The Damaged Goods EP features La Roux’s cover of the Gang of Four classic from the multi-artist compilation album The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four plus five brand new club remixes by Wuh Oh, Disgu!se and F.A.R.
Gill Music is delighted to announce the release of La Roux’s extraordinary Damaged Goods EP together with an accompanying video that is part elegy, part utter mayhem.
La Roux’s Damaged Goods cover numbered among Andy’s last and favourite collaborations. It was recorded by La Roux—multi-award-winning artist Elly Jackson – at Andy’s request and with his input, including a session at his personal studio, for The Problem of Leisure, the album he was working on at the time of his sudden death in February 2020. The album, released in June 2021, and featuring artwork by Damien Hirst, attracted rave reviews.
Andy’s idea had been to compile a double album of Gang of Four covers by brilliant artists influenced by the band in celebration of its four decades and incredible legacy that includes ten studio albums and two live albums. After he died, his widow Catherine Mayer worked with contributors including La Roux to complete and release the album on Andy’s label, Gill Music, as The Problem of Leisure: A celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four.
Andy loved La Roux’s take on Damaged Goods, a song from Gang of Four’s 1979 debut album Entertainment! Where the original is spiky and ironic, La Roux infuses the lyrics and melody with a haunting melancholy that stands in brilliant counterpoint to her uplifting, pop-and-electronica interpretation of the track. This contrast has inspired five club remixes by three very different rising stars of dance music, Wuh Oh, Disgu!se and F.A.R.
To mark the release, La Roux shot a striking video (in every sense of that phrase!) with photographer and filmmaker Leo Cackett. In a play on the track title and Gang of Four’s famous (ab)use of a microwave in live performances of another song, He’d Send in the Army, La Roux, wearing Andy’s favourite coat and using a baseball bat that was last used by Gang of Four on stage, dances, feints, lunges and attacks multiple microwaves. The video also features a skeletal microwave, the battered remains of the machine that survived one of the band’s last tours.
“When Andy asked me to participate in the album, I was delighted,” says La Roux. “He was a huge inspiration musically and also a good friend, hilarious and kind, nothing like his granite-faced stage persona. It was an honour to work with him and then to be able to celebrate him with this project after his death. We all really felt his presence when we were filming the video.”
Says Andy’s widow, Catherine: “All the artists on The Problem of Leisure had connections with Andy and Gang of Four. Everyone on the album, for example Tom Morello, Serj Tankian and Robert del Naja, inspired and was inspired by Andy. Some, including Flea, Gail Ann Dorsey, Herbert Grönemeyer, Hotei and Dado Villa-Lobos, were good friends as well as musicians he hugely admired. A lovely thing about the Damaged Goods EP and video is how many people involved were close to Andy. He loved Elly, the video director Leo Cackett was also a long-time friend and collaborator, and Matt Domino, who did one of the remixes (as alter ego Disgu!se) has previously remixed Gang of Four and also worked with Andy from time to time in the studio.
She adds: “Andy would have loved the remixes as he loved Elly’s cover of ‘Damaged Goods’. Gang of Four always aimed to be danceable as well as dialectical, and Andy was passionate about pop and dance music. Well before he got to know Elly, he listened to ‘In For the Kill’ and ‘Bulletproof’ so often that I occasionally complained. (Sorry, Elly).”
DAMAGED GOODS EP Track listing
- Damaged Goods
- Damaged Goods – Wuh Oh remix (edit)
- Damaged Goods – Disgu!se remix
- Damaged Goods – F.A.R remix
- Damaged Goods – Wuh Oh remix (extended)
- Damaged Goods – Disgu!se instrumental
The Problem of Leisure was released on June 4, 2021. The 20-track multi-artist album is available in a variety of physical formats with all artwork variants created by Damien Hirst.