Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Teenage Thunder

Recently while browsing through my CD collection, looking for something to listen to, I stumbled across my 'Best of' Sique Sique Sputnik CD. It made me think of the first time I ever bought one of their CDs. Well, actually it was before CDs (God, how old am I?), so it was an audio cassette. I vividly remember getting it at some podunk mall in Abilene, Texas, while visiting my grandmother. My first impression was that this was THE coolest cassette EVER! Why? Because the tape case was WHITE instead of the usual black. Mind-blowing! Yeah, it sounds super-retarded now, but at a time when no one else was doing it, it was some coooool shit.

Naturally, both my mother and my grandmother wanted to see what I got. One look at the group and they began to question just where they'd taken that wrong turn in my upbringing. I remember the puzzled looks on their faces upon seeing the lead singer donning a fishnet stocking over his face and sporting a day-glo mass of mohawk hair. They couldn't fathom why I liked them. They must all be on drugs. Damn The Pot! Damn you Nancy Reagan and your "very special" episode of Different Strokes!! Grown-ups can just be, like so square!

*NOTE: Check out the totally huge "cell phone." That's hot. Also, check out the picture where the lead singer is wearing a pink jacket. I defy you to tell me that's not Jo Polniaczek (AKA Nancy Mckeon) from The Facts of Life)!

Anyhoo, I remember loving the fact that they sampled all kinds of great stuff from old movies, cartoons, etc. It was great. Like pop culture with a beat. I loved their first album, but unfortunately, Sigue Sigue was pretty much all surface and not much substance. Sure they looked super-awesome, but I wasn't all that thrilled with any of their future albums. A song here, a song there, but nothing that made their albums a must-own. Definitely before their time, but also very much a product of the decade. The only instance I can remember one of their songs ever going remotely mainstream was their 'hit' Love Missile F1-11 being played during the shower scene in 1986's Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Not a bad career pinnacle, being immortalized in a John Hughes film. I can't say that I don't love having them in my CD collection. Good memories. Even better eyecandy.

For those who may not be familiar with the band, here's a little background, courtesy of Nostalgia Central.com:

Ex-Generation X guitarist Tony James formed futuristic glam band Sigue Sigue Sputnik (named after a Russian street gang) as a kind of latter-day Monkees with cheekbones, coloured-hair and space outfits. James poached from cyberpunk novels and films (especially Blade Runner) for the band's image and the group were showered with publicity and record deals before they had even played a note.

In February 1986 they released their debut single Love Missile F1-11 (produced by Giorgio Moroder) which sailed on a sea of hype to Number 2 in the UK charts.

Although 21st Century Boy also made the Top 20 (and their debut album actually sold advertising space between the tracks!) James' moneymaking ruse soon ended. Despite an avalanche of intentionally lurid press, the band dissolved and James subsequently joined the Sisters Of Mercy in 1991. Kavanagh would go on to Big Audio Dynamite, though James would make an attempt at resurrecting Sigue Sigue Sputnik later in the 90s.

Degville recorded the dreadful solo set World War Four in 1991. He reunited with James and Whitmore in the late 90s, buoyed by Sigue Sigue Sputnik's continued popularity on the Internet. The trio recorded a new album, Piratespace, and toured during 2001.


Blogger Mariana said...

I digged their single "Shoot it up" and the awsome video. I heard that they had never really intended to be a band on their own in the long term, but rather that they had started it mostly to promote their individual careers, and get work in other bands. Their success must have come as a total surprise.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 4:01:00 AM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

What would I do without you? Thank God someone knows who the hell Sigue Sigue Sputnik are! I thought for sure more people would walk down memory lane with me. I guess not. Maybe SSS is too obscure. I dunno.

I also liked the song 'Shoot it Up!' The first album was so great. I don't think there was a single song on that album that I didn't like!

I'd also read that too, regarding their careers. For the longest time, I always thought the guy with the cell phone was a refugee from Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I really do appreciate it. :)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 2:39:00 PM  

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