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Flock Of Seagulls - Interview

  by Paul Waller

published: 24 / 1 / 2013

Flock Of Seagulls - Interview


Mike Score, the front man with 80's electronica act A Flock of Seagulls, talks to Paul Waller about 'All I Wanna Do', his new solo single and first release in seventeen years

34 years ago in Liverpool, Mike Score formed A Flock of Seagulls with his brother Ali. They took their name from the lyrics of the bizarre Stranglers track ‘Toiler on the Sea’ and began an attack on the UK and American pop charts that lasted from 1982’s debut self-titled album until they disbanded after releasing their poorly received fourth album ‘Dream Come True’ in 1986. Since then the band has reformed sporadically with different line ups and they have released another album (1995’s ‘The Light at the End of the World’). Today Mike is still performing with the band in a live capacity, and is about to embark on a solo career with the imminent release of a new single ‘All I Wanna Do’. Pennyblackmusic spoke to Mike Score about what after an absence of eighteen years has jolted his recorded works back to life. PB: Your new single ‘All I Wanna Do’ will be out soon. You have said many times you have a massive backlog of songs. Will we be seeing some more of these being released any time soon? MS: Yes, I have tons of songs and song ideas. I have completed a set of songs which are ready to be released as my first solo album. I think it's really good; I love the songs on it. It's probably the best stuff I've ever done. PB: The "Woo Hoos" towards the end of the song are reminiscent of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. Was this intentional or just a happy accident? MS: I don't know. Probably somewhere in the back of my mind that had some influence somewhere - it's a great song. I just heard it in my head and it fitted perfectly into ‘All I Wanna Do’. PB: And why wait until 2013 to begin releasing solo material? MS: Ha ha, that is the real question, I suppose. No reason, really. I literally woke up one day and said, "I think I'll do a solo album". Then suddenly the songs came together. And I was in a writing phase, so it just kind of made itself. I worked on songs until I liked them - and that is all I really cared about. Then I decided to release the songs because I liked them so much. PB: Has A Flock of Seagulls been put on the backburner whilst the newer solo materiel comes out? MS: Not really, not on the backburner. I'll still do Seagulls shows. I keep threatening to do a new Seagulls album, but I think people might have expectations about the sound of it, so I'm not sure if I want to go there. If and when I do a new 'Seagulls album, it has a lot to live up to but it can still happen. In fact, it may happen sooner rather than later. PB: The band has a terrific musical legacy and is so much more than a haircut to so many people, yet with literally every interview you make and TV spot you appear in people will focus on the infamous seagull hairstyle you sported. Has it ever wound you up the wrong way? MS: Of course, but the hairstyle is an icon of its time, and people remember it and want to know. It used to piss me off, but now I don't really care. It was me then; a real space cadet. I loved it. It brought us the attention we needed. PB: Many people have covered your songs, Are there any favourites of yours that stand out? MS: I've not heard enough 'Seagulls covers to have a favourite version of one. If that's what you mean. But if you mean my favourite Seagulls song then it's either ‘Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)’ or ‘Space Age Love Song’. PB: ‘I Ran (So Far Away)’ was your first major hit in the States and it also made number one in Australia. That must have been an incredible time. How did the success affect you? MS: Things changed so much for us. It was almost impossible to grasp what was going on. It was from one level to the next in days; huge shows, touring with the Police etc., and songs hitting the charts. The internal stresses on the band were incredible and we didn't really have the experience to deal with it. We needed people around us to protect us from our own creation. I think we could have gone on if we had stayed the four lads that played and wrote together in that attic room in Liverpool. PB: ‘Space Age Love Song’ has an unusual and unearthly undercurrent to it but it's also a great pop song. It defines A Flock of Seagulls for me, Is there a song within the Flock catalogue that holds the same resonance for you? MS: ‘Space Age Love Song’ is just pure Seagulls sound. I remember coming up with the song and thinking the chords were great. It was simply beautiful. I didn't want the lyrics to get in the way, so I ended up making them as simple as possible - to me that song wrote itself - it was in the air and it was looking for a band - thank god it picked us. PB: I first heard your music when I bought ‘The More You Live, The More You Love’ single in 1984. I thought at the time and still do today that with that single and Frankie Goes To Hollywood's ‘Two Tribes’, they captured the time perfectly. Why do you think it wasn't the huge hit that it should have/could have been? MS: That's a tough question. ‘The More You Live’ was, and still is, a cool song. It probably wasn't such a big hit because of the record company, or something going on inside the record company, some promotional budget - nothing to do with the band. PB: Did you find yourself in friendly (or not so friendly) competition with any other bands at the height of your success in the early 1980s? MS: Of course. We were in competition with any other band that was in the charts, or selling more than us. It wasn't real competition. We were mainly fans of these bands, Human League, Duran Duran et al. We wanted to do shows with them just to get to see them. We were quite friendly, but some of them weren't. I'm not sure it was the bands, but possibly the people around them. Things seem much friendlier these days when we meet-up. PB: I first delved properly into the band not too long ago thanks to an iTunes purchase of the first Flock of Seagulls album. With the advent of digital downloading and MP3s a whole new generation is discovering the group. Does that surprise you and what are your opinions on the digital age? MS: I have mixed feelings about the digital age, but it is here and it's not going away. It has great things about it. Anyone can release songs now. I’m not sure that is always a good thing, ha ha. The big problem is not getting paid because of piracy. Some brilliant musicians will not be able to have a great career because they don't get paid for their work. Still, that is also the way the cookie crumbles at this time in history. Overall digital is good, I think. PB: That first album was sci-fi themed and I have read that you have a great love for the genre. Does it still excite you and influence your work and what are your recent science fiction loves and why? MS: In the early 80s being in to sci-fi was a bit unusual. I was fascinated by it; ‘Close Encounters’, ‘Aliens’ etc. I still like it, but it's so mainstream now. ‘Ancient Aliens’ is brilliant and says all the things I used to think way back when. And space is the future. Do I think aliens exist? No. In fact, I think we are aliens seeded on this planet to evolve. It's a slow process unfortunately. I'd still love to see them, as long as they were friendly. PB: What happened to the book that your brother was writing about the band? With 35 years almost in the business behind you there must be volumes to be written? MS: The book. There has to be a book in there somewhere. My brother Ali collected lots of stuff and always said he would write a book. I've never collected anything. I just wanted to remember it in my head. I didn't think it would last thirty years. I'll talk to him. We might put a book together. Who knows? PB: Thank you.

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Flock Of Seagulls - Interview

Flock Of Seagulls - Interview

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