Marc et Robert

Luc Choquer

 

The collaboration with Tony VISCONTI continues. Just before recording starts, Catherine records a duet with Marc LAVOINE "QU'EST-CE QUE T'ES BELLE". The video is shot by Jean-Baptiste Mondino.

Boy GEORGE and Michael HUTCHENCE both are interested in working with the group, but these projects do not get off the ground.

"MARC & ROBERT" comes together quickly as most of the songs are composed in the studio, with the exception of "AILLEURS", which they had had since the early 80's and "PERFECT EYES", written by Catherine and Jean NEPLIN in early 1982. The album title is inspired by two musical friends of the band, Marc ANCIAUX (Marco) and Robert BASARTE, ex-"Les OFFICIELS", who were signed to Dave STEWART's (EURYTHMICS) label, Anxious. The group didn't have a name, so Catherine and Fred suggested "Marc & Robert"; the two were not enamored with this, preferring "Century Boys". As a prank, Catherine and Fred name their album, "Marc & Robert".

"MARC & ROBERT" is released on November 7th, 1988. Among the record sleeve reference, we could find an hommage to the concept of "INTERIOR DESIGN", the 1988 SPARKS album. The photo is taken in the Les RITA's new home studio. On "MANDOLINO CITY", Jean-Baptiste MONDINO, the 'pope' of video, & photography (also a musician in his off hours), provides the guitar riff. The SPARKS brothers compose two songs, "LIVE IN LAS VEGAS" and "SINGING IN THE SHOWER" for the album, and sing on "HIP KIT". When SPARKS play Paris, Les RITA back them up (Catherine plays bass). "LE PETIT TRAIN", inspired by an André Claveau song from 1952, has got a double message. This sense is carried through on the single sleeves, with the 7" portraying a sombre side, and the 12" a festive one. The entire album is remixed by Jessie JOHNSON, but only several of his mixes are used: "TONGUE DANCE", "SINGING IN THE SHOWER", and "LIVE IN LAS VEGAS". His remixes of "HIP KIT" and "LE PETIT TRAIN can be found on the 12" versions of these singles.

Catherine and Fred make the acquaintance of the photographer Robert DOISNEAU who shoots the cover for "MANDOLINO CITY", out on November 1st of 88.

At this time, Les RITA & the monthly magazine ACTUEL, team up to give their readers an exclusive. "ON VA DANSER" is released only as a cassette giveaway.

"SINGING IN THE SHOWER" is released in Europe on 29th of November 88, and in France on January 11th of 89. This will be the biggest radio hit from the album. A clip by Tim POPE is filmed in London to a slightly modified soundtrack.

Les RITA leave for several days in Moscow at the end of December to appear on the show "Chto, Chte, Kakdia" ("Who, Where, When?"), to sing "ANDY" and "MANDOLINO CITY" for broadcast on the 29th. The band takes advantage of the trip to film a short, "PANNE DANS LA GUERRE FROIDE", that appears on the video compilation, "8 clips & 2 films".

"TONGUE DANCE" is remixed by Mark MOORE and William ORBIT, and is released in Europe in the spring of 89; France has to wait another year before it is released as a vinyl and CD single.

In the summer, Fred and Catherine leave for India to film a clip for "LE PETIT TRAIN", the next single, directed by Jean ACHACHE after a storyline by Catherine. A second short film, "LA VIE DU RAIL", also included on the '8 clips & 2 films" compilation, is made. Here, unlike "PANNE...", which draws only on "MARC & ROBERT one or two songs from each album is interpreted in the film.

At the start of 1990, Catherine and Fred receive the "Bus D'Acier" for the decade and celebrate this with a concert at the "Bus Palladium".