Fin De Siècle 1993-1996

Tony James Side Project

In 1993, having left The Sisters of Mercy after the final American tour, I wanted to create something new - a Grand New idea. I had a whole new life, a new girlfriend and, at last, my own home, a mews house in Maida Vale.

The Grand New idea was to form an adult, grown up, sexy rock band. Prince had been the starting point. I loved Prince. My previous girlfriend Magenta DeVine had been his P.R on that first tour of the U.K around the Dirty Mind period. We all went to see him play those early UK shows and it was amazing. Through Magenta I had become friends with Steve Fargnoli, Prince’s manager, so I had got to meet the Purple One on several occasions, although I’d be lying if I told you we’d had any lengthy conversations or even brief ones for that matter. Prince definitely does not do casual chat.  But I went and saw every gig I could and had every record and 12” mix. Everything.

So the year when I got hold of the obscure Video tape called The Undertaker, which was just Prince jamming and playing Hendrix like guitar as a 3 piece band, I thought Hey, now hang on... THAT is what I want to do.

Lyrically I also wanted to reflect the life I was now living. I was in my forties and deeply in love, having just met a remarkable woman who was to have such a massive and ongoing influence on my life in so many ways.  Penelope was and is passionate, perceptive and strong and I wanted to write songs that captured this new presence in my life.

After two aborted attempts at creating the band, I had a lot of half-lyrics, titles and ideas written down in the new Manifesto notebook, but it was still not perfectly defined. And I had still not found the right musicians to work with.