Meet Gizmodrome, Stewart Copeland's punk prog supergroup
What began as an impromptu phone call has snowballed into a punk prog supergroup with Stewart Copeland as frontman. Meet Gizmodrome – they’re “a hell of a lot of band!”
“Is it prog?” ponders Stewart Copeland, who is tall, gangly and adept at a comedy French accent. “Well, recently the French were telling us: ‘It’s progressive, but the songs are short… we are confused. We think maybe it is… punk prog!’ I’d say we’re prog because there are way too many fucking drum fills all over the place. And we’re prog because Adrian’s guitar-playing is insane and should not be allowed on a pop record. And then Mr King fires up and this is a whole new world of King – all the other bass players, like Stanley Clarke, will soil their pants when they hear this. Oh my God, that’s a hell of a lot of band. Then again, maybe it’s punk, because of the energy. And because, frankly, it’s our intention to burn down the city and eat all the children.”
Lock up your preconceptions: Gizmodrome are here. Something of an all-star musical supergroup – “well that’s better than being called a shit group,” offers Mark King – they combine the fantasy line-up talents of Copeland on drums, King on bass and Adrian Belew on guitar, with Italian keyboardist Vittorio Cosma (a long-time Copeland collaborator) smoothing it all together. Stentorian vocals (and peculiar lyrics) are chiefly provided by Copeland in a manner he describes as “Tom Waits meets Barry White with a little hair of Lee Marvin,” while King and Belew chime in with sweeter voices. The outfit’s phenomenal pedigree coalesces in vibrant, imaginative and unexpected ways. As they eagerly confirm, there was a natural chemistry, and what’s emerged from the lab – a studio in Milan – is a fizzing fusion of prog, jazz, pop, funk, reggae and, er, fusion.
That chemistry is clear today as Copeland, King and Belew, evidently enjoying each other’s company, banter boisterously in a London hotel. Their enthusiasm, humour and sparky interplay perfectly match the eponymous album’s eclectic effervescence. So how did this crackling collaboration, this dream ticket of dexterity, come about? Although the three constantly interrupt each other with quips and teases, they’re equally fast to eulogise each other’s talents. King kicks off the tale.