Fad Gadget

Fad Gadget (aka Frank Tovey, 1956–2002) was an English post-punk electronic musician who released four albums between 1980 and 1984 on Mute Records.

Members: Frank Tovey (lead vocals, computer, synthesizer), David Simmonds (grand piano, synthesizer), Nick Cash (vibraphone, drums, percussion), David Rogers (double bass, guitar, bass synthesizer), Peter Balmer (bass), Joni Sackett (vocals, viola), Barbara Frost (vocals), Eric Radcliffe (guitar, bass, banjo, producer), John Fryer (percussive objects, producer)

He was born Francis John Tovey on September 8, 1956, in London; the son of Frank Tovey Sr., a Billingsgate Fish Market porter.

Oct 1979 (MUTE 002)
A: Back to Nature
B: The Box


14 Mar 1980 (MUTE 006)
A: Ricky’s Hand
B: Handshake

Fireside Favourites

Fad Gadget released his debut album, Fireside Favourites, on November 7, 1980, on Mute.

1. “Pedestrian” (3:20)
2. “State of the Nation” (3:48)
3. “Salt Lake City Sunday” (2:12)
4. “Coitus Interruptus” (4:39)
5. “Fireside Favourite” (4:31)

6. “Newsreel” (3:42)
7. “Insecticide” (3:09)
8. “The Box” (4:19)
9. “Arch of the Aorta” (6:17)

Recorded June 1980
Studio Blackwing Studios, London, England
Producer Fad Gadget, Eric Radcliffe, John Fryer, Daniel Miller

Fad Gadget – voice synthesizer, tapes, drum machine, ashtray, metal chair, electric shaver, studio

Eric Radcliffe – guitar, bass, banjo, studio
John Fryer – extra fingers, ashtray, metal chair, studio
Nick Cash – drums
Daniel Miller – electronic percussion (1 & 4), synthesizer, sequencer (4 & 8)
Phil Wauquaire – bass synthesizer (1), bass guitar (6)
Jean-Marc Lederman – synthesizer not in the mix

26 Sep 1980 (MUTE 009)
A: Fireside Favourite
B: Insecticide


Mar 1981 (MUTE 012)
A: Make Room
B: Lady Shave


Fad Gadget released his second album, Incontinent, on November 9, 1981, on Mute.

1. “Blind Eyes” (5:04)
2. “Swallow It” (5:42)
3. “Saturday Night Special” (6:39)
4. “Incontinent” (3:27)
5. “Manual Dexterity” (3:35)
6. “Innocent Bystander” (6:32)
7. “King of the Flies” (4:29)
8. “Diminished Responsibility” (5:50)
9. “Plain Clothes” (4:40)

Recorded June–August 1981
Studio Blackwing Studios, London
Producer Fad Gadget, Eric Radcliffe, John Fryer

Fad Gadget – vocals, Chinese shawm, saxophone, flute, percussion, synthesizer, sequencer
Nick Cash – drums (except track 5), percussion, steel drum, vocals, jaw harp, accordion
Peter Balmer – bass guitar, rhythm guitar, vocals
David Simmonds – piano, synthesizer, voice
B.J. Frost – vocals
Anne Clift – vocals
Eric Radcliffe – guitar (6, 9)
Robert Gotobed – drums (5)
Daniel Miller – sequencer (4)
John Fryer – percussion, voice

Jan 1982
A: Saturday Night Special
B: Swallow It Live

5 Apr 1982
A: King of the Flies
B: Plain Clothes

Under the Flag

Fad Gadget released his third album, Under the Flag, on September 1, 1982, on Mute.

1. “Under the Flag I” (3:10)
2. “Scapegoat” (2:54)
3. “Love Parasite” (5:30)
4. “Plainsong” (3:54)
5. “Wheels of Fortune” (4:56)
6. “Life on the Line IV” (3:58)
7. “The Sheep Look Up” (3:38)
8. “Cipher” (5:40)
9. “For Whom the Bells Toll” (5:17)
10. “Under the Flag II
” (2:54)

Recorded at Blackwing Studios, All Hallows Church, London in 1982.
Studio Blackwing Studios, London
Producer Frank Tovey, John Fryer

Fad Gadget – vocals, synthesizer, computer
Nick Cash – timpani, vibraphone, percussion
David Simmonds – grand piano, synthesizer

Alison Moyet, Andrew Kay, Anne Clift, Barbara Frost, Jill Tipping, John Fryer, Yvette Anna – chorus

1 Oct 1982
A: Life On the Line
B: 4M

Jan 1983
A: For Whom the Bells Toll
B: Love Parasite

5 Sep 1983
A: I Discover Love
B: Lemmings On Lovers’ Rock

Jan 1984
A: Collapsing New People
B: Spoil the Child

May 1984
A: One Man’s Meat
B: Sleep (Electro-Induced Original)


Fad Gadget released his fourth album, Gag, on February 1, 1984, on Mute. Frank Tovey wrote the closing track “Ad Nauseam” and collaborated with label head Daniel Miller on one song (“Sleep”) and keyboardist–percussionist David Simmonds on three: “Ring,” “Stand Up,” and “One Man’s Meat” — the last two with respective input by guitarist–bassist David Rogers and violinist–singer Joni Sackett, who co-wrote “Speak to Me” and “Jump,” the latter with contributions by drummer Nick Cash, who co-wrote “Ideal World” with Tovey and singer Barbara Frost. The five players joint-wrote “Collapsing New People,” which Miller co-produced with Tovey and soundman Gareth Jones.

1. “Ideal World” (5:39)
2. “Collapsing New People” (4:22)
3. “Sleep” (3:25)
4. “Stand Up” (3:30)
5. “Speak to Me” (3:23)
6. “One Man’s Meat” (4:06)
7. “Ring” (3:53)
8. “Jump” (4:09)
9. “Ad Nauseam” (6:32)

Recorded November 1983
Studio Hansa Tonstudio, Berlin
Producer Frank Tovey, Gareth Jones
Overdubs on “Ideal World” and “Ad Nauseam” recorded at Blackwing Studios, London.
John Fryer – overdub engineer

Frank Tovey – vocals
David Simmonds – piano, synthesizer, organ, celesta, percussion, marimba
Nick Cash – drums, percussion
David Rogers – guitar, double bass, bass synthesizer
Joni Sackett – vocals, viola
Barbara Frost – vocals
Rowland S. Howard – guitar on “Ideal World” and “Ad Nauseam”
Morgan Tovey-Frost – voice on “Sleep”

Anton Corbijn – photography

Aug 1985
A: Luxury
B: Bed of Nails

Snakes and Ladders

Frank Tovey released his fifth album, Snakes and Ladders, in May 1986 on Mute.

1. “The Cutting Edge” (Frank Tovey, Daniel Miller)
2. “Snakes and Ladders”
3. “The Cutting Edge” (Reprise) (Frank Tovey, Daniel Miller)
4. “Shot in the Dark”
5. “Concrete”
6. “Luxury” (Frank Tovey, David Simmonds, Nick Cash)
7. “Small World”
8. “Luddite Joe”
9. “Megalomaniac”

Recorded 1985
Studio Splendid Studios, London
Producer Frank Tovey, E.C. Radcliffe

Frank Tovey – vocals, guitar, synthesizer
Davis John Simmonds – keyboards
Guy Evans – “batphone” and “fibrephone” on “Megalomaniac”
David John Rhodes – rhythm guitar
E.C. Radcliffe – lead guitar, rhythm guitar, engineer
David John Rodgers – bass guitar
Nicholas John Cash – drums
Barbara Frost, Nigel Hine, Frank Tovey – backing vocals

Apr 1986
A: Luddite Joe
B: Clean This Act Up


  • Fireside Favourites (1980)
  • Incontinent (1981)
  • Under the Flag (1982)
  • Gag (1984)


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