Something about summertime makes even the most jaded rockers reconsider hibernation and take to the sheds, and a whole slew of musicians who found stardom in the '80s are hitting the road this year to break new material or just play the old hits. From the retro sounds of the Brian Setzer Orchestra to the moody-cool grooves of the Psychedelic Furs, and from the tongue-in-cheek glam metal of Poison to the beatnik beat of the Go-Go's, no less than a dozen Reagan-era tunesmiths are hitting local stages this week. Go-Go's guitarist and songwriter Jane Wiedlin says she and original bandmates Belinda Carlisle (vocals), Kathy Valentine (bass), Charlotte Caffey (keyboards, guitars) and Gina Schock (drums) are looking forward to doing it all over again. "There will be three or four new songs," says Wiedlin, on the phone from her apartment in L.A. But she insists the hits will be well represented, including her favorite, "Our Lips Our Sealed," which she penned in 1981. Wiedlin expects performing will be "just like riding a bike" for the friends who began paving the way for future all-girl rock bands in 1978.
The Psychedelic Furs' Richard Butler is not worried about the Furs' ability to gel musically. His concern now is recreating the dark, brooding atmospheres of "Ghost in You" or "Forever Now," for which he and bandmates Tim Butler (bassist, and Richard' brother) and guitarist John Ashton are so well known. On the phone from his home in Cold Springs, N.Y., Butler explains his fears. "We're opening the show in broad daylight, without the benefit of [stage] lighting," he laughs. "And we haven't played live together for nearly 10 years."
Bret Michaels of Poison, whose band's well-publicized excess kept the guys from playing or recording for nearly five years, is as happy-go-lucky as he was when he first burst onto the L.A. scene in full-metal regalia back in 1984. When asked if he and the boys, particularly notorious guitarist C.C. Deville, are still partying like the old days, Michaels (on the phone from a concert venue in Pittsburgh) says, "It's been just the opposite. C.C. and Bobby [Dall, bassist] are completely sober. But it's a much better show, with an abundant amount of energy." Michaels says his favorites, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and "Something to Believe In" are a big part of the band's show, as is "The Last Song," about a dead friend, from Poison's latest album, Power to the People.
Although the Go-Go's, Furs and Poison had major gaps in their careers -- during which members went through rehab, pursued solo careers or (in the case of Richard Butler's critically successful Love Spit Love) played in other bands -- guitarist Brian Setzer focused solely on writing, playing and promoting the music he loved as a kid, including his biggest hit with the Stray Cats, "Rock This Town," which he remade in 1997 for his orchestra's Grammy-winning album, Dirty Boogie.
Long before the Gap's dancing commercials epitomized the neo-swing movement in the late '90s, the Brian Setzer Orchestra was conducting a little revival of its own. For his latest, Vavoom (due August 1), Setzer was once again inspired by the music of the '40s and '50s when writing songs. "I still basically sit down and write rockabilly songs," the guitarist explains, on the phone from the road in Milwaukee. "Only difference is, now when a song comes out good, I have to write out the big band chart. It's like writing two songs in one."
To get many of these bands back together and on the road, members had to put past differences behind them. Wiedlin, who says she and the Go-Go's will finish recording new material after their summer tour, explains how VH1's "Behind the Music" exposed the band's catfights to the world and helped the girls re-examine their songwriting process. "After 20 years, we've figured out how to [get along]," she says. "It's very democratic. You're not always gonna get your way. We did have a heated discussion about the set list order [for this tour], but we finally figured out, we just shouldn't fight any more."
A fight that ensued onstage after Poison's performance at an early '90s MTV "Video Music Awards" nearly destroyed Bret Michaels' relationship with guitarist C.C. DeVille. In subsequent years, Michaels dealt with his diabetes, the addiction problems of his bandmates and the commercial decline of Poison (not to mention his videotaped romp with Pamela Anderson). Yet he seems proud of his band's "Behind the Music" episode; appearing on the tell-all VH1 special now feels a bit like a rite of passage for many bands from the '80s. "It had the good and the bad and the ugly on us," he says. "We never broke up, but a lot of our hard work got overlooked because of the party image of the band."
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
Yes, 14 is the correct answer. I'll pass your info along to the group's manager,…
That was January of 2007, and they are 21 now, so I'm guessing 14?