Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Played Its First Show as a Dare

posted by Andrew Magnotta - 

Forty years into the career of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, founding members Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey agree they've gotten awfully far for a band that played its first gig as a dare, they tell Q104.3 New York's Jonathan Clarke on "Out of the Box."

Humphreys and McCluskey went from composing electronic music in Humphreys' mother's house in the late '70s, to becoming pop stars in the '80s, then disbanding in the mid-'90s. 

But OMD was such a formative influence on major acts like Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and LCD Soundsystem, that they're back on the road today performing for brand new audiences. 

"I mean the craziest thing is that it was never intended to be more than one concert," McCluskey says. "I mean that's why we picked such a preposterous name as Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark; it was just a dare.

"We had just been writing these songs that even our friends didn't like," McCluskey recalls. "...[We] just dared to do one gig once; it's been a 40-year dare." 

While OMD might not have had high hopes for their first concert in October of 1978, it probably ended up being a pretty good show. As McCluskey recalls, they opened that night for Joy Division.

Nowadays when you see OMD, you're going to get your money's worth; McCluskey says the band embraces its past and plays all of its hits.

"We tried very hard not to do anything that was considered to be, kind of, 'heritage' or 'retro,'" he says. "We wanted to reestablish ourselves as a standalone performing act and still making contemporary music. But after a few years, we just realized, 'You know it's actually good fun to celebrate just playing the old hits and going doing 'retro gigs,' for lack of a better word, with old friends from years ago, and giving the audience what they want.

He says it's a gift that OMD is such a significant part of the lives of so many people. The band loves that it can take people back to a happy time in their life. 

"We've been trying to balance that, though, with making new records," Humpreys adds. "Since we reformed, we've made three, this is our third album. It's important to feel like we're going forward as well. But we're not ashamed of our back catalogue. We embrace our back catalogue because these songs are like time capsules."

Watch the full interview above!

Keep up with OMD on Facebook and Twitter or at its official website here

Here's the title track, "The Punishment of Luxury," from OMD's latest album:

Jonathan 'JC' Clarke

Jonathan 'JC' Clarke

ON AIR: Sundays 7PM - 9PM. Jonathan Clarke joined Q104.3, New York's Classic Rock, as an on-air personality in 1997 and continues to be a mainstay there. Also, since March of 2001, he has hosted and executive produced his top rated 'Out of the... Read more

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