Bill Nelson’s Red Noise – Furniture MusicPosted: March 12, 2013
Bill Nelson’s Red Noise, or more simply Red Noise, was a British New Wave band, formed by Bill Nelson (lead vocals, guitar), his brother Ian (saxophone), Andy Clark (keyboards), Rick Ford (bass) and Steve Peer (drums), around 1978.
Nelson formed the band after dissolving Be-Bop Deluxe while metamorphosing from blues, progressive and glam rock to more New Wave and electronic sounds following the last Be-Bop Deluxe album, Drastic Plastic, released early 1978. Clark had also been a member of that band while Ian Nelson had collaborated on the song “Ships In The Night” from the Sunburst Finish album (1976). Peer was previously in TV Toy.
Red Noise released only one album, the seminal Sound – On – Sound, plus two singles, “Furniture Music” and “Revolt Into Style”, in 1979. After that, Bill Nelson continued as a solo artist, with the collaboration of Clark and his brother Ian. Rick Ford played with Hazel O’Connor and Joe Jackson and now composes soundtrack music for the entertainment industry in California; while Steve Peer is with a band called Puzzle Monkey.
Red Noise is also considered by some Be-Bop fans as a Be-Bop Deluxe continuation because of Sound – On – Sound ‘s similarity to the emerging electronic character of Be-Bop’s final studio album, Drastic Plastic, released the previous year. An interview with Bill Nelson in 1979 hints that several of the songs in Sound – On – Sound were written during his Be-Bop Deluxe days and might have been included in any Be-Bop album that might have followed Drastic Plastic if that band had remained together. However, Nelson also makes clear that he regarded Red Noise as an escape from Be-Bop Deluxe rather than its continuation: “Drastic Plastic was the last ditch attempt to get the band to change a bit but it was difficult for people to accept.” When touring England to promote the album, Red Noise did not play any Be-Bop songs.
In a 1984 interview, Nelson revealed that he had recorded a second Red Noise album immediately after Sound – On – Sound but that his record company didn’t like it: “EMI wouldn’t release it, and it sat on the shelf.” Nelson’s manager eventually purchased three of the unreleased songs back from EMI so that Nelson could release them as a solo artist under his own label, Cocteau Records. One of these was Do You Dream In Colour, which received generous radio airplay and press coverage for its original music video. This attracted the attention of Phonogram, who secured the remaining tracks for Cocteau in order to release the full album, Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam, credited simply to “Bill Nelson”, in 1981.
- Sound – On – Sound – album (1979)
- “Furniture Music” – 7″ single (1979)
- “Revolt Into Style” – single (1979)