There are over 80 million songs on Spotify. Most are just songs but a few thousand are good songs. However truly great songs are like distant cousins. There’s a limited supply.
In 1983 the band Red Guitars released their seminal single Good Technology casting a mordant look at the utopian future promised by the new technology.
“We’ve got ability to transplant a heartRed Guitars. Good Technology. 1983
We’ve got freezers full of body parts
We’ve got computers that can find us friends
We know roughly when the world will end.”
It was a different world. The first laptop was still 3 years away, Facebook and iPhones another 20 and there was no McDonald’s in the UK. Thatcher had just won her landslide victory and the first cruise missiles were arriving at Greenham Common. Unemployment was over 3 million. A hundred years of industrial might was to be scrapped in favour of the deregulated banking and service industries which would make us all wealthy. The burgeoning new technology promised a brighter future for us all. Life would be easier. Culture Club were at number one.
Some very popular songs fade over time as tastes change but a great song should be able to speak to every new generation that discovers it. At its core there is a truth. Alternative facts don’t exist despite what the new right would have you believe.
Good Technology is a very simple three chord song based on a hypnotic kick drum and bass that remain constant and unchanging throughout the entire song. In essence it is a call and response song. For each vocal line telling us of the wonderful new things we’ve got, there is a response from the guitars starting with simple harmonics and building slowly and uneasily to a blistering breathless solo before the pay off. Politically it is pin sharp but there is no tub thumping here. A dystopian prophesy of things to come. It’s all there. It uncannily predicts the power of the internet and social media, environmental catastrophe, Reality TV, the fast food industry and an ever more grotesque arms industry.
40 years on and the promise, like the country, is broken. Public services have been hollowed out to the barest shells. Levels of poverty are unprecedented since Victorian times. The new gig economy has left people who are working minimum wage jobs struggling to survive. Today there are more food banks in the UK than McDonald’s.
It seems the right time to rerelease this song to a new audience …
There has always been a following for the band and Good Technology still gets fairly regular plays on Radio 6 but there was never any effort to reform and gig after the band fractured and split in 1985. Then In 2021 Red Guitars reappeared, this time on a new mural from local artist Ed Ullyart celebrating the good and great of the Hull music scene. Mick Ronson and Roland Gift tower over a collage of local talent from the mighty Watersons, the Housemartins, Everything but the Girl and Red Guitars.
Coincidentally, promoters AEG approached the band to tentatively sound out the possibility of putting together a few dates around the country.
And so it was that in April 2022 we hit the road for a series of gigs from London up to Glasgow and back to Hull. Amazingly we are all still alive despite our best efforts and rehearsing simply showed us just how brilliant the material was then and how relevant it still is today. Fresh, vibrant, thought provoking and groovy as fuck.
The tour was fantastic with great crowds and sell out gigs not just at the Adelphi in Hull but the 100 club in London. It was joyful to realise that the music was scratched into to souls of so many people after all this time and it’s been a fabulous experience for all the original members of the band and revitalised the idea for doing more gigs and writing some new material.
In June 2023 Red Guitars will release their 40th anniversary remix of one of their greatest songs on a variety of formats along with a new tour and festival appearances throughout the country.
Watch this space….
And in the meantime, here’s the original Good Technology 1983 HD version