Missing Persons

From Academic Kids

Missing Persons were a band who played a blend of New Wave music and electronic pop rock, with a musical sensibility which set them apart from many other early 80's groups who latched onto the Blondie-style line up of radio friendly, white, accessible pop punk.

The band was founded in 1980 by guitarist Warren Cuccurullo and vocalist Dale Bozzio (who were working together contributing to Frank Zappa's album Joe's Garage), after convincing her husband, former Zappa drummer Terry Bozzio, that they could make it on their own. They went on to add yet another Zappa alumnus, bassist Patrick O'Hearn, as well as keyboardist Chuck Wild.

In 1980 they recorded a 4-song EP entitled Missing Persons, in Zappa's brand-new UMRK studios; the recording was financed by Cuccurullo's father. They toured, promoted the EP, appeared in the movie Lunch Wagon, and became a must-see band among the L.A. live music crowd. "Mental Hopscotch" was a #1 record on local radio station KROQ, and the self-promoted EP ended up selling 7,000 copies.

Two years of hard work led up to a signing with Capitol Records in 1982. With label support, the re-released EP sold another 250,000 units, and the new album Spring Session M went gold. The singles "Mental Hopscotch", "Destination Unknown," "Walking in L.A.," "Words," and "Windows" all met with success. The music video for "Words" used unusual (albeit primitive by today's standards) visual effects, making it popular with the suits (who in those days still wore T-shirts) at the fledgling cable TV channel MTV.

Missing Persons appeared at the three-day Southern California concert, the US Festival in May 1983, along with Berlin, The Pretenders, U2, David Bowie, and many more.

The experimental album Rhyme and Reason (1984) was not a great success, and Capitol was not happy about the direction the band was taking. The band followed up with the more conventional Color In Your Life in June 1986, but almost before the promotional tour could begin, increasing tensions between Terry and Dale Bozzio led to the end of the tour, the band, and the couple's marriage.

Some commentators have argued that Dale Bozzio's lack of stage personality ultimately resulted in the decline of the group's early popularity, many also regard Missing Persons as her finest work, despite her later scoring minor success as a solo performer, including a top 40 hit with the song "Simon oh Simon", written and produced by Prince.

Terry Bozzio played as a sessions drummer and sideman with numerous big acts through the 1980s, at the same time as he worked at developing his solo career. In the 1990s he recorded several albums and toured as a solo drummer, and created several instructional videos.

Cuccurullo went on to perform as guitarist for Duran Duran for over a decade, as well as record several solo albums.

O'Hearn has had a thriving solo career as a very popular composer of ambient instrumental music.

Wild is a composer of New Age and meditation music under the name Liquid Mind.

A proposed 1994 Missing Persons reunion never came to fruition.

Beginning in 1997, Cuccurullo began a campaign to get some of the early Missing Persons material reissued. This resulted in the release of Late Nights Early Days in 1998, a live concert recorded in 1981, with the added 1980 studio track "Action/Reaction". This was followed up by a compilation of modern remixes of classic MP tracks, Missing Persons Remixed Hits (1999). Rhyme and Reason and Color In Your Life were finally issued on CD in 2000. There were two releases in 2002: Classic Remasters is a compilation of remastered tracks and dance mixes issued by Capitol Records, and Lost Tracks is another collection of old and new MP live tracks issued by One Way Records.

In December of 2000, Cuccurullo again began discussing a Missing Persons reunion with Dale Bozzio, and this time it seemed more likely to come to fruition. In May of 2001, he formally left Duran Duran (who were planning a reunion with their own original guitarist and drummer). The new Missing Persons, consisting of original members Warren Cuccurullo and Dale and Terry Bozzio, with new keyboardist Ron Poster and bassist Wes Wehmiller, did some promotional activities and live performances in July of 2001, but the reunion did not last long. Two attempted additional concerts were cancelled at the last minute when first Terry and then Dale left the project. A TV appearance and three successful shows were put on in late 2002 and early 2003 (with drummer Joe Travers standing in for Terry Bozzio), but finally Cuccurullo declined to participate any further. Although Dale still often performs under the Missing Persons name with hired touring players, the band has declared that there will be no further reunions.


External links

See also Unsolved English murders for actual cases of UK missing children


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