Thursday, 8 November 2012

SONG FOR TODAY: Monaco - What Do You Want From Me?


Monaco was a side project of New Order bassist Peter Hook. Together with David Potts, the only remaining member of Revenge, the band was formed in 1995. The group is best known for the 1997 single "What Do You Want From Me?" and the album from which it was taken, Music for Pleasure, which sold over half a million copies.

Because New Order was on hiatus during the mid-90s, Monaco was able to find success partly because they made music similar to that of New Order. This similarity of sound derives from the fact that their music was in the dance-rock-pop genre, as was New Order's; Hook carried over his recognizable style of playing melody high up on the bass; Potts' vocal timbre and delivery sometimes resembled that of New Order's vocalist Bernard Sumner.

In 1999, Polydor Records rejected Monaco's follow up album, the self-titled Monaco, due to the radically changing trends in music at the time in a money saving move reducing their artists to the more popular music. Papillon Records agreed to pick up the album, though the planned single release of "I've Got A Feeling" was recalled in the UK due to sample clearance issues. Despite favorable reviews, the album was released with almost no promotion at all; it is now sought after as a collector's item and fetches fairly high prices on sites like Amazon.com and eBay.

In 2000, tensions mounted in the studio, partly due Potts' dissatisfaction with the band's failure to depart from a New Order-like sound, and partly due to Potts' workload. Following what Potts called "a disastrous gig" at the Eclipse festival, Hook and Potts had a major argument. They both took a break, and after letting things cool down, they met and decided it was best to split up Monaco. Potts eventually went on to form RAM and has been nurturing a solo career; meanwhile Hook reunited with New Order, playing with them until 2007, and formed Freebass in 2007. After the success of the Revenge reissues in 2005, Hook announced that he and Potts were working on similar Monaco reissues for release sometime in 2007. This did not materialise.

In March 2007, Hook and Potts performed Monaco songs together at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manchester under the name "Hooky & Pottsy". Original Monaco drummer Paul Kehoe also played along with Hook's son Jack. In October 2007, the same line up performed again as Monaco at the Ritz in Manchester which raised money for Oxfam.





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