Paparazzi (3)

Profil:
New Wave/Synthpop band from Birmingham, UK.

Main Members:

Michael Dorian - Vocals, Songwriting, Keyboards, Piano
Glyn Ricard - Drums, Percussion
David Manray - Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Nick Eugovni - Keyboards

Other Members:

Alan Murphy - Guitar (Alan played on the album and joined the band in preparation for a major european tour. Alan died on the 19th of October, 1989)
Billy Lyall - Piano (Billy played piano on several tracks. Billy died on the 1st of December, 1989)
Thereza Bazar - Production (Thereza was contracted to produce the album by MCA Records. She had some very good technical ideas and her 12" mix of the single 'Stop' was highly inventive. As the album went on it became clear that what she saw and what the band saw were far from the same)

The band was formed around the alternative music scene based on the Rum Runner and Duma clubs in Birmingham.

When it becames clear they had the potential to go on and do something, the former manager of “The Beat” John Mostyn, was recruited to look after things. The band gathered a significant local fan base playing in clubs and various local colleges as well as at Aston, Birmingham and Warwick universities. There was record company interest from a very early stage and the band managed to drag some of the notoriously London-centric majors up to the area, including CBS (now Sony), EMI and Chrysalis. CBS head of A&R; Mervyn "Muff" Winwood, after attending a live studio session, said they had great potential but were not yet ready for a recording contract. The band disagreed, fairly vocally and with not a little naivity.

Following this they took the unusual step (for the time), of refusing to continue to play live, concentrating instead on writing and recording. This approach paid off and in March 1983 they secured a major publishing deal with Virgin Music.

Virgin paid for the band to start recording with producer Zeus B Held and early versions of “Stop” and “Pictures” were recorded at Richard Branson’s “The Barge” recording studios in Little Venice, London. These tracks were later mixed in Paris. It was at this stage and at Virgin's instigation, that they had their first experience with stylists. For a band with such strong ideas and self-belief, this was never going to end well and so it proved. The idea of them being able to be 'styled' quickly became nonsense and in a parallel of what would happen as recording of the album progressed, the band went their own way.

The finished Virgin recordings led to offers from several major record companies including EMI, Virgin and MCA and finally after a lively “auction”, the band signed to MCA records in July ‘83 for what was the biggest money deal of that year.

On the insistence of MCA the band agreed to record their debut album with Thereza Bazar (Dollar), as their producer. The renowned guitarist Alan Murphy (later with Go West and Level 42), having attended several early recording sessions, asked to join the ranks and the debut single “Stop” was recorded. A supporting video was to be shot and after storyboarding it, the band thought that India would be the ideal location. Following discussions with the Indian High Commission however, it was decided that a compromise would have to be made and so Morocco was chosen. Tim Pope (the Cure and pretty much everyone else since), was asked to direct. The band duly flew to North Africa accompanied by the film crew but due to a lack of logistical planning (like not actually getting permission to film there before setting out?!!), the enterprise was a fiasco, culminating in a very narrow escape involving soldiers, guns, headlines.....but no video. Tim seemed to enjoy it though, which probably won't surprise anyone who knows him.

The film that eventually emerged was shot in southern Spain; Tim Pope was not available and it was inevitably a compromise. The execs at MCA had no idea what the video was about but it looked good so they went with it, this was after all a band that was now widely being spoken of as the new Roxy Music. The video had not turned out as the band had originally envisaged but even so, it was the most requested clip on MTV in the week after it was released.

The photos for the sleeve of the first single 'Stop', were taken by Chris Duffy who had been with the band on the abortive Morroco trip. Chris was the son of the iconic sixties photographer Brian Duffy and a talented young photographer in his own right.

The single 'Stop' was released in late '83 and was well received by fans in many countries. In the UK although it sold well, the release suffered both because the critics reviews concentrated on Thereza Bazar’s credibility as a producer and also because then, as now, it is not a good idea for a new band to release their first single close to Christmas. One of a series of misjudgements that contributed to their eventual lack of success.

For the second single, 'Don't Stay All Night' was chosen. A new photographer, Andy Earl, was asked to take the shots for the sleeve. He also directed a live three song video of the band shot at the Old Rep. Theatre in Birmingham. Andy has since become probably the foremost rock photographer in the world.

The single was released close to completion of the debut album “Cold in a Warm Climate”. During the latter stages of recording, the band had fallen out with Thereza over various “musical differences” and she agreed to be absent from future recordings as long as she received a production credit for the subsequent results. The band handled the production themselves thereafter until recording was finished. 'Don't Stay All Night' again sold fairly well but was hamstrung in the UK by the same considerations as the first single. Reviews were based more on the name of the producer and the perceived image of the band than on the music.

The success of another MCA act, “Nik Kershaw” subsequently usurped them from their status as “priority” artist with MCA and as a consequence of this, coupled with their falling out with MCA’s choice of producer, the company refused to release a third single or the album until the band had raised their own profile in some way. Consequently, rehearsals began for a major European tour with Simple Minds. However, under such intense pressure, fault lines already present within the band widened and finally Nick Eugovni, who had always had major issues based around playing live, left. After some hard thought, Michael decided that continuing in the band without Nick was not something he felt he could do. This was a particularly difficult decision as he had already begun writing the second album, to be called 'The Tenderness Of Wolves'.

MCA subsequently asked Michael to re-record one of the album tracks, 'Surrender', for release as part of a solo project. This was done but like the album, never released. David and Glyn were already working on their own project by this stage. Michael spent some time still signed to MCA but when it became clear that the relationship had stalled irrevocably, he asked to be released and this was granted.

So ended Paparazzi. Michael and Nick worked together again in later years with some success but without doubt, a combination of record company incompetence and naivety on the part of the band meant that the potential within Paparazzi was squandered. The singles never went out of circulation, they are available in both seven and twelve inch formats from specialist record sellers and have been ever since release but now, two decades and more later, the album they made - 'Cold In A Warm Climate' - has been uncovered and is being heralded widely on the internet as a lost gem.

There may never have been an instance of so much time and money being invested in a band only to leave the results locked away, as happened in this case. The last word goes to torrent user Simon170468 - "Oh my god - PAPARAZZI!!!!!! I had a single by these guys called Don't Stay All Night back in the day!!!! It was class, it said on the back from the forthcoming album, it never arrived......Until now".
Sites:

Singles & EPs

MCAT 837 Paparazzi (3) - Stop illustration d'album Paparazzi (3) Stop (Maxi) MCA Records MCAT 837 UK & Europe 1983 Vendre cette version
PAPA 1 Paparazzi (3) - Don't Stay All Night illustration d'album Paparazzi (3) Don't Stay All Night (Single) MCA Records PAPA 1 UK 1984 Vendre cette version