Wednesday, February 20, 2013

5 Questions With Mike Score of a Flock of Seagulls

While Mike Score's name might not ring a bell on the surface, he fronted one of the most popular bands in the world during the '80s.

A Flock of Seagulls originated in Liverpool in 1979. The name itself, according to Mike comes from "Toiler on the Sea," a song by the Stranglers. He, along with his brother Ali on drums, Francis Maudsley on bass and Willie Woo on guitar practiced in the space above the hair salon that Mike worked at. Paul Reynolds eventually replaced Woo, and a new genre was substantiated. 

A Flock of Seagulls began play gigs and eventually released a few singles through Bill Nelson's Cocteau label. "It's Not Me Talking" garnered moderate air play throughout the United Kingdom, and "Telecommunication" became a favorite in the British club scene. It was "Telecommunication" that got the attention of a major label, and in 1982 the Seagulls released their self-titled debut through Jive Records. Their third release, "I Ran (So Far Away)" received major play on the relatively new cable TV show, MTV. This exposure propelled the Seagulls to world-wide fame. 

"I Ran" climbed to number one in Australia and hit the top ten in both the United States and New Zealand. The band also hit the world charts with "Space Age Love Song" in 1982. A Flock of Seagulls continues to be immensely popular in the United Kingdom.

Today Mike Score lives in Brevard County, Florida along the Indian River. He still owns a house in Liverpool. Aside from occasionally touring with the Seagulls, Mike has also embarked on a solo career. His latest single, "All I Wanna Do" will be released through Right Track/Universal on February 25th.

Mike Score today.

What are you up to these days? Are you touring? Solo or with the Seagulls?

I'm writing songs and touring with A Flock of Seagulls which is always great fun. I would love to do a tour with my solo stuff but we will see on that one.

Personally, what's been the biggest challenge you have faced as a professional musician?

Well, not being a great player is always a problem. I 'm not any kind of trained musician so I just make it up as I go along. That suits me fine for writing but sometimes I wish I could lay down some great lead lines,  but I just don't have the technique. But I get by.

As a pioneer of a genre, who were your musical influences?

Musical influences:  The Beatles, The Stones, Ultravox, The Cars. Marvin Gaye, Pink Floyd, Bowie, and any thing I consider a great song from country to heavy rock to life itself - to my own feelings, movies, TV shows - absolutely everything is an influence really - even just some thing someone says can send your mind on a trip that ends up coming out in a song a few years or days later.

A lot of people do not realize that the self-titled debut album of A Flock of Seagulls is a concept album about alien abduction. How did the band come up with this concept?

The first SEAGULLS album was initially influenced by Sci-Fi. It was what we were into at the time - watching movies like ALIEN or FIRE IN THE SKY - we had a song called "Fire In The Sky" too - it was a great time as Sci-Fi was just getting into its real stride then and more and more people were starting to believe in aliens and space.

Imagine you are stranded on an island. Name 5 records that you'd hate to be without?

Five records. Probably... The Beatles' White Album - I never tire of that one. And Abbey Road too, and Dark Side Of The Moon. The other two I'd have to sift through a lot of stuff to decide.

What is your strangest childhood memory?

Strange childhood memory... I was walking across a railway bridge not on the pavement but up on the wall I got about half-way over, looked down and fell off. I landed on the rails probably 15 ft or so below and i just remember thinking what the fuck, how did this happen? I still haven't worked it out.  I did get a big cut on my forehead for my pains - but I have often gone back and looked down from that bridge and I still can't work out how I fell off. I guess I was just a stupid kid.


Pertinent Links:

Mike Score  Official Facebook

Mike Score Official Twitter

Mike Score Youtube


Zeros SoCute said...

"Well, not being a great player is always a problem. I'm not any kind of trained musician so I just make it up as I go along. That suits me fine for writing but sometimes I wish I could lay down some great lead lines, but I just don't have the technique. But I get by."

I've always been a creative person, but I was never interested in writing music. I think part of it might have been a knowledge that I don't have a special music talent.

Then I found A Flock Of Seagulls. I must have noticed that because it looked like something I could do, yet I liked the music and it was done well. That was when the notion that had been hovering near me really hit me, that great bands aren't all about talent. Music teaches about experiences and feelings that others have experienced, or explain to you what you're experiencing. It also helps support emotions and hinder emotions. (Hindering can be good, when the emotion being hindered is bad.) Music, especially in this day and age, is loyal. If you need it's support it's there. That can be cheering when you've lost a close friend for whatever reason. Any song written, and any band, as long as it's decent, will find it's way into someone's heart. Someone will appreciate it deeply. Someone will be inspired by it. Maybe it will give them a message that saves their life. Bands are more than art. They are psychologists in a way, and they are also teachers.

As soon as I realized that, I picked up an electric guitar and am trying to write songs. I don't know how far I'll get with it, but I will enjoy playing it, and perhaps do decently. I was singing the other day, and although my voice isn't the greatest it felt really good to be truly singing, especially since they were my lyrics, not someone else's. It's been about a month since I started.

Thank you so much for your inspiration Mike Score!

A L Plummer - NC said...

Is this blog still active? Can I ask Mike a question? I’ve been a big “Flock of Seagulls” fan since 1982. My favorite album is “The Story of a Young Heart,”, although I don’t understand every song, it seems to have a bit of an abusive undertone; victimization, if you will. To me it was written for those who have survived these types of relationships whether with a parent, relative, significant other, or father/mother figure. It says, “We understand. You’re not alone.” The title song, “The Story of a Young Heart,” appeals to the young listener - things happen. Be aware. Not all adults have your best interests at heart. “The story in your eyes is the story of a young heart.” The rest of the songs carry that same sort of feeling. “The More You Live, The More You Love” is quite sagacious when it warns, “don’t trust your feelings to stranger, don’t want to go through this again” - a warning for the naive to take time to get to know someone before trusting them with your life, especially pertinent for the cyber-age. “Heart of Steel” is another song that begs the listener to be wary of those who are not as they appear - the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” metaphor can be applied with lyrics such as, “You can hide behind your angel’s smile.” Another relationship gone sour which led the one jilted to turn their heart to stone or steel because they don’t want to feel that sort of pain again. What type of relationship leaves the fans guessing but when you hear the lyrics to the dark melody, “Remember David,” the mystery begins to unfold. “Remember David’s eyes, the way he used to hypnotize his young,” gives one the uneasy feeling that David was perhaps a child molester who used to trick the young boys and girls into trusting him and the writers were remembering a story that was popular in their lifetime or even victims themselves. There are a lot of questions about this album but I think this album proves that “A Flock of Seagulls” were anything but a flighty, light-hearted, pop/new wave band. Their music was deep and if you can get past the stereotypical “Score Hair,” which may or not be a thing, then give these albums a chance. It’s good music.
However, my question is am I right or is my interpretation way off-topic?