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 Home is where I want to be
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Tom Tom Club PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 14 June 2008 22:06
Tom Tom Club

Tom Tom Club as a group and its eponymic first album were begun by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth in 1981.

Following five years of tours and four albums written and recorded with Talking Heads, they were signed by Chris Blackwell to Island Records. Their first fresh single, a kooky hip-hop mix of free-styling rap over a funky groove, "Wordy Rappinghood" went to the top of the charts in seventeen countries. More remarkable yet was their next single "The Genius of Love," which was promptly scooped up by deejays and pioneer turntablists of dance clubs worldwide who by now recognized The Club as their own. Bubbling up from the underground, with dozens of unsolicited remixes and versions (e.g. GrandMaster Flash & The Furious Five's "It's Nasty"), "The Genius of Love" was a hit all around, making Tom Tom Club a gold album in 1982.

Tom Tom Club's second album, Close to the Bone, released in 1983, contained the underground successes "The Man with the Four-Way Hips," "Pleasure of Love," and a fresh take on the soul classic "Under The Boardwalk."

A third album, Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom, was a departure for Tom Tom Club. Released in 1988, it was more esoterically minimalist rock than funky hip hop. The 1989 tour that followed was special. Every venue in which the Tom Tom Club set up residency, whether for five nights at Chicago's Cubby Bear or three weeks at Los Angeles' Second Coming, was renamed for the duration of its residency "Tom Tom Club," with popular local unsigned bands opening.

Just for fun, Tom Tom Club joined Debbie Harry, The Ramones, and Jerry Harrison to create the 1990 "Escape from New York" tour. A Lollapalooza concept before its time, the lucky and the hip who saw this show have never forgotten it.

In 1991 Chris & Tina built "The Clubhouse," a painting and music studio, over their garage in Cock Island, Connecticut. Here they wrote and recorded the fourth Tom Tom Club album DarkSneakLoveAction, released in 1992. A free mix of experimental rock and dance, most of its dozen songs were a return to funky form, featuring "Sunshine & Ecstasy" and a fresh take on Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing." The 1992 tour favorites live included "Love Wave," "Who Wants an Ugly Girl?" and "Irresistible Party Dip."

In 1998, Chris and Tina began writing for and with the newest member of the Tom Tom crew, soul singer extraordinaire Charles Pettigrew, formerly of Charles and Eddie, who sang their hit singles "Would I Lie To You" and "Shine" in the Tom Tom Club Oktoberfest tour later that year. This was a short tour of select clubs on the East Coast only, which also featured longtime club members Bruce Martin on keyboards and percussion, and Steve Scales on congas and percussion. Rocking the guitar for the first time for the club was Robby Aceto. Chris and Tina played drums and bass as usual.

Back at the Clubhouse in the Fall of 1999, the new party album "The Good the Bad and the Funky", consisting of ten original tracks, two classic covers and two bonus dub mixes, assumed its final shape. By the end of 1999, Chris & Tina formed their own label called Tip Top Music. Early in the year 2000, two of the album's songs were remixed for other compilations. Cause-n-ff-ect Records released the Tom Novy remix of Tom Tom Club's version of the famous Donna Summer song "Love To Love You, Baby" on its DJEmpire tribute album to Giorgio Moroder.

Having observed the high quality of RykoPalm's release of Talking Heads' "Stop Making Sense" film on DVD, Chris & Tina formed a deal to release their new album with indie label Rykodisc, now owned by their old friend Chris Blackwell. "The Good the Bad and Funky" was released on September 12th, 2000.

The album was promoted with an extensive US tour in the fall of 2000, followed by a short, but very succesful European tour in April 2001. Singers Mystic Bowie and Victoria Clamp were added to the band, due to Charles' Illness. Charles Pettigrew passed away in the spring of 2001.

Tom Tom Club once again hit the (American) road in the summer and fall of that year for additional live dates and in the meantime they released a limited edition DVD-single of "Time to Bounce".

On October 15, 2001 the band played a special gig in the Tom Tom Clubhouse on Cock Island - this show was recorded to be released as TTC's very first live album. "Live @ the Clubhouse" is due out on September 24, 2002 and contains the complete Clubhouse concert. Special guests on the album are Abdou M'Boup on talking drum and the horn section of Deep Banana Blackout.

In 2007, just in time for the holidays, Tom Tom Club released a christmas single called "Il Est Ne" on both 7" vinyl and 4-track CD single. "Il Est Ne", a version of a traditional french christmas tune, is backed by "Christmas in the Club", a reference to the bands homestudio The Clubhouse.

The band continues to play live in 2008, with gigs in London (with Gang of Four) and the US (with Devo). 

 

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