Not all of the music from the 80’s was great. For example, I have a personal revulsion for all things Madonna, Cher, and heavy (big hair) metal (with the exception of Cult). Sorry if this offends, but that’s just the way it is.
Within the realm of all that was extraordinary about 80’s New Wave and Post-punk music, are diamonds in the rough; gems that hovered beneath exteriors that were cast aside or overlooked in favor of the flavor of the moment. Particularly in the US, corporate suits met in stuffy, smoke-filled boardrooms and decided what we would listen to, when we would listen to it, and how it would be broadcast. Lucky for us that we had the nanny-suits watching out for our own oh-so-precious musical well-being – not. Who knows, we might have actually all grown up to be serial killers, or worse: individuals with top-notch and unique musical tastes.
And so, the legions of the clueless grew up, had families, and eventually discovered all of the riches that were hidden from the airwaves via a wonderful vehicle called the Internet. That’s the whole raison d’etre for this blog; it’s my way of sharing some of the best New Wave and Post-punk music that was deliberately swept under the rug, ignored, or just plain euthanized, all because some corporate bean-counters thought that was best for our tender ears and impressionable sensibilities.
Today’s entry features a fabulous band from Toronto called Vis-A-Vis. Most of the information is taken from the band’s MySpace page because precious little else is available on the Internet. From the Vis-A-Vis MySpace page:
The core line up included Rude van Steenes, Vocals/Lyrics, Synth’s, Percussion; Kurt LaPorte, Guitars, Backing Vocals; Gene Donofrio, Bass Guitars; Norm Brown, Keyboards, Synth’s; Frank March, Drums; and the late Jeff ‘Jet’ Persad, Coordinator.
Vis-A-Vis is another prime example of a band of gifted musicians that had everything going for it, but ran up against impenetrable obstacles that caused its unfortunate, premature demise. They did, however, release three very vital singles: “Heart and Soul” and “I Am the Night (Colour Me Black)” from the Heart and Soul LP released in 1986, and “Shadowplay” from the Shadowplay LP released in 1987.
Rather than for me to paraphrase their history, it’s best to just visit the Vis-A-Vis MySpace page that Rude van Steenes has lovingly populated, listen to their music, and bask in the elements that made 80’s New Wave and Post-punk music so lush, unique, and vital. Meanwhile, watch this space for more criminally underrated 80’s artists and bands, kept alive in our hearts and minds, and brought to you via such renegade DJs as David Marsden and Ed-FM.
“Shadowplay” (audio only) via YouTube user tadeuz30:
“I Am The Night (Colour Me Black)” (audio only) via YouTube user JAMR1977:
As far as I know, Vis-A-Vis music is no longer available for purchase. Please correct me if I am wrong. More reason to check it out over at the Vis-A-Vis MySpace page.
Heart and Soul (1986)
Great stuff, how come I’ve never heard of them before? How many times have I said that?
That’s the point ((((Robert))))
So much criminally underrated music – so little time. 🙂
I had to giggle about your musical revulsion to big hair metal bands except for the cult…haha I actually first fell in love with the Cult when I saw a video for She Sells Sanctuary on Much Music. I liked the way he danced…haha That caught my eye before the music caught my ear. It happens to be one of my all time favourite songs now though. I was notorious for walking into a record shop on a Friday night trip from Barrie down to Toronto, and picking up the record that had the most unusual cover art to buy. I ended up with Klaus Nomi on one of those trips. I play his version of Ding Dong to my daughter. She loves it. I also ended up with Some Girls by Rolling Stones and Loverboy’s first album by cover shopping only. Not all were great finds but it was a great way to hear new music.
On the Madonna issue…my one and only favourite song of hers is one of the first she ever did Borderline. I do like the one she put out not long ago “Miles Away” though. The rest I can take or leave. I never got over Cher not singing with Sonny anymore so I boycotted her before she even got popular in the 80’s. Dark Lady was one of my favourite songs as a little girl though. I liked the way she snorted when she laughed on The Sonny & Cher show. I like music for odd reasons sometimes. It has definitely broadened my musical horizon.
Okay I think I babbled again. Sorry about that!
You can babble any time you like 🙂 I love hearing about how others perceive and remember music. I think musical memories are as strong as the memories certain smells evoke. I read somewhere that smell is supposed to be the strongest memory stimulus, but I think music is just as strong, if not stronger.
The only reason I picked on Cher, Madonna, and Big Hair Metal is because i’m still angry about the fact that was pretty much all we had to choose from on radio here in SoFla, besides country (gag me) and hip-hop. Plus, I remember them all being in heavy rotation on MTv which, in retrospect, was about as useless as (insert politician’s name here). I’m just glad I lived long enough to have a second chance at discovering all that was fantastic about 80’s music. I’m so busy getting caught up that I rarely listen to what’s currently out there. At this rate, I’d better live forever. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by and all the best to you.
Wow…thanks for the Shadowplay tunes…I’ve been looking for those tuneslooking for a long time.
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You may also be interested to know that Kurt (my brother) and Rude were in an earlier band called Glamatron, which I actually prefer to Vis-a-Vis. They released a five-song EP titles “Only the heart beats… Inside the Silence” in 1981. Someone has generously posted all those tracks to Youtube — just search for “Glamatron.” I believe that just prior to forming Glamatron, Kurt and Rude were also briefly associated with Malcolm Burn (ex-Boys Brigade, producer/ musician who’s worked with Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris). His old place at 59 Ossington, which I used to visit from Brampton, is now a Vietnamese restaurant. His girlfriend at the time, Fuschia Future, made a lot of their stage clothes.
I *am* interested, and love it when friends, family, fans step up and share stories such as yours. I am in touch with Rude and will be sure to pass this along. Thanks so much for taking the time to post!
Good musicians, but needed more catchy, poppy songs. My friend was their drummer for a while. people,came and gone in that bad all the time. They tried to push that old Ultravox sound when it was already out of style. More melody and less darkness.
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