Missing Persons: Words

I love this video. The year was 1981. This is what, I think, most bands should do when it comes time to make a video. Set up your equipment, get some cameras, and play live. Keep the shots long; let us watch you making your music. Good bands are interesting enough to watch without any adornment or dancing. This performance is enough to see why Missing Persons were a top live act in L.A. before their debut album came out.

Notice how Dale Bozzio, the singer, barely moves. She’s stands atop high heels, legs apart, like she owns the stage, a white-haired android with the pouty demeanor of a Valley Girl. Her singing is loaded with personality, the squeaks and whine, it’s perfect.

The guys in the band are all top-notch musicians. Terry Bozio, drummer and Dale’s then husband, guitarist Warren Cucurrolo, and keyboad-player Patrick O’Hearn all came from Frank Zappa’s band. You had to be bad-ass to play with Frank.

The song is really well crafted, it moves through moods while keeping that thunking pulse. It’s catchy and simple, yet unlike anything I’ve heard. The base is coming from the keyboard player’s left hand. The guitar playing is really exceptional; Radiohead’s guys sound a bit like this.

Notice the mullets. Notice the drummer’s make-up. The keyboard player’s wearing tights! These guys didn’t need back-up dancers or lazers.