by MIKE CHAIKEN
Tom Bailey first came to the ears of America through his band the Thompson Twins.
The group hit the charts and found itself on heavy rotation on MTV starting in 1983 with songs such as “Hold Me Now,” “Lies,” and “Lay Your Hands On Me.” It’s triumvirate of albums, “Quick Step and Side Kick,” “Into The Gap,” and “Here’s To Future Day” set the trio up as one of the top pop groups in the world.
The band finally called it a day after 1991’s “Queer.”
Although his profile has been lower in the United States, Bailey never walked away from music. He shifted to the group Babble with his Thompson Twins co-conspirator Alannah Currie. Then, performing as International Observer, he released 10 albums. In the mid-00s, he travelled up the River Ganges writing and recording – and performing at festivals to thousands at a time – as part of the Holiwater project. It spawned two albums: 2012’s “Holiwater” and 2014’s “Maya,” both of which were produced by Tom and written in collaboration with Sarod virtuoso Pandit Vikash Maharaj.
Bailey is reintroducing himself to America by going back to where it all began. His new solo album, dubbed “Science Fiction,” finds himself back at the pop music bar.
Bailey is on tour in America as the opener to another 1980s pop icon Culture Club. The tour stops into Foxwoods’ Grand Theater on Aug. 5.
Bailey, in a phone interview from his tour bus, said he always had been interested in exploring different avenues and genres in music. “I did that before the Thompson Twins became well-known.”
However, said Bailey, “The cost of success is you lose all of your spare time.” So all of his labors of love and creative endeavors beyond the Twins had to be set aside.
But, Bailey went into the success of the Thompson Twins with a sense of perspective. He knew that pop music success had an arc, building up to success, and then sliding back down after the pinnacle. Once the Thompson Twins success had begun to ebb, Bailey decided it was time to take a break from mainstream success. And the exploration resumed.
Although he pursued other directions over the year, Bailey said he never grew bored of the pop music art form. And, he said, “Pop at its best is art… The pop song is as a noble a cause as all these other things.”
“Science Fiction” finds Bailey working in a pop mode that would be familiar to fans of the Thompson Twins.
“I picked up where I left off,” said Bailey. The songs are intended to appeal to fans of pop. “It was a conscious decision.”
However, said Bailey, his musical exploration over the decades has not been shelved. It infuses the new tracks, which he said should be expected. Otherwise, he said, “What was it all for?”
For fans coming out to the Aug. 5 show, Bailey said fans should expect to hear the hits from his Thompson Twins. They may also hear a few tracks from “Science Fiction.”
As for what’s next, Bailey said he’ll be returning to London in August for a show during a break in the American tour. Then he will return to the States for the second half of the tour, which will run through October.
Tom Bailey plays with Culture Club on Sunday, Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket. For more information, go to www.Foxwoods.com or http://thompsontwinstombailey.co.uk/