WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO . . .
ZANG TUUM TUMB
A picture book without the pictures for all the friends and enemies
of ZTT Records.
ACTION Yes, thankyou.
INCIDENT From Art of Noise to a walking stick.
CERTAINTY At all time.
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The questions that are often asked ZTT by correspondents concern the
number of records released by the label. Officially, or at least
apparently, ZTT have released just five records in the UK - three
on it's original Action Series and two on it's Derivative Incidental
The famous 'Relax' was Action Series Number One, and still is. The
definitive record here is the 7" single. Other product to do with the
famous 'Relax', apart from duff T-shirts and duffer DJ's, has emerged:
a boring 7" picture disc is collectable, as well as a sperm soaked
and more entertaining 12" picture disc. The 12", which at all times
has featured Gerry Marsden's 'Ferry Across the Mersey' as the first
track on side two, originally featured an experimental 'Sexmix', which
was replaced by a compelling some could say compact 'US Mix' on later
pressings. (It was at this stage that it was decided that no more
12" records on ZTT would be called a "mix" of any sort whatsoever.)
A white label 7", originally and erroreously entitled 'The Warp Mix'
and then more correctly 'The Last 7"' also appeared. Finally, (up
until this day) - oh! what a bloody circus - there is a cassette
celebration that is completely believable if slightly irrelevant,
containing twenty one minutes of the usual drama and dialogue - including
extra words from the 'One September Monday' interview that featured
on the B-side of all 7" releases.
It must be stressed that under no circumstances, including being bored
to death by persistent requests, can Zang Tuum Tumb comment on the
availability of any of the product, nor confirm or pretend to know in
which sleeves the records appear, nor advise on how to distinguish
between different mixes which seem to have the same catalogue number,
nor explain what prefix numbers are scratched into the run off grove
that may or may not help the collector.
ZTT's business is The Puzzle, not the explanation. This may be more
to do with laziness than obstinacy: who knows?
It must also be stressed that ZTT themselves do not own a complete set
of The Famous 'Relax' records.
The magnificent 'Dr Mabuse' was Action Series Number Two, and will
always be so. The definitive record here is the first 12" featuring
the Anton Corbijn painting as it's cover. We make no apologies for
ZTAS2 failing to reach the Top Ten, we merely say - with all horror -
Gary Glitter at number 48! and leave the rest to your imagination and
indignation, although a further clue lies on a Thursday between seven
and eight. 'Dr Mabuse', though, will refuse to rest - there is a
'13th Life' 12" to believe in, a very peculiar instrumental 7" that
none of us can quite believe in, and a crooked cassette that doesn't
contain what it should do. By the time 'Dr Mabuse' takes his place
on the LP 'The Devils Advocate' his staggering spirit should be a
little more under control.
Action Series Number Three makes to keep the peace. 'Two Tribes'
spent longer at number one than 'Relax', and during this time the
group went to the Top of the Pops studios' four times to perform it.
Apart from the maddening T-shirts and other inevitabilities, 'Two
Tribes' is believable in a number of ways. The definitive record here
is the Carnage 12". 'Annihilation' and 'War Hidden' - the latter
collectable as a not too terrible picture disc - are 12" revisions
not too easily ignored. The 7", black or picture, never quite
worked, although the different version available on the 'New Volume 3'
compilation is successful. The cassette celebration of 'Two Tribes'
includes extra dialogue from the 'One February Friday' interview.
All of the Action Series has made it onto Virgin/EMI's 'Now!' series,
which is one kind of achievement. Frankie Goes To Hollywood and
Propaganda are spending the latter part of the summer recording their
LP's 'Welcome to the Pleasure Dome' and 'The Devils Advocate'. In
the true spirit of the Action Series, both are discovering unknown
worlds, and putting nothing off. No live shows, though, you know. By
the end of ZTT Part Three, 31 December 1984, there will be three more
signings to the Action Series, and also the introduction of a third
series, The Certain Series.
Do you believe any of this?
The Incidental Series is something like a law unto itself. Records
released here are more than noble - 'Into Battle' and 'Diversions
One and Two' in the UK and 'Who's Afraid of the Art of Noise' in
America soon to be released here along with the American single
'Close (To the Edit)' - but as some of you may have guessed records
alone don't make up the Incidental Series. All cassettes are part of
the Incidental Series. The videos directed by Anton Corbijn, Bernard
Rose and Godley and Creme are on the Incidental Series. The best ZTT
T-shirts are all under one number on the Series. The day that 'Relax'
was banned has a catalogue number. Holly Johnson's walking stick has
a catalogue number. The Series, as well as releasing some of the most
advanced danced or experimented music of the next day also intends to
communicate some of the accident, adventure and atmosphere that makes
up the known parts of Zang Tuumb Tuuuuummm, so that those who are
interested can sort of work out what has happened to the label and
those who don't give a crying damn will have plenty to moan about.
An Incidental Catalogue will be believable on November 5th.
"To try to belong to one's own time is already
to be out of date."
Until the next time . . .
Title: Tumbometer - A Timetable