A Flock of Seagulls Interviewed on Thursday, August 31st, 1999 by Michelle Russo at Pollyesters in Chicago.
Photography by Michelle Russo

QM: Question Michelle M: Mike Score

QM: How do you believe your music has changed from the early 80's?

M: We'll the early 80's was an era that had a certain kind of vibe to it. So that lead's you to create a certain sound. Since then my influences have been different like in the early 80's, my influences we're from some of the 60's bands disco that's what created the 80's. Now 80's band styles have changed because now we've had the 80's and the 90's to influence us in a different way. I think although you may be the same at heart you're influences are different.

QM: Do you feel that the instrumentation has changed at all?

M: We'll amplifiers and stuff like that seem to be more versatile, synthesizers themselves are a lot more versatile and as far as I'm concerned personally, I think I'm a lot more confident now then I ever has, just in myself as a singer and a player. I used to really worry to really worry about it, because I had to teach myself to sing and play and with that, I guess I developed my own style, that's what I am, that's how I play, that's how I sing. I think that made me stronger eventually.

QM: Excellent, I understand totally!

QM: Are you inspired by any films?

M: Stuff like 'Bladerunner', '2001' 'Event Horizon' and the first alien because they we're pretty dark movies and very atmospheric and you may not write music that would fit with them but it does create visions of your head of atmospherics, if you know what I mean.

QM: Yeah! I do! You seem to focus a lot on the UFO element, have you seen any UFO's? (Any ideologies behind this?)

M: I used to think I've seen one, but over time your memory dissolves and fades and now I'm not sure that I've saw one at all. At the time, I remember seeing it and thinking absolutely that was a UFO.

QM: How old we're you?

M: 26 or 27, but I've been drinking.


M: I've still like to see another one and I still think they do exist, I think what the problem now is it's become such a commercialized thing that even if we saw one now, you probably would say, 'it's a hoax', because there's so much of it around. When I was young and growing up, you we're an idiot if you thought UFO's existed; now you're an idiot if you don't think they exist.


QM: You just can't win!

M: No!

QM: How do you feel about the darker nature?

M: I don't really think as myself as dark! I think there's enough dark stuff going around that I don't particularly have to write it myself. I think some of our songs, 'Quicksand' had a dark element, but I'm not the kind of person that is dark all the time. I'm not a rainbow either.


QM: Or sun!

M: Yeah! I think the sun and the moon is kind of earthy and popular so I think that kind of says it all, you can be both, you can be dark and light and all the shades in between. In a way I feel sorry for bands that stick to being totally dark, because a great song can combine both of them, it can uplift you and put you down as well.

QM: So, can you say it could be an emphasis of mixed lights? Perhaps, a little bit of everything?

M: OK!

M: Maybe, an album where you can take people into darkness and lead them into the light so that at the end of listening to your album, they feel refreshed and like they have been on a journey, than listen to a few songs.

QM: Well, me being a Goth, I'm used to darker elements.


QM: Yeah! You've definitely have put me into that lighter element.

M: Right!

QM: When you write, do you write in first person, third person or both?

M: I think I tend to write in both.

QM: OH! I see!

M: I mean some of the inspirations may be first person but to distance myself from it, I would probably move it into third person.

QM: Are the lyrics from dream sequences and real life experiences?

M: Yeah! Most of my stuff is based on weird events, like I would be watching TV and I'd be playing along with the synth while the TV is on and someone will say something on TV and I'll just go, 'man, that was a great line' and I'll pull it and twist it a little bit and make it my own. I used to get a lot of inspiration from that and I also get a lot of inspiration from repeatedly seeing movies and thinking I could have written a part a little better than that, stuff like that, especially an old black and white movie.

QM: That's interesting! Such as? Any example of a specific film?

M: 'Pleasure of the Seal', 'The Marlboro,' any Bogart movie, any of those old movies that people don't really watch anymore.

M: The inspiration for the song is never really evident; it's just there for the writer but not there for the listener.

QM: So you would say a lot of things get edited?

M: Developed into something else.

QM: Oh, I see!

M: Ok, I wrote this on guitar but now it's on synth. I had this chorus that went la, la, la, but now it goes, do, do do and that's one of the weird things about music, it doesn't happen in art and it doesn't happen I think in any other art form, they always keep there original inspiration but not in music.

QM: Wow! I really appreciate that sentiment!

QM: Do you feel you are portraying a message to the masses for your audience to relate to?

M: It depends on what mood I'm in. I really write songs for myself, I don't know how other people understand them, because there written just for me. They don't dwell on it, they just say, 'Oh, it's a cool song"; to me it's actually part of my life.

QM: Yeah, I understand! With the name 'A flock of seagulls,' we always have seen it as a union, inspired by the book, 'Jonathon Living Seagull,' was this book your inspiration?

M: Of course, at the time it kind of explained or described the way I was. I felt that I was a bird trying to fly, I had wings and I wanted to fly, also I felt like I was a fish swimming upstream against the water that was flowing with it. It kind of did encapsulated the way I was getting into music and at the same time my favorite band was 'the stranglers' and in one of the songs, the line, 'a flock of seagulls' comes up!

QM: Wow! Right on! Very cool!

M: So to me, it was like a divine inspiration, the band should be 'A Flock of Seagulls' and when I look back now over the 20 years of the band, they literally had a hand in it.

M: A bunch of birds


QM: Beautiful birds!

M: They also fly better than most birds!

QM: We've also seen you as a forerunner of high fashion, way ahead of your time, how do you view yourself?

M: Yeah! I think that's who we we're at the time, we're not those people anymore.

QM: Yes, I understand you still look good!

M: I don't think of fashion anymore, I'm too old to be a fashion leader.

QM: You we're though, back then at the time it was my thing and I was probably the best at it.

QM: Weren't you a hairdresser back then?

M: Yeah! I was really involved in the fashion scene, clothes, met loads of girls, we knew what people we're interested we knew tailor's, how to get stuff made, people that made clothes. We we're hairdressers, we we're inventive in that way.

QM: How did you invent your trademark hairstyle?

M: I was blowing my hair, trying to spike it up one day and Frank just crushed it flat but the sides stayed up and that lead to the hairstyle, and I went out onstage with it, the front was crushed and the sides we're up and everyone loved it so we developed it.

QM: Have you seen the part in ': The Wedding Singer?'

M: Yeah! It does show the power of a hairdo.


QM: What is your favorite track and why?

M: It changes, usually you know when you write a song, a new song, your like, 'man this is the best thing I've written, only when it becomes part of your collection, maybe 2 years after you wrote it, you can look at it from a distance and go it's still not as good say as 'Wishing' or 'space age,' it certainly isn't 'I Ran'. I like the new version of 'I Ran' better than the old one. There's also a new version of 'Wishing' that we are working on.

QM: Very cool!

M: It's actually not another version, it's the second part of the song, called 'wishing 2' and it's the girl talking about the photograph rather than the guy saying, 'I wish I had a photograph of you'

QM: Oh wow! Cool! Right on!

M: It may make it to an album, it may not.

QM: Video perhaps?

M: You, never know.

QM: 'Living in Heaven' has always been my favorite song. It inspired me to learn to play keyboards.

M: Oh really!

QM: Yeah! 'Setting Sun' is one of my favorite songs. My friend Scott loves you band and got me into your music. He might even cover 'setting Sun.' He already did a cover of 'Iran'

M: Oh really!

M: 'Setting Sun' is about an old girlfriend of mine. It wasn't written when we broke up it was written years later and it always had a little something left that I had to say to her, because I hadn't seen her in years, so I had to put it in a song. It's not for me or you, it's for her.

QM: When I watched 'Nightmares' I saw such theatrics in that video, I saw a lot of element of film medium. Would you ever make a movie or star in it?

M: I don't know, Frank directed that. I didn't like videos, after a couple of hours, I was bored with them. Frank was really into the video thing he wanted to be an actor, although he isn't listed as being a director or whatever, he actually basically put it together and directed it and he wanted it to be mini movie and it was and it turned out great!

QM: Yeah! It was great!

M: I think it was probably the best, video we did! The song was inspired by the movie 'Mommie Dearest,' oh wow!

QM: What was you sentiment towards winning a Grammy for 'DNA?'

M: It was an instrumental, I wasn't singing, we didn't know what a Grammy was at the time. Looking back on it now, probably the worst thing that we've could have done is not pick it up, maybe, if we had, we would have sold 100 million albums more.

QM: Wow!

QM: You we're forerunners, I think for early synthpop, Gary Numan, David Bowie and you we're the only ones that touched on space, in the early 80's period. Do you agree?

M: Yeah! It was the taboo thing. I'm more interested in the Egyptian thing; I think they have closer contact with that kind of thing.

QM: Yeah! Well I owe it to them for my makeup and there would be no Goth scene.

M: Your right!


M: Gary Numan has become darker and darker and I think I have become lighter actually. I'm more interested in Atlantis and the Egyptian pyramids, than UFO's now.

QM: If you could ever see a UFO again, would you want to board the ship?

M: As long as I know I could get back!


M: If they come, we're just going to be kids in a playground of there's we're going to be the adults of the universe.

QM: With songs like 'Rosenmontag' and 'The last flight of Yuri Gagarin' it completely inspired me to read up on space.

M: Yuri, was the first man in space, he died in a car crash and I thought that was pretty sad so I wanted to give him one last flight, so I wrote the song and called it, 'The last flight of Yuri Gagarin'

QM: We, Scott and I saw you at Synergy a while ago, and you had broke your arm, you came out on stage and said, 'I have a broken wing' and you still played with a broken arm... why did you do this?

M: I don't like to cancel shows for any reason. They would rather see me with a broken wing than not at all!

QM: We'll my friend Scott wrote a song called 'The Raven Song' and his lyrics we're 'make's me wish I had wings.' It made me think of that moment you played at that show. Scott and I we're there at that show and Scott got me into your music and introduced me to the Goth scene as well and I owe it to him for that.

QM: In conclusion: What future projects can we expect?

M: We're going to make a new CD and I don't feel any pressure to do anything except what I want to do. I don't need stardom anymore, but I still like being in a band, it's time to make a new album.

QM: What ever happened to Paul Reynolds?

M: He had a drug-induced breakdown.

QM: Have you talked to Bill Nelson?

M: No, not in 10 years, he's brilliant though! I wouldn't mind seeing him! He would take your idea and formulate it to his own production style.

End of interview. Thanks Mike Score and to the rest of the band.
'This interview is for people with two ears'
Special thanks to Scott Amstutz for his great influence.

Michelle and Mike in 1999

A special poem by Michelle Russo...

The undying past...

'I ran' every direction just to get away from the 'Nightmares' buy they just kept haunting me. All I kept receiving was messages. 'Don't ask me why' I got them, but I guess this has his way to 'transfer affection' to me, but they did 'say so much,' that it kept me asking for more, even if most of it was 'over my head.' I found myself loving him more and more, day by day, and hoping things would get 'better and better' but they didn't and all I did was 'cry like a baby' and kept drawing myself, more closer to 'the end'. I almost 'lost control' (totally), but I realized my 'suicide day' would kill me and him and we wouldn't be 'living in heaven', but instead there would be 'the fall,' that would end it all and it would land us stuck forever, into a horryfying pit of everlasting 'quicksand' with no chance to cross 'over the border'. So I didn't do it, but continued on with life and went under a famous oath I always stood by and that was 'you gotta have faith.' Well that was 'the story of a young heart', my young heart, it still is, believe it or not, but 'what am I supposed to do' with a guy who has a 'whole lot of loving' but a 'heart of steel'.

Thanx for listening! Michelle Russo can be reached at deathsister1334@yahoo.com