Monday, March 12, 1984

Marillion released Fugazi



Released: March 12, 1984

Peak: -- US, 5 UK

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.1 UK

Genre: neo-progressive rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Assassing (Fish, Kelly, Rothery, Trewavas) [7:01] (4/30/84, 22 UK)
  2. Punch and Judy (Fish, Kelly, Rothery, Trewavas, Jonathan Mover) [3:21] (1/30/84, 29 UK)
  3. Jigsaw (Fish, Kelly, Rothery, Trewavas) [6:49]
  4. Emerald Lies (Fish, Kelly, Rothery, Trewavas, Mosley) [5:08]
  5. She Chameleon (Fish, Kelly, Rothery, Trewavas) [6:53]
  6. Incubus (Fish, Kelly, Rothery, Trewavas) [8:30]
  7. Fugazi (Fish, Kelly, Rothery, Trewavas, Mosley) [8:12]

Total Running Time: 45:56

The Players:

  • Derek Dick, aka Fish (vocals)
  • Steve Rothery (guitar)
  • Mark Kelly (keyboards)
  • Pete Trewavas (bass)
  • Ian Mosley (drums)


3.701 out of 5.00 (average of 23 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Marillion worked diligently to restore progressive rock in the early eighties with debut album Script for a Jester’s Tear, and there was no reason to let up with their sophomore effort. Musically the most marked difference between this album and their first is the percussive, driving beat led by new drummer Ian Mosley. His “spot-on drumming was the perfect foil for Marillion’s meticulous musicianship.” AMG Lyrically, where “Script was wistful and grief-stricken, FugaziJC-52

The album title comes from a British Army slang term which means “Fucked Up, Got Ambushed, Zipped In.” American servicemen popularized the term during the Vietnam War. Fish learned about it through a book by Mark Baker called Nam. JC-52

The lead song, Assassing, kicks in at high gear and won’t let up. It shows the band leaning on a harder-edged sound and moving, ever-so-slightly, away from their prog-rock leanings. It is one of the strongest songs of the album and, not surprisingly was released as the second single. It isn’t as catchy as “Garden Party” or “He Knows You Know,” the singles from Script for a Jester’s Tear, but the song’s relentlessness eventually earworms its way into your brain.

Fish said the song was originally written about ex-bandmate Diz Minnitt, but explanded to also be about former drummer Mick Pointer. “We basically sacked them,” he said. “It’s about how hard it is.” JC-52

“Punch and Judy”
The album’s second song, Punch and Judy, was the lead single from the album. It is a more obvious choice as a single, but surprisingly peaked at #29, compared to “Assassing” at #22. Of course, while Marillion could write memorable songs, they weren’t really meant to be a singles’ band anyway. Script for a Jester’s Tear showcased a band focused on making each song a strong effort, but ultimately contributing to the greater whole of the album.

The song is notable in that it includes Jonathan Mover in the writing credits. After Mick Pointer was fired as the drummer, Jonathan Mover was with the band for a short while. According to Mover, he was fired from the band when Fish started pushing for a concept album and Mover thought it was a bad idea since the current songs, which were not connected thematically, would have to be scrapped.

Thematically, the song is “a cynical meditation on marriage.” JC-53 Fish explained that it was about a husband who physically took out his frustrations on his wife.

Fish described Jigsaw as being “about the relationship that splits up and forever comes together again [getting] worse each time.” JC-53 “The music on the first two verses seems almost nursery-rhyme like: guitar and keyboards chiming like a child’s xylophone, underlying the sense of conciliation in Fish’s words. The chorus could not be more different, as Ian Mosley batters his skins into submission, and Pete Trewavas’s bass thuds like punches. As it gives way to the solo, Steve Rothery creates one of those soaring, melancholic guitar lines for which he is justifiably lauded.” JC-53

“Emerald Lies”
Emerald Lies describes an accusation of infidelity…and the realization that, though proven false, the accusation has destroyed the relationship. Perhaps the most straight-forward song on thealbum, it nevertheless showcases some superb percussion work by Mr. Mosley.” JC-53

“She Chameleon”
She Chameleon describes the whole groupie phenomena, which the band had begun to experience on the Script tour. ‘Who was using who?’ Fish asked.” JC-53 The song is actually a reworking of a track that originated during the Script era. JC-54

As before, lead singer Fish has his gift for wording on full display. In Incubus, he sings “darkroom unleashes imagination in pornographic images in which you will always be the star.” It is “a slow-burning track about a porn director whose former lover and lead actress has just opened as the lead in a legit West End play. Spying her spurned former paramour in the audience, she freezes, not knowing whether he’ll reveal her secret to the press.” JC-53

“Much of the track is built on a groove until, the director’s hurt building to a dangerous level, the band takes us into a waltz. The director’s Machieavellian manoeuvres are like a dance – guitar lines – then the bile’s really unleashed! The actress, mute on the stage, writes her own death notices, and he’s watching it all, a glint of pure evil in his eye.” JC-53

Like on their first album, Marillion churn out their best song with the anthemic title cut. It was “a highlight of the band’s live set for many years to follow.” AMG The song even explores the same themes as “Script for a Jester’s Tear”as Fish continues to struggle with substance abuse and failed romance.

The song “details Fish in mid-panic attack on the underground en route to the Marquee in Wardour Street. On a come-down from LSD, Fish said, ‘Viewing the other occupants of the carriage, it summed up the album and my views on life at the time.’” JC-53

“Initially based purely on the observations of the other travellers, Mark Kelly’s piano gives way to steadily more edgy synth lines. From here, we move outside the carriage to consider unhappy relationships, racial unrest, prostitution, and our treatment of war veterans. Then, as the whole world dissolves into a fearful smear of guitar string scrapes, screams, and doom-laden keyboards, Pete and Ian paint a quasi-militaristic regime of cold war nuclear paranoia.” JC-53

“Finally, as Fish desperately askes to be shown inspiration for a way out of this terrible mess, the band become the pipers of the apocalypse and Fish is swept along with the crowd, as it marches blindly on its way to its doom.” JC-54


Marillion work awfully hard to match the standard they set with their debut. There are times that it shows; some songs meander a bit more in Marillion’s effort to make them “epics” and that the album became “too wordy.” JC-54 Geoff Boswell, a fan, said “Fish swallowed a thesaurus.” JC-54 It also “lacked its predecessor’s cohesion and focus,” AMG especially on “the somewhat less-than-stellar Emerald Lies,” WK but this album reaches farther, and in many ways succeeds, more than most bands can ever hope.

Notes: A 1998 reissue includes a second disc with demos of “Punch and Judy,” “She Chameleon,” “Emerald Lies,” and “Incubus;” an alternate mix of “Assassing,” and non-album tracks “Cinderella Search” and “Three Boats Down from the Candy.”

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Marillion
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Fish
  • AMG All Music Guide review by John Franck
  • Jon Collins (2003). Separated Out. Helter Skelter Publishing: London, England.
  • WK Wikipedia

Other Related DMDB Pages:

Last updated 3/1/2022.

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