And before you say anything can I just say that no they weren't just a one- hit wonder, and they had 3 quality albums which covered the whole of the alternative music spectrum right through pop, dance, techno, rock, thrash, and even goth in some moments.
Quick band history from Aileen's perspective then... Unbelivable was out at the end of 1990, and for my birthday in December that year I got my first pop single - Unbelievable - off nearly everyone who knew me (to stop me singing it constantly). Schubert Dip came out the year after, and although I would like to say that it was my first album, I feel obliged to admit that my first album was actually by Vanilla Ice. But they were the first band that I saw live, on May 2nd 1992 at Cov Poly as it was then , which transformed me from a well behaved 15 year old teenybopper school girl into a fully fledged indie kid. Fortunately their second album went along with this, so I didn't have to abandon them in embarrassment (sorry Vanilla Ice) and Stigma still has to be my favourite album, so all you ex-pop kids out there who thought they died after Schubert Dip, go out and buy Stigma, as it's much much better even than their first. By the 3rd album Cha Cha Cha, things were getting slightly peculiar, and they were dressing up in drag, and as Elvis. But despite some ropey songs on there they still recovered some of the old glory.
By the time they did a version of "I'm a believer" with Vic and Bob , and quite possibly the worst song in the world "Afro King" in 1995, we all knew it was time they had a break... But fortunately I wasn't abandoned completely during this time, and it was like having 4 EMF's around, rather than just 1, as they all joined new bands. James pioneered the bigbeat scene with Bentley Rhythym Ace, Cooler and Save the Robots, Derry held up the rock side of things first in LK and now in Superace, Ian veered off into accoustic guitar with Whistler, Zak was in mediocre indie band Carrie, while Mark went into rehab and got married somewhere in the Forest of Dean. Which is the reason why they were so great - every time you hear the album there's something else to pick out, and follow. And no it wasn't just that they were all playing different songs at the same time. Anyway, the really great thing about this time was that it was now possible to see them live in really small pubs, and as they all supported each other, I got to meet more of the band than just Ian (who was a very lovely man when we met him at an EMF gig, and lets face it, the musical genius without whom the band would never have succeeded without, but but who also was the one that Smash Hits said "looked like a gherkin" as I remember). So thanks to my mate Paul who was mates with Derry's brother Lee, I got to meet Zac and Derry at a Cooler gig in Camden, where the conversation went something like this...
Paul: Hiya Zac. Let me just introduce you to Aileen.
Me: Um, hiya
Zac: I'm sorry- what was your name again?
Me: I'm Aileen
Zac: Hello Aileen. I'm Zac
Me (gasping for air): I KNOW. I was a big fan of EMF
Zac: Oh thankyou
Derry wanders up: Hiya Zac
Zac: Derry - come and meet Aileen
Me: Hiya Derry
Derry: Hello. Sorry who?
Derry: How's it going then?
Me: It's just fine thankyouAnd then they started behaving strangely, and hitting each other in a manly bonding kind of way, so me and Paul wandered off. But that brief meeting was enough to make me so chuffed that I coudn't sit down for a few weeks. After this I stalked them at these little gigs a few times, and sat next to Zac but decided to let go of my teenage idolatory when I noticed that his trousers slipped down whenever he stood up and he'd have to hitch them up. And because James has grey hair and a receding hair-line now...
However, we all knew that there was something not quite right with a world without EMF, as you'll see from the effect it had on James at that time:
But I was delighted in 2001 to find out that they were reforming for a reunion gig at the Astoria, and releasing a Greatest Hits Album (a double CD, only 3 songs of which were Unbelievable before you make the old tired "there would only have been one song on that" joke). The gig was amazing, and even persuaded Graeme to not hate them as much as he had done.
Anyway, with the recent announcement of Zac's death :-( we'll just have to see if that's the end of the story now that the whole mate's-just-having-a-lark thing has been spoiled somewhat, or whether the rumours of new material will be the beginning of a whole new chapter for me to waffle about...
And if you want to find out more about the phenomen that is EMF then I can't begin to compete with crazy Cara's (she luurrves them she does) excellent official website (partly because she cunningly stole all my old posters and pictures of them that used to be on my wall, and put them on her site without an acknowledgement):
Official EMF website
From there here's what you've all been waiting for I know:
the video of Unbelievable
Was it really over 10 years ago?
Oh and you really do have to see Tom Jones' version of Unbelievable to find out why James was laughing so much during this that he couldn't sing.