is the next Momus record. A pop album of portraits.
Trailed in December with a teaser campaign on the Momus website promising Thirty People Will Live Forever... Watch This Space, Stars Forever was the only way Momus and Le Grand Magistery could think of to pay some hefty legal bills run up by a spot of gladatorial skirmishing in the law courts of New York in 1998. The cause of the trouble? An unauthorised tribute song on his last album, The Little Red Songbook.
The song was deleted and the album will be re-released this month with three extra tracks, out-takes from the original sessions, in its place. (By the way, Momus and the person unintentionally injured by the song are now corresponding in a friendly way. Sighs of relief all round.)
The Stars Forever project was launched on January 1st 1999 with an appeal for sitters and patrons. Within two weeks, thirty people had pledged to send a thousand dollars to have a Momus song written about them. You can read the original proposal here.
Momus is now writing and recording the songs, becoming a kissogram for some of his patrons (one wants to use the song to propose to his girlfriend, another to say goodbye and thank you after a separation), a commerical break for others (there are record labels, press companies, magazines and the Japanese graphic design team Mars Art Lab in there too)... Mostly Momus is hoping that this most exciting of all his collaborations will allow him to be a cross between Pierre et Gilles and Bruno Ganz in Wim Wenders' film 'Wings Of Desire': a sort of compassionate eavesdropping angel trying to tune into the souls of his sitters.
Celebrity patrons include Cornelius, who wants Momus to salute his cats Caesar and Nova, and the artist Jeff Koons, whose request was a model of clarity:
Just approach me as if I were a morning cereal box packaged and marketed as ultimate optimism to help everyone have a good day. I enjoy being in the ephemeral realm, somewhere between a two-dimensional color gradation and a Balloon Dog, or a Pin The Tail On The Donkey. The most flattering portraits of me were taken when I would put my head through cut-outs. I was so proud of the huge swordfish I caught, and also how easy it was to fly an airplane, while a moment later beaming with happiness to have my
face on Mt. Rushmore. I'm a "split rocker."
(Please take note, other patrons, as you send in your instructions: this kind of thing is great because it's so visual. It really helps me choose a direction for the song!)
If you're stuck (and some of you are finding the self-descriptions bit difficult!) here are some questions to get your autobiographical sketch started. Remember, you will have the right to approve the lyrics before your likeness is recorded.
This, then, will be patronage pop. Not just necessity's invention, not just a new genre in pop music, but also, we hope, a bloody good pop record!
All thirty of the songs have now been reserved. If you haven't already reserved a place, there's now just a standby list in case any of the patrons back out.
$1000 (US) per song. (Or, if you prefer, 850 Euros.)
Pay upfront: the song won't be written until the cheque is cleared!
There will be no negative songs about anyone. The songs will emphasise the creativity and uniqueness of the person portrayed.
You will have the right to approve the lyrics before the song is recorded.
The record will also contain the winners of the 1998 Karaoke Parody Competition.
Cheques should be in US dollars or Euros and made payable to 'Momus Stars Forever Fund'.
Entrants must sign a short agreement saying they give permission for their name to be used.
Release date: late spring / early summer 1999.
Territories: US, Britain, Europe, Japan.