Tom Bailey scored hits in the 1980s with effervescent synth pop songs like “Hold Me Now” and “Doctor Doctor.” When the group folded in 1993, he left mainstream music.
However, Bailey, performing with Boy George & Culture Club at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering on Wednesday, Sept. 5, never quit making music. For the past two decades, the British artist focused on film music, electronic dub, Indian classical and production work.
>> How to score $20 tickets to Summer Fest 20 with Boy George, Culture Club and Tom Bailey
“People often think I’ve been relaxing by the pool for a couple of decades, but other things filled the intervening years,” he said. “When I retired from mainstream pop, there was a long list of things I wanted to do that I ignored for too long. As soon as I got the time again, I got into it straight away and one thing leads to another.
“They weren’t meant to be commercially attractive things,” he continued. “They weren’t pushed in front on anybody but I was perfectly happy from a creative point of view. I retired from the public eye but I was getting on with it.”
>> Best places to grab dinner or drinks before a Fraze show
In July, Bailey released “Science Fiction,” his first collection of pop songs since leaving the Thompson Twins. He recorded the project on his laptop in England, France, New Zealand and other locales.
“I like to keep it simple,” Bailey said. “I don’t really use any extra gear. I have a laptop and a pair of headphones because then I know wherever I go I can carry on. It’s become one of the great liberating moments for me.”
>> Top 10 things to do this week
Bailey continued performing after the Thompson Twins folded but he didn’t sing those songs live for decades.
“Any references to the Thompson Twins got closed down by me,” he said. “The interest in that becomes overwhelmingly monopolistic and stops you from doing other things. I needed to get a good distance away from it.”
In 2014, Bailey finally agreed to perform the hits again during a tour with Howard Jones.
“I was very firmly against doing that,” he said. “I created a weird denial project where that was then and this is now and I’ll never go back there again. What happens is you get to a point where you want to take a retrospective view of your music. When I finally did, I realized how much I enjoyed it. Without really planning to I crossed the line back into mainstream pop.
“I was worried I was making a terribly stupid mistake, but I very quickly realized I’d waited too long before going back,” Bailey added. “I should’ve done this sooner.”
Mikey Craig, Boy George, Roy Hay and Jon Moss of Culture Club.