Back when I was a DJ at WLCV radio, on the air I was known as “New Wave Dave.”
Here are some of my favorite new wave bands, with the genre being somewhat fluid (new wave, post-punk, synth-pop, ska, pre-industrial, and others).
These are “my” bands. The bands that helped shape who I am, roughly in order of how much they mean to me.
Dave Mattingly: The Musical, Part 1
Men Without Hats
- Known For: Safety Dance
- Memories: This is the band for me. I founded their fan club back in the ’80s. It’s morphed a bit over the years, but the fan club is still moving on. I still listen to the band all the time. The band has kept on going, with their latest album (Love in the Age of War) coming out in 2012, with another on the way. I believe I own everything they’ve ever done, including lots of rarities.
- Favorite Songs: Security, Where Do the Boys Go, I Know Their Name, Here Come the ’90s, I’m in Love, Sideways, Love All Over the World, Love in the Age of War, Tomorrow Never Comes, Forever, Mote in God’s Eye
- Known For: People are People
- Memories: I still prefer the acoustic version of Personal Jesus, which I heard long before the album version. It was mailed to the radio station without any information – no artist, title, or anything else. We made up a name (The Flaming Doo-Doo Balls, if I remember right), and played it on the air for at least a year before the Violator album came out.
- Favorite Songs: Photographic, Ice Machine, New Life, See You, Everything Counts, Dream On
- Known For: Need You Tonight
- Memories: INXS was (I think) the first concert I ever went to. They also blended a variety of musical styles, from rock to pop to soul. Their introspective side delved into the human condition, and really reached me. The (former) singer Michael Hutchence even has a cameo in my favorite Frankenstein movie.
- Favorite Songs: On a Bus, Just Keep Walking, The One Thing, Don’t Change, Dancing on the Jetty, Johnson’s Aeroplane, Burn for You, New Sensation, Disappear
- Known For: Sweet Dreams
- Memories: Oh, I had such an Annie Lennox crush as a youngster. I even buzzed my hair and dyed it orange. Her vocal range and grasp of genre and style is amazing. On her (solo) “Medusa” album, Annie sings nothing but cover songs, and they come out beautifully.
- Favorite Songs: I Did It Just the Same, Greetings from a Dead Man, Doubleplusgood, Julia, Beethoven (I Love to Listen To), I Need You, Train in Vain
- Known For: Rio
- Memories: Champions of the new romantic movement, it’s Duran Duran’s contemplative side that most appeals to me. “New Religion” has a subtitle of “a Dialogue Between The Ego And The Alter Ego.” And, they certainly knew how to work the camera — the fledgling MTV, that is.
- Favorite Songs: Planet Earth, Waiting for the Night Boat, Lonely in Your Nightmare, New Religion, Last Chance on the Stairway
- Known For: Love and Pride
- Memories: King’s “Unity Song” helps get me through times that I doubt myself. They can come up with some odd titles and lyrics – “I Kissed the Spikey Fridge” being a prime example. It was years before I realized that 2 M. B. was about T. Rex’s Marc Bolan.
- Favorite Songs: Unity Song, I Kissed the Spiky Fridge, 2 M.B., Ain’t No Doubt, Taste of Your Tears, Torture
- Known For: Our House
- Memories: Originally called the Nutty Boys, Madness kept the playful goofiness in most of their music over the years. Their full horn section allowed them to provide more of a ska beat than many of their contemporaries. The band’s chemistry made them seem like a family.
- Favorite Songs: Night Boat to Cairo, House of Fun, One Step Beyond, Cardiac Arrest, It Must be Love, Blue Skinned Beast, Uncle Sam
- Known For: Whip It
- Memories: What can you say about Devo? They set the standard for nonconformity, as oxymoronic as that is. They fought against expectations, and pushed the envelope musically while they did it. Mark Mothersbaugh’s vocal chords can produce some chilling noises. Are we not men?
- Favorite Songs: Mongoloid, Girl U Want, Working in a Coal Mine, Freedom of Choice, Post-Post Modern Man, Watch Us Work It
- Pearl Harbour and the Explosions
- Known For: Once in a Lifetime
- Memories: Talking Heads has always been a good band, but what really sent them over the top for me is their movie True Stories, in which they have a bunch of quirky characters from a small Texas town sing the songs instead of the band. Highly recommended.
- Favorite Songs: Life During Wartime, Road to Nowhere, And She Was, Stay Up Late, Hey Now, Puzzlin’ Evidence, Papa Legba
- Known For: Wouldn’t It be Good
- Memories: Nik’s imaginative video for Wouldn’t It Be Good caught my eye initially, but it was the meaning behind his songs that kept me coming back. A lot of the songs on his Human Racing album got deep. I used to wear a “Nik” button on my jacket when I worked down in Florida, and found out that a friend I wouldn’t have expected was also a fan.
- Favorite Songs: Don Quixote, Shame on You, Gone to Pieces, Faces
- Tears for Fears
- Runners Up: Thomas Dolby, ABC, B-52’s, Trio, Book of Love, Love and Rockets / Tones on Tail, The Cars, Happyhead, Woodentops, Primitives, Howard Jones