Our second album was to be aptly named 'Fugazi' (all fucked up, all screwed up), which was a word I'd found in a book called 'Nam' - a collection of reminiscences from veterans of the Vietnam war, put together by Mark Baker. I'd always been intrigued by that particular war and had been obsessively reading about it during the 'Script' tour which ended at Hammersmith Odeon, London. As a band we had no doubts that a replacement for Mick was long overdue.
Auditions and rehearsals at Nomis Studios first provided Andy Ward (ex Camel) who lasted until midway through our first American tour before succumbing to a near nervous breakdown and leaving us to cancel the remaining dates. John Martyr had a short appointment with us in the USA but failed to gain the support of the band as a whole. So it was back to Nomis and on a recommendation we auditioned Jonathan Mover prior to relocating to writing for the 'difficult' second album at Rockfield Studios in South Wales. I didn't like him or his technical abilities which in my opinion were out of line with our quintessential British style. We were under a lot of pressure to make a decision and get into the writing sessions, so I backed off and hoped it would work out. It didn't. I became more and more irritated by Jonathan and reluctantly forced a 'me or him' scenario on the others I admit I wasn't exactly opened armed to Jonathan and did indulge in psychological warfare (including cherry bombing his bedroom and bathroom at every available opportunity!), in order to test his mettle. I just knew he wasn't right for us and I also knew who was.
Ian Mosley had been drumming with Steve Hackett the ex Genesis guitarist. I'd seen him twice, most recently during a visit back home to Edinburgh after the 'Script' tour. He arrived in a battered old Merc and as soon as we were introduced it was obvious we had our man. The audition was practically unnecessary but added to our commitment that this was the Marillion drummer. His maturity and confidence, as well as his musical abilities, were to help cement the band and provide us with a dependable line up to face the hill of the second album.
There were some tracks left lingering from the 'Script' sessions but none were anywhere near complete. Lyrically there were a lot of notes and a few near finished pieces, one of which was 'Punch And Judy'. As always, the record company wanted to hear the single and while Jonathan Mover was with us we set to work on 'Punch And Judy' with the sole intention of moulding a single. When I'd penned the words I'd always heard a Bo Diddley type beat, but by the time Jonathan had his kit out and on it, it bastardized itself into a quirky over complicated rhythmic base that took it miles off a mainstream single. The lyric was about my paranoia over commitment in a relationship and about my vision of a marital hell culminating in a scenario of blaming the partner for all of life's failures Traditionally dark by my standards it never really worked as the ideal single.
Peter Hammill had supported Marillion on the 'Script' tour and we'd become good friend during that time. He'd given me a tape of Islamic music that would provide a major influence over two of the album tracks 'Assassing' and 'Incubus'. 'Assassing' (why I put the 'g' on the end remains a mystery to me!), was inspired by the culls that persisted throughout the early stages of the band, but focused in particular on Mick Pointer more than anyone. It was premiered at Glastonbury Festival (our one and only appearance - we were hip for an instant), after being written during a near barren period of incarceration at the remote Mountain Studios in Wales. All I remember from there is saturating my body in all manners of chemicals and alcohol, sitting around in magical stone circles and listening to a lot of Van Morrison albums. An expensive trip! Nuff said!
Rockfield was our writing haven in between sporadic international forays. The recording schedule loomed and we'd decided to stick to Nick Tauber but pursue an out of London experience at the Manor Studios in Oxfordshire. We landed there on the verge of Winter.
Christmas came and went. The break was indulged with a tour, we'd run out of time at the Manor and still had a lot to do. Maison Rouge was the next studio on line for recording and mixing and the stress was building. It showed most on Nick Tauber who was beginning to have a number of questions raised over his ability to complete the project. EMI decided that we needed to bring in another producer to assist the mixing and to use Abbey Road Studios simultaneously to get the album finished. The recording of 'Incubus' was completed at Pete Townshend's Studio, Eel Pie, but the mix was done at Abbey Road while we were also listening to mixes at Odyssey Studios off the Edgware Road. The band spent hours in taxis throughout the night commuting between studios listening to mixes of a project that was becoming out of hand. Fugazi.
The album cover was one of the few constituent parts that was together and on time. It was supposed to reflect the next step up from the bed-sit seen on 'Script'. This was the clichéd rock musician on tour. The trashed hotel room, or despot in situ in a luxury flat. Abuse was highly prevalent as illustrated in our own personal lifestyle. If 'Script' was about the individual, then 'Fugazi' was about the relationship between two people. My personal ones were Fugazi. Cue lyrical subjects and the question I wanted asked within the cover artwork - who left who!? 'Jigsaw' is probably the 'wordiest' lyric I've ever written. All about the games we play in a relationship and the secrets we hold back until they're ready to be played. The chorus is still a favourite but the verses were just too complicated. 'She Chameleon', a song that existed in some semblance of order in 1983 was resurrected for inclusion. Inspired by the 'groupie' phenomenon that came to be in 1983 and tripping on acid backstage with Julian Cope after a 'Teardrop Explodes' concert - it was about my attitudes to sex on the road. The question was 'who was using who?'. The middle section was always too 'twee' for my liking and I'd always wanted a more gothic approach. It never happened.
'Emerald Lies' was about jealousy and in my never ending break up, get together, break up cycle with my long suffering girlfriend, the lyric was obvious. Touring was having a very negative effect on my personal life (from her point of view). 'Fugazi', the title track was inspired by a journey on the Piccadilly line from Earls Court where I lived in a flat for a while with my girlfriend, to the Marquee Club where I lived during the night. Coming down from a trip and listening to my Walkman and viewing the other occupants if the carriage it summed up the album and my views on life at the time - Fugazi we were.
The vocals were mostly done at Eel Pie and Maison Rouge, but the mixes were all over London. Mark & Steve went crazy shuttling throughout the city and while I was doing the promo for the tour the band were being beaten down by alternative mixes. One night in particular at 'Odyssey Studios summed it all up.
Ten hours or so into the mix the desk computer crashed dumping all the work so far. Nick burst into tears and slumped over the desk and we all looked at each other before trying to reassemble both Nik and the mix before getting into taxis to head to Abbey Road to hear a mix of 'Incubus'
The tour called. 'Punch And Judy' was released. It died after a week even with a bundle of TV appearances including the 'Oxford Road Show' in Manchester, where Steve and Mark arrived blood eyed from mixing in London only hours before live transmission. We never heard the finished album until we were on tour and hired an hour at Amazon Studios in Liverpool for a playback.
I always find it strange that some people still find this their favourite album. I only have blurred and savage memories of the traumas of delivery. The songs are great and 'Incubus' is probably my all time favourite from my seven years with the band. But the period of creation to delivery and the surrounding fracas can only be described as Fugazi.
Fugazi sleeve notes