The band’s songwriter and synth player, Mark Pothier, was two decades into a journalism career – working as Deputy Business Editor for The Boston Globe – when singer Ken Scales called him about 18 months ago. They hadn’t played together since 1983, when Pothier left Boston’s acclaimed but commercially underfed Adventure Set to join the traveling madhouse that was Ministry. And they had rarely even seen each other during the ensuing years.
That phone conversation – a variation on the “let’s get the band back together” theme – led Pothier to buy a cheap keyboard and spend many hours in his bedroom huddled over a MacBook, writing songs again for the first time in decades. Dozens of demos later, Pothier and Scales recently went into Gimme That Sound studio in New York’s Catskills with Grammy-winning producer Stephen George, also formerly of Ministry
The reincarnated Adventure Set’s new double single, “Paler Faces” and “Vitamin” [Gimme That Sound Productions] comes from those sessions. While the band’s roots are deep [and still nurtured by a small base of original fans], these songs sound freshly grown. Any resemblance to the 1980s Adventure Set or any version of Ministry is through DNA only.
While Adventure Set is definitely not wallowing in the soft comfort of nostalgia [“Remember that night at The Rat?”], the backstory to this unlikely reunion of two middle-aged guys with much younger ambitions deserves telling.
Scales is considered by many in the Boston music scene to be one of the most talented and charismatic singers to have never broken big. With his bands Pastiche – winner of WBCN’s legendary first Rock and Roll Rumble – and, later, Adventure Set, he became known as a consummate frontman, sophisticated, cool and well-bred on eclectic and varied influences, starting with the Bowie-Ferry-David Sylvian school of vocalists. Adventure Set dissolved after several lineup changes, but not before producing a local hit, “Blue is For Boys.” Since then, Scales has been involved in various music projects, including a 2009 Pastiche reunion. Largely, however, he has remained an artist in waiting. Until now.
Pothier survived a nationwide tour in the ‘80s with Al Jourgensen. After a thorough cleansing, he got a job as a newspaper reporter. In 2001, Harvard University named him a Nieman Fellow, one of journalism’s most prestigious honors. He’s been an editor at the Globe for almost 10 years, and also writes. For instance, a 2004 story about Hugo Burnham, Gang of Four’s former drummer, led to the band’s widely praised reunion tours in 2005 and 2006. Those guys also had not talked in ages.
It’s a career path that has taken Pothier a world away from the music world. That changed with the call from Scales. Ever since, the two have working together as if 20 years gone were just a sliver of time -- like the old days in a new century.
And weirdly but somehow appropriately, the band that caused Adventure Set’s breakup – Ministry – is directly connected to its rebirth, thanks to the participation of Stephen George [who in addition to producing, plays drums on “Paler Faces.”]
This single serves an introduction to their improbable collaboration. All these years later, Adventure Set has begun.
released March 1, 2011
Mark Pothier – email@example.com,
Ken Scales – firstname.lastname@example.org,