’80s bands headed to St. Charles stage
By ERIC SCHELKOPF - firstname.lastname@example.org
With songs like “One Thing Leads to Another” and “Everybody Have Fun Tonight,” The Fixx and Wang Chung ruled the music charts in the 1980s.
The Fixx and Wang Chung will perform Friday, July 26, at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets start at $29, available at 630-962-7000.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk with Wang Chung member Jack Hues about the band’s musical impact.
Eric Schelkopf: You’re touring with a lot of different bands this summer – The Fixx, Naked Eyes, A Flock of Seagulls, Animotion. Why do you think Wang Chung is a good fit with these bands? Is it because you are from the same era?
Jack Hues: I think there is a bit of an obsession with packaging music by genre, so people don’t have to think outside of the box. I think actually The Fixx and Wang Chung are a pretty good fit.
We are doing a bunch of gigs with them. The history with The Fixx does go back a long time. Around 1980, there was a club in London called the 101 Club.
And they used to put out albums with tracks from bands that they recorded at the club. And I recall, there was an album with Wang Chung and The Fixx on the same record.
We were doing stuff together then, and now it’s come around again, at a much later date.
ES: Speaking of the ’80s, are you having as much fun playing now as you did in the ’80s?
JH: I think more fun, actually. In the ’80s, we did big tours with The Cars and Tina Turner, and that’s fabulous. We were playing in big arenas. I’m not complaining about that.
But there was quite a lot of pressure. Back in the ’80s, it felt like each move you made, each gig you did, each track you recorded determined the fate of your career.
Whereas now, everybody knows who we are and have their opinions about us. Most people come with an open mind, because I think you need that with Wang Chung.
We do quite a lot of varied stuff. It’s more relaxing now. I certainly enjoy performing much more these days.
ES: I imagine that you will be playing “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” during your show at The Arcada Theatre. I understand that the line “Everybody Wang Chung tonight,” that was something you came up with at the last minute.
JH: When we were doing the demo, I just ad libbed it toward the end of the song. And when our producer heard it, he was kind of like, “You’ve got to use that line. That’s the chorus.”
And I thought, “Oh, God, we can’t do that.” But he convinced us.
The pressure was on us back then to have a proper hit.
ES: And you probably get asked this a lot, but how do you Wang Chung? What does it mean to you?
JH: For me, we never used the name because it meant something. It just created a space.
What I love is that people have run with that, and they’ve filled that space with what they want to put in it. So it means a slightly different thing to different people.
Whatever it is, it’s good with me.
ES: Do you think that song has overshadowed your other work at all, like the song “Dance Hall Days?” Do you think those songs have become lost in the shuffle?
JH: Certainly that is the song that everybody knows Wang Chung by, and I guess to the extent that you’re defined by the genre you’ve had success in.
A lot of people who come to our gigs love “To Live and Die In L.A.,” which is obviously a much more serious song. And a lot of people love “Dance Hall Days.”
We have this new album, “Tazer Up!”, and on that album we use genre in a much more playful kind of way. And I dislike the way that music is defined by genre.
As a musician, I like the freedom to work in whatever area I want to work in. I like to mix it up.
ES: What kind of advice would you give to someone trying to break into the music business?
JH: Just learn to play your instrument, and that’s it. The people that I know that are successful in it are pretty serious about it.