Steve Askew, Liz Lenten and Baby Boomerang
Steve Askew and ‘Baby Boomerang’
Back in 1992 after his work on Kajagoogoo and Smalltown Elephants, Steve Askew was again thinking about new projects. He had previously formed a band called ‘Christmas Island’, producing a showcase video in New York, which in turn resulted in producer Simon Phillips arranging some productive demo sessions. This line-up however, was not to last.
It was 1992 that saw the formation of Steve’s new band ‘Baby Boomerang’ featuring Paul Turley (Drums/Keyboards) and Liz Lenten (Vocals). Like Steve, Paul Turley had already tasted the commercial end of the industry as a part of ‘Classix Nouveau’, as well as being a member of Smalltown Elephants. Vocalist Liz Lenten also had a wealth of industry experience and had previously provided vocals for many other musicians, as well as been signed as an artist in her own right. The band recorded some demo tracks, with EastWest Records providing funding for the fledgling project.
The Baby Boomerang project was relatively short lived however, and the group soon disbanded. The costs involved with recording did however prompt Steve to develop his own studios, enabling him to work more freely. Protec Music was formed in 1994.
KajaFax caught up with vocalist Liz Lenten to ask about Baby Boomerang, her band Auburn, and her life in music!
Good Evening Liz, it’s great to speak to you.
It’s nice to be invited Steve, thank you…
May I ask, how did ‘Baby Boomerang’ come to be? Did you know Steve Askew prior to forming the band, or as a result of being in the band?
I used to run a studio in Tottenham, London and knew Steve (Askew) and Paul (Turley) from there – he used to come in and record and rehearse. He asked me to do the vocals for the Baby Boomerang project one day and it sounded fun….so we did it!
It does sound fun! How long was the band active? What did you achieve in that time….were any recordings made?
We did record some tracks….they were very ‘Bolanesque’ and were total nonsense lyrically…but they sounded good! Not sure what happened with it all after that to be honest – it’s a while ago!
You were offered some kind of deal with EastWest records? How did that come to be?
I wasn’t signed as a part of the band, but Steve and Paul may well have been. I vaguely recall that EastWest paid for the recording sessions as a developmental idea
How did the band come to an end?
Well, we didn’t have a falling out or anything – I think it just fizzled out. That was the year that we moved studio premises, so I was pretty tied up with that at the time…
I know that Paul Turley also drummed with ‘Classix Nouveau’. What experiences had you had with other bands prior to ‘Baby Boomerang’
I have had a busy past! I was signed to various labels but nothing ever came of it. I have sung with lots of people including Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody from Whitesnake. Danny Schogger produced some of my solo stuff for me.
That’s the producer known for his work with George Michael?
Yeah, and Hot Chocolate, Nick Heyward….Chris De Burgh…..a few famous names! I also worked with the lovely Pete Brown (Cream). I set up my own label, Scarlet Records through Pinnacle (a blast from the past!) and started releasing my own material under my band’s name, Auburn.
Auburn was great fun… we did lots of Radio and sessions. We toured Europe with the lovely Sophie Ellis-Bextor a few years ago as support. That was great, the whole family on a tour bus! Toddler and all!
I also worked with other artists through the label and as manager. Pusha, Shane MacGowan & the Popes, Criptic, Poppyseed to name but a few…
Kajagoogoo fans usually have an interest in other artists associated with the ‘Goo. How has your career developed since the early 1990’s? Who have you worked with or provided vocals for?
Well…over the years, I have sang with loads of bands! Sessions, guesting, that sort of thing. Far too many to name! I feel really lucky to be still working as a singer/songwriter at all. I also teach and love working with kids – I run a few choirs and music workshops. I just completed 3 and a half years as a vocal advisor for the governments national singing campaign ‘Sing Up’ and recently wrote and performed a choral piece with 1000 kids for ‘National Sing Up Day’ which was pretty mad!! And last year, I conducted the London Mozart Players and the Community Chorus for an international festival. That was an amazing experience.
It is never a dull moment! I also have the next Auburn album which is soon to be finished – it’s very exciting to back in that mode!
So, that sort of brings things up to date?
Well, as I mentioned, we have a new ‘Auburn’ album coming out. I took a few years break from Auburn during which we sold the studios in London and moved out to Lincolnshire. Now we are back and in the middle of the new album which should be out next year – all very exciting
Now I manage Eliza Carthy and Max Gilkes. Eliza has a new album released only this week….check it out on her website – she is fantastic.
I still work as a composer/songwriter, vocal coach, and singing teacher, and also work with Shane (MacGowan) from time to time…
Finally Liz, do you ever see Steve (Askew) or follow his work?
Alas no…I lost touch with lots of people when we left London. I would love to see Steve again actually, and hope all is well with him. He was a sweet guy and I remember us all doing a lot of laughing in-between the work! My husband engineered the Baby Boomerang sessions and he remembers it as being a whole load of fun too!
Thanks very much for talking to KajaFax Liz. It’s been great to hear what you have been up to!
Many thanks indeed go to Liz Lenten for this interview. For any KajaFax readers who may want to hear more about Liz and her work with Auburn, Eliza Carthy, or Max Gilkes, please follow the below links!