SPB: Who is your favorite 1980s artist?
Menche: Well, in the entire ‘80s I was age 10-20. So, of course, that was a big chunk of time for a youngster like me. There were so many amazing artists to look up to. Too many to count or recall fully. How about I start with the earliest when I was 11 years old and discovering Marc Almond of Soft Cell’s “Non Stop Erotic Cabaret.” Before that, electronic music to me was Vangalis, Rick Wakeman, Tangerine Dream, or new age music so I didn't know about anything that could be electronically bad ass, ya know, and I didn't really have any “cool” friends who showed me anything else but alas, Soft Cell was as cool as it got in my tiny world in that lonely year of 1981. So to see this skinny guy with pouty lips in an oversized leather jacket and sunglasses gracing the cover I was then de-virginized into the world of sleazy electronic music…Oh, believe me, the song Sex Dwarf is as sleazy as it gets! I mean, I was at the front gates of my puberty and to hear this tasty nugget for the first time was a real monkeywrench in my gears. Weirder was that at my age and upbringing I had absolutely no idea or
concept about homosexuality. I just thought Marc Almond was ultra cool and bad ass to the max. So here I am in 1981 and blasting Soft Cell nonstop in my bedroom and getting really excited over a song and singing with Mr. Almond and wanting to show my parents and older brother how “cool” Soft Cell is and playing some nice ballad of theirs like “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye” hoping my parents would approve. I LOVED that song! That always made me weep. And then there was the scorcher “Frustration” that was total scream therapy for me. I would beat up my pillows while listening to that punky number. (Remember, I was 11 years old) Meanwhile the eyeballs on my older brother were rolling and my parents are just like looking at each other in that way of “Ummm...I think our son Daniel is maybe on the more “sensitive” side of the tracks.” Meanwhile, my older brother is groaning “Yeah, he’s full on GAY!”
I fucking LOVED Marc Almond! I would have imaginary conversations with him. I looked up to him as the most awesome friend ever. I would imagine going skateboarding with him, sledding down a big snowy hill, flying a kite, going fishing, eating pizza, slurping milkshakes together, having a water balloon war together, tag team shoplifting, freaking out the squares, playing some Donkey Kong, lighting farts on fire, making a tree house and declaring war against all meanies! The list could go on and on. In my imaginary friend world-Marc Almond was my fucking co-pilot! Oddly, I had no idea he was gay. Same with Liberace or Freddie Mercury, but I totally knew Rob Halford was on the (ahem) G side…That was like, ya know, duh…Like so obvious dude. Like that would ever matter because AWESOME is AWESOME and I knew from the start whose side I will be on. The Soft Cell side of life!
His full fury authority presence was so killer! I mean he was tiny and scrawny but you can see that he could walk into any room and own that fucker! I could imagine Marc Almond beating up all the bullies in the world with his Soft Cell FURY! Seeing the photos of Soft Cell with such minimal instruments and just ruling the stage was so awesome and inspiring! I would stare on the back of the Tainted Love EP with them live on stage and just dream of someday being a Marc Almond or walnut or peanut or whatever. I wanted to be as cool as Marc Almond...and, thus, a long series of failures of even coming close. Oh, sigh.
But it’s true that it was Marc Almond who was the first seed in making me into a freak that I am and making my own crazy electronic music. Absolutely , without a doubt, that without the bad ass awesomeness of Marc Almond I would not be where I am now. Okay, I’m not in a great awesome place as Marc Almond but it’s something. Thank you, Marc Almond! (In case you’re reading this…actually, is anyone reading this?)