LOST 80’s LIVE
The longest running 80’s retro tour of it’s kind featuring the original vocalists live on one stage, on one epic night!
Get Lost in the 80`s with hit songs from A Flock of Seagulls – “I Ran”, Wang Chung – “Everybody Have Fun Tonight”, The Motels – “Only The Lonely”, Bow Wow Wow – “I Want Candy”, Missing Persons – “Words”, Men Without Hats – “Safety Dance”, Farrington & Mann original vocalists of When in Rome UK – “The Promise”, and Animotion – “Obsession”
A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS
The year was 1983 and just prior to leaving for an overseas tour, singer Mike Score had a date with a lady, who, during their date produced a photograph of herself. As the story goes, Mike asked her for it and she refused. Mike left disappointed, but with the inspiration to write the song “Wishing (If I Had A Photograph of You)”. The song was a hit in UK and the US where it topped out at 26 on the charts, adding to the band’s newly acquired fame. If you remember “Wishing” then you know how contrasting it was to the other songs of the time. Heavy with synthesizer and electronic rhythm, light guitar riffs, – all together melodic, and like no one else – these were the sounds that epitomized the music of A Flock of Seagulls.
Earlier in time, Mike and his friend Frank Maudsley were hairdressers in Liverpool, England, interested in music and fashion. After work they would gather above Mike’s shop and jam with Ali Score (Mike’s younger brother). Initially, Mike had gotten a synthesizer from a music shop whose owner was generous enough to let him take it and pay for it later in installments, if indeed he liked it. With Mike’s voice and synthesizer, Ali on drums and Frank playing bass, the trio loved their music. But they needed more sound and so after an exhaustive search, added guitarist Paul Reynolds after he answered one of their ads in a newspaper. With Paul’s refined guitar, and Mike, who amplified Paul’s guitar riffs with intense synthesizer chords, the group had laid the foundation for the music that would soon make them quite famous.
Taking the name A Flock of Seagulls, inspired from the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”, by Richard Bach, the band started out playing shows in small venues. Club goers loved the driving electronic beat of “Telecommunications” which became a dance club hit across England. And would forever come to remember the sight of the band – particularly Mike Score – singing, playing his synthesizer, and sporting a most unusual haircut of which his long blonde, heavily gelled, bang would cascade down over his forehead and eyebrows like a waterfall.
With the waterfall haircut and more so their music, so electronic, yet melodic and charged with emotion, A Flock of Seagulls soon became one of the darlings of the music industry. After signing a record contract, and touring in the US, in 1982 they released their first album – self titled – “A Flock of Seagulls”. To their swelling ranks of fans in the US and UK, the album was magical. “I Ran” – the first single – is a song about being abducted by a UFO which came into the houses of many young Americans when MTV (then in its infancy) played it over and over and over. In it Mike wears his waterfall haircut, as he and the band play in a room decorated with aluminum foil as the camera pans around and around. The video was simplistic but the futuristic images, sight of the band, and the superior music drove “I Ran” to 9th place on US charts.
Ironically, A Flock of Seagulls became forever known for “I Ran” but there were many other fine songs on their first album. “Space Age Love Song” – is a song touching all the emotions of someone falling in love and “DNA” won a Grammy for best rock instrumental. The other songs have futuristic themes and upbeat, melodic music – all of which became the hallmark of A Flock of Seagulls.
After more touring and enjoying the success of “A Flock of Seagulls”, the second album “Listen”was released in 1983. “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” was the feature song and hit single of the album. Similar to “Space Age Love Song”, its emotional lyrics and modern sound struck a chord in many hearts. And its video on MTV showed again and again with Mike Score and his waterfall haircut wishing he had a photograph. Other songs on “Listen” seem to rely even more on futuristic and techno themes, with more upbeat music.
By 1984 things had changed though. Mike dropped his waterfall haircut and AFOS released their third album “The Story of a Young Heart”. Instead of futuristic theme songs like “Electrics” and “Telecommunications” from their earlier albums, “The Story of a Young Heart” seemed to be about a lot of cynical love songs. Listeners heard depressing songs like “Suicide Day” and “Heart of Steel.” The album lacked a hit single of the magnitude of “I Ran” or “Wishing”, but still had some fine music in songs: “The Dancer”, “Remember David”, and “The More You Live, The More You Love.” The latter was to be the last AFOS single to chart.
Shortly after, Paul Reynolds left the band. Without Paul, the magic ended. The original trio added additional musicians and released their fourth album “Dream Come True” in 1986. The music was so foreign to anything AFOS released before, and consequently flopped. The band disbanded after this. But after a three-year hiatus, Mike Score kept the name alive, added other musicians and released the single “Magic” a song reminiscent in sound and intensity of A Flock of Seagulls’ earlier days. Newer younger musicians came and went, but Mike Score continued to tour through out much of the 1990’s and released “Light at the End of the World” in 1995. Essentially, the album fell on deaf ears, which is a shame, since the music, though different from earlier AFOS sounds, still features the full essence of Mike Score’s music.
Though the century has recently ended more than 20 years since the conception, A Flock of Seagulls looks forward to more tour dates this spring and summer, plus a live album is planned for release. Mike Score and the newer “Seagulls” give it there all on stage, and concert goers will remember the futuristic music and reminisce the past.
Jack Hues born Jeremy Ryder on December 9, 1954 in Gillingham, England — “a grey town outside of London.” Hues began listening early on to the Beatles, then Cream and Jimi Hendrix before being intrigued by the long-form tracks of groups like Yes and Genesis. His next music passion was classical, studying music for three years at London’s Goldsmith College before going on to attend the Royal College of Music, studying composition and writing. While there, Jack met his friend (and future Huang Chung member) Dave Bernard (aka Hogg Robinson). After one year at the Royal College of Music, Jack left to pursue his dreams…..
(On a personal note: It should be mentioned that Jack doesn’t drink AT ALL or smoke, he likes avocados and he’s sick of Chinese food (when they were on tour, the promoters used to ply them with it!). He also likes bungee jumping, and he used to listen to classical music before going on stage to get himself in the mood. Although classically trained, he prefers working in the “pop/rock” field because it allows more spontaneity.)
Nick Feldman born on May 1, 1955 in North London, England. Nick was similarly inspired by the Beatles in the beginning, before immersing himself in an eclectic musical diet over the years: Frank Zappa, Soft Machine, modern classical, Miles Davis, punk, and traditional classical music. At the University of Liverpool, Feldman found himself studying subjects like psychology. “I soon found out that I wasn’t interested in rat behavior, but people instead.” He dropped out of the university, joining various bands in Liverpool before moving to London, where he’d eventually meet Jack in the midst of the punk movement.
In 1977, singer/guitarist/keyboardist Jack Hues and singer/bassist/keyboardist Nick Feldman met for the first time after Jack responded to an advertisement that Nick had placed in the classifieds of the weekly British music press, Melody Maker. Prompted by the freedom of the exploding punk music movement in England, they first played together in an avant-garde group called “The Intelektuals”, which was together from mid ’77 to late ’78 approximately. The group included Jack Hues (guitar/vocals), Nick Feldman (guitar/vocals), Paul Hammond (drummer – formerly of the rock band “Atomic Rooster”), and Bud Merrick (bass guitar).
In late 1978 after “The Intelektuals” split up, drummer Darren Costin, bass player Lee Gorman (who later joined the group “Bow Wow Wow”), and lead singer Glen Gregory (now with the group “Heaven 17”) joined Jack and Nick after meeting them while in the same rehearsal studio. The band was then reborn under the name “57 Men”. Some songs they performed include: “I Wanna be an Object”, “Disco Dave”, “Don’t Reac’t”, “Cheap Emotions”, “Disco Dave’s Dream” and many more. After playing around England for a year and a half trying to get a record deal, “57 Men” split up.
In late 1979, out of the ashes of “57 Men”, Jack Hues, Nick De Spig (Feldman), and Darwin (Darren Costin) re-grouped and started out again as a three-piece family, becoming “Huang Chung”. The band recorded four live tracks for 101 Records in the late ’70s, all of which appeared on a pair of compilation albums in 1980 and 1981.
Finally landing a small record deal, the independent record company Rewind Records signed the band up for a two single deal. Huang Chung released their first single Isn’t It About Time We Were on Television? in 1980; that record led to a contract with Arista Records. Saxophonist Hogg (Robinson) joined the band just after the Rewind singles. They released their first album, Huang Chung, in 1982. Throughout ’82 and ’83 the band toured extensively in Europe, where they gained valuable experience and honed their musical skills. In late ’82 or early ’83, saxophonist Hogg amicably left the band over “musical differences”.
By the summer of 1983, the band changed record companies upon being spotted by John David Kalodner at a live gig. Switching from Arista to Geffen Records, the band also changed their name to Wang Chung and immediately went back to the studio to record. The band again consisted of Jack Hues, Nick Feldman, and Darren Costin. The product of their labor was 1984’s Points on The Curve, which charted at #30.
Dance Hall Days was a small hit in Britain, yet the band hit the Top 40 twice in America — Don’t Let Go made it to number 36, while Dance Hall Days peaked at number 16 on Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart. From this point on, Wang Chung ignored the U.K. market, choosing to concentrate on the U.S.A., such as making TV appearances on “American Bandstand” and “Solid Gold”.
Sometime in 1985 before the release of To Live and Die in L.A., Darren Costin left the band, leaving Hues and Feldman to take an experimental turn when director William Friedkin asked them to score his movie. The soundtrack album not only contained their pop stylings, but also included several instrumental tracks as well. The theme song from William Friedkin’s thrilling film just missed making the Top 40 in 1985.
Hues and Feldman continued as a duo and released Mosaic in 1986. The album was their biggest success, launching the number two hit Everybody Have Fun Tonight and the Top Ten smash Let’s Go! Both tunes spawned videos that were put into heavy rotation on MTV in late 1986. To promote the album, the band made several appearances on American TV again, performing on Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show” and on Joan Rivers’ (now defunct) talk show.
Wang Chung returned in 1989 with The Warmer Side of Cool, which spent a mere six weeks on the charts, spawning the minor hit Praying to a New God. After feeling the impact of the relatively minor sales volume for the album, the group quietly stopped touring and recording. The album would eventually go out of print. However, Geffen Records has slated the record to be re-released on August 11, 1998!
Wang Chung returned in 1997 (in a way) with the release of their greatest hits compilation Everybody Wang Chung Tonight… Wang Chung’s Greatest Hits. It contains… “All the hits, plus a new remix of Dance Hall Days, and a brand new track: Space Junk”. Nick and Jack reunited to embark on a small promotional tour in order to publicize the compilation. They made several appearances on local radio stations across the USA, and also performed live at several small music festivals.
Today, all four original members are still working hard within the music industry. Nick Feldman is an A&R man working for Warner Brothers (WEA) in the UK, promoting fine new bands, such as Arkarna. Jack Hues is still busy writing music and producing on his own, being responsible for such projects as the soundtrack to “Betsy’s Wedding” and another William Friedkin film, “The Guardian”. Darren Costin (aka “Darwin”) is also busy as an engineer, producing and editing various projects for the likes of Bjork and Pavarotti. Darren Costin is now involved with a new band named “LOBE”, with an album in the works. Dave Bernard (aka “Hogg” Robinson) put his music degree to use and is now the head of all the music universities in England! Nick Feldman and Jack Hues are also founding investors in a new project: Studio Encyclomedia, the first interactive global directory of recording studios on CD-ROM.
MEN WITHOUT HATS
Thirty years ago, they told the world, “You can dance if you want to” — and the world listened. A few years later they instructed the same planet, the third, to go “Pop” –- and the world did.
After creating iconic and irresistible pop music for three decades, Men Without Hats have soared back with the release of their latest album, Love in the Age of War.
Led by their charismatic front man and songwriter, Ivan Doroschuk, Men Without Hats have surged to the forefront in recent years. Their breakout show at 2011’s South by Southwest Music Festival kicked off a successful tour of Canada and the United States. In 2012, Men Without Hats embarked on extensive, well-received touring across South and North America, and in February 2013, the band entertained audiences on a whirlwind European tour — their first visit to that continent in 20 years!
Along with keyboard players Lou Dawson and Rachel Ashmore, and guitarist James Love, Ivan and the Hats have been delivering high-energy shows packed with all of the band’s absurdly catchy lyrics as well as great tracks from the new release, a disc that picks up right where the hit-making band left off.
“Sure, lots has changed in music over the last few decades, ” says Ivan, ” but the world still loves a hooky song with a bit of edge that can get you thinking.” And that’s exactly what the Hats deliver: tracks that will get you bopping across the dance floor with subtle messages that will haunt you long after the music has ended. It’s no surprise that this band has topped charts across the planet and even picked up a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1984! (Culture Club won it.)
Michael Mainitz Hanover Germany 2-8-13 Islington 2-1-13 by Music Trespass; mwh promo pic b&w 2012 The Hats song catalogue always sounds fresh and relevant, and over the years, Hats hits have been featured on The Simpsons, Family Guy and Glee. “The Safety Dance” now lights up TV screens in a Lipton Iced Tea commercial featuring Hugh Jackman, and the main riff of “Pop Goes The World” is now a popular cheer at soccer stadiums around the world.
Men Without Hats have been providing a hit-filled, catchy soundtrack for our lives since the ’80s and the band powers magnificently into the 21st Century with a steady stream of jaw-dropping live shows and a fantastic new album.
You still can “dance if you want to” — and Men Without Hats still makes it easy and fun!
With its unique, colorful and jampacked history in the music business, Missing Persons is a band like no other. Over the years, this collection of talented and strong-willed personalities created music that tested boundaries and limits, and now they’re back for more!
Before the band began…
In 1975, Terry Bozzio was playing in Frank Zappa’s band, becoming a legend in the music industry as well as with Zappa fans. Enter, Dale Consalvi in 1976. A former Playboy Bunny from Boston, Dale visited Frank at the studio one day, and she and Terry hit it off (marrying in 1979). Warren Cuccurullo, a guitarist and Zappa fan from New York, was hired into the band in 1978 just as Terry left. When the band returned from the 1979 European tour, the Joe’s Garage albums began to take shape, making Dale and Warren as infamous as Terry had previously been. Dale and Warren began writing their own songs, and Terry quit the band he was playing with (UK) to join Dale and Warren in founding a new band. Their energy, potential, persistence and talent created Missing Persons.
Turning down a chance to go back on tour with Frank Zappa, Warren chose to dedicate himself to Missing Persons, and the three of them began writing, rehearsing, performing and recording. They appeared as “Teddy and the Ruff Riders” in the movie Lunch Wagon. Ken Scott, their producer, got excited about the band, becoming their manager. With $3,000.00 from Warren’s father, Missing Persons released the 4 song, 7 inch Missing Persons EP on their producers’ label, KoMoS. Incredible live shows, self-promotion and persistence paid off: the EP sold (estimates vary) between 7000 and 11,000 copies, and when they sold out a 3000 seat hall, Capitol Records gave them a contract in March of 1982.
Capitol re-released the EP, which became the best selling debut EP at that time, selling 250,000 copies and charting on the Billboard album chart. In October 1982, Missing Persons released its first full length album, Spring Sessions M. “Words” and “Destination Unknown” were released as singles, gaining airplay all over the U.S. Brash and energetic, the new songs were perfect for a new era of music. The album went gold, peaking at #17 and was the band’s most successful album. Missing Persons performed on many television shows, including Solid Gold, and did interviews with Entertainment Tonight, MTV and others. On New Year’s Eve, 1982, the band played in front of a sold-out crowd at the Long Beach Arena, which seated 18,000, and in May 1983, they did a set at the US Festival, which was in front of several hundred thousand people.
In early 1984, Rhyme and Reason was released, accompanied by Helmut Newton’s stunning photos of the band. Three more videos were made, and a tour was launched. Another album, Color In Your Life, was released in 1986. A single and video were released for “I Can’t Think About Dancing.” Shortly after the album’s release in the summer of 1986, the band broke up along with the Bozzio marriage.
The members of Missing Persons all went on to have careers in the music industry. Warren joined Duran Duran in 1986 and remained with the band for the next 15 years, co-writing the 1993 top five hits “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone.” Warren’s contributions to Duran Duran were many, including not only his guitar wizardry, but his talent, versatility, creativity, energy, home studio, production experience and prolific songwriting. He also has released four solo albums. Meanwhile, Terry Bozzio has made a name for himself playing with many different groups and artists, including Duran Duran studio work in 1995. He won a Grammy Award for Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop in 1990. Most of his time is spent conducting drum clinics and selling instructional videos. Dale Bozzio released a solo album on Prince’s Paisley Park label in 1988 and toured occasionally throughout the 1990’s performing Missing Persons songs with a hired band. She participated in the Zappa’s Universe concert in December 1991, was featured in MTV’s It Came From The 80’s in 1996 and appeared onstage with Duran Duran in Boston to perform “Destination Unknown” with Warren in 1999.
As for Missing Persons, Capitol Records released The Best Of Missing Persons on CD and cassette in 1987,and a special markets cassette compilation called Walking in L.A. in 1988. A live album released by Warren, Late Nights/Early Days, includes a concert from 1981 as well as the previously unreleased”Action, Reaction.” The next project was an album of remixes (Remixed Hits), for which TV Mania (Warren Cuccurullo and Nick Rhodes) contributed their version of “Destination Unknown.” In May 2001, Warren announced that he was leaving Duran Duran to re-form Missing Persons with original members Terry and Dale. Plans include tour dates and recording, and he’s already writing new music with Dale. Although fans never dared to hope for a reunion, especially considering the fact that Terry and Dale are divorced, the news has been greeted with much happiness among this still cohesive and devoted fanbase.
Her voice is unique, unmistakable and timeless – The Los Angeles Times’ Robert Hilburn called her “arguably the most charismatic female performer in rock.” And about the Hollywood Bowl concert just a few months ago, The Hollywood Reporter wrote: Martha Davis, of the Motels, was still strong in voice and admirably delivered hits like “Only The Lonely” and “Suddenly Last Summer.”
For Martha Davis, the most important thing has always been the songs she writes. Martha began writing songs at the age of 15. Born and raised in Berkeley, California, she moved to Los Angeles in the early ‘70s, along with the first incarnation of The Motels. The band reformed in 1978 and was immediately signed to Capitol Records in 1979.
The Motels recorded six records for Capitol. Their self titled debut was greeted with positive critical reviews in 1979 and exploded in Australia on the strength of the #2 Pop single, “Total Control” (which was later covered by Tina Turner for the We Are The World album). In 1981 their sophomore effort, “Careful,” went Top 50. Then, in 1982, the Motels released All Four One; the smash single “Only The Lonely” rocketed into the Top 10, immediately propelled the album to gold status and truly broke The Motels in the United States. The group dominated the music scene and was voted Best Performance for “Only The Lonely” at the 1982 American Music Awards.
1983’s Little Robbers album went gold on the Top 10 single “Suddenly Last Summer” and the second Top 40 hit “Remember The Nights.” In 1985, the Shock album yielded the Top 20 hit, “Shame,” and 1987 saw the release of Martha’s first solo effort, Policy. In 1988, Martha took a sabbatical from the music scene, prompting the question, “where have you been?” “Looking for my sense of humor,” she says. “I seemed to have lost it somewhere around 1984. It’s not a business that one should be in without a sense of humor.” Though constantly writing, Martha left center stage to work on various collaborations with artists including Ivan Neville, Arthur Barrow (Frank Zappa), Jeff Daniel, Kiki Dee, Richard Feldman, to write songs for a new musical for the Civic Light Opera, and author a new musical of her own entitled Rebecca.
Capitol reissued an expanded and remastered edition of the All Four One album, which contained previously unreleased bonus tracks. In the Fall of 2000, The Motels Anthology was released, a first ever double disk of rarities, B-sides, soundtrack cuts as well as live performances. Additionally, Martha Davis had several independent publishing deals, including one with DreamWorks SKG, wrote a children’s album and an upcoming jazz album.
Beginning in 2012, Martha began touring with the current and strongest incarnation yet of The Motels. Dates included a landmark performance at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, where she and the band shared the bill with The Go-Go’s.
2013 is proving to be the most exciting year yet for Ms. Davis and the band, with new recordings, exciting new music videos of both her hits and new tracks, a revitalized touring schedule in the US, a return to Australia and, for the first time in several decades, a return to Europe. She began the year, on January 25th, with the honor of performing at the NAMM convention in their “Living Legends” special concert series on their Main Stage with some of the most significant musicians of the 21st century backing her performance. For the first time, she and the band have a significant social media presence, and this enhanced profile has seen their 2013 tickets sales up with consistently packed venues, including an East Coast swing that included the prestigious Bergen Performing Arts Center in New Jersey, and a 4th of July headline show as the closing band for the final night of the San Diego/Del Mar County Fair.
Upcoming shows include the September 2, Labor Day concert, with The Bangles, for roughly 10,000 people, at the Los Angeles County Fair, the largest fair in the United States.
Martha is currently co-writing several songs for the new album with multiple Grammy winner Charlie Colin, co-founding member of TRAIN, and co-writer of the mega hits DROPS OF JUPITER and CALLING ALL ANGELS. The current band line-up includes bass player Brady Wills, Nicholas Johns on keyboards and former Gnarls Barkley touring band members Eric Gardner and Clint Walsh, on drums and lead guitar, respectively. The new album is highly anticipated, and details will be announced in the last quarter of 2013, in what can only be called a banner year for Martha and the band.
FARRINGTON AND MANN, original vocalists of WHEN IN ROME UK
Farrington and Andrew Mann formed When In Rome circa 1985 when Clive met Andrew in Horts Wine Bar in Manchester one cold winter night! They soon started collaborating on lyrics and melodies for songs.
Clive’s dad built a studio for them to work in and pretty soon, the formula was set for what was to become the one and only When In Rome album! First, they signed to Elektra Records via Simon Potts (A&R) and then Virgin 10 Records via Mick Clark (A&R). Both had become friends of Andrew when he moved to London; demo tape in hand, containing ‘The Promise’ in very rough 4 track form!
Clive had written the lyrics, melody and arrangement for the first verse and chorus and now it was down to Andrew to complete the song, lyrically. This was the formula used for every recorded When In Rome song!
The song completed in demo form, it was time to record this and the album.. The album was completed at Power plant Studios, London with the great Ben Rogan (Sade – ‘Diamond Life’). Further vocals were recorded at Linford Mannor, Hertfordshire and Townhouse, London.
Virgin America were asking for more like ‘The Promise’ and the guys flew to LA to record 3 further tracks with Richard James Burgess (Landscape, Spandau Ballet, Colonel Abrahams) at Sound Control and Hollywood Studios respectively. The 3 songs that came out of this session were, ‘Heaven Knows’, ‘Wide Wide Sea’ and ‘Sight of Your Tears’. The album was mixed at Quad Studios, NYC by Michael Brauer and Clive Farrington.
In 1987, ‘The Promise’, released as a 12″ single quickly caught fire on the West Coast via Live105, San Francisco and ultimately reached No.1 on the Hot 100 Club Play Chart in 1988 and No. 11 on the U.S. Hot 100 major chart in the same year! When In Rome undertook 2 successful club date tours of the U.S. in 1988 and 1989. In 1992, Clive and Andrew to When In Rome to Brazil on a very successful 1 month tour with Matt Rowe (East17, Spice Girls, Sophie Elllis Bexter) on keyboards.
In 2005, ‘The Promise’ was used as the main end theme for the cult movie, Napoleon Dynamite and won MTV’s Best Movie for the year award presented by actress Daryl Hanna Soon, the band were asked to tour again in the USA and recruited electronic percussionist, Rob Juarez who’s worked with General Public, Paul Humphreys of OMD, Trans X and The Flirts as touring member. The band are currently planning a Nationwide tour of the U.S., South America, the Philippines and Canada.
Animotion is a 1980s U.S. New Wave/synthpop band best known for their songs “Obsession”, “Let Him Go”, “I Engineer” and “Room to Move”. They signed a record deal with Polygram Records in 1984 and made three albums.
Animotion’s original six members were lead singer/guitarist Bill Wadhams, lead singer Astrid Plane, lead guitarist Don Kirkpatrick, keyboardist Greg Smith, bassist Charles Ottavio, and drummer Frenchy O’Brien. They released their self-titled debut album in 1984. The following year, a single from this album, “Obsession” brought the band international success and became the band’s first Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten single. The follow-up single from this album, “Let Him Go” also cracked the U.S. Top 40.
The follow-up album, Strange Behavior, which saw Jim Blair replacing O’Brien on the drum kit, had several singles that cracked the US Top 100. During 1986 and 1987, Animotion toured extensively, appearing alongside performers such as Phil Collins, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, Genesis, Howard Jones, INXS, and Simply Red. Animotion had great success in Germany and South Africa with their two first albums, thanks to the singles “Obsession” and “I Engineer” (both Top 10 in those countries), and entered several European charts in high positions during this period.
In the midst of recording their third album, Animotion went through personnel changes as all three of the remaining founding members (Bill Wadhams, Astrid Plane and Charles Ottavio) departed. Following their departure, actress/dancer/singer Cynthia Rhodes, known for her performance as the character “Penny Johnson” in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, replaced Plane as female lead singer, and former solo artist/Device member Paul Engemann replaced Wadhams as the male lead for Animotion’s second self-titled album. The single “Room to Move,” was aided by its inclusion in the movie My Stepmother is an Alien, became a radio hit in April 1989, and their second Top 10 hit in the U.S., after “Obsession” in 1985.
The members reunited for the first on February 8, 2001 with a sold out crowd in response to a request from Alex Hart and 94.7 NRK Radio Station in Portland, Oregon. In the summer of 2005, founding members Wadhams, Plane and Ottavio appeared as Animotion in the American version of the TV show Hit Me Baby One More Time, performing their hit “Obsession” and a cover of Dirty Vegas’ “Days Go By”.
As of 2008, Animotion have again reunited in a line-up including original members Wadhams, Plane, Ottavio, Smith and Kirkpatrick; and drummer Kevin Rankin for touring dates along the West Coast.
In 2009 Animotion was thrust into pop culture again as it was featured on VH-1’s Top 100 One Hit Wonders of the 80’s (in spite of the fact that Animotion are technically not one-hit wonders, as their song “Room to Move” cracked the top ten in 1989, albeit with an almost entirely different line-up). Animotion came in at #12 with the hit “Obsession.” Both Astrid Plane and Bill Wadhams were interviewed and featured.
Animotion is set to play select dates throughout 2009.
UK based specialist reissue label Cherry Red Records will be re-releasing both the Animotion (1984) and Strange Behavior (1986) albums via its Cherry Pop imprint on 17th August 2009 (UK) and a week later in the US (according to Amazon.com). Sleeve notes are by long-time fan Steve Thorpe, and the remastering has been carried out by Tim Turan in Oxford, UK. The CDs will each include several bonus tracks including 7″ remixes and 12″ remixes gathered from various singles released between 1984 and 1986 in Europe and the United States.
BOW WOW WOW
Bow Wow Wow’s history may be short but it’s complex. Over their four album life span, Bow Wow Wow’s music ranges from simple, goofy, non-sensical tunes to complex, crisp pop masterpieces. Bow Wow Wow’s music has been described as a pastiche of Latin and African beats, 50’s rock-n-roll, and spaghetti western soundtracks. The band packaged all of this together with an incredible sense of humor and vigor.
With thundering African/Latin percussion and twangy, Duane Eddy guitars, Bow Wow Wow struggled to maintain a consistent image and sound through a host of record producers in their short life span. But despite the numerous people who shaped their sound from 1980-1983, a strong Bow Wow Wow identity remained intact. That unique style created a wonderful antithesis to the gloom of the London and U.S. music scene in the early 80’s. Unemployment and inflation were at record highs in both countries. As Annabella Lwin (lead singer) said in 1981: “I hate London. It’s just really horrible. I just really hate it. It’s depressing, you know. At the moment anyway, it’s depressing.”