Tom Bailey is hoping he still has fans' love on his side.
The former Thompson Twins frontman released his first-ever solo album, "Science Fiction," earlier this summer. The sound certainly hews close to his old band and to hits such as "Hold Me Now," "Lay Your Hands," "Into the Gap," "Love on Your Side" and more, and playing shows with fellow 80s hitmakers such as Culture Club certainly gets the word out to the folks who are most likely to be interested.
Bailey, 62, is well aware it's been a minute, or more -- since 1996, actually -- since we've heard new music from him. But he's hoping his absence has only made fans' hearts grow fonder...
• Bailey admits by phone that his return to active music making has been "kind of a mission-creep." He produced the "Science Fiction" album himself and recorded it primarily on his laptop. "One thing leads to another in this life. I had been kind of seduced back into playing old pop songs in concert, and I enjoyed it so much it became a kind of regular thing for me. And because I'm into exploring the creative challenge on these things, I wanted to not only contemporize old things but come up with new things as well. The next thing I find myself writing songs and then I realized there was a theme."
• "Science Fiction's" title might give you an indication of what that theme was. "When I wrote a song called 'Science Fiction,’ I thought, 'Yeah, that's the title for the whole album. I'm actually not particularly interested in science fiction; Science fiction you tend to think of as being about the future, but in fact it's about now, and it's a way of looking at now and whether we can shine new light on old problems that way. So I think it's a fascinating thing we've come up with as human beings, to fantasize about a future that is informed by the miracle of science understanding rather than just the same-old same-old."
• Even though he's promoting new music, Bailey says he's happy to still play his hits from 30 or more years ago. "I love them. One of the reasons is it gives me a kind of 50-50 deal with the audience. I walk on stage knowing that they're going to be singing the choruses. They know the songs as well as I do. That makes it easier in one sense because all I have to do is tune up and play the right chords in the right place. On the other hand it makes it super tough because people know if I make a mistake, so I have to get it right. So there's a very pleasant balance between pleasure and pain in performance."
• During the Thompson Twins' heyday, Bailey was known for an asymmetrical haircut made famous by so many videos 30-plus years ago. "It's still there," he reports, "but it's gray. Put it that way."
• Returning to music has also brought Bailey back on the road with fellow 80s mates Culture Club, who came up at the same time and in the same London pop scene as the Thompson Twins. Bailey says things are different these days, especially with Boy George. "George is such an incandescent character. He wasn't always the easiest guy to get on with because he was very self-assured and flamboyantly, explosively personal. There were times when I had to step back a little bit from George, but I must say on the Australian tour I went into it thinking 'Mmm, I wonder how this is going to be,' and it was absolutely amazing. He was perfectly charming, really together in terms of his own health and welfare, so I was very impressed with him, I must say."
If You Go:
• Boy George & Culture Club, the B-52's and Tom Bailey
• 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30.
• DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.
• Tickets start at $20.
• Call 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.
Send your thoughts and comments to