Fad Gadget is the stage name of Francis John (Frank) Tovey (September 8, 1956 – April 3, 2002). An influential British avant-garde electronic musician, he was an exponent of both New Wave and early industrial music.
As Fad Gadget, his music was characterized by a distinctive use of synthesizers in conjunction with sounds of found objects, including drills and electric razors. His bleak, sarcastic, and darkly humorous lyrics, often layered in meaning and discussing subjects such as machinery, building construction, human sexuality, and physical violence, were sung in a droning monotone voice.
Fad Gadget was known for his confrontational live performances, which included Tovey covering himself in tar and feathers, leaping into the audience, and playing instruments with his head. Tovey was particularly infamous for spreading his naked body in shaving cream onstage, an image of which is depicted on the cover of The Best of Fad Gadget. Sounds magazine described him as "...the bumbling but talented Dr Who of electro-pop".
He recorded several LPs of more experimental work under the name Frank Tovey, beginning with Easy Listening for the Hard of Hearing, a collaboration with Boyd Rice recorded in 1981. His child can be heard on some songs, and "Love Parasite" is about a baby.
In 1989, he changed musical tactics in his criticism of industrialization, recording a mostly acoustic album of protest and labor songs Tyranny and the Hired Hand including such standards as "Sixteen Tons." He then tried his hand at writing similar material, recorded two more albums with a backing band named The Pyros. In 1992 he produced Sitting On A Cornflake album "Goodbye, good luck" on Atina Records AT CD 30-02
After touring in 1993, Tovey withdrew from the music business until 2001, when he resurrected his old pseudonym to support his former colleagues, Depeche Mode, on their Exciter tour. He continued to perform live, and was working on a new album at the time of his death.