Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Flock Of Seagulls Interview

A few months ago, I did an interview with friends of mine on the legendary band A Flock Of Seagulls.

It was published on the Texas Star Tribune.

The site link is at : www.texasstartribune.com


They were getting ready to do a few concerts in Texas.

I found the answers to my questions interesting.

This is not a sports related topic, though one could find similarities with professional sports and the music industry.



A Flock Of Seagulls are a legendary band that has long had a worldwide following. The band has long enjoyed playing in Texas, and the fan base in the state is as strong today as ever.



Mike Score created the band in late 1979, and they were known throughout the planet in a short time. The band also helped get MTV off the ground by being one of the first bands to shoot a video of one of their songs.



Since then, A Flock Of Seagulls has spanned the globe innumerous times. They have written many hit songs, created gold records, and won a grammy. Many know they are the first Liverpool band to have a gold record since the Beatles. Mike Score relocated the band to the United States in the mid-80's, and has kept the band moving forward since.


The band has a strong lineup and are still creating today. Mike Score and world renowned lead guitarist Joe Rodriguez have been playing together for over a decade now, and the bassist Pando and drummer Michael Brahm, two well known and respected musicians, have now played with the band for over four years. Many fans of the band feel this is the best lineup the band has ever had.



The band is well known to give incredible concerts. One trademark of the band is they play everything live. Many bands, unfortunately, use pre-recorded music at shows. The music, energy, and passion that emanates from A Flock Of Seagulls in a show is electric, and makes their concerts better than the rest.





You can keep track of the band by going to their website :

www.myspace.com/aflockofseagulls


You can also visit their fan website :

www.afosfanclub.com





They are currently touring all over Europe for several months.







What is your favorite memory of all of the times you have played in Texas?

Mike Score : Well lets see, there are many memorable shows in Texas. The first one with Joe King Carasco in 1982 at some dome. All I really remember was it was so huge. I wondered how they would get enough people in, but it was quite full, and we had a great night. There is a club we used to play at in Dallas, I cant remember its name, but we always had good shows and a great party after.



Joe Rodriguez : I don't have one "favorite" memory, per se, but one that stands out is when we played an outdoor gig in Austin in the middle of the summer a few years ago. It was so incredibly hot and my feet felt like they were on fire with the way the sun was baking my black boots on stage. I guess I was looking a little woozy from the heat and some kind soul in the front row misted my face with cool water. Very thoughtful of them!



What is your favorite AFOS song to play?

Mike
: Well they all have their moments. Usually for me its newer songs. The old ones are really for the fans. Its always nice to see people go off to "I Ran" and "Space Age" and "Wishing", because thats what they know.

Joe : I never get tired of "Space Age Love Song"...the chords and melody are still magical to this day. Also, "Man Made" is very atmospheric and I get to do an intense solo at the end that seems to get the crowd going every time.





Is it a staple of the bands playlist?


Joe : They have been, yes.

Mike : Well yes, but I can change. Nothing is set in stone except "I Ran" and "Space Age".





How does the band determine which songs you will play at each event?


Mike : We decide what to play depending on the time we have, and someone may say, "Hey we haven't played that for a while!" So we throw it in and see how it goes. Also, when we rehearse, we try different songs and see if we can slot them in.





Joe? How many different guitars do you end up playing at each set? What are they?

Joe
: Normally just one versatile guitar that covers everything. I don't tell anyone what brand it is, so as not to promote the company, but I play a particular one live more for sentimental reasons and because I'm comfortable with it.





Mike? Do you prefer traveling the U.S.A. by plane or automobile? Is there a reason?

Mike : I, myself, prefer to drive. It means you can stop when you want and catch a bit of peace. Airports are a mess no matter how organised you are. Your always sitting around for hours, although in some cased flying is the only way to get there on time.





Mike? It was once written that you love refurbishing sailboats. Is this still a hobby?

Mike : I like messing about with boats, but not lately. I have too much other stuff going on.





Was it part of your inspiration for creating the beautiful song "SEVEN SEAS" on the band's CD "LIGHT AT THE END OF THE WORLD"?

Mike : I think i did that alone one night. I was just messing with a synth. I think there was a movie on which had something to do with the seven seas, so I called it that. It fitted. I don't remember much more about it, I just liked the way it turned out.





Many bands today use pre-recorded music at concerts. Why does AFOS prefer not to?

Mike : Well if you are using pre-recorded or tapes, it's not live is it? I think using samples is pretty much the same but you can at least trigger them live. If you are playing to a tape, who is running the band? You or the tape? In certain cases, it needs to have a bit more energy or be slowed down a little. It depends on the atmosphere of the night. Only live can you judge that and adjust. New bands have grown up to use tapes, etc. It's their way. Its almost like they are afraid to just play it and make mistakes. I say trust the other guys in the band and just play. That what a band is all about. If not, you might as well mime or just put your mp3 through the PA (system) !!

Joe
: I think it can take away the live dynamics and danger factor of seeing a live band perform. That's the excitement of it for us and the audience. Besides, when you've got a thick wall of sound like Mike's keyboards and my guitar, how much more would you need?





Mike? You once said, many years ago, that the internet was the future of music. Would this tie in with your famous song "MAN MADE", where you wrote "Now machines control, while the man obeys"?

Mike : "Man Made" was about how I saw the future. Everything will be controlled by machines, and eventually we will lose control of the machines. NORAD, Star Wars Project etc. They are faster than us and they don't make mistakes. They do what you tell them, or so thats how it's supposed to be. It will be fine if the human race can keep control, but I don't think we will. Once we build a self aware machine, it's the end for us. It will decide we are disposable. Just like "I Robot" : the best way to save us is to get rid of us...in little boxes so we can't do anything to each other.



Would you agree with David Byrne (Talking Heads) that the music industry is a "dinosaur that had its time, but now it is going extinct", thus making it necessary to put out music through the internet even more?

Mike :The music industry is the T-Rex of this century. It ate up all the musicians and artists. Really, I think once lawyers and accountants took over : the industry was doomed. The main word here is greed. Like all ceo's and bosses and such. They think they did it all and the artists can go f--k themselves. I think their quote is, "Your nothing without me!!" From managers record companies agents - etc etc etc.
So, in a way, the internet is a breath of fresh air. Of course there are exceptions to this, but how many great bands have their CD on the shelf because one individual at a record company was on a power trip? Now anyone can release anything they want, which is good, but also leads to a huge pile of crap going out as well. At least it's there if you want to listen. This is a huge subject and everyone has their own take on it, so enough. Even mine changes from day to day.




Who are your major musical influences?

Mike
: Everything influences me, but it depends on my mood. Band wise : the Beatles - brilliant stuff! Also, Ultravox, Pink Floyd, Elton John, and any song I think is good from country to heavy metal. Even though I don't really like hip hop or rap. there are still some good songs in that genre. I really think it's because I don't understand where its coming from or what influenced it. Reggae as well. All reggae and rap songs are the same to me, but it's not my field, so it influences me to not be like that.

Joe : Big influences when I was coming up were Ace Frehley of KISS, Neil Geraldo from Pat Benatar's band and Elliot Easton of The Cars. These guys really knew how to make great melodic and memorable use of an 8 bar solo spot in the middle of a rock radio single.







Mike? How do you go about creating your fantastic instrumental songs?

Mike : Well I just start playing and building up stuff. Catching a theme or atmosphere, then go from there. I think about what movie it will be in. It's really music for unwritten movies.







Joe? You are widely known as a great guitarist. What do you think of Stevie Ray Vaughn?

Joe : When I was big into shredders like Yngwie and Tony MacAlpine, I thought "the blues" was kinda cool and classic, but limited and stuck in a rut. I remember being half asleep on the couch one Saturday night ages ago. Suddenly, I was woken up by a TV show camera about a foot away from a battered Fender guitar and seeing this guy banging and bending guitar strings as thick as piano strings like they were nothing. What energy and what a tone! It was very inspiring and he changed my outlook on blues forever. There have been many pretenders to his throne, but there'll never be another like the original SRV.







Mike? Many fans know you were a guitarist on the band TONTRIX before creating A Flock Of Seagulls. Do you compose your songs playing guitar?

Mike : In TONTRIX I was a bass player and I wasn't really in to songwriting at the time. Now I write songs on whatever I have . Guitar, synth, sticks. An echo effect can be inspiring. For me, writing is the best part of the whole thing. I'd say I write 2 or 3 songs a day really, some days more, and I do little demo's of them then move on.







Is the band recording any of your many new songs? If so, is there any time line you will release a new album?

Mike : We started to record some songs, but life is full of deflections. So everyone has other things going on, which slows down the whole process. I didn't really have the feeling that it was time to release some new stuff, but now it is getting to feel that way, so we will have to finish up. I am also working on a solo project. I will finish one song at a time and see where we are.







Texas has always held a strong fan base for the band. Would You like to send a special message to them?

Joe Rodriguez : Despite its size and no matter the vibe of the different areas of the state, Texas has always had the warmest and most enthusiastic welcome for us. The people are down to earth friendly and they're always connecting right there with you. I always look forward to a gig there because I know the audience will make it a great show. Can't wait to see them again!


Mike Score : Yes. Texas seems to love A Flock Of Seagulls, and I'd like to thank people for sticking with us. We like coming to Texas. We seem to play well there and get good response. I hope it continues that way for a long time yet.




Mike Score





Joe Rodriguez jamming with Mike Score

2 comments:

afrankangle said...

Oh my my ... who would have thought to start a day by reading about AFOS.

Well done!

Hellen999 said...

Thank you!!! saw them in Southampton - UK, the other night...gave Mike a long-awaited hug and told him how much they all meant to me, broke my heart when they left for the USA way back when!...the most beautiful voice, and the most beautiful eyes...fell happy and in love all over again!!! :-) :-) (Airborne Division 0001) XXXXXXX