The Passage, in concert tonight. A Post-Punk/Experimental band from Manchester with considerable potential, but never realized with mainstream audiences. Together for only five years – from 1978 – 1983, they had four albums to their credit and only managed one semi-hit during their tenure; XOYO. The single came in 41st on John Peel’s Festive Fifty for 1982.
Founded by songwriter and former percussionist with the Hallé Orchestra, Dick Witts, The Passage sought to break new ground in the area of experimental, during the period of New Wave. Coinciding with the release of their third album, Degenerates, this concert comes on the heels of that release.
By 1983, the band were disillusioned, frustrated and depressed over their lack of public acceptance. And even though John Peel was enthusiastic about the band (Peel produced their first session and this concert was part of his regular radio program), it wasn’t enough to keep the band together. And so in 1983, Dick Witts called it a day.
As was so often the case with many of the “perceived unsuccessful bands”, The Passage, upon closer inspection were a much more interesting group than the surface would suggest. They were trying different methods and incorporating a sophisticated approach to Electronic music into the group while still solidly associated with the New Wave movement.
But audiences and record buyers being what they are, it wasn’t enough to sustain The Passage or Dick Witts’ vision of a group which freely associated themselves with John Cage electronics.
Upon their demise, members of The Passage embarked on many different careers. Founder Dick Witts went into producing as well as writing and being a guest lecturer on the College circuit in the UK.
Interesting band, captured for posterity in concert for John Peel. Maybe you remember them, but it’s more than likely that you don’t. I would crank it up and sit with it for a bit. Enjoy either way.