titles mooted for the duets record are ‘Warning Bell’ and ‘Don’t You Know Who I Am?’
9 MICK KARN – NO OFFICIAL TITLE
According to Anthony Reynolds (who has recently released his authoritative book on JAPAN) there is a missing link in Karn’s catalogue which would have bridged Titles and Dreams of Reason Produce Monsters. According to Reynolds the material is ‘quite poppy’ although whether it’s pitta pop or feta funk remains to be heard. Intriguing none the less. For more info on the book head to https://www.burningshed.com/store/label/product/138/6875/ and for Anthony.. http://www.anthonyreynolds.net/pages/ii_news.htm
10 IT’S IMMATERIAL – HOUSE FOR SALE
Following the excellent Song, the band moved onto their third album, ‘House For Sale’ which was completed in 1992 though unreleased probably due to Song’s commercial under performance and possibly because of it’s sombre lyrical content (personally I thought most of their stuff was like that). None the less, it’s another ghost yet to surface. Some of it lurks amid the ether including the gorgeous ‘Just North of Here.’ Check it out on You Tube if you have a moment.