Why hello there, my loyal lovely Filthy Dreams readers! What’s that? What’s this colorfully excessive makeup I have on? Oh well, Mary, I’m wearing it in tribute to Steve Strange, the Blitz Kid and frontman of the New Romantic band Visage who sadly passed away recently.
Born in Wales as Steve Harrington, Strange’s first foray into music began with attending a Sex Pistols concert, meeting their bass player Glen Matlock. Moving to London, Strange began to work for the infamous London punk mastermind Malcolm McLaren, designing artwork for McLaren and The Sex Pistols. While Visage’s synthesizer sleaze is Strange’s most recognizable sound, he also played in the punk band The Moors Murderers and the new wave The Photons before forming Visage.
Creating his startling pseudonym Steve Strange, Strange formed Visage with his club partner-in-crime Rusty Egan, along with a host of other musicians including Barry Adamson who would go on to join and then re-join Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. *cue my feverish Bad Seeds fanaticism* Sorry about that…anyway–releasing their first single “Tar” in 1979, Visage is probably best known for their 1980 classic “Fade To Grey.”
While other New Romantic bands such as Soft Cell and The Culture Club certainly became more widely known, Visage has always been a Filthy Dreams favorite. Why they even have an album and a song named after the seedy and notorious New York disco-sex club The Anvil. I’ve heard rumors that Strange attended nightclub school at the lurid Meatpacking District club himself! Class is in session!
While Visage sadly broke up in 1985 (and The Anvil would close a year later), Strange reignited the band in recent years.
Not only connected to London’s music scene in the late 1970s and 1980s, Strange also co-hosted the influential Tuesday night party at The Blitz Club with his bandmate Rusty Egan. Before forming Visage, Strange and Egan organized Bowie nights at Billy’s Nightclub. Then in 1979, Strange and Egan’s Blitz Club spawned a whole new social scene and aesthetic termed Blitz Kids, largely developed by Strange’s strict door policy of admitting only “the weird and wonderful.”
Much of the androgynous fashions linked to the Blitz Kids were inspired by Blitz’s forefather David Bowie. Further cementing his connection to Bowie, Strange also appeared in Bowie’s video “Ashes to Ashes.”
After Blitz, Strange and Egan also went on to host “Club for Heros” at London’s Baker Street and The Camden Palace.
I mean sure, queens, Visage, the Blitz Kids and the New Romantic scene in general are often all style and little substance but where would we be without decadent aesthetics?! So grab some hairspray, smear on a ton of makeup, pour one out for Steve Strange and enjoy these videos. Remember…the damned don’t cry!
Also since this is our Friday Party Out Of Bounds post, rock out to the weekend with a sample playlist from The Blitz Club: