Access Atlanta 28th August 2008

Human Regeneration Tour gets Gen Xers moving

Belinda Carlisle, ABC and Human League among performers

Rodney Ho

For Gen Xers, ’80s top 40 was vibrant, often goofy and full of joy. The New Wave portion featured plenty of dance-worthy classics that have passed the test of time. Thank goodness for package deals such as the Human Regeneration Tour, featuring Belinda Carlisle, ABC, Human League, Flock of Seagulls and Naked Eyes.

 

Those acts together compiled about 20 top 40 hits. Access talked to Carlisle, Martin Fry of ABC and Phil Oakey of the Human League.

 

BELINDA CARLISLE

 

Lead singer the Go-Go’s, solo artist, now lives in France

 

Hits included: “Mad About You,” “Heaven Is a Place on Earth,” “Leave a Light On.”

 

Atlanta memory: “We used to love visiting this restaurant called Pittypat’s Porch. We ate there every time we came.”

 

Latest album: “I have no desire to make a pop album. But I wanted to make a French standards album. I always had a little chanteuse in me. It actually ended up sounding half-decent. It was a labor of love but did pretty well worldwide.”

 

On why she became a judge on MTV’s show on rock singers’ kids, “Rock the Cradle”: “I was in Los Angeles to get my license renewed. I was sitting next to Carol Burnett. Someone called and said they needed a judge on this show. I loved the premise and had a blast.”

 

Upside/downside of France: “The toilets are filthy. But the food is amazing. They have tomatoes that taste like tomatoes.”

 

Her favorite Human League song: “Don’t You Want Me.” “It’s a classic. It’s fresh every time you listen to it. Same with ‘Tainted Love’ or ‘Come on Eileen.’”

 

MARTIN FRY

 

Lead singer of ABC

 

 

Hits included: “Poison Arrow,” “Look of Love,” “Be Near Me,” “When Smokey Sings”

 

On his next ABC album: “I want it to be very cosmopolitan. It’s like ABC on testosterone. I want to make it a bit more muscular.”

 

On singing his hits 25 years later: “It’s still great for me to sing ‘Be Near me’ or ‘Poison Arrow.’ I still connect with it.”

 

On his own singing voice now: “I love singing. Something about the air moving around in your lungs, it’s a high. I sing better now. Like fine wine!”

 

Favorite Belinda Carlisle song: “‘Live Life to Be Free.’ It was massive in Europe. People used to play it at raves. I’ve played some shows with her. She looks fantastic!”

 

PHIL OAKEY

 

Lead singer of Human League

 

Hits included: “Don’t You Want Me,” “(Keep Feeling) Fascination,” “Human”

 

Pondering 30 years as a musician: “Reflecting on it, I realize I’m getting on. It’s really odd my life has been as a musician considering I’m not a particularly good musician. Or anything. I just really like pop music. We know we’re lucky to be where we are, that people still support us and enable us to do it.”

 

On not liking “Don’t You Want Me” at first: “It probably saved our bacon in the end. Without it, possibly we would have gone a different way, been more underground.”

 

Mild jealousy for: New Order. “We’ve had similar careers in terms of sales. But if we play a festival with them, we get paid one-tenth [what] they do. They’re thought of as authentic, and we’re just a pop band.”

 

Favorite ABC song: “I think their best song is ‘Poison Arrow.’ Those guys know how to construct a great song. Martin’s one of my favorite singers and is still underrated.”