Modern Romance emerged in 1981 from the remnants of UK punk band, the Leyton Buzzards. Singer Geoffrey Deanne and bass player David Jaymes' initial attempts to blend in with the new romantic wave were unsuccessful, although the connections they made on the London club scene during this time were to aid their developing sound.
After a second flop, they introduced Jaymes' brother Robbie on keyboards, Paul Gendler on guitar, Andy Kyriacou on drums and crucially John Du Prez on trumpet. They quickly recorded "Everybody Salsa", which gave them their first UK Top 20 hit and set them at the fore-front of the emerging Latin-American salsa craze which broke out that summer.
So what you up to at the moment?
Andy: Well, I'm busy finishing off the album and putting it out there at the moment. There's two new tracks on it, along with a re-recording of all our hits. Mikey Craig from Culture Club is playing bass on one of the new tracks, John Themis, who plays with the Sugababes and George Michael, plays guitar on one of the tracks too and we've got former Ricky Martin percussionist, Gabriel, in the band. We've also recruited Chaz Da Bat, the Culture Club keyboard player, to be part of the band and he'll be taking on the role of producer and musical director as well. Jamiroquoi's trumpet player is in the band now as well. It's been a bit like picking the best players you can find to be in your football team. It's been great just calling up all the people I'd encountered in the past, telling them what I'm doing and then hopefully getting them involved. To be honest, I only really asked David James from the original line-up, but he's into management now. I think he's looking after Sinead O'Connor at the moment. I did speak to Trevor Jones, John Duprez as he's better known, but he flits between here and the States. He's writing the music for a new Monty Python thing at the moment. I do have to say, the new band does sound good; we've got a great group of musicians. Since we reformed, we've had a lot of interest from TV people too, so once we've completed the album we can start taking them up on it. There's no point going on TV just to say we've reformed. I'm hoping to do a lot more live work too, like the Schoolfields gig on Clapham Common last year. That was brilliant; no posing and posturing, just loads of people wanting to go mad and have a party!
So are the new tracks in the old Modern Romance style?
Andy: It's latin, but a little bit more grown-up. It's Modern Romance grown-up, with less pop and more latin. Some of the notation is far more authentic, but we haven't taken anything away from its pop-ability. Otherwise, people may as well go and buy a Sergio Mendes album. We're still hoping to bridge that gap.
So what have you been doing since the late '80's?
Andy: I've been playing music that I don't want to play. Doing sessions that just aren't me. I have worked with some great people as well, like Craig MacLaughlin, Angie Stone and I did some stuff on the Culture Club album. I also did a few gigs with international acts that want a ready-made band when they come to the country to gig. Bits of everything really!
Going back to the beginning of Modern Romance then, your style was quite a surprise at the time wasn't it? What prompted the salsa direction?
Andy: Two flop records prompted it to be honest! [Laughs] The band was signed, prior to me joining. They were told that if the third didn't make it either that they were going to be dropped by the label. When I came along and first heard 'Everybody Salsa' I thought it was a bit corny, but that's because I was brought up on some serious avant guarde funk and jazz. Jazz and funk records don't repeat the same thing over and over, it's all about change. So it just felt a bit cheesy when I first heard the track. Of course though, that's the whole point of a pop record. When we were going around gigging, everyone was just going mad to that track, so we knew that had to be the one to release next.