Dave Formula

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Dave Formula
Background information
Birth nameDavid Tomlinson
Also known asDavid Tomlinson, Dave Tomlinson, Dave Formula
Born (1946-08-11) 11 August 1946 (age 72)
Whalley Range, Manchester, England
GenresRock, beat, post-punk, synthpop, new wave, electronic, jazz, funk
InstrumentsKeyboards, synthesizer
Years activec. 1965–present
LabelsDecca Records, Virgin, EMI, Polydor
Associated actsSt. Louis Union, Magazine, Visage, Ludus, Howard Devoto, The Angel Brothers
WebsiteDave Formula's official MySpace site
wire-sound: Dave Formula

Dave Formula (born David Tomlinson[1] 11 August 1946, Whalley Range, Manchester, England[2]), is an English keyboardist and film-soundtrack composer from Manchester, who played with the post-punk band Magazine and New Romantic ensemble Visage during the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s and in the "world music" band The Angel Brothers.


Early Years and St. Louis Union[edit]

He lived his early youth in Whalley Range, Manchester.[3]

He worked under the name of David Tomlinson and achieved some success back in the mid-sixties with the R&B blues/soul band St. Louis Union, including appearances on Top of the Pops and in the film The Ghost Goes Gear (also featuring the Spencer Davis Group); at the time he formed the group, he was working as an apprentice television engineer.[2] Later he was a cabaret musician and before joining Magazine, he shared a flat with record producer Martin Hannett.


Formula joined Magazine in 1978 after the departure of Bob Dickinson and the release of their debut single "Shot By Both Sides", until the band's breakup in 1981. His multi-layered keyboard sounds, made with equipment such as the Yamaha CP70 electric grand piano, Hammond B-3, an ARP Odyssey, a Yamaha SS30 string synth and on later albums a Prophet 5, were a defining part of the band.

Magazine reformed in February 2009 with Dave Formula returning to play keyboards.


Formula joined New Romantic ensemble Visage with Magazine's McGeoch and Barry Adamson in 1978; he played on their first two albums, Visage and The Anvil. He left the ensemble in 1983 after having some differences with drummer Rusty Egan regarding the musical style of their third album.


Formula joined Ludus by 1982. He was one a member of the band during its last years. He played and wrote some songs which were released.[4]

The Angel Brothers[edit]

Whilst lecturing in popular music, Formula met up with Keith Angel, Dave Angel & Andy Seward which eventually led to him joining the "world music" band The Angel Brothers in 2003, playing on their two critically acclaimed albums "Punjab To Pit Top" and "Forbidden Fruit".

Design For Living[edit]

After his stint with Magazine, he formed part of a band called Design For Living.[5]

Solo Album[edit]

In January 2007 Formula began working on a solo album. Recording has been at his own Red Bird Studios. Entitled Satellite Sweetheart, it features over 30 guest musicians. The list includes almost all the members of Magazine – Howard Devoto, Barry Adamson, John Doyle, John McGeoch (posthumously) and Robin Simon - as well singer/ songwriter Robert Wyatt, Swing Out Sister’s Corrine Drury, Dennis Rollins and Joel Purnell. The release was delayed due to Magazine's 2009 activity and the album was released in February 2010 on Wire Sound.[6] A video of the collaboration with Howard Devoto; "Via Sacra" is on YouTube [7]


  • Satellite Sweetheart album (release February 2010)


  1. ^ "What's On: Music, Film, & Things To Do in Manchester - Manchester Evening News". Citylife.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  2. ^ a b Manchester Beat – "St. Louis Union are tops", a newspaper from 1965
  3. ^ Dave Formula interview Yeah, I grew up in Whalley Range Dave Formula
  4. ^ Ludus – The Damage (booklet notes)
  5. ^ "The Great Rock Discography", p. 492. Edited by M.C. Strong. Published by Giunti, 1998. ISBN 88-09-21522-2, ISBN 978-88-09-21522-1
  6. ^ "wire—sound | 360 degree music entertainment company". Wire-sound.com. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  7. ^ "Dave Formula & Howard Devoto "Via Sacra"". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-05-22.

External links[edit]