Actually, it could have been 2003. No, I think 2002. It wasn't 2001, though. Whatever, I'm too lazy to look it up. And gee, what an impact this made on my life...
Missing Persons are missing an audience
May 28th - Mary Cary, the extremely beautiful, very talented, and pretty darn eccentric lead singer/guitarist for the Bay Area’s next big band, Electric Peach, emailed me, asking if I would want to see her band open for ‘80’s new wave pop sensation Missing Persons. Well, of course I would! So I drove all the up from my swinging pad in San Mateo to New George’s in San Rafael. The girls working the door told me I wasn’t on the guest list, but luckily my overwhelming charm and sexual charisma got me in sans admission fee. Okay, not exactly. When they told me I wasn’t on the list I said, “Oh, well I’m supposed to be” and they said “Oh yeah? Okay. Come on in.”
Hey, they really are laid back in Marin County.
The Dido CD blasting throughout the club ended and Mary and company took the stage, which was decorated with an enormous Kermit the Frog doll near the drums and a large Raggedy Ann-type doll hanging on a rope from the ceiling. Mary kept shouting questions to me from the stage like, “Gene, do you know this song yet?” which bewildered the audience, though some Marin-type girls started dancing and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
After their set I went backstage to talk with the band and waited to meet Dale Bozzio, one of the new wave goddesses I listened to on the radio (and watched on MTV) during my adolescence. Some guy swaggered into the room in a leather jacket and I struck up a conversation with him. I forgot his name, but he was friends with Dale, and was in a band called Cold... Cold... I forget. It was called Cold-something. He said they had a hit in the early ‘90’s and even sang a little bit of it for me. I didn’t recognize it, but it sounded like it probably got played on The Bone or some station I don’t listen to, so what do I know? He started to tell me about the new line of Harleys that he checked out that day. I kept nodding until he finally said, “Woe, dude. You don’t know what I’m talking about, do you?”
I told him no, but quickly started talking about how I lift weights and have taken jujitsu and Muay Thai so he wouldn’t look down on me as a girlie-man and beat me up. Then his girlfriend called him on his cell phone and I wandered off. I’m not trying to make this guy sound like a jerk. He was nice enough. But hey, I wanted to see Dale!
Then, without fanfare, Ms. Bozzio (or the former Ms. Bozzio as she and original drummer Terry Bozzio have divorced) entered the room. I told her who I was and asked for an interview after the show. She was nice enough, explaining that they may have to leave right away after the performance, but quickly asking me in her thick Boston accent, “You wanna beer? Here. Have a beeh.”
Mary and I got out of her way and the new line-up (full of kids who were probably in kindergarten when Spring Sessions M came out) took the stage, opening with “Mental Hopscotch”; a good choice. Dale looked pretty, too. Unfortunately she wasn’t in that white tight dress with a mini-mini skirt she wore in the “Words” video 20 years ago. She was dressed down in a Stetson hat with matching black shirt, and bell-bottom blue jeans with rhinestones. Her blond locks had pink streaks in them, so she looked like a cross between Stevie Nicks and Cyndi Lauper, belting out old favorites like “None of your Business”and “U.S. Drag” when she wasn’t shouting instructions to the sound and lighting people:
“Who’s gonna run da lights?! Blink ‘em on and off when we play, awright?!”
Some rotund guy wearing a worn-out Missing Persons T-shirt he must have bought when the current line-up was being potty-trained went up to the edge of the stage and mouthed every word to every song. A couple of farm worker guys were getting into it, too, but all in all there wasn’t much of a crowd -- definitely under 50 people, if that. Maybe 30. A few issues ago, in this fine newspaper, Kimberlye Gold wrote about how hardly anyone showed up to see The Motels at their recent show in Palo Alto. I was at that show, and compared to this The Motels concert was like people getting crushed to death at a Who concert. Which is too bad, because Ms. Bozzio and her band were actually quite entertaining. The drummer was good, too --just as good, if not better, as Dale’s ex-husband (he seemed to get a more booming sound out of his skins than Terry did as I recall). Midway through the show the guy started whaling out and the rest of the band exited the stage. Hell, he must have taken a 15 minute drum solo! I’m serious. It was rather fun, too. Then his bandmates came back and broke into “I Like Boys”.
Dale likes to talk (and talk) between songs (and at the beginning of songs), telling the audience tidbits like the fact that her son picked out her 6” high heels, and that she would like to thank the late Frank Zappa for her career (which she did more than once). When she became too ensconced in her own monologues the keyboard player would try to get the next song going by playing the opening notes to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, sometimes to no avail. At the end of “Destination Unknown” Dale kept thanking the audience in a not-very-warm, tough-gal-from-da-East-Coast kind of way as the band visibly wanted to get off the stage and end the show. Eventually they did, soon returning for a rousing encore of “Walking in L.A.”.
All in all, it was an enjoyable gig. Too bad hardly anyone got to see it. Perhaps the problem was in lack of promotion. After the show I asked Dale for a quick interview but got a semi-apologetic “Not now, dude” as she walked over to autograph copies of the band’s latest CD, which was being sold at a table.
Okay, Dale -- now pretend I sound like Phil Hartman imitating Frank Sinatra when you read this: It was a good show, bay-bee, but when ya deliver da goods, ya don’t keep it a secret! The next time a writer asks you for a few minutes of your time, even if he’s from a high school rag, you start singin’ to him, or you’ll be lucky to be the warm-up act for a Dead or Alive cover band! You talk to him! What are words for?###
Update: Dale Bozzio and her current version of the 1980s New Wave band, Missing Persons, have a new album out titled “Missing in Action”. Go online and check out the single, “Hello Hello”. Good song! You go, girl! (Oh, actually it's over a year old. I thought it was new.)