Wang Chung Q&A: Everybody 'Jack Hues' tonight
Dismiss their biggest hit as pop fluff if you want, but Wang Chung is one of the truly underrated gems of the British music scene in the '80s.
Their 1983 album Points on the Curve is great from start to finish and features the hits Wait, Dance Hall Days, Don't Be My Enemy and Don't Let Go. They have a song (Fire in the Twilight) on The Breakfast Club soundtrack, thus having the distinction of being cool enough for John Hughes (long before many people realized how cool Hughes really was). And they pretty much wrote and scored the entire soundtrack to the '80s classic To Live and Die in LA.
In short, singer Jack Hues and guitarist Nick Feldman have nothing to prove to anyone. They're aces in the Stuck in the '80s world, so I was super-prepared and ready to go when tackling an interview with Hues earlier this week. The full podcast is online now, but here are some highlights:
SIT80s: First of all ... rest easy, Jack. I'm not going to ask what the band's name means.
Jack Hues: "Good, good!"
SIT80s: But I do wanna ask. After 30 years of answering questions about the band's name, ever regret choosing it?
Hues: [Laughs] "Well, I think so! In retrospect a foreign sounding name just leads everybody on to that question. But on the other hand, I think in the States for whatever reason, it's got a catchy resonance thing."
SIT80s: And certainly the name Wang Chung is now part of the '80s catch-phrase "Everybody Wang Chung tonight."
Hues: "I had that line -- 'Everbody Wang Chung tonight' -- just as an ad-lib in there. But when we started working with Peter Wolf, who produced [the album] Mosaic, he was just really into that line. I thought, 'Oh god, this isn't what I meant at all.' "
SIT80s: Rumor has it that when you handled the To Live in Die in LA soundtrack, director Bill Friedkin told you specifically not to write a song with the film title in it.
Hues: "I'm quite good at doing that sort of thing. No, he didn't want a song. But having seen the movie, I went back to London and it really made such a big impact on me, the title track just sorta came out. We sent it over to and he loved the song and completely altered the beginning of the movie to include the song."
SIT80s: You're on the Regeneration Tour this summer with ABC, Berlin and Cutting Crew. Will all your hits make it into the set list?
Hues: "I guess Hypnotize Me isn't on the set list. It's very high to sing."
SIT80s: But that's No. 2 on my Top 5 list of Wang Chung songs for this podcast!
Hues: [Laughs] "You might want to move it to No. 4 or something. But the other hits are there."
-- The Regeneration Tour, starring ABC, Berlin, Wang Chung and Cutting Crew (with Missing Persons on some dates), starts soon. Click here for ticket and date information.