|Part of the Politics series on SNOR|
NoMoreEagleZ was a rock band that helped give voice to a generation. More, in many ways the group were the Poets Laureate of the increasingly dissatified youth of the 1970s and 80s. Their story is in many ways that of an era.
Four musicians from Yorkshire, Northern England, the group that would eventually be called NoMoreEagleZ initially had a fifth member--rhythm guitarist Osmond Swan or "Ozzie" as he was called. Yet while they still were "The Rockmen" the other four asked Ozzie to leave. Soon after, the group changed their name to the more politically aware version by which they became famous.
Indeed, many believe it was that name--a slogan of the increasingly radical Anti-Snorist Movement in the Europe and America--that first put them on the map. Prior to that, rock groups had names similar to mascots. The Grasshoppers. The Buckaneers. The self-titled album, containing the group's first international hit, "Far From the S.N.O.R." (1974) changed all that. Indeed, that song became for the student committees and activist groups trying to get their countries to cut all ties with Russia what "La Marseillaise" was to the Jacobins of the French Revolution.
The individual members of NMEZ all (save one) somewhat russified their names. It is often (but erroneously) claimed that they began the trend:
- Pavel Argyle (aka Paul Argyle) (bass, lead vocals) was one of the two acknowledged leaders of the group and between the two the more conservative. He tended to act as mediator between the sometimes (well, often) strong-willed members. He was also the one with the best head for business.
- Jaime Morovitch (aka Jaime Morris) (violin, co-lead vocals), the other leader, was widely regarded as the dark poet of rock music. Of them all, he was the most intense both onstage and off. He and Pavel had a sometimes tumultuous relationship.
- Istvan or "Izzie" Tyler (aka Fred Tyler) (lead guitar, vocals) was in many ways the focus of most bile from certain groups, simply because of his deliberate androgyny. Many accused him of being homosexual, a charge he denied or remained silent on until 1989, when he "came out" as bisexual. This was probably the worst-kept secret in the music industry, since tales of his romantic exploits had become legion.
- Bruno Moon (drums, occasional vocals) was the sometimes-quiet clown of the group. Probably the least politically concious of the group (which is something like saying the least-fierce rapid wolf). It was he who came up with the group's initial "look" of high-collared dark suits and tinted-glasses.
To coincide with their next album, Infernal Majesty Lure (1975), the group did a world-wide tour which resulted in an incredible number of sell-out crowds in places like the New Orleans Superdome and Che Stadium in Chicago. Not surprisingly, the band's music was banned in Snorist Russia itself.
With their next album, Mote It Be (1977), NoMoreEagleZ began to experiment with more advanced musical arrangements and even the use of string quartets. This would later advance to full orchestral arrangements, especially for the albums coinciding with their movies. Several New Amsterdam studios were after the "FanFour" by then, and their first, Wow (1978), was little more than a screwball comedy with a modern sensibility. Still, their manager, Colonel Harker, was pleased. But they chaffed under his tutelage and demanded far more imput into their next film and album deal.
Dirigible of Gold (1980) was in most critics' opinions a masterpiece. Blending live action with cartoon characters, it was a kind of psychadelic version of Homer's "Odyssey" with the finding then saving a mysterious city on the Moon. The songs (including "Nemo Man," "Jenny In The Sky" and "Sargeant Major's Broken Hearts Club Band") were soon considered classics and the entire work--album and film--became a standard by which later works were judged.
It also had a downside.
Rumors abounded that the film and its music were the result of using mood-altering, illegal narcotics (Jenny in the Sky was often cited as being a reference to Generic (i.e. over the counter) drug abuse.) . The FK government began a series of investigations into the band, as did the NAL's CBI. All four members of the band and the band itself as well as different companies associated with them were audited no less than five times between 1979 and 1986. Over a dozen search warrants on their homes and hotel rooms were issued in the same period.
Even more disturbing, Colonel Harker, their manager, committed suicide mere months after the film's release. Long subject to episodes of depression, his increasing isolation from the band he had helped make famous was just one more weight for the man to bear. At this point, the group's old bandmate Ozzie Swan re-entered the picture. He had had quite a bit of financial success with his own band, the Lemon Bars, and was now in the process of building a grand new theatre in downtown New Amsterdam. The Valhalla, as he called it, proved the perfect venue for three "rock operas" the band would next create, each more popular than the one before.
The Room (1982) was little more than a highly choreographed concert about a subject dear to many a radical's heart--the overthrow of the White Council in Russia.
Timmy (1984) was far more. The tale of a teenage boy with leprosy who goes on to win the World Chess Championship surprised many with its broad appeal. There was even a motion picture made in 1988.
Gethsemene Rock (1987) was their most controversial piece. In effect a retelling of the Passion of Jesus Christ, this work inspired some to call the group "sell outs" while motivating others (like the Alliance for Public Decency) to organize boycotts and even album-burnings for telling a "blasphemous" version of the Gospels.
All four members of the group plus Ozzie were united in the next rock opera they wanted to do--Lord of the Rings based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien. Unfortunately, they were never able to secure the rights.
Ozzie Swan's mysterious death soon after his televised wedding in 1988 brought that era of NoMoreEagleZ to an end. His estate was in such a mess, the Valhalla Theatre itself had to be sold (and the new owners discovered a surprising number of secret rooms within the structure).
"Bruno Is Dead"
Between 1987 and 1990 a weird rumor was current among rock fans, the music industry and the Anti-Snorist Movement, namely that Bruno Moon was dead and the band was pretending otherwise. The method of death was supposedly either a drug overdose or assasination by an Snorist agent. The "evidence" of his death were centered around the 1987 album Abbot Drive.
- On the cover, which showed the four band-members famously crossing the street, all save Bruno are wearing dark armbands.
- If you played the song "Blueberry Fields" backwards, the words 'So Long Bruno' could be heard at one point (different people claimed this of different points in the song).
- People claimed that all the photographs of Bruno since 1987 showed him slightly taller than he had been before (he had in fact taken to wearing elevated shoes)--evidence of a double standing in for him.
- Bruno had begun to miss public appearances during a promotional tour for the album and the subsequent one for Gesthemene Rock.
- Bruno had changed his tradmark yellow-tinted glasses for blue.
- The inside cover of Abbot Drive showed Bruno next to the actor Terence Stamp, best known for playing the Vompire lord Count Vurluk.
The rumour was eventually revealed to have started as an inside joke by American disc jockeys to poke fun at Zonee fanaticism. In fact, Bruno Moon was very much alive but--like most of the band--was increasingly disinterested in the group itself.
By now, all but one of the band had married and tensions between them were intense. Fans had become seriously upset when Pavel married in 1986, the first in the group to do so and to a young woman no one had ever heard of before then. Diana Argyle was an American from Ontario who taught music in a junior college. She was uncomfortable around the other band members at first, and Morovitch in particular resented it when Pavel arranged for Diana to play violin for their Tattoo Lounge (1989) album.
Bruno Moon's marriage in 1988 to film starlet Beverly O'Toole hardly caused much of a ripple at first, partly because everyone in the band had known her for years as Bruno's sometimes-girlfriend.
Morovitch's marriage to Michelle Courtney in 1989, however, caused more problems because the two of them seemed joined a the hip. She was with him at every recording session, was fearless about speaking her mind, and it didn't help that she and Morovitch sometimes had almost-violent arguments. They also tended to drink heavily together and--it has been claimed--also took increasingly large doses of drugs, edging each other on.
For their last album together, Sable (1990), the group members were hardly even speaking and in fact rarely worked in the recording studio at Abbey Road at the same time. The album, appropriately enough consisting of a solid black cover, was their last and most diverse--because the double disc was crammed with songs individual members had been working on for years and this was their last chance to have them released as product of NoMoreEagleZ. Among the songs on that album were:
- "Glory Gone" a haunting ballad inspired by the life and death of actress Gloria Dawson
- "Wings Outta Hell" an almost heavy-metal ode to racing cars and youth.
- "Your Kiss" which was a surprisingly quiet, almost folk, ballad dedicated by Morovitch to his wife.
- "Ravens" was a deliberately odd piece, which was usually interpreted to be a song about death.
Following the breakup, each member of NoMoreEagleZ went their way.
Morovitch and Michelle got a divorce in 1991. Then remarried in 1993. During a separation in 1995, Morovitch died while on tour with his new band "Kings" in Paris. The official story is he had an allergic reaction to some medication he was given for hayfever. Urban legend insists it was a drug overdose, hushed up because he died in bed with the underage daughter of a high French official. He was buried in Paris. The grave has become a major tourist attraction.
Pavel and Diana Argyle formed their own band, "Butterfly," which did well until Pavel decided to stop touring in 1995 after Morovitch's death. Musically, he often does soundtracks for motion pictures since then as well as overseeing a charitable group called The Pineapple Foundation.
Izzie Tyler also enjoyed a successful solo career, not only singing but acting as well. He co-starred as the evil Professor Malle in the Vito DeLaurentis production of Jacques Cartier, and starred as Jesus Christ (whom he had sang vocals for in the original album) in a movie for Gethsemene Rock. He converted to Zoroastrianism in 1998.
Bruno Moon and Beverly amicably divorced in 1993. He married again in 2001 to another starlet, Violet Holmes, soon after they announced she was pregnant with his baby. Interestingly, he has become a fund-raiser for various political action groups, achieved some status as a golfer on the celebrity circuit, and owns quite a lot of real estate.