Clare Grogan returns as Queen of Pop with Altered Images and Mascara Streakz
CLARE Grogan was starring in Neil Simon’s romantic comedy Barefoot In the Park at the 2020 Pitlochry Festival Theater when the lockdown started.
“I was doing my first play in seven years and it was closed two nights after we opened. I thought we would all come together to finish what we started in a few weeks. Of course, that didn’t happen and I really struggled at first,” says Clare.
“Once I accepted that we were probably on the long haul, I decided to make life at home as pleasant as possible because normally I’m on the go with work and I feel guilty about it. topic.”
One of the few perks of all the lemons the Covid-19 pandemic has handed out is the lemonade that came out the other end.
“When I was able to take a break during the lockdown, I found the space in my head to write again. It all really started with one song – The Color Of My Dreams – and it all grew to I’m lucky to live with a genius record producer, and we just started having a little fun. Plus, we’d watched all the box sets, drank all the wine, and ate all the chips. … »
The result is Mascara Streakz, Altered Images’ first album since 1983.
Going through the timeline of his career, it’s clear that Grogan has spread his special brand of magic over virtually every area of the arts in one way or another over the years.
Born in Glasgow in 1962, she was (and remains) a TV, stage and film star, author and radio host.
Other accomplishments aside, however, Grogan will forever be fondly regarded as the voice of the early 1980s band Altered Images. Blending candid vocals with post-punk guitar melodies, Altered Images were the new wave band that even your grandmother loved, vividly remembered for the pop forms of Happy Birthday, Pinky Blue, I Could Be Happy and more.
A longtime resident of North London,
Grogan is married to the producer and
Stephen Lironi, original member of Altered Images.
So what can we expect from Mascara Streakz? Are these vintage edited images?
“I wanted this album to sound really fresh and now,” says Clare. “I wanted it to sound like Altered Images in 2022. For inspiration, I went back and listened to a lot of music that first made me want to be in a band. This included Simple Minds, The Tom Tom Club, Kraftwerk, Blondie… I wanted to relive my enthusiasm as a 17 year old performer and bring it up to date.
Alongside Lironi’s production contribution, the album also includes vignettes from producer and ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler and Bobby Bluebell (of The Bluebells – remember their 1984 hit, “Young At Heart?”) . How did all this happen?
“Bernard lives close to my house and I have been a fan of his creativity for a long time. We were friends, but I was always nervous asking him to get involved,” Grogan says. “Luckily he did, and we created two wonderful tracks together – Glitter Ball and Home – which we also co-wrote with Bobby (or Robert as I call him) and Stephen.
“I’ve known Robert since I was about nine, but Beautiful Thing was the first song we ever wrote together.”
The third track to be added to streaming platforms ahead of the album’s release, Glitter Ball is a glittering disco banger. However, it’s Grogan’s voice – slightly mid-Atlantic accent, slightly breathy delivery – that gives it that unmistakable Altered Images shimmer.
As well as working on Mascara Streakz for the past two years, Grogan has also been involved in My Old School, Scottish filmmaker Jono McLeod’s feature debut.
“It’s a dramatic documentary starring the brilliant Alan Cummings, based on a true story about a grown man named Brian MacKinnon who went back to his old school and posed as a schoolboy,” says- she.
MacKinnon’s pose was so convincing that, although he was 30 at the time, in 1995 a school in East Dunbartonshire accepted his claim that he was a 17-year-old boy called Brandon Lee.
A few years ago, McLeod tracked down MacKinnon to ask him how it all happened. MacKinnon agreed to be interviewed, but not filmed – so Cummings is cast in the film playing MacKinnon as he is now, syncing his recorded responses.
Elsewhere, McLeod uses animation to tell the stories told by others who knew (or thought they knew) Lee the schoolboy, and Clare voices some of the animated characters, as well as Lulu and others.
The new album, pop anthems, movies, plays – it’s a career. What is, however, the favorite she has ever done?
“I love working and I’ve had the chance to work on some very nice things,” she says. “I can’t have favorites. I appreciate anything I can do.
Mascara Streakz by Altered Images releases August 26 on Cooking Vinyl