Adrian Lee

The Magician

1982, Marquee Studios, Soho, London

I'd never want to be too controversial or disparaging on any of these pages so I'll say again … I AM recalling a lot of the feelings that were present for me and others at the time these events happened and it IS now well over thirty years ago and largely forgotten.

The title of this album says a lot really, 'The Magician'. To say that Adrian was riding the 'crest of an ego' is the least of it all !!! Sorry if this sounds a bit dramatic and negative here and now but I'm just recalling what I can remember and the way I felt at the time as in the events and ambience around Adrian, his project and his departure from the Toyah Band at the time. It was a shame that he couldn't ever, I feel, give himself completely to the Toyah Band because we never really exploited our collective talents to the optimum TOGETHER as a band. When you are supposed to be in a 'team' and there exist people in that team obviously out for themselves it creates an underlying negative and fearful atmosphere because, basically, you'll have self seeking people around telling stories and playing games about various things aimed at other more vulnerable people; essentially you then end up with a whole bunch of people trying to continually manipulate each other. They think they're being clever but if they think 'cleverness' is being 'sneaky' then I'd rather try to be honest anyday … I'm not aiming that at anyone in particular but there was a lot of that kind of stuff about in 1981 … 

Adrian had taken to the cocaine culture around early '80's music business with gusto; like someone who'd discovered the elixir of life and the answer to life's problems … very dangerous indeed for someone with low self esteem much like my own. Myself and some of the others knocking about had gotten used to this 'social drug taking' and, even though it was constantly present in our 'socialising' and 'work' we could still function pretty well and make objective and informed decisions about … whatever. The point is that we were very used to it and tried to balance life and work out accordingly WITH the use of various drugs included. Adrian appeared to me to take on the persona of a mad professor when under the influence, careering manically around the studio like Frankenstein in his castle trying to capture lightening, with every piece of equipment seemingly linked to every other piece of equipment, running all kinds of synthesisers and tape machines simultaneously and his brain steaming away at a million miles an hour !!! Truly manic to behold … 

Having said all this about the emotional ambience around I remember doing a couple of decent 'live' backing tracks with Simon Phillips for this record but, apart from that, I don't remember much else about the music. The only thing more that I remember is Adrian's picture on posters plastered on London's red buses advertising the fact that he had released an album that no one wanted to buy or hear. This album, for all it's hype and the productions apparent attention to sound and detail, died a horrible death. I think the production on this album and the use of the technology of the time flatters to deceive and cloaks songs that are, at best, mediocre. 

Not the first time someone has departed from a successful band to propagate a 'solo' career and discovered that they are NOT the reason why their previous band was successful !!! Again, sad, delusional and short sighted …  

I don't want to leave this page without saying that I DID have some good laughs with Adrian as well when we were playing together and when we partied together. I remember The Toyah Band having a drunken chinese meal out together once and Adrian with his serviette tucked into his collar, food flying everywhere, saying … 'there was no point eating out if you weren't going to enjoy it !!!'. A restaurant table with us lot around it was always carnage !!! I have since then tucked MY serviette into my collar as I have a tendency to 'wear' my food and that, to this day, is because I remember Adrian and that very chinese meal !!! I also subsequently did some great recording with him when he had his studio set up in North London. He was (and IS) a great keyboard player, technician and writer and went onto great and deserved success with Mike and The Mechanics and other projects.

Adrian Lee - The Magician