With the ordeals of 2020 taking up most of our focus, we did not get to enjoy some of the “little” things that bring us so much happiness. In addition to our concerts being taken away, album releases didn’t get the love they deserve. Therefore, as a public service, we must make sure you are aware that Dramarama has new material for the first in 15 years AND you can see them in person soon. We featured Dramarama’s “Color TV” as one of the best of 2020, but now we get to enjoy it a bit more, along with a vinyl reissue of “Cinema Verite,” plus we spoke with front-man John Easdale about what’s ahead.
Full disclosure: I think Easdale is one of the nicest people in music. Almost a decade ago, I was organizing a benefit for a friend with cancer. OC Music News editor-in-chief Jimmy Alvarez put out word that it was happening and Easdale was there with a “what do you need?” When I messaged him for this article, boom, he was incredibly helpful and genuine as always. He is happy, healthy, and excited about 2021.
When Easdale and childhood friends began the band in 1982 in New Jersey, no one could know that 40 years later, they would still be releasing music and touring. Yet here we are – not only enjoying new music on “Color TV,” but also celebrating the 35th anniversary of “Cinema Verite.”
Easdale and crew had not been on hiatus or sitting around doing nothing. In addition to their frequent touring, “Color TV” was worked on over those 15 years because they wanted to take their time and put out what they want. In doing so, Easdale has written a beautiful story of youth, success, addiction, recovery, family and hope. This week, they are releasing the new single and video for “The Only Thing,” which Easdale says is about his family.
“In a lot of ways, my life began when I became a dad. That more than anything is the most important thing in my life and that’s what the new single is about,” he told us. “For all the ridiculous things I’ve done, and all that I’ve been lucky enough to achieve and experience, the only thing that really matters is my family.” (I’m not crying; you’re crying!)
Of course the song we all know, “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You),” remains one of the best songs to come out of the ‘80s. Not to insert myself into this story again, but as someone who answered the KROQ request lines for several years in the ‘90s, I can confirm that EVERY time the song was played, the phones lit up with “WHAT IS THIS SONG??!!” callers. (Back in the pre-internet days when you had to call a radio station for information.) Dramarama made themselves legends with the song and have continued to release fantastic material. (Hello? “Last Cigarette!”)
But way back in 1985, “Cinema Verite” launched the band – with help from the legendary Rodney Bingenheimer – as Dramarama’s debut album. In addition to “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You),” the vinyl reissue of “Cinema Verite” includes “Transformation,” “Emerald City,” “All I Want,” “Questions?,” plus the David Bowie cover “Candidate,” and more.
As for the “in person” news, head to Catalina for Lost at Sea on May 29th and you can see Easdale in person with his trademark cowboy hat and red Chucks. Dramarama will be there live with original members Easdale, Mark Englert and Peter Wood, plus longtime members Mike Davis and Tony Snow. For Dramarama (and most of us!), this will be the first “big event” since the pandemic began and Easdale reassures us that the concert promoters have gone to great lengths to make the event as safe as possible. Dramarama has played with many of the bands from Lost at Sea before, and when we asked Easdale what to expect, he said, “It will be interesting to see, with the absence of shows for the last several months, if people have changed their sets or set-ups much. In the past, with a string of shows, you get into sort of a rhythm and now that rhythm has been interrupted. I’m expecting a bit more spontaneity from everybody, and hopefully we will do the same!”
To see Dramarama, Oingo Boingo Former Members, A Flock of Seagulls, The Romantics, Thomas Dolby, and more grab your tickets to Lost at Sea now as there are not many left.
As for Dramarama, the remainder of 2021 should include more live shows and per Easdale, “And of course, I’m promoting safety, common sense and justice for all.”
To pick up “Color TV” on vinyl and the reissued first album “Cinema Verite.”