Anniversaries of classic '80s flicks are being celebrated just about every other Friday this summer. Ferris Bueller just turned a hard-to-fathom 25. Raiders of the Lost Ark and Stripes both hit the Big 3-0. But mondo birthdays related to that magical decade aren't confined solely to the silver screen.
Three decades back, a gritty post-punk band from England with the seemingly innocent, if definitely odd, name Psychedelic Furs cranked out their second album, Talk Talk Talk. On it, a jagged little tune titled Pretty in Pink caught the attention of a redheaded young actress named Molly Ringwald. Five years later, the song inspired her iconic role in John Hughes' teen gem.
Tonight at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre, the Furs reconvene to play Talk Talk Talk in its entirety, along with a slew of other hits including Love My Way, Heartbreak Beat and The Ghost in You. The Times recently caught up with Furs bassist and co-founding member Tim Butler, who shares memories of starting the band, sparring with bandmate/brother Richard Butler and the enduring phenomenon of Pretty in Pink, which just happens to turn 25 this year.
Bands with brothers in them are notoriously fragile. How are you getting along with Richard these days?
Very well, actually. Years ago, when we first started touring — when we were drinking and stuff — we'd get into fights and give each other black eyes and such. Since we got back together … the old egos and sibling rivalry disappeared.
Saturday we get Talk Talk Talk here in Clearwater. But if you, as a fan, could listen to one band play one entire album, which would it be?
Roxy Music, the first album. It's strange. A lot of '70s bands in the '80s were dissed as being self-indulgent. People said nothing good came out of the '70s. But I think more good bands came out of the '70s than the '80s and '90s. Definitely bands that were an influence on us. I think of the Furs as a collision between the Sex Pistols and Roxy Music.
You actually saw the Sex Pistols back in the '70s in London, right?
Yes. In fact with my older brother Simon, Sid Vicious burped in his ear. That's pretty much when Richard turned around to me and said "Do you want to form a band?"
And just a few years later, you were the band everyone is talking about after Pretty in Pink became a hit. So how did it turn into a movie?
Molly Ringwald was a big fan of the original recording, and she played it for John Hughes and asked him "Can you write me a movie vehicle around this song." They couldn't use the original because they said one of the guitars was slightly out of tune, which I think gives it character.
So you had to rerecord it?
They were going to find some other band to rerecord it. We said, "Really? No! We'll rerecord it!" We went in and rerecorded it. It wasn't as good as the original, but at least it was us doing it.
Steve Spears is the host of the Stuck in the '80s blog and podcast. Listen to the full interview at tampabay.com/blogs/80s.