FLOCK OF SEAGULLS
RETROCRUSH INTERVIEWS MIKE SCORE
THE LEAD SINGER OF A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS
1980's you couldn't turn on MTV without seeing A Flock of Seagull's "I
Ran" video. The song has become a part of pop culture history and has been
featured in Adam Sandler's "The Wedding Singer" and the videogame "Grand
Theft Auto: Vice City". The group followed up "I Ran" with two other well
loved '80s singles "Wishing" and "Space Age Love Song". On the brink of
two upcoming '80s invasion concerts in
California Mike took some time to speak with us.
While growing up who influenced you musically?
When I was young I was into
the Beatles. I was kind of into the Rolling Stones, but more I was into
Brian Jones. His Rolling Stones rather than what they became afterwards.
He did "2000 Light years from home" which when I heard it I thought it was
the best song ever.
Then I liked Zager and Evans
because they did "The year 2525". I always tend to lean towards anything
that was sci-fi. When the late 1970ís and 80ís came along I was into
Ultravox with John Foxx and a few bands that never became that big, but in
England they were having a good time.
Was it your idea to create the "Flock of Seagulls"
kind of happened by accident. I was a hairdresser. I was very involved in
when Punk really started. Then New Wave started. I used to have my hair in
a Ziggy Stardust kind of thing. One day Frank, who was an original band
player, put his hand on my head and flattened it as we were about to go on
stage. I liked the look of it and went for it. It freaked everybody out.
Your hair went with the whole theme of your group.
It looked sci-fi. We were
into playing sci-fi sounding music. It was one of those things where
everything came together at the right time for us. I think for a
successful band that is whatís got to happen. Then with MTV coming up and
us having that great look and everything. It was like, "Wow, we have this
great look and now thereís a TV station that wants to show it off."
Was the "I Ran" video thrown together or was it scripted?
All I remember about that is
we were at the record company offices and the owner of the record company
came up and said, "Thereís a new station and theyíre going to show clips
of bands." I donít even think they were called videos then. They were just
promo clips. He said, "I want you to make one." We had this guy come in
and it was made in about 5 hours. The whole idea was just to get something
that MTV could show. They probably only had three or four videos, but they
showed them all the time.
They would play the same ones over and over.
It was perfect for us
because we had an image, we had the space sounding music, and all of a
sudden it was put in everybodyís living room. Where as it may have taken
us five years of doing gigs around America to get a hit. It took about
five months of MTV to get a hit instead.
MTV revolutionized the publicity machine for bands.
yea. Iím just sorry it went the way it did now. Game shows and stuff like
that. What does that have to do with music television?
Itís very strange. MTV doesnít play music videos very much
I donít know if youíre into
videogames. The same thing has sort of happened with G4. I used to like
watching G4 because I was into videogames and youíd immediately go out &
get them. Now itís become like Star Trek. It was such a cool thing when
videogames were just becoming good they had a TV station that showed you
how to cheat & do all kinds of stuff. I think the same thing happened with
music. It was great and ran for a couple of years like that. Then
corporate something happened.
You also had a great video for the song "Nightmares".
I wrote "Nightmares"
on the road after watching "Mommie
Youíve mentioned that movies & television influence you.
Iíll be sitting on my sofa
watching TV with a guitar or keyboard and Iíll just sing about something
that is on TV. It might not be a direct correlation. Then I go to record
the song properly Iíve changed a few lyrics or Iíve done a few things to
it that take it away from its first inspiration.
Dearest" is such a disturbing film. I can see the influence in that video.
Frank did that. Frank came
up with the concept for the video. He wanted to do that. Frank was always
into movies and he wanted to be an actor. We let him have quite a lot of
rein in that.
Would you categorize yourself as "New Wave" or "New
Romantics" at the time?
I wouldnít personally
categorize "The Flock of Seagulls". If anything we were progressive pop. I
think we just got lumped in with the "New Wave" and "New Romantic" thing.
I think Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran were more "New Romantic" than we
were. I think we were slightly heavy progressive pop. Thatís why we had
hits with "Wishing". I mean "Wishing" wasnít "New Romantic" at all.
I never realized until recently that "Wishing" was A Flock
of Seagulls song. Itís a different sound.
When I was young I never use
to say, "I like this band and nobody else." I use to be into different
songs and I think thatís why I became a songwriter. I would like a heavy
metal song and Iíd try to write a song that was influenced by that. Maybe
the next day Iíd hear a country song and Iíd have a country influence on
one of my songs.
I always liked bands that
were more interesting than putting out the same song with a slightly
different arrangement and lyrics. For me thatís not what being in a band
or being a musician is about. Itís about experimenting with all types of
beats. As soon as synths came along I went I have to have one because it
was something new to me. I didnít know it would become my main instrument.
Back then I heard it was hard to program or work with
They were totally manual
when I got them. You had to do everything on the fly. When we were playing
live if you wanted a filter sweep you had to patch it up and turn the
Do you have favorite A Flock of Seagulls songs?
When youíre first writing
them thatís when theyíre your favorites. For me I always thought "Wishing"
was a great song. Even though it says on the album that the song was
written by all four of us I did 99% of the writing.
I remember listening to "Wishing" over & over again as a
teenager. It has a nice emotional feel about it.
had a cold when I sang that. Not a really bad one. Even the guy from the
record company said, "Your voice sounds real thick on that song." I think
the way they recorded it when I had a cold was different. I couldnít
project like I did when I was doing the earlier stuff. I had to hold back
a bit. It enabled them to get my voice to sound a bit heavier and a bit
With most 80ís bands I can tell you who the group was by
listening to the music. These days I couldnít tell you at all.
To me a lot of it sounds the
same. Itís like these days as soon as a band has a hit there are 12 bands
doing that same song with different lyrics. No one wants to be an
Iím not that into the screaming "extreme punk" thing
I think thatís why Kelly
Clarkson is a hit. Sheís doing slightly different things all the time. She
started off doing dancey diva sort of stuff, then she moved into rock, and
her latest thing is some sort of pop song. Sheís not straying too far, but
sheís good. Sheís doing slightly different things. Sheís not just
Is it frustrating when people only know A Flock of
Seagulls for "I Ran"?
is frustrating thatís itís basically why people come to see you. You have
to take the fact that people come to see you live and hear that song. You
have to try and educate them to the fact that isnít all you are. The thing
for me if thatís what people want then they can have it. Thatís not what
the band is about. The band is not a nostalgia band, although it has
nostalgic moments. The band is still progressing and changing. I think of
"I Ran" as the thing that brings people into the gig so Iím glad Iíve got
Itís a part of pop culture.
Itís a legendary 80ís song
you might say.
You have another great hit too, "The Space Age Love Song".
I tend to find that people
first of all get into us because of "I Ran", but they like "Space Age Love
Song" and they go, "Oh, but thatís the best song." Then maybe "Wishing",
but "I Ran" is definitely the one that brings them to the band.
Your second album had a different sound
We went to where Ultravox
recorded; the Conny Plankís studio in Germany. We wanted to be out there
and Conny Plank produced Ultravox. It was a completely different studio
and atmosphere from what we had when we were doing the first album in
Battery Studio in London. It was just strange. We recorded the first album
before we were successful. We recorded the second one when we were huge.
It was a whole different world for us.
How did you get your first contract?
We basically lived on
somebodyís doorstep and made them listen to us. He had worked with Roxy
Music and he knew Bill Nelson. When he heard a couple of our demos we had
done on a four track he took them to Bill Nelson. Bill Nelson said, "Letís
produce up a couple of things."
As we did things, things
fell into place. The more you go on with that the more you get confident
youíre doing the right thing. When you get that confidence people see it
and they come with you. So you go into a record company and they say, "Why
should we sign you?" and you reply, "Because weíre going to be huge!"
Thatís way better than saying, "Because we need 50 quid."
Youíve got to have good showmanship.
You have to have confidence
and you have to show the guy that you mean what you say because theyíre
going to throw a couple of million dollars at you. Theyíre not going to do
it if youíre some shy, retiring little boy. We met the right people that
made us feel comfortable and backed us up.
Did it change relationships with friends and family once
you became famous?
We came to the states for 3
weeks and we stayed 9 months. In 9 months weíd gone from opening up for
Squeeze and playing little clubs to playing stadiums with The Police. It
was almost like when we got back to Liverpool people were afraid of us.
They didnít know what to say to us and we didnít know what to say to them.
We had just had this meteoric thing happen in our lives. They were still
like, "Iím going down to the pub and having a beer." You canít relate to
it though. When you spend 9 months on the road gigging, meeting people,
having a great time and things escalating itís hard for you to just go sit
in a pub and say, "Hey, whatís on TV?"
Do you have any fan horror stories?
Weíve had fans that have
been in my hotel room or thereís been a knock on my window and Iím three
stories up. Thereís a girl with an album asking, "Can I get your
autograph?" At one time I was in New York and The Go-Gos were playing. I
could have seen them backstage, but I wanted to see their show from out
front. I kind of sneaked in and stood at the back while they were playing.
About 30 people left their seats and came. Iím like, "Hey, you paid to see
The Go-Gos so go watch them." They wouldnít leave me alone so I had to
leave and they followed me. They followed me back to the hotel and I was
like, "Go away and watch the The Go Gos. I want to watch them too."
You reunited with the original members in 2004 and then
broke up again. Is there a reason you broke up a second time?
reason we broke up in the first place was because of Paul Reynolds. The
original guitar player has got problems. He got into the whole rock and
roll thing. He got into drugs and drink. He just couldnít handle it in the
first place. That led to the breakup in the first place.
The money, fame, and access to everything messes you up?
He was only 18 or 19 when
all of that was happening to him. It was hard to deal with. He ended up
with problems and heís had those problems ever since. Heís still got those
problems. We basically said we can do the reunited thing if you straighten
yourself out. So he did straighten himself out for a couple of weeks. He
did the TV show. Then we went to do some gigs and as soon as we were back
on the road he was lost again.
We only did like 6 shows and
then I said, "You know this isnít fun. Itís not fun being with Paul like
this." You end up babysitting and resenting the fact that you have to look
after somebody else. You just want to have some fun really. I told them,
"I canít work with Paul so Iím going back to playing with my American
version." I actually had a great time on the "Bands Reunited" thing.
You were on VH1 right?
With my brother playing with
Frank we had a real good laugh. It was tainted by Paul like I said. If he
straightens himself out in the future Iíll give him another chance, but
Iím not waiting.
There was something with your brother where you werenít
That got blown up. Me and my
brother we never really had the same friends in England. We didnít hang
out together so much. When I speak to my brother its like, "How are you
doing?" He replies, "How are you doing?" I reply, "Okay" and that is the
end of the conversation.
think VH1 angles for a good story.
They dramatize it a bit.
The theme of your first album was Alien Abduction.
Just sci-fi, space, and
Do you believe in life on other planets?
Obviously, I donít think
about it as much as I did then.
Did you decide as a group to do a theme of Alien Abduction
and have all the songs lead into that?
Not really, I think it was
my influence because I was the writer of the songs. I use to watch all the
sci-fi movies. I was into abduction, UFO sightings and stuff like that.
Thatís what I wrote about. That was my interest.
Anything else youíd like to say to your fans?
I would say come out and see
us because we have a lot of new songs. The band is really good. Iím happy
with it and if you feel like having an entertaining, retro, and a little
nostalgia time then come see us.
up who did have a retroCRUSH on?
When I was a little kid I
was in love with Julie Driscoll. She sang with the Brian Auger band. They
did that song, "Wheels on Fire" later on for "Absolutely Fabulous". Julie
Driscoll had the perfect 60ís look. She was awesome.
I noticed you have quite a few concert dates coming up.
Iíve got a lot of shows
coming up. Weíre doing Stockton and Bakersfield. Weíre doing a lot with
DEVO. Theyíre show is great and I love watching them. Weíve done a few
shows with them in the past. So for me itís like we can play first and
then go out in the crowd.
Iím just glad that after 30
years I still like being in a band.
Come see "A Flock of Seagulls" along with "Missing
Persons" and "Naked Eyes" at the upcoming 80's Invasion Concert in
Stockton (May 19th) & Bakersfield (May 20th), CA.
Buy tickets for Stockton show
Buy tickets for the Bakersfield show
Check out A Flock of Seagulls Myspace page
A Flock of Seagulls Official Fan Page