When one flashes aback to some of the cheesiest aspects of the ’80s music scene, A Flock of Seagulls assuredly comes to mind. Aboriginal and foremost there was that beard — an acute albino adaptation of Eddie Munster’s ’do, falling into singer/keyboardist Mike Score’s face, topped by a set of dupe wings that fabricated his arch attending like it was accessible for takeoff. Afresh there was the music, a animated and endlessly upbeat mix of atmospheric guitars and hooky synthesizer lines, a 180-degree adverse to the doom and anguish of abundant of the post-punk crowd.
Thirty-three years afterwards “I Ran (So Far Away),” the band’s better hit, bankrupt into the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100, A Flock of Seagulls is still at it. The beard is gone — Score now shaves his arch — and he is the band’s abandoned aboriginal member, but the songs abide the same. The bandage performs Saturday at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank.
Although the accumulation has been the base of New Wave jokes for years, in retrospect, Seagulls — as Score tends to accredit to them — did acquire their fair allotment of accolades aback in the day. “Their attending baffled their music,” says Richard Blade, a KROQ DJ during the band’s ’80s heyday, who now hosts the Flashback Lunch of sister base Jack-FM. “Most bodies balloon they won a Grammy in 1982 and denticulate a alternation of big hits. But that ‘waterfall’ ’do, as Mike calls, it blanket the show.”
The Grammy Blade refers to was for Best Bedrock Instrumental for the clue “D.N.A.,” from the band’s 1982 self-titled debut. That anthology accomplished the top 10 of the Billboard anthology blueprint and spawned the hits “I Ran” and “Space Age Love Song,” and additionally included the aboriginal ball club hit “Telecommunication/Modern Love is Automatic.”
Along with the blueprint success came analytical accolades from none added than the “dean of American bedrock critics” Robert Christgau, who gave the band’s admission anthology an A-minus appraisement in a analysis in which he wrote, “This is actual silly, and I apperceive why ardent new-wavers resent it. But I anticipate it’s a agreeable — so transparently, artlessly expedient that it absolutely provides the hook-chocked fun best accepted pop bands alone advertise.”
These canicule the 62-year-old Score, who calls Cocoa Beach, Fla. home, is blessed he’s still able to abutment himself arena music, but he additionally feels that the bandage is accepting a long-awaited reconsideration from music admirers who already ability accept absolved it as annihilation added than New Wave fluff. “When I apprehend synth bands these days, I apprehend us,” he says. “It’s about like it skipped a bearing and the bodies appropriate afterwards us didn’t like us and that’s fine, because they capital to insubordinate adjoin what was activity on afore them, affectionate of like the punks rebelled adjoin the ’70s cool bands.”
As Score sees it, A Flock of Seagulls were innovators. “We did things that no added bandage was accomplishing before, whether you anticipate it was adequate or bad, and it’s had its influence.” The access includes Score’s acclaimed hairstyle. “A lot of adolescent bands accomplished that accepting an angel can absolutely set them apart,” he says. “I watched some being on TV, and I anticipate that could accept been me if I started out now … In a way we bankrupt a lot of barriers and we started altered directions. A lot of bodies don’t like change. Guitar bodies hated synths, so aback synth bands started accepting hits they were all adjoin it.”
A Flock of Seagulls formed in Liverpool in 1979 with Score’s brother Ali on drums, Frank Maudsley on bass and Paul Reynolds on guitar. Prior to basic the band, Score endemic a salon alleged Oz the Magic Hairdresser, which catered to audience complex in Liverpool’s music scene. “I anticipate we were like the alone abode in Liverpool area you could accept your beard absolute red one day and get it bare out the abutting so you could go to work,” he recalls. “There were a lot of weekend punks. They’d appear in on Friday and appetite blooming and red in their beard and afresh appear aback on Monday and say, ‘Can you do it brown, because I got to go aback into work.’ In those days, accepting blooming beard was not adequate at all.”
Score’s own acclaimed ’do came about on accident. “Me and Frank acclimated to accept like [David Bowie] Ziggy [Stardust] hairdos,” he recalls. “We’d consistently be attractive in the mirror to see who could get their beard to stick up the highest. Afresh Frank aloof put his duke on my beard and it burst bottomward in front.” At the moment, the band’s administrator appear the accumulation should accept been on date bristles account ago. With no time to fix his ’do, Score took the date and was afraid by the response. “People started pointing at it,” he recalls. “And I thought, ‘You apperceive what? I anticipate I’ve got article here.”
However, Score noticed that the hairstyle had overshadowed the band’s music, “which is why, afterwards about a year, I chock-full accomplishing it,” he says. “I anticipation we’re not activity to accept a huge career, if I’m a hairstyle, but it didn’t about-face out that way did it?”
After the antecedent success, there were a few added hits, including “Wishing (If I Accept a Photograph of You),” which ailing at No. 3 on Billboard’s Mainstream Bedrock chart. Score looks aback at that song as the band’s consummate achievement. “I anticipate if ‘Wishing’ came out today, it would still be a hit,” he says. “It’s a around-the-clock song. I anticipate ‘Space Age’ is additionally a around-the-clock song. I anticipate ‘I Ran’ is an iconic song of the ’80s.”
Back in 2003, the aboriginal calendar got aback calm for VH1’s “Bands Reunited,” but it didn’t last. “Things were accomplished for about a ages or six weeks,” Score says, “but afresh the aforementioned problems that breach the bandage up in the aboriginal abode began to apparent again.” Today, Score says, “I accept added fun with the newer adaptation of the bandage than the aboriginal guys.”
CRAIG ROSEN is a approved contributor to Marquee.
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