Mental Hopscotch

Missing Persons. Just a mention of the band brings back memories of MTV’s early years, big hair, synthesizers, and Dale Bozzio’s clear plastic bras. Missing Persons really were a cool band, in an 80’s kind of way. Twenty-some years later the heavy synths make some of the music sound a little dated, but it’s still undeniable catchy. Tunes like “Mental Hopscotch” or “Words.” I defy you to listen and not have it stuck in your head the rest of the day.

Dale and Terry Bozzio, along with Warren Cuccurullo, formed Missing Persons in 1980. They met through their work with Frank Zappa on the Joe’s Garage album. Dale did several vocals as Mary, “the kind of Red-Blooded American Girl who’ll do anything...”
“I said anything...for fifty dollars.”

Cuccurullo did the fantastic rhythm guitars behind Zappa’s leads. Terry Bozzio had been Zappa’s drummer on previous albums, and was with a band called UK before Missing Persons. Bassist Patrick O’Hearn was also an alumnus of Zappa’s band, and had played on Joe’s Garage.

In 1980 the band recorded its first album, the 4-song EP Missing Persons, in Zappa's brand-new UMRK (Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) studios. The band toured, promoted the EP, appeared in the movie Lunch Wagon, and became a must-see band among the LA live music crowd. "Mental Hopscotch" was a #1 record on radio station KROQ, and the self-promoted EP ended up selling between 7,000-11,000 copies. The original version of that EP contained the two songs from the Lunch Wagon movie (“Mental Hopscotch” and “I Like Boys”), a cover of the Doors' “Hello I Love You,” and a disco-tinged “Destination Unknown.”

In 1982, Capitol Records signed Missing Persons and rereleased the EP, replacing “Hello I Love You” with “Words.” The rerelease sold 250,000 copies. Spring Session M, the band’s first full-length album, came out in October 1982. It contained 10 original songs as well as “Destination Unknown” and “Words.”

Missing Persons reached the height of their fame in 1983 with an appearance at the US Festival alongside The Pretenders, David Bowie, U2, and others.

By 1984, the band started to come apart, finally ending, along with Dale and Terry’s marriage, in 1986. Warren Cuccurullo went on to play with Duran Duran, replacing Andy Taylor. Dale Bozzio had minor solo success with a Prince-produced song “Simon Simon.” Terry Bozzio is a successful session drummer. Patrick O'Hearn composes ambient instrumental music on his own albums and for television and movies. Keyboardist Chuck Wild composes New Age and meditation music under the name Liquid Mind. Dale Bozzio and Cuccurullo occasionally perform together under the name Missing Persons Featuring Dale Bozzio.

I’ve got today two songs from the EP, as well as “Walking in LA” from Spring Session M. Some trivia: "Spring Session M" is an anagram of "Missing Persons."

I Like Boys.mp3
Mental Hopscotch.mp3
Walking in LA.mp3


At 6:40 AM , Blogger j_ay said...

Terry joined up with Dale and Warren (Patrick wanted little to do with it and didn’t want to fly) for a very, very brief reunion in 2001, but it dissolved after 2 nights. Dale sounded really bad and would forget lines from time to time. So it was short-lived.

Terry is now, sadly, wasting time with Korn but has worked with Warren on a as-yet-released project last year and Patrick O’Hearn is a sometimes member of OutTrio (DVD available) with Terry.


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