Effectively a monicker for UK-born vocalist and synthesizer player Frank Tovey, Fad Gadget enjoyed cult success with a series of bizarre releases on the Mute label during the early 1980s.
Tovey had studied performance art at Leeds Art College, but after moving to London, he transferred his interest into an unpredictable, often self-mutilating, stage show.
The single Back To Nature was released in 1979, followed by Ricky’s Hand and the album Fireside Favourites.
Fad Gadget recorded two more albums for Mute Records – Incontinent and Under the Flag.
Under The Flag (1982) dealt with the twin themes of the Falklands conflict and Tovey’s newborn child. The album featured Alison Moyet on backing vocals and saxophone.
Fad Gadget’s final album, Gag, was released in 1984. Tovey then began recording under his real name and produced several LPs of more experimental work, beginning with Easy Listening for the Hard of Hearing (1984).
In 1989, he recorded a mostly acoustic album of protest and labour songs (Tyranny and the Hired Hand), including such standards as Sixteen Tons. He then tried his hand at writing similar material and recorded two more albums with a backing band named The Pyros.
After touring in 1993, Gadget withdrew from the music business. He died of a heart attack on 3 April 2002 at the age of 45.