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It was supposed to be a joyous occasion. Earlier this month, just two days before the physical release of "Missing in Action," the first album of new material released under the Missing Persons name in more than 25 years, singer Dale Bozzio received some horrible news. Her brother Brian Consalvi had died.
As Bozzio reveals, March 2 is a special day. It's the day that she and one of her two sons were born. It's also the day that she found out about her brother's passing. "Instead of him calling to wish me a happy birthday, that was the call I got," she says. "So it's been a really bizarre month for me. It's a bittersweet life for me at this point."
Coping with the death of her brother has led Bozzio to bring up one of Missing Persons' biggest hits, which back in 1982 seemed like a slice of lightweight new wave pop, but now it has taken on much heavier meaning. "I wrote 'Destination Unknown' about this exact situation," she says, "knowing that someday I would pass away. It was just the way it was going to be. I wouldn't have a chance to say 'yes' or 'no.'"
"Destination Unknown" doesn't turn up on "Missing in Action," but the new album does include a nod to the band's past as a bonus track, an acoustic version of "Walking in L.A." Bozzio explains, "I just thought I'd throw that in there for some history. You can see it's such a beautiful simple song and it can be played any way."
With that in mind, before you get into "Missing in Action," which was written, performed and produced by multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood, we thought we'd take a look back some of Missing Persons' early videos, back when the band featured its original line-up of Bozzio, her then-husband Terry on drums, future Duran Duran member Warren Cuccurullo on guitar, and later bassist Patrick O'Hearn, and keyboardist Chuck Wild.
Here's "Words," the band's first charting single and video, from 1982:
You'll notice that Dale Bozzio's futuristic, barely-there costume had a clear influence on Lady Gaga, and her chirpy vocals would pave the way for some of Gwen Stefani's early recordings with No Doubt. "It's really amazing to me that there are really fancy girls in the limelight," Bozzio says of Gaga and Stefani. "I'm so happy that they've taken this band and become independent. If you look through the glitter, you can find [the influence]. They all have their own identity, but I'm flattered of course, and in Los Angeles there are so many people have pink and blue hair, it blows my mind. Thirty years ago, I had to get food coloring to dye my hair blue."
"Mental Hopscotch," another clip from 1982, is also a fairly straightforward clip, albeit with some camera effects. "We just did that in the studio," Bozzio says. "Warren had most of the ideas. He was the creative force with the videos. We did everything on a shoe-string budget. We were so broke, we'd share a sub sandwich and a tonic between the three of us, Terry, Warren and me."
For "Destination Unknown," the production was more elaborate, with the band traveling to London to shoot the clip at Royal Albert Hall. "I fell down during the first night of filming," Bozzio recalls. "I cut my face, so they rushed me to the hospital and needed six stitches. Then I was thinking, 'What am I going to do? We have to finish the video.' So I was fooling around and put a piece of mirror on my face to cover up the scar. After that, we started having little girls showing up at our concerts with pieces of broken mirrors on their faces."
Bozzio recently played a live show at the Whisky in Los Angeles with fellow flashback act Gene Love Jezebel. Her live band includes fellow '80s survivor Prescott Niles of the Knack on bass. Yet Bozzio still has hopes that someday, the original lineup of Missing Persons will reunite.
"The three of us, I guess at one point, just got too big for our britches and broke up and that shouldn't have happened," she says. "The fact they we're still alive really says to me that we should be back together at some point in time. We are three able bodies with a magical expression between the three of us and that doesn't happen anywhere else"