For a singer who solely launched one album, Marilyn has made an indelible mark on popular culture. In 2016 he returned a brand new single, Love Or Cash, produced together with his fellow 80s troublemaker Boy George. That yr, he talked about his comeback to Basic Pop…
Marilyn is trying nicely. It’s necessary to state that immediately as a result of, within the 13 years since he was final seen in public – as a contestant on Channel 4’s actuality hairdressing present The Salon – it’s been no secret that Marilyn had reverted again to heroin.
When Boy George was arrested in 1986 for heroin possession, so too was his former housemate – nicely, squatmate. The costs in opposition to Marilyn had been later dropped, however he endured a near-constant battle with heroin till lastly getting himself clear two years in the past.
Now that he’s “having fun with being alive”, Marilyn shouldn’t be solely trying nice, however sounding nice, too. He was usually unfairly dismissed within the Eighties as a Boy George copycat, however Marilyn is somebody who is aware of his manner round a groove, as one hearken to the booming, up to date reggae pulse of comeback single Love Or Cash will attest.
Sat on an armchair in his publicist’s workplace, Marilyn is extra strong than you’d count on. His blond hair is neat and neck size; he’s sporting a black T-shirt festooned with necklaces, and appears nearly just like the lead singer of a glam steel band.
He’s fast to chuckle, and when he does so it’s a delighted cackle, the sound of somebody who’s waited 30 years to share his gossip and doesn’t give a rattling who’s listening in. As Marilyn says of himself: “I f***ing stand for one thing, and I don’t assume there’s quite a lot of that happening proper now.”
However he wanted to be clear earlier than he may remind the world of his expertise. “I wouldn’t be sat right here speaking to you if I wasn’t clear,” he insists. “After I wasn’t clear, the very last thing I’d need to do is sit and chat to folks, or discuss something.
“I’d shut the curtains, I wouldn’t care if it was day or evening. I didn’t care or need to know what was happening outdoors. My life can be in my room.”
So what modified? His response is matter-of-fact. “I used to be bored of hospital visits and near-death experiences.” A small chuckle. “They get boring after some time, particularly when you’ll be able to’t take the final step and simply die. I’d assume ‘Oh, what’s the purpose?’”
Since his final spell in hospital in 2014, Marilyn is lastly able to work on music once more in earnest, writing and producing with Boy George and their buddy John Themis, with a full album to comply with Love Or Cash.
“I don’t know if I’m excited to be again making music,” he ponders. “However I’m undoubtedly excited to be clear-headed and wholesome. And it’s thrilling to recognise that individuals love me, as a result of now I lastly have the power to like them again.”
Realizing that individuals care about his return has been the most important revelation since he gave up medicine, he says. “I by no means put quite a lot of music out,” he permits.
“However folks bear in mind who I’m. On the time, that labored in opposition to me. I used to be quite a bit for folks to absorb, and I used to be accused of being type over substance. However now, music is all type and no substance.” One other chuckle. “So, lastly, I’m forward of the sport!”
Marilyn was actually arduous to overlook when he appeared with Calling Your Identify in 1983. A extra excessive, much less cuddly determine than somebody with Boy George’s mainstream enchantment, Hertfordshire-raised Peter Robinson had taken the Marilyn nickname he was mockingly given by faculty bullies and used it to stress his androgynous magnificence.
He could have solely been 20, however Marilyn had already labored in LA as a PA to cleaning soap star Terry Lester, in addition to showing in Derek Jarman’s brief movie Damaged English and Eurythmics’ Who’s That Lady? video.
“I’d executed quite a lot of life already,” he smiles. “I felt actually previous when Calling Your Identify got here out. I believed I knew every thing. However that success was quite a bit for a 20-year-old to deal with. There was no time to course of something, it was simply subsequent, subsequent, subsequent, stress, stress, stress.”
It didn’t assist that Marilyn was battling in opposition to being marketed as a clone by Phonogram. “They needed me to be the subsequent Boy George, and that was by no means going to work for me,” he sighs.
“George was my greatest buddy, don’t overlook. So I used to be having to say ‘You need me to have a profession as being like my greatest buddy? Do the identical type of music as Tradition Membership?’
“Tradition Membership had been nice, nevertheless it’s not my type of music; I needed one thing with extra rhythm. The one cause to repeat one thing was cash, and that’s bullshit. It was like being a puppet.”
Having met within the New Romantic epicentre of Blitz, Marilyn and George started sharing a flat off London’s industrial Euston Street – the identical avenue the place his publicist’s workplace is at the moment. “We was once aggressive and fairly bitchy. We had been all around the store, actually.”
What was the squat like? “No electrical energy, and we solely had an out of doors bathroom, which didn’t have a roof on. Folks would lob stuff at us from their upstairs into the bathroom if one in all us used it – cups of espresso, washing up. I don’t bear in mind us ever consuming as a lot as a bag of crisps there, come to think about it.
“We’d look forward to the milkman to ship at 5am, then steal all of the milk off the doorsteps. We’d reside off 50 pints of milk a day. And we lived in that squat for 4 or 5 years.”
No surprise Marilyn seemed so hungry for fulfillment when he carried out Calling Your Identify on Prime Of The Pops. He appeared a born star, however these document firm battles made it arduous to give attention to the precise music.
By the point his sole album Regardless of Straight Traces appeared in 1985, most followers had moved on.
At the very least Marilyn acquired to have a blast making the one Child U Left Me with Was (Not Was) in Detroit. “Their singers had been so gifted,” he enthuses. “Listening to folks like Candy Pea Atkinson, I’d be within the studio going ‘Oh my God, wow!’
“Don Was was humorous, too, and nice at getting the most effective out of individuals. Too many individuals round me had been telling me how I ought to sound, however Don needed to determine the right way to get the music sounding how I needed.”
How does Marilyn really feel about Regardless of Straight Traces at the moment? “After I was recording it, I used to be by no means glad. I all the time thought it may very well be higher. If my songs got here on, I used to be all the time ‘Oh, noooo’, as I may solely hear the imperfections.
“However now, whether or not it’s with age or distance and time, I believe ‘Woah, I did a great job!’ And figuring out that individuals need me again, that’s superb.”
However earlier than Marilyn got here to that acceptance, he did strive – briefly – to slot in. He even tried a gradual job, however that led to farce. “Attempting to slot in was an train in frustration,” he says. “You get lots of people trying down on you, they usually’re taking enjoyment of not supplying you with entry to normality.
“I requested for a job in Tesco, saying ‘I’d prefer to stack the cabinets, please’, and the response was (haughty voice): ‘You? Work right here? Oh, no.’ And I stated ‘OK, f*** you. You stack ‘em! I’ll do what I need to do, then.’” He can chuckle about it now, however the picture of somebody who sang on Band Support being rejected by Tesco is horrible.
Across the time of The Salon, Marilyn had a musical comeback in 2003 with the one Maintain On Tight, however he admits it was a half-arsed job.
“Folks would all the time ask me after I’m doing extra music, however I wasn’t in the best headspace. I’d shrug it off, go ‘Nerrr, possibly…’ However I ultimately thought ‘Oh, there should be one thing I may give.’
“So I acquired a buddy to do three songs and press just a few copies. It was a really small run, mainly to close folks up. ‘You need new music? Right here, have that.’ It wasn’t precisely ‘Right here’s my new work, world!’”
That’s taken till Love Or Cash, which sees Marilyn and George working collectively extra harmoniously than ever. “We’re nonetheless psychological, however in a way more conscious manner,” Marilyn cackles.
“We are able to nonetheless return to our previous methods, however we’ve grown up sufficient to say ‘No, I don’t need to do this’ if the opposite one is being annoying. It’s simply expertise, actually. We by no means consciously determined ‘Let’s not do this anymore,’ however we do say ‘Er, that’s previous behaviour, are you able to cease?’”
The following single is completed, and there are six different Marilyn and George songs in varied phases of completion. The pair’s major bone of rivalry now’s over listening to music. “I always hearken to music,” Marilyn explains.
“After I go to George’s home to write down, I attempt to put music on. He’ll be ‘Flip that off!’ and I’ll inform him ‘I can’t consider you don’t hearken to music.’ George says ‘I simply don’t hearken to music after I’m engaged on it.’ ‘Effectively, I do…’”
If the opposite songs are of the identical high quality as Love Or Cash, Marilyn’s second album will probably be well worth the 32-year wait. However is the world prepared for him ultimately?
“It feels prefer it should be, as a result of I’m right here doing it,” he responds. “However, yeah, I really feel beloved and recognised for what I stand for. There’s quite a lot of discuss ‘Be who you’re, be completely different, assume outdoors the field, don’t be managed’, but there’s quite a lot of manipulation happening.
“I’m not a part of any tribe. The world is my tribe. I’m not a part of anybody group, I’m simply me on the planet. And that’s what I stand for: individuality, free-thinking. The world must be reminded that you simply don’t must be a robotic and do what everybody else is doing. There’s a spot for that, however I’m on the reverse finish of the spectrum.”
Marilyn has earned the best to be so forthright. What number of different musicians had been so on the market, even in such a haven for misfits because the early Eighties?
What number of have endured such a very long time out of the general public eye, solely to return in such prepared humour? And what number of extra have had garbage thrown at them whereas sharing an out of doors bathroom with Boy George?
Marilyn has the air of somebody who’s about to offer the world what for once more. Tesco’s loss is music’s acquire.