Meeting with Marcus Bell and Marc Long, Paris, June 20th ;1994.
In front of the locked door of the rehearsal studio, I hesitate for a moment. Opposition is rehearsing the gig they will play in two days at the Paris venue "Le Passage du Nord-Ouest", and "Crawl to Me" is so loud behind the door that I'm a bit scared a possible monster is going to jump on me when I open it ...
On a mess of cables Marcus Bell is directing the band (I was surprised as I thought Mark Long would have a say too ...). There are sound problems, but also track ends to work on with the news musicians. Jean-Daniel, the drummer is trying to explain to Marcus that some beats are missing, and Terry on keyboards is fighting with his MacIntosh which is really slow to load the sounds he needs (Mark Long is improvising a new version of "My Way" : "My Mac takes a lot of time to load the sounds ...") and Lol the guitarist is trying to find out which cable from which of his numerous guitars is making this buzz on the monitors.
Around 22:00 after the meal break, Mark is relaxing in front of MTV and Marcus Bell is asking his two little daughters to find another place to play. In quite a noisy atmosphere, we start a little chat about this mythical band that was the fame of the middle of the 80's ...
"We gave the best Opposition concert in Paris I think. Then we went to the States where we released an LP under the name "SO". It worked wery well, we even made it to the charts and each of the three video clips we shot cost more than any Opposition LP.
This is the reason why we wanted the change the name of the band. "SO" was an extremely commercial thing and we didn't want to mix it with the passion that motivated us within the Opposition. We gave a gig under the name "SO" but it was very different. You know, we can give a concert in a nearly empty venue as long as a passion for the music is there.
But we were so sick with the business that we nearly grew mad, so we stopped it all and started "Blue Alice Blue" after the French tour "Rock En France" at the beginning of 1991".
THE NEW OPPOSITION :
"In fact after Ralph Hall (the ex-drummer) had left the band we thought of the band in terms of "The New Opposition". At this time we had nearly twenty tracks ready which finally merged and crossfaded until they formed the new album.
All the samples from "Betty Blue" are due to Marcus being really obsessed by this film. It contains such a good description of the way a character can be so violent a few seconds after being so sweet. It's fascinating. But the question "Pourquoi tu ne m'écoutes pas (Why don't you listen to me ?)" can also be directed at our audiences : "Pourquoi tu ne m'écoutes jamais (why don't you ever listen to me ?)"
We are often asked why have released such a short album after such a long period of inactivity. But in fact we never left the front of the stage. Mark played in clubs in England and we both composed for other artists".
"It is true that our new album "War begins at Home" is very different. In fact The New Opposition has also new feelings. When I was writing the lyrics to "Intimacy" I was addressing myself to a very large audience, and had a wide vision of the world, whereas "War" is more like a conversation.
This album is really psychedelic, in fact. Yes, we are doing a lot of different things, for example "Burning the Iceberg" with Khaled ! We met in 1985 while touring in Algeria. Back in France I started listening to Raï music, and this song is an anthem against racism. Singing with Khaled is very important. Did you know that Arabic languages are the second most widely spoken languages in the world after English ?
And there is "Love Love Love" ! While touring in Poland, I was playing this riff when a gril asked me which song of John Lennon I was playing ;-). I don't want to copy John Lennon, I just want to keep the concept alive. He is an icon for everyone on this planet, like Andy Wharhol or Marilyn ... It is these symbols that I'd like to call up".
"We will create a third version of "Crawl to me". The character that this track present is changin from "Blue Alice Blue" to "War" and it will still evolve in the next album, even if we still don't have any specific idea at the moment ... That's Lol who found this riff in Poland and we liked it.
We are now planning a tour for September/October of this year. We had to cancel the June tour because we were not ready. The album was released with a six week delay and we are just finishing rehearsing. We were able to do some show cases in record shops but this tour will be a real one !"
It was then time to return to work. As the sole member of the audience I asked my favorite song to be played and they did "Big Room Small View" for my best pleasure, the same track that was to close the Paris gig on June 22nd, when the audience refused to leave the venue, despite the lights on and some mellow music to tell us it was really over.
This kind of gig would bring the dead back to life ;-) At one time Mark is alone on stage singing "Heartbreak Hotel" with his accoustic guitar, the next time he is battering his telecaster down. Marcus's bass makes to floor vibrate and there is this special sound, THE sound that is Opposition's trademark. The gig is mostly based on the two last albums bringing back some good memories such as "Black and White", "I Dream in Colour" or "Empire Days"
An Opposition gig is like one's first kiss. Unforgettable, simply glorious !