Strontium 90 At The Gong Reunion...
The most inappropriate set of the day introduced the world to what might just be a great rock band, Strontium 90. Stewart Copeland, ex-Curved Air, still of Police, checked out the crowd and remarked in amiable mockery, "hey, its the real brown rice scene man, far out". Tim Blake, who is quite partial to brown rice I imagine, introduced Strontium 90 to a friend this way: C'est le rock'n'roll Anglais tres fort, Mais on n'est pas ici pou critiquer" - just as well.
Mike Howlett is Strontium's Gong connection and he has obviously decided on the direct approach this time round. Like grab them by the hair, ears, throat and goolies all at once. Even some committed Teapot freaks were shaking their heads. The WOW is the dynamic double (no hyphen) bass from Mike and Sting (vibrant singer and writer also moonlighting from Police, ex-Last Exit). An idea I've been craving to see tried out and it works like manpowered earthquake. In horse racing terms I feel like the trainer who discovered Red Rum. It's only rock and roll, its just another nag, but then again sometimes you find a thoroughbred. Mike Howlett said cockily to the delighted/puzzled crowd: "C'est autre chose huh? Ca bouge."
This was the line-up for that day: Mike Howlett bass, vocals Sting bass, vocals Stewart drums Andy Summers guitar. The next day in Colmar (also in France) they did the same set again. A few months later Sting and Mike Howlett made a single together as "The Radio Actors". The release was called 'Nuclear Waste' written by Harry Williamson and on the b-side 'Evensong'.
© Sounds by Phil Sutcliffe