Updated: Mar 2
Today is Missing Persons, Dale Bozzios' 68th Birthday! Happy Birthday Dale!
Wind back to 1980 in LA when Missing Persons came onto the scene. It was a time between Punk and New Wave and exactly the right time for this band. With Dale on lead vocals and Terry Bozzio on drums, they were the perfect combination for these times. The band was founded by guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, and along with bassist Patrick O'Hearn and Chuck Wold on keys, Terry Bozzio on drums and Dale on lead vocals, together they were Missing Persons!
In 1980 the band made its first record, a 4-song EP entitled Missing Persons. They recorded the album in Frank Zappa's Utility Muffin Research Kitchen studios; the recording was financed by Cuccurullo's father. The band toured, promoted the EP, and appeared in the movie Lunch Wagon in 1981. They became a must-see band among the Los Angeles live music crowd. "Mental Hopscotch" was a No. 1 record on my favourite local radio station KROQ. And the EP sold 7,000 copies. They then signed with Capitol Records in 1982. With the label supporting them, the re-released EP sold another 250,000 copies, and the new full-length album Spring Session 'M' went gold. The singles "Mental Hopscotch", "Surrender Your Heart" (1984), "Destination Unknown", "Words", "Walking in L.A.", and "Windows" all became successful, especially in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. The visual effects used in the music video for "Words" were unusual for the time, making it popular on MTV.
It started in the early 70's when Dale came out west from Boston. Her life went from a young girl coming to LA with nothing, for the sole purpose to become a movie star. She didn't even have enough money for food. She met Hugh Hefner, and made money as a model. Dale then became a playboy bunny, and posed nude in Playboy magazine getting paid $10k for the shoot. She was then about to move into the Playboy Mansion...She told me the story of the day she was to move into the Mansion....She got there and Hugh Hefner was keeping her waiting, so she took off and snuck into a gig that she wanted to see...Frank Zappa. She climbed in the back way cause she didn't have any money for the ticket...what she didn't know is that she climbed right thru to the dressing room of Frank Zappa! After getting into his room, he must have been instantly charmed by her spirited personality and her good looks. He told her she should sing on his album. She told Zappa that she came to LA from Boston to be a movie star. He said that he's gonna make her a rock star first, then she can become a movie star later. At that point she agreed to work with him. He paid her $500 a week to hang out in the recording studio doing a little backup vocals, getting fed, and he even had a place for her to sleep which was at the house of the drummer, Terry Bozzio. So she took Zappa up on his offer and moved in with Bozzio. Dale and Terry first met then. They were both working on Zappas album, Joes Garage. Dale's quirky voice and sexy pin up looks got her places. First as Zappas back up singer and then with her own band. Missing Persons became a favorite on MTV in the early 1980s. Dales revealing outfits played a pivotal role in moving the culture of music videos towards that of overt sexual exhibitionism. She was most definitley the original Lady Gaga!
Dale Bozzio is still very much an original in my eyes. She's warm and makes sure her fans feel loved and welcome. That night in Fairfax, one of the super fans came from Modesto, armed with a stack of memorabilia he's obviously collected over the last 40 years. Album covers to magazine spreads...He had it all. He even brought special pens he asked her to sign with. She offered him a beer and they sat at the table and chatted whilst she signed everything. I sat with them, and she complimented him on his shirt, he said he was afraid it made him look fat...she insisted otherwise. By the time he left, you can see the look on his face was that of elation...he finally met his idol! And she came though with more than flying colors!
After spending several hours that night, with Dale and her band in the green room, down in the bar of 19 Broadway, and next door at Peris, I got to know her as much as possible. And what I got to know, was a gracious, smart, quick witted, committed mother to two wonderful sons. One of which, Troy, was there. A lovely, seemingly well adjusted, polite, and articulate young man. All of 26 years old, he and I chatted about photography, life and him being a child of divorce. Truly a a grounded human being. They shared with me that they have the same birthdays, March 2, one born at 2am and the other at 2pm. Mother and son Troy, are very much alike in demeanor and they are best friends. Something I had always hoped for with my own kids. I loved their rappore with each other. Dale warmed my heart that night again and again. We had some deep conversations, interrupted, because there was a lot going on, but she always came back to me to finish her stories and chat. She gave me advice about my own kids as well as other deep life stuff. Like we had been friends for years. After the show, we went back upstairs and I was lucky enough to get more stories. Some were about the times when she was dating Prince, Dolph Lundgren and Jackie Jackson as well as her future husband Terry Bozzio, all at the same time in the 70's. And the stories she told me about them...so interesting, not leaving out any details! The manner of which she told the stories, were not in a name dropping/bragging sort of a way but a down to earth 'girl friends sharing' way. And the stories kept coming and kept me on the edge of my seat. She has had an exciting life for sure. I cannot wait for the book!
As far as the show...The Hormones, a female Ramones cover band opened. Although The Ramones' music is some of my favourite music, I was upstairs in the Green Room during most of their performance. I came down for one song and they seemed fun. For the Missing Persons set. They played 12 songs, all very well received with Dale connecting to her audience between songs. 19 Broadway was filled to capacity and Fairfax was overwhelmed with the visit from this band!
She travels with her band, comprised of Karl DAmico from New York on guitar, Fred Bensi from Paris on keys, Prescott Niles on bass and from the band, The Knack, and the one that all the ladies were drooling over, stunningly handsome drummer Andy Sanesi from New York.
As for Dale, I cannot wait till she comes back. Not necessarily for the show they'll put on, (which is a good one), but I cannot wait to hang with her and the band again. I came away that night feeling like I had simply made new friends. I wish Dale lived up in Northern California, so we could hang out more often. I miss Dale, and her band, as they were all fun and so easy to be with. I know she and her band will return, and when they do...I'll be there.