'80s - Modern Romance (2010)
'Still Romancing The Dream!'
Geoffrey Deane and David Jaymes formed Modern Romance from the ashes of punk band The Leyton Buzzards, in 1981.
After two flop singles Andy Kyriacou joined the band. He was fortunate enough to have joined only 8 weeks before the band charted with their first hit record, "Everybody Salsa". This was followed up with "Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey" which made the top ten singles chart in the UK, soon to
be followed by "Nothing Ever Goes The Way You Plan". The second part of this song, was remixed, renamed, and released as a single, reaching No.2 on the U.S. Billboard dance charts.
After another hit with "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" the band saw their highest UK chart position, with "Best Years Of Our Lives."
Three more hits followed, in 1983. "High Life" was first, followed by "Don't Stop That Crazy Rhythm" and their last chart hit, the beautiful ballad, "Walking In The Rain". Shortly after, the band broke up.
In 2001 Andy Kyriacou reformed the band, joining the burgeoning 80's revival scene and whilst being the only original member, has put together a line-up of top flight musicians, to make Modern Romance the perfect 80's band for the 21st Century.
I sat down recently one-on-one with original band member Andy Kyriacou, and chatted about the old days, about Morrisey, about being famous, and, as always, ... penguins!
Taking it from the top, and you first appeared on Modern Romance's fourth single, "Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey" in 1981, which was also to be known as one of the bands most famous of line-ups. How did you get the musical call to arms at that time, and what did you know of the band and their sound before the call came in? "Although I first appeared on that particular record for the first time as the drummer of the band, my first tv appearances were for Everybody Salsa, taking the place of the previous drummer of the band, who had in fact played on the recording of Salsa prior to my joining. When I was asked to join, I had no idea that they had already experienced two flop singles, and that Everybody Salsa, already recorded (and which I was playing live with them), was in fact the band’s last chance to impress the record company, after which they would be given their marching orders!"
"I joined the band after a chance meeting at one of their gigs. I had missed their set due to arriving very late. We got chatting and within a few days I was asked to join, Unknown to me, they were looking for a drummer, and I just happened to turn up – right place, right time!"
Indeed, with regard that song, which was nothing more than a eponymous chorus chanting salsa-linked lyrics over and over, did you wonder what you'd gotten yourself into, perhaps?! "In fact, I did. Coming from a background of mainly Soul & Funk, I did think that some of the material was a little cheesy. However, that line-up of Modern Romance had a kind of raw sound, when it came to live playing, and it was that raw energy which attracted me. Once I had heard them play after being invited as a guest to a gig, it was that raw thing happening on stage which made me accept their offer to join."
But then came the #2 hit on the Billboard Dance Chart (US) "Can You Move," followed by a wonderful cover of "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White," and then the party-fav "Best Years of Our Lives" in 1983. With success now overflowing, what was it like being part of the band, touring, shaking hands over and over, everywhere you went? Is there still one stand out moment for you? "The success was, at times, quite overwhelming, yet pleasant. It was also puzzling, (I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about), and yet something to be embraced, and more than anything, something to be absorbed for future memory, as it is very special to get to that point in your career."
"Stand out moment? I suppose the first time I was recognised in the street – totally forgot I was on TOTP the day before, and had already featured in a few mags, and was absolutely shocked to be recognised by a group of girls. Self conscious? Moi? You bet!! I walked down the street being oh so careful to not trip up, or do anything stupid, as I knew they were watching me! Also one of the very few times I have experienced a hot flush!"
As the appearances on TOTP became more and more frequent, you guys seemed to love to wear odd outfits to sing/play along with! I mean, on one TOTP appearance for 'Best years of Our Lives,' there was a guy playing the trumpet dressed as a old-fashioned pilot - complete with cap and goggles! Were you encouraged to dress in any way you all seemed fit, or told to (by management), perhaps? "Sometimes, it was strongly suggested that we dress a certain way, especially when Geoff Deane was in the band, as he was very clear about what he wanted, although looking back, it was not always the best thing to wear! As time went on, we developed our own style as individuals, although we certainly all had a similar style running through the band, after all, it was the 80’s and we were dressing in what was “In” most of the time."
In reflection, and in your opinion, why did original singer Geoff Deane leave the band at the height of all the bands chart success and fame? "My response to this question has nothing to do with my opinion, more to do with fact. Geoff left after personal differences with Dave Jaymes. That’s it really."
Do you still talk to any of the original Modern Romance band members, or have the years separated you all too much? "Funnily enough, I received a text from Dave Jaymes today – to say he will call me next week and arrange to meet up. He is the only one I see or speak to. We always say we are going to get together with brother Robbie, but it hasn’t happened yet. I have spoken on a couple of occasions to John Du Prez (he of the pilot uniform!), but that’s about it."
Will the original Modern Romance from its heyday ever record a new album, perhaps? "There is more chance of Bill Gates and the Sultan Of Brunei leaving me all of their money in their will, on the same day that Arsenal phone to ask me to play for them, whilst Liz Hurley and Cheryl Cole fight over me in the corner of my bedroom!!"
"I think that answers that one quite succinctly!"
Since 2001, you reformed the band and are currently recording and touring with the original band name too! Did you get the rights to the bands name or has it simply worked out in some other way for you? "I do have the rights to the name – via a contractual agreement with Dave Jaymes, previous holder of the rights."
Fun Five - OK, it's now time to fire off some quick questions - to allow those that think they know Andy Kyriacou to perhaps think again!
a) Can you remember your very first TOTP appearance? What song/year was it and at what level of nervousness were you at that whole day? "1981, 'Everybody Salsa,' and no nervousness, just a calm disbelief."
b) Is there one of your songs that you look back on and would today change the title to, or a line/lyric from it - and if so, which one, and why?! "'Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey.' Why? Try telling someone (keeping a straight face) that it’s the name of one of your songs!!!"
c) Do you have a recurring nightmare or dream - and if so, how does it usually end? "My recurring nightmare is that Spurs will finish above Arsenal in the league, and even worse, win the league!! Fortunately, there’s more chance… (see answer 7 above)"
d) What is your sweetest, guiltiest pleasure (food wise!) late at night? "Cinammon & Raisin bagels with lashings of butter. How else do you think I put on all this extra weight in the last couple of years?"
e) If you could meet any deceased celebrity, who would it be - and what would be the first question you would ask them? "Marvin Gaye. I would ask if he doesn’t mind being dug up, so his voicebox could be removed and surgically implanted in my throat. Is that strange? Perhaps, but I’d have a phenomenal voice!!!"
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today...and why? "'The Reflex' – one of the greatest pop songs ever, just for the bass line and the way it links with the drums."
And will the USA ever get to see Modern Romance over here? There's the Here & Now, Rewind and Regeneration tours, but we never get to see you named on the bill for the American side of things. Is there anything we can do to change this? "I don’t know if we will ever get to play over there, but your way of helping? Tell all of America that we are here and would love to play for them! Simple! Get the word out! We are playing at this year’s Rewind Festival here in London, so maybe………………!"
Morrissey once famously said of the band, "There are indeed worse groups than Modern Romance. But can anyone seriously think of one?" Hmmmm, thoughts ...?! "Morrisey is perfectly entitled to his opinion, as am I. However, I have not let his opinion of MR affect my judgement of his music. I actually do like his style, very much. I am sure if he heard MR live, or the latest MR stuff, he would sit up and appreciate the musical ability and the song writing. Maybe I’ll get him to co-write with me. You never know………….it will be his punishment!!!"
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins (the flightless bird, not the chocolate bar!) ... do you? "No. They were too easily influenced by Danny De Vito and gave Batman a hard time! However, I don’t feel like that about ALL birds. I do love chickens (with potatoes and veg) and also Liz Hurley, Kelly Le Brock, Rachel Ward……oh, they don’t count? Oops!!! Sorry!"
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
So, if you would like to win a SIGNED copy of a Modern Romance CD, and you think you know all there is to know about the band's history, just answer this easy question: John Du Prez played Trumpet (from 'Everybody Salsa' onwards) with the band and (more recently) he also co-wrote the music which stage musical (2005)?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful SIGNED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before September 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: MODERN ROMANCE SIGNED CDs to: firstname.lastname@example.org