Tag Archive | "80s music"

Bananarama Reunites After 30 Years, First North American Tour Dates Announced!

Bananarama Reunites After 30 Years, First North American Tour Dates Announced!

A once-in-a-lifetime cultural event that’s been exactly thirty years in the making, British pop powerhouse Bananarama touch down in 2018 for their first four dates in North America, as the original three-piece lineup – Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward, and Siobhan Fahey. First up, the ladies take over Los Angeles on February 20 before gigs in San Francisco, Toronto, and New York. Check out the full itinerary below.

A special fan presale goes live Wednesday October 11, while general on-sale begins Friday October 13. As they will sell out fast, get tickets HERE.

This marks a very important first for the trio. Prodigal sister Fahey amicably split from the group back in 1988-thirty years to the date of this forthcoming tour. Even though Dallin and Woodward carried on as Bananarama, performed around the globe, and released six albums, they never properly toured in their initial incarnation with Fahey. That changes in 2018.

This reunion celebrates their enduring legacy as a three-piece and the seminal albums they recorded together such as Bananarama [1984], True Confessions [1986], and Wow! [1987]. Expect to hear show-stopping and stunning renditions of era-defining singles, including the Hot 100 #1 smash “Venus“, Top 5 hit “I Heard A Rumour“, “Cruel Summer“, “Robert De Niro’s Waiting“, and more.

The North American tour comes hot on the heels of their first UK tour as a three-piece this fall.

About heading to North America, the girls commented, “America, you’ve been waiting for this one! It took a little while, but we’re finally coming to North America as a trio, and we’re so excited to give you an unforgettable show. Thanks for your patience. It’s going to be worth it!”

Cited in the Guinness Book of Records as “the most successful girl group of all-time” for achieving more hit singles than any female band in history, Bananarama forever changed the face of pop music worldwide. Blending pop, dance, and new wave with fresh fashion-forward fire and unbreakable confidence, they notched a total of thirty inescapable hit singles such as the immortal Hot 100 #1 “Venus,” “Cruel Summer,” and many more. To date, combined sales exceed 40 million and counting.

North American Tour Dates:

February 20, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA – The Novo
February 21, 2018 – San Francisco, CA – Warfield Theater
February 23, 2018 – Toronto, Ontario – Danforth Music Hall
February 24, 2018 – New York, NY – Playstation Theater

Bananarama.co.uk
Facebook.com/TheBananarama
Instagram: @Bananarama_Official
Twitter: @VivaBananarama

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99 Luftballons Over America: Nena On Her Influences, Longevity And First U.S. Tour!

99 Luftballons Over America: Nena On Her Influences, Longevity And First U.S. Tour!

nena-99-luftballonstour-2016

Nena and her song “99 Luftballons” (“99 Red Balloons”), released in 1983, was a staple in the early days of the music video era. The song was the first German-language song to enter the U.S. charts and led her to continued success in her native-Germany, where she created 16 studio albums, and countless hits, and sold 25 million records. As iconic as the video became and the tremendous amount of airplay the song receives to this day, it is almost unfathomable to think Nena never played a single show in the United States. Now, 33 years later, this pop music injustice is being rectified as Nena stands ready to take America by storm on her 99 Luftballons Over America tour. The long-awaited tour will take her to some of the biggest music cities in the country — San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City. Much more than a nostalgia act, Nena will bring an exhilarating mix of music from her expansive discography, along with her iconic song, to bring the house down at each show. Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Nena to get a glimpse into how music has impacted her life and her thoughts on her longevity as an artist.

Nena

Nena

You had a very successful career in the music industry. Is there a secret to your success?

I don’t know if there is any secret! [laughs] I just have fun with what I do. What I have learned through my experiences, especially my stage experience and with my career, is to stay open and have fun with everything you do. That is my personal secret!

Your music had an impact on many music fans. What can you tell us about the music that impacted you early on in life and what made you pursue your passion?

I bought my very first single, with my own money, when I was 11 years old. It was Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” which was mind-blowing for me! I heard it somewhere and I had to buy the single because I loved it so much! That was a very big step for me into the whole universe of music. The second song I felt intensely was “Angie” by the Rolling Stones, which I heard on the radio when I was about 12 years old. That is how it all started. Then Neil Young came into my life, along with Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Pink Floyd. When I was 16 or 17 years old, it was The Ramones, Blondie, The Pretenders! My very first concert was Eric Burdon and The Animals when I was 14 years old. That was very inspiring. That was the kind of music I listened to early on, different from what I do, but what I was mostly influenced by.

When I started my first band, I was about 16 or 17. I was from a very small town in Germany and we played music for fun. When I started, I never thought about going to make records because I never knew that something like that existed. When we played our first concert, I was very shy and didn’t want to do it. It just happened that I was on this little stage in my hometown. There were 28 people in front of the stage, mostly friends and family, and I grabbed the mic and did what I did. I had so much fun with it. I have never stopped loving it! I think you have to stay open to whatever life throws in front of your feet. I am very open to things that challenge me and I am happy to have the chance to make new experiences!

Speaking of new experiences, you will embark on a tour to perform your first shows in America.

Yes! I am excited to be traveling to America and playing live for the first time because we missed it in the ‘80s and now, all of these years later, I finally have the chance to do that! I am looking forward to spreading my wings to play more songs than “99 Luftballons.” That is kind of cool and it couldn’t be better! It will be a new musical experience and I hope to come back in the future to do tons of more shows. If it is meant to be, I’m in! I am very open to the first step!

The long-awaited 99 Luftballons Over America tour will take Nena to San Francisco on September 30th, Los Angeles on October 2nd and New York City on October 4thFor the latest on Nena, visit her official website at www.nena.de. Connect with her on social media via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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99 Luftballoons Over America: Nena Announces First Ever U.S. Tour!

99 Luftballoons Over America: Nena Announces First Ever U.S. Tour!

nena-2016-1

NENA coming to America: it’s one of the great unrequited love stories of pop culture history. “99 Luftballons” was the first German-language song to enter the US charts since Marlene Dietrich, yet although the pop queen toured all over the world, she never made it over to the US to perform. NENA has continued to rule the charts in Germany with sixteen studio albums and countless hits, and now is finally her time to take America by storm.

80s Icon Nena is finally headed to America!

80s Icon Nena is finally headed to America!

In the 33 years since it was released, NENA’s “99 Luftballons” (“99 Red Balloons”) has had an unmatchable impact on popular and music culture.  Although NENA never stopped making music – she’s had a three-and-a-half decade career of hits and 16 studio albums behind her in Germany – and has toured in countries as far as Japan, NENA never got to tour the US. It’s one of those flukes in music history where what should have happened didn’t happen. But in NENA’s own words, “…now’s the right time. It’s always now!…When you want to do something and it just doesn’t happen, you shouldn’t be sad or disappointed because, well, 35 years later, it happens! It’s perfect timing.”

At the heart of NENA is a rock’n’roller with unbeatable stage presence and energy to spare, whether she’s playing to regularly sold-out crowds at the biggest arenas or more intimate club venues. Just take a listen to NENA’s latest outing – the excellent, energetic and rocking live album Live at SO36, recorded during a within-minutes sold-out concert at the famed Berlin club SO36. The opening rocking riffs of “Noch Einmal” NENA struck on her Telecaster sent out a shockwave of energy that carries through an entire night. From pure rockers to new-wave favorites to the touching ballads that fans sing along word-for-word, NENA can electrify a crowd with her incomparable, instantly recognizable voice and her own brand of rock’n’roll that includes influences of The Ramones, Blondie, and Talking Heads, among many others. The dancing never lets up with NENA until the lights finally go on at the end of the night. That’s what NENA is going to ultimately bring to the US – an amazing live energy that can shake an entire audience to its core.

She’s captured the hearts of Germany: her numerous top ten hits and 25 million sold records are proof of that. Now it’s time to share that with America. NENA’s most recent studio album, Oldschool, is the perfect fusion of her constant drive for artistic development and genuine authenticity. Produced and co-written by German hip-hop superstar Samy Deluxe, it blisters with a sense of immediacy and newness while especially playing lyrically with references to her past.

NENA has never been a nostalgia act; she still delivers onstage an exhilarating mix of her amazing and expansive discography. With that much spark, it’s a recipe for an utterly mind-blowing evening. American fans that missed the opportunity to see NENA when they were first introduced to her now have that chance. To paraphrase her latest single, there’s no time like “Genau jetzt” (right now).
NENA will be playing San Francisco on September 30, Los Angeles on October 2, and New York City on October 4.

SAN FRANCISCO Tickets Here
LOS ANGELES Tickets Here
NEW YORK CITY Tickets Here

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Appetite for Dysfunction: Axl Rose’s Former Manager, Vicky Hamilton, Releases New Tell-All Book

Appetite for Dysfunction: Axl Rose’s Former Manager, Vicky Hamilton, Releases New Tell-All Book

Appetite For Dysfunction-2016At 22, Vicky Hamilton left her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and arrived on the Sunset Strip as a wide-eyed blonde with an ear for rock & roll: “I was back home interviewing Tom Petty for Three Rivers Review,” says Hamilton, “And he told me I was a ‘real California girl,’ and that’s all it took.” It was 1981, and Hamilton arrived at the center of Hollywood; where the scene was erupting with spandex, sex, cocaine, Aqua Net hairspray and madcap visionaries, like Hamilton, who discovered Guns N’ Roses and became their first manager and surrogate mother. At one point, Guns N’ Roses lived in Hamilton’s apartment, as Axl Rose ducked a rape charge. “I realized I was harboring a fugitive,” she says, “But then Axl ended up crashing on my couch for six months.” Hamilton then negotiated Guns N’ Roses contract with Geffen Records.

In 1986, she was let go and forced to sue the band to recoup the $25,000 she’d borrowed to bankroll them. Hamilton now shares her stories in a memoir about a woman who rode the crazy train with some of rock’s wildest frontmen, and matched their hard-partying ways. Sober for 15 years, Hamilton spent that last seven excavating her private collection of photos, flyers, contracts, letters, and interviews to create a revealing look into her fascinating life. Her book includes new details about her turbulent relationship with Axl Rose and Poison’s Bret Michaels, her experience as an A&R rep for Geffen, and above all, Appetite for Dysfunction is the story of her rise and fall, and how she regained her life by becoming a Grammy Award-winning executive that helped relaunch the career of June Carter Cash in 1999.

About the Author:
Vicky Hamilton is a Grammy Award-winning music industry executive and manager who oversaw the early careers of Guns N’ Roses, Poison, Faster Pussycat and Mötley Crüe. She is considered one of the most successful music industry executives of her time. Appetite for Dysfunction is her unbelievably true story, told for the first-time alongside stunning images and first-hand accounts of a music executive with nearly four decades of rock & roll stories to tell.

Visit Vicky Hamilton’s official website at www.vickyhamilton.com. ‘Appetite for Dysfunction’ sounds like one hell of a read and is available for purchase now!

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KUNG FURY: The Greatest 80s Action Film of All-Time Has Been Unleashed!

KUNG FURY: The Greatest 80s Action Film of All-Time Has Been Unleashed!

kungfury-2015

The wait is over! The over-the-top, 80’s styled, martial arts homage known as KUNG FURY has been unleashed!  The film is the brain child of David Sandberg, who left his job in pursuit of producing the best 80’s style action movie of all time. The stylistic trailer reached over 8.5 million views and its retro touch connected with over 18,000 Kickstarters, raising $630,000 while surpassing their goal several times over and making Kung Fury the second biggest Kickstarter film of all time outside of the U.S. Once a dream of David’s, Kung Fury is now moving fast towards completion and becoming a reality. Check out this amazing film below!

As one of the biggest Kickstarter projects of all time, the crowd-funding sensation recently became even hotter by locking down what can only be described as the ultimate feature:

"True Survivor"

“True Survivor”

“The 80s was about fun, action, and heroes,” says David Hasselhoff. “Kung Fury has it all! I’m honored to be involved with [director] David Sandberg, an up-and-coming force of nature in the animation digital entertainment world.  The song is perfect for me as I really am, in real life, a True Survivor.”

Releasing the song and accompanying video now is a nod of gratitude towards the crowd-funding community that had invested in Kung Fury, giving them a small token of appreciation while the 30 minute short film goes through its final production stages. With David Hasselhoff lending his unmistakable vocals to “True Survivor,” Kung Fury is giving the 80’s style film fans a reason to celebrate while introducing a classic style of action-film to a new generation of film lovers. The soundtrack for the film will also be released today!

Official Sites:

http://www.kungfury.com
http://www.facebook.com/laserunicorns
https://twitter.com/laserunicorns
http://www.instagram.com/laserunicorns

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CATHOUSE LIVE: Epic Event To Feature Cinderella’s Tom Keifer, Sebastian Bach, Faster Pussycat, Stephen Pearcy And More!

CATHOUSE LIVE: Epic Event To Feature Cinderella’s Tom Keifer, Sebastian Bach, Faster Pussycat, Stephen Pearcy And More!

Riki Rachtman’s World Famous Cathouse will return to Southern California for one night of debauchery with Cathouse Live At Irvine MeadowsSaturday, August 15 at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater (recently known as Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre) in Irvine, CA. Riki Rachtman created the original rock dance club that dominated the Hollywood scene from 1986-1993. Now, along with Live Nation and Synergy Global Entertainment (SGE), he’s bringing Cathouse Live to a much larger audience with this decadent music and lifestyle festival.

The initial music lineup for Cathouse Live features some of the defining rock artists of the ‘80s and ‘90s, including an All-Star JamExtreme, Cinderella’s Tom Keifer, Sebastian Bach, Dokken, Faster Pussycat, Stephen Pearcy (the voice of RATT), Saigon Kick, Gilby ClarkeDangerous Toys, L.A. Guns, Junkyard, Trixter, Autograph, Black ‘N Blue, Tracii Guns, Enuff Z’ Nuff, BulletBoys, Bang Tango, Jetboy, Pretty Boy Floyd, Tuff and Little Caesar.

Cathouse Live will feature band performances on two stages, VIP Meet and Greets, a vendor village, a chopper motorcycle show, tattoo shops, go-go dancers, and more.

“I recently started a Cathouse Hollywood Facebook page and everyone was asking ‘Why don’t you do another Cathouse?’ I loved the idea and mentioned it on Twitter. So many bands told me that they wanted to be a part of it, that I knew that I had to bring it back on a much larger scale. It was too big for a club, so we decided to do a festival,” Rachtman explains. “The music scene isn’t what it was like back then–that type of decadence.We’re going to bring the debauchery of the Cathouse back to Southern California! SoCal needs this kind of rock festival so people will have the chance to go out, have fun and enjoy a great rock show in all its excess. Cathouse was a very successful weekly nightclub for six years, so we’re trying to pack all those years of Cathouse into one night for Cathouse Live. All I want is for those who go to have a good time and say, ‘That was the BEST ROCK FESTIVAL EVER.’”

Tickets for Cathouse Live At Irvine Meadows go on sale Friday, May 15 at 10:00 AM PT at www.CathouseLive.com and start at just $15 plus fees.

Aptly named NOTHIN’ BUT A GOOD TIMEYOUTH GONE WILDNOBODY RIDES FOR FREE, and RIKI’S BIG PACKAGE, the Cathouse is coming out of the gate with a handful of exclusive experiences and VIP opportunities to get a front row ticket, have a meet and greet and photo with the bands, be backstage in the dressing rooms, watch the show while standing on the main stage, and drink the night away in the Cathouse VIP lounge. All packages and experiences are available at www.CathouseLive.com while they last!

Stephen Pearcy of RATT recalls, “I remember the Cathouse very well…used to go there when off the road with the RATT tours in the ‘80s. Anything and everything went down there. Great jams, good stories in my book about that place. Everybody was somebody or thought they were, and trashed. You knew you had a good time there when you couldn’t remember what you did there the next day! Myself, Riki, Fred Coury, Tracii Guns, Taime and a couple others created a jam band called P.I.G. (Partners In Grime). We only did a few shows, got a bus, went out and had a great time. Places like the Cathouse will never happen again. Those were the dayz.”

The original Hollywood Cathouse was known for its edgy, underground, dirty rock ‘n’ roll vibe that was rooted in punk. It reeked of raunch and pure decadence. Patrons would freely indulge. The DJ played rock ‘n’ roll between unannounced performances from bands like Guns N’ Roses (Cathouseregulars who performed live at the club in 1986 just before their debut record was released), Sebastian Bach, Stephen Pearcy of RATT, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat, Junkyard, Jetboy, Bang Tango, Saigon Kick, Black ‘N Blue, Little Caesar, and many more. Guns N’ Roses’ video for “It’s So Easy” was shot at the Cathouse, Alice Cooper played one Halloween, and when Ice-T was banned from every Los Angeles club, Riki invited his band Body Count to play Cathouse. “It wouldn’t be uncommon to see Guns N’ Roses one week and Alice In Chains the next–so many bands played before they were huge. It was also the kind of place where you’d find Robert Downey Jr. rubbing elbows with Aerosmith’s Stephen Tyler,” says Rachtman.

Cathouse was the place to discover the best rock ‘n’ roll. Ask anyone who ever went to Cathouse…they’ll try to piece together what they remember about how legendary it was. With Cathouse Live At Irvine Meadows, the Cathouse is returning for those who lived the legend as it happened and those who are ready to experience this piece of rock ‘n’ roll history for the first time.

“Riki Rachtman is a great ambassador for a whole generation of hard rock,” says Live Nation Executive Vice President Rich Best. “We’re excited to partner with his iconic Cathouse brand to bring some of the biggest rock bands of the ‘80s and ‘90s together for this event. With over 20 bands that helped define an era with millions of records sold and dozens of hit songs, Cathouse Live at Irvine Meadows is a great value for fans.”

cathouse-live-2015-1

Two lucky unsigned bands will have the chance to play at Cathouse Live at Irvine Meadows via the Cathouse Live Battle of the Bands, held Tuesday, July 14 at the infamous Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, CA. The grand prize winner will open the main stage and the runner up–as chosen by celebrity rock judges–will open the second stage at Cathouse Live. Bands can apply for a chance to play the Cathouse Live Battle of the Bands by emailing mproductionsrocks@gmail.com between May 12 and July 1.

Los Angeles Times writer Kastle Waserman described Cathouse in her August 23, 2001 feature, noting: “On any given night, high-heeled, platinum blonds vied for attention on the dance floor. Aspiring rock musicians with impossibly teased hair crowded the bar and offered their standard pickup line: ‘Come see my band play.’ In VIP corners, rock notables mixed easily with Hollywood scenesters…Within weeks of its opening in the late 1980s, the Cathouse became ‘world-famous,’ L.A.’s place to be for rock ‘n’ roll kicks. A six-year run saw it evolve from a lightning-strike success into a legendary landmark…”

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to re-live the Cathouse experience August 15, 2015 at Cathouse Live At Irvine Meadows.

Website: www.CathouseLive.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CathouseLive  

Twitter: @cathouselive; https://twitter.com/cathouselive  

Instagram: @cathouselive; https://instagram.com/cathouselive/

You Tube: www.youtube.com/channel/UC170SrQWJyjnyImo8cwyMeQ

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KUNG FURY: David Hasselhoff Offers Commentary On “True Survivor” Video

KUNG FURY: David Hasselhoff Offers Commentary On “True Survivor” Video

"True Survivor"

“True Survivor”

In mid-April, the highly anticipated 80’s action-inspired film Kung Fury released its new single “True Survivor.” VEVO sat down with global superstar, 80’s icon, and star of “True Survivor,” David Hasselhoff to break down the viral video – watch the behind the scenes below!

As one of the biggest Kickstarter projects of all time, the crowd-funding sensation just became even hotter by locking down what can only be described as the ultimate feature:

“The 80s was about fun, action, and heroes,” says David Hasselhoff. “Kung Fury has it all! I’m honored to be involved with [director] David Sandberg, an up-and-coming force of nature in the animation digital entertainment world.  The song is perfect for me as I really am, in real life, a True Survivor.”

Kung Fury is the brain child of David Sandberg, who left his job in pursuit of producing the best 80’s style action movie of all time. The stylistic trailer reached over 8.5 million views and its retro touch connected with over 18,000 Kickstarters, raising $630,000 while surpassing their goal several times over and making Kung Fury the second biggest Kickstarter film of all time outside of the U.S. Once a dream of David’s, Kung Fury is now moving fast towards completion and becoming a reality.

Releasing the song and accompanying video now is a nod of gratitude towards the crowd-funding community that had invested in Kung Fury, giving them a small token of appreciation while the 30 minute short film goes through its final production stages. With David Hasselhoff lending his unmistakable vocals to “True Survivor,” Kung Fury is giving the 80’s style film fans a reason to celebrate while introducing a classic style of action-film to a new generation of film lovers.

The Kung Fury original soundtrack is scheduled for release on May 28th, same day as the movie Kung Fury premieres on YouTube.

Official Sites:

http://www.kungfury.com
http://www.facebook.com/laserunicorns

https://twitter.com/laserunicorns
http://www.instagram.com/laserunicorns

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KUNG FURY: David Hasselhoff Lends Iconic Voice To Film With “True Survivor” Music Video

KUNG FURY: David Hasselhoff Lends Iconic Voice To Film With “True Survivor” Music Video

"True Survivor"

“True Survivor”

The highly anticipated 80’s action-inspired film Kung Fury released its new single “True Survivor” today. As one of the biggest Kickstarter projects of all time, the crowd-funding sensation just became even hotter by locking down what can only be described as the ultimate feature: global superstar and 80’s icon David Hasselhoff.

“The 80s was about fun, action, and heroes,” says David Hasselhoff. “Kung Fury has it all! I’m honored to be involved with [director] David Sandberg, an up-and-coming force of nature in the animation digital entertainment world.  The song is perfect for me as I really am, in real life, a True Survivor.”

Kung Fury is the brain child of David Sandberg, who left his job in pursuit of producing the best 80’s style action movie of all time. The stylistic trailer reached over 8.5 million views and its retro touch connected with over 18,000 Kickstarters, raising $630,000 while surpassing their goal several times over and making Kung Fury the second biggest Kickstarter film of all time outside of the U.S. Once a dream of David’s, Kung Fury is now moving fast towards completion and becoming a reality.

Releasing the song and accompanying video now is a nod of gratitude towards the crowd-funding community that had invested in Kung Fury, giving them a small token of appreciation while the 30 minute short film goes through its final production stages. With David Hasselhoff lending his unmistakable vocals to “True Survivor,” Kung Fury is giving the 80’s style film fans a reason to celebrate while introducing a classic style of action-film to a new generation of film lovers.

The Kung Fury original soundtrack is scheduled for release on May 28th, same day as the movie Kung Fury premieres on YouTube.

Official Sites for Kung Fury:

http://www.kungfury.com
http://www.facebook.com/laserunicorns
https://twitter.com/laserunicorns
http://www.instagram.com/laserunicorns

Posted in Blog, Movies, TV and More!, MusicComments (0)

WANG CHUNG: Jack Hues Discusses The Band’s Return With ‘Tazer Up’

WANG CHUNG: Jack Hues Discusses The Band’s Return With ‘Tazer Up’

WangChung_80s_Image1

Everybody Wang Chung tonight! Who would have thought people across the world would still be singing that song 20 years after its release? Even the hit’s writer, Jack Hues, can’t believe its cultural impact. Hues, a classically trained musician who grew up following in his father’s footsteps and listening to the likes of The Beatles and Cream, answered an ad in Melody Maker that transformed his life forever. He quickly found himself in league with Nick Feldman and the two formed Wang Chung. After nearly a decade of success, the two took a hiatus in pursuit of individual interests. Twenty-three years later, Wang Chung has reunited and will embark on a tour to support their new album “Tazer Up!” Steve Johnson of Icon vs Icon recently sat down with Hues to discuss his influences, his evolution as a musician, the current state of the music industry, and Wang Chung’s first full length album in over two decades “Tazer Up!”

We’d like to give readers a little background on you. When did music first come into your life?

I guess listening to The Beatles on the radio when I was really little, around 6 or 7 years old. Also seeing them on TV in the U.K. Of course I grew up in the U.K. They were a really direct inspiration. I also learned guitar because of them. My dad is a musician. He said, “You can have a guitar, but you’ve got to have proper lessons.” My dad is a jazz musician. I think he looked at the guitar as sort of a daft instrument and he probably thought the piano would be better, but he was supportive. He encouraged me to have lessons. I learned to read music. As a result of that, I’ve had this sort of side to my life where I’ve studied music. Classical music and that stuff. I guess I always saw it as a means to an end, the end being to play the guitar and be like The Beatles. [laughs]

Nick Feldman and Jack Hues

Nick Feldman and Jack Hues

You mentioned The Beatles. Are there other musicians or bands that influenced your career?

Loads! The most recent interests are around jazz musicians. Miles Davis is a huge influence. Thelonious Monk as a composer. After The Beatles, I got into Cream with Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. They were a massive influence. The fact that they improvised … I read an interview with Ginger Baker where he was complaining that he thought Cream were really the first jazz-rock band and I didn’t really agree with that at the time. Eventually I got where he was coming from. I was obsessed with Cream. Then I got into pop bands like Yes. By the time I was 18, I was really more into classical music. By that time the light had finally gone on for me. I really started to get into Mozart and stuff like that. Over the years I feel like I have pretty much covered the whole gambit of music with the possible exception of country and western. [laughs]

Tell us a little bit about the genesis of Wang Chung. How did the band form?

Like I said, I studied classical music. I did a degree in music at Goldsmith College in London. That’s where all of the British artists like Damien Hirst have gone. So, I came out of the university around 1976 or 1977, when punk exploded in London. That got me right back into rock music or punk music, whatever you want to call it. The freshness. The lack of inhibition. There was a sense that something really new was happening. It was a great antidote to those three or four years of studying the classical stuff. As much as I love classical stuff, it can get a little stuffy. [laughs] The punk stuff was a huge influence on me. It was through looking at bands and doing some auditions where I met Nick through a Melody Maker audition. Melody Maker was a music paper in the U.K. at that time. He put an add in the back of the paper that said musicians wanted. I applied and we got along great. He was writing songs that were punk. They had a lot of attitude in them. He was having problems with the chords and apparently I was the only guitar player who could pick up these chords. [laughs] I guess nobody else could play bar chords and stuff. [laughs]

Did you guys ever think your song “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” would have the success and cultural impact it has?

No! You can’t imagine that at the time. [laughs] I think we were doing our best to have a hit. My answer is probably a bit too long. Wang Chung sort of had a hit with “Dance Hall Days” from “Points on the Curve.” The label we were signed with, Geffen Records, wanted something more. Instead of doing that we did the “To Live and Die in L.A.” movie, which as far as they were concerned was sort of a flop because it didn’t have a number one single on it and all of that stuff. I think it’s still artistically our best work. After “To Live and Die in L.A.” we kind of had to tow the line a bit. So, “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” was our response to Geffen, kind of saying we have our number one record. We managed to pull it off on that occasion. If you said to me that we would still be talking about what wang chung means and the whole phrase would be in everybody’s lexicon in the first decade of the 21st century I would have laughed at you! [laughs]

Last month you released “Tazer Up!,” which is your first full length album in two decades. What have you and Nick been up to for all of those years in between?

Wang Chung's 'Tazer Up'

Wang Chung’s ‘Tazer Up’

When we split Wang Chung we both went off and did solo projects, which lasted a couple of years. Nick got into working on the A and R side of record labels. He worked for Warner Brothers to begin with and then went to Sony. He was kind of on the other side of the table for a while. I did quite a bit of producing, some of Nick’s bands at the time. He would get in touch with me if he had bands that needed a musical producer. So, we did work together through that time, but we really didn’t do anything with Wang Chung. I also developed a jazz project near my home town of Kentsbury with some London musicians and with my friend Chris Hughes, who actually produced “Dance Hall Days.” Chris had always wanted to do a sort of an art for arts sake project. So, we did a couple albums. So we did that. In 2006 we did a TV show in L.A. as Wang Chung and that was the thing the really started the, “Maybe we should do some more Wang Chung work.” He had the time and I had the time. So, yeah! Other than the work we both had families and lived life. [laughs]

For those who haven’t heard the new album, how would you best describe it?

People say that it’s of a mixture of classic Wang Chung sound with a real contemporary sound. That’s as clear as I go about it. I don’t like talking about music in terms of genre. We use all kinds of different genres on the album. That to me is really normal. All of those Beatles albums hopped from one genre to another on every album from “Within You Without You,” to “When I’m Sixty-Four,” to “Lovely Rita,” to “A Day in the Life.” I always see genre as something of an artist’s view. It’s kind of like wearing a suit of clothes rather than what defines you as an artist. So, it’s classic Wang Chung with a modern sound. A sort of genre bending freak-show! [laughs]

Do feel you evolved as a musician since starting out?

Yeah. Back in the ‘80s, as a musician, I was pretty naive in all sorts of ways. I didn’t realize what it entailed. [laughs] I think over the years producing and working on the jazz thing, and over the years becoming more and more obsessed with music … I bought a lot of music. I listened to a lot of music. I feel like I am still a student of music. I think I’m probably a better musician now than I was then.

 

Wang Chung

Wang Chung

Tell us a little about the writing process for the record. Was it awkward being back in the studio with Nick working on new Wang Chung material?

It was surprisingly exactly the same! [laughs] We both fought about the same things and liked the same things. Back in the ‘80s when we made an album, we were in a big studio like Abbey Road and we were in there for like seven days a week for six months. That was our sole focus, whereas these days we have lives and other things going on. With this album, we would work on it for a couple of weeks here and there then take a couple of months off and write some more songs. It was quite a relaxed process. We worked with an engineer called Adam Wren. Adam has done all sorts of things and he’s great. Nick and Adam worked pretty closely on the songs. I have a studio at home, so I did quite a bit of recording here. It was a bit of a different process, but like I said, it was surprisingly similar in terms of the way Nick and I function together.

Were there any challenges to making the album?

Yeah. There’s always a challenge in trying to make it good! [laughs] I guess we had the advantage of that 30-year gap, where the both of us were writing songs at the same time. Some of the songs, like “Stargazing,” I wrote in the end of the ‘90s. Some of the songs are much more recent. “Overwhelming Feeling” and “Driving You,” songs like that are from the last couple of years. When you are a new band you have that thing on your first album where you have your whole life to write the songs. With this record we had a big bunch of time for us to write songs and filter out the mediocre stuff and release the good stuff.

We understand you are going to release another full length album this year. What can we expect from that? Will it sound different from “Tazer Up!?”

Yeah. It feel a bit like a rash! [laughs] The thinking behind that was that we had more than enough stuff from this album. We wanted to keep it to a 10-track album. I think that you have to play by the rules a bit. Forty-five minutes is about right for an album. So, there are tracks left over. The idea is to take those tracks and put them on another album. We also have a bunch of remixes, stuff that’s probably a little more dance oriented than the more songwriter lyrics on this album. The idea is to use that stuff on our next album.

Do you have any idea when it will be released?

Knowing us, it will be three or four months after I say it will be out. We are looking in the summer. We want something brand new then because we plan to tour in the summer.

Some modern musicians borrowed a bit of the ‘80s vibe as of late and have created some unique stuff. What are your thoughts on the state of music today?

With the Internet it’s great and not so great simultaneously. Anybody can make a record now, write a song, and get it out there. That’s great, but it’s also a problem in that it feels like there is too much stuff. From the view of how I experienced music back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, it was really clear who the great bands were. When Led Zeppelin hit, you knew they were amazing. When you went to see Yes, you knew they were amazing. When The Sex Pistols arrived, you knew they were a game changer. It was much easier to read. Whereas now, it’s much more of a supermarket of choice. If you want a bit of folk music you can buy that. In that sense, maybe music is a little less dynamic and marginalized than it was when I was a kid. There’s still a huge amount of talent out there. One of the other things I do these days is teach at the university here in Canterbury where I live. I’m seeing guys who want a career in music. They are hugely talented and they play me stuff by bands I’ve never heard of, who are also hugely talented. There’s no shortage of great music out there that’s for sure.

Are there any bands that excite you right now?

Good question. I’m a huge Radiohead fan. I guess they’re not classified as modern anymore. I’m a big fan of them. A guy named Jon Hopkins. He supremely talented. I’d recommend those guys.

Wang Chung

Wang Chung

You mentioned your tour earlier. When can people see you and what should they expect from your live show?

I was hoping it would be this summer. With the last album we were more than ready, but we didn’t get to do that. I would think about June, July, and August would be the touring time. As far as our live show … We’re mindful of all the people that come to a Wang Chung gig that want to sing along with everybody to our songs. [laughs] So we’ll play the old songs. The touring that we’ve done more recently, we’ve done some of those old things, but we play some tracks from the new album. We’ve been doing “Rent Free,” “Stargazing” and “Driving You” sometimes. I’d like to start playing more of the new stuff. The year before last we had a song called “Space Junk” in “The Walking Dead” TV series. We play that tune as well. What we try to do is a live thing that is a different animal from the studio. We stretch out the songs a bit and get everybody involved. It’s a party thing, but I think with Wang Chung you always have some of a darker edge as well. It’s a pretty interesting evening.

You’ve been in the music industry for a long time. Are you still surprised by anything?

Uh … [laughs] I guess I’m surprised by the sound in music. I recently bought myself a high end turntable about a year ago. I’ve been listening to music on vinyl for the first time in years. It’s surprising to me when I think back to the arrival of CD and all of that stuff. We were all so eager to embrace it. [laughs] I think the whole digital revolution was problematic for music in terms of sound quality. People seem to be content with meager sound with iPods and all of that stuff. I kind of think that’s a bit of a shame. The purists of music went from the province of a few nerdy people to becoming like everybody’s got a big collection on their iPhones. That’s got to be a good thing, I think. I like the idea that people are carrying around a music collection that embraces jazz, rock and pop. That’s pretty cool.

Is there any chance we will get to read an autobiography about your life?

[laughs] That’s an interesting thing. I’ve been reading quite a few biographies. I read Keith Richards’ “Life,” Neil Young’s biography, and now I’m reading David Byrnes’ book “How Music Works.” So, yeah I kinda would like to do that. I think I’d probably end up writing about music a lot more than I’d write about myself!

Do you have advice for someone who would like to get into the music industry?

Be passionate about music. Be yourself. Study the greats. Learn your instrument. Those are the things that I think I can advise about. As far as the business side … Have a good manager. Some friends of mine are in a band called Sir Arthur. They come from the same town where I live. They are going to be doing South by Southwest this year. They made an album that was just superb. They do everything themselves, as bands have to do nowadays. They are definitely getting to that point where a manager would be really helpful for them. It would give them a certain sense of direction and honest feedback. Having a manager that you can trust who’s fighting in your corner from a business point of view, but also having their own love for music. I think that’s a really important ingredient. It’s something you require a little bit up the line, but it’s important to get that right.

Do you have any last words for your fans out there?

I’d say thanks for hanging in there for 20 years! [laughs] Get the new album. Please keep looking at our website, www.wangchung.com. We are on Facebook. We are on Twitter, but I can’t get my head around it. [laughs] You can get in touch with us on that. Keep getting in touch and look out for the gigs. Come out and meet us and hang out with us at the gigs. That would be great!

Thank you for your time Jack and I wish you the best of luck!

Thanks Steve. Thanks for your time. Cheers!

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