A Flock of Seagulls’ New Wave

Some may merely associate A Flock of Seagulls with a certain haircut (even tough guy Jules refers to his soon-to-be-victim as “Flock of Seagulls” due to his hairdo in Pulp Fiction). But the band, which has been led by Mike Score from the beginning, is responsible for some of the most enduring new wave tunes of all-time. Think classics like “I Ran,” “Space Age Love Song” and “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You).”

This year, the band’s original lineup reunited for a new album, Ascension, which sees the group joined by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and recreating some of its best-known compositions. And A Flock of Seagulls will be playing a pair of local dates—Aug. 3 at Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk and Aug. 4 at the Tilles Center Concert Hall—where they will also be joined by a variety of other 80s hit-making acts.

Score spoke about the band’s new album, his iconic hairstyle and the 80s.

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What made the original lineup reunite for the album Ascension?
John Pitcher, who owns a record company [said], “We’d like for you to do your greatest hits, but with an orchestra.” And it sounded like, “Why not?” It’s something that we never thought of in the past. So I said, “Let’s do it.” Then he said, “Can I get the whole rest of the band involved, the originals?” So, it came to pass. But although we made the album together, we never recorded together; we all recorded in separate studios.

How was it playing with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra?
Again, that was done separately. We had an arranger/conductor guy, and he then took what we recorded in separate studios and put it together in Pro Tools or something, and the orchestra laid their parts down on it. We never actually got to play with an orchestra; we just heard what they’d done. Technology is crazy these days.

How much of a role did MTV play in the breaking of the band?
It really was pivotal. It was just a case of everything lining up for us. We got a release in America, and right at that time, MTV was really growing fast. We became one of the first bands to have anything on MTV. I think they had like 10 videos, and we were one of them…That just got rotated and rotated, and all over the country, we’d go to play in places like Kansas and kids were coming up, going, “I love the video!”

What do you recall about the filming of the “I Ran” video? 
“I Ran” was the one where we all spun around with the mirrors. I think it was done in about an hour and a half. It was basically, “We’ve got to make some kind of promo for this song.” We went out and bought some clothes, messed around with our hair and when we got back, they had set up this thing and they said, “Just go in there and play, and the camera will spin around.” It wasn’t our idea; it was a director’s idea. We were just like, “Wow, we’re actually being filmed to be seen by people,” which was funny at the time. I think it was done pretty cheap and it turned out to be quite an iconic little video.

What is the story behind your iconic hairstyle in the “Space Age Love Song” video? 
My hair, it used to be long and curly on one side. And then, I decided I would do it like a Ziggy Stardust type thing, where it was all spiked on top and long in the back. As far as I remember, we were just about to go on stage one day, and we were all looking in the mirror—we were stylish young things, y’know—and Frank [Maudsley] put his hand on top of my head, as if to say, “Hey, just scoot down a little bit,” and he completely flattened the top of my head, except the sides stayed up. The manager just said, “Hey, come on, get on stage!” That’s how I went on and I noticed immediately, people pointing at it, and little girls laughing. Afterwards, when we spoke to people, they were like, “Your hair is fantastic! I’ve never seen anything like it.” So, to me, I was like, “I’m going to do that every night now.” What a way to get noticed.

What can fans expect at the upcoming NY dates?
Because it’s more or less an appreciation of the 80s, every band will be playing their hits. We’ll probably only be on for like 30 minutes but they’ll get “Wishing,” “Space Age,” “I Ran,” “The More You Live, the More You Love” and a couple of others. The whole idea is for people to go away from that, going, “I love the 80s.” We’re not trying to use it to promote anything new. We are just part of the 80s and we want people to come out and appreciate it, and we want them to go away and say, “Thank God I was in the 80s. The bands were great and the songs were great.”

greg prato

greg prato

Greg Prato has lived almost his entire life on Long Island. He has written for Rolling Stone, and has penned many a book on either rock n’ roll or sports. See what he’s up to on Twitter @gregpratowriter.