In about four weeks, we will all be together on Catalina Island for the Lost at Sea ‘80s Beach Party. Over the course of the three-day gathering, we will see live sets from our favorite ‘80s acts including A Flock of Seagulls, English Beat, Missing Persons, Oingo Boingo Former Members, Annabella’s Bow Wow Wow, Wally Palmar of the Romantics, The Untouchables, plus our “Anything, Anything” band, Dramarama.
Most of us fell in love with Dramarama courtesy of “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)” and “Last Cigarette.” Since their formation in 1982, they’ve had quite the journey and are thankfully still here to share it with us 40 years later. In 2020, they released their first new material in 15 years called “Color TV,” plus a vinyl reissue of “Cinema Verite.”
“Color TV” became one of OC Music News’ faves, perhaps due to its cohesive story of youth, success, addiction, recovery, family and hope.
At the time, they dropped the single and video for “The Only Thing That Matters,” and front-man John Easdale told us it 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 explained. “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.”
Just last week, they shared “What Are We Gonna Do? (The Earth Day Song) Emendation Mixes,” and per Easdale: “In April, 1990, when Dramarama performed at a huge concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, the enormous amount of trash left behind by the audience was appalling; the debris and disregard for the message of the event inspired me to write ‘What Are We Gonna Do?’ Unfortunately, I failed to check the calendar, and sadly, over the years, that lapse has gotten more attention than the message.”
Easdale continued, “So now, on April 22, 2022, in celebration of Earth Day, Rhino/WMG is releasing two new versions of what’s come to be known as ‘The Earth Day Song,’ Utilizing the original tracks, I’ve slightly revised the lyrics, and we’ve also created a new ‘Stripped Mix’ that features Peter Wood’s acoustic guitar and shines a spotlight on the exquisite Hammond and piano of Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). Songwriting royalties from these new versions will be donated to Pure Earth.”
You can get new Dramarama AND help the Earth. Win-win.
As we head to Memorial Day weekend, we checked in with Easdale to get excited about the beach fun. I have stated this in previous Dramarama stories, and I have to add into this one too: Easdale is one of the nicest people out there. With past charity events and anytime I needed info for an article, he is always there, ready to jump in and help. Maybe that’s not super rock and roll of me to say, but I can’t help it.
Traci: When we last chatted, “Color TV” had just come out. Were you pleased by its reception?
John: Absolutely! We were very encouraged by the response, especially since, when we decided to release it on May 1st of 2020, we obviously had no idea that we were about to experience a pandemic and shutdown that pretty much prevented the band from touring and other performing opportunities. All things considered, we were delighted with the reaction from the press and radio… and of course, our longtime listeners. We really wanted to do something that lived up to our past work. To have it be named by, among others, OC Music News and legendary music critic Robert Christgau’s as one of their top 10 favorite releases of 2020 was definitely a cherry on the top.
Traci: You were able to go to the Lost ‘80s Catalina event last year; how was it?
John: It was so much fun last year, especially since Lost at Sea was the first show we had played since the start of the pandemic. We got to reconvene with many bands who’ve become our friends over the years, so it felt a bit less of a show and more of a reunion for us. To be able to be the band for Wally Palmar of The Romantics, was absolutely astounding and not an opportunity I ever thought we’d be lucky enough to experience. In fact, we enjoyed it so much, we’re doing it again this time around.
Traci: Speaking of collabs, you are also scheduled to do dates for the Lost ‘80s Live 20th Anniversary Tour. What other artists do you enjoy hanging out with?
John: We are always happy to play and 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the band. I honestly feel it’s almost a miracle that we are still out there playing shows. It’s always nice to be included with all these other bands that had huge hits back in the day. As far as the other artists, we’ve been lucky to make some real friends with some of the musicians in the other bands, but it’s like your children…even if you have one, you really shouldn’t say which is your favorite.
Traci: Fair enough! How about your own band; who will be on stage with you in Catalina?
John: We’re pretty unique in the realm of the ‘80’s show bands in that our line-up consists of three of the four original band members: guitarists Mark “Mr. E. Boy” Englert and Peter Wood, who started this band with me in 1982 and I am proud that we are all still onstage together. The “new guys,” bassist Mike Davis and drummer Tony Snow, aka The Thunder Brothers, have been playing with me since the mid-‘90s.
A rare find indeed! Thank you for catching us up, John. OC Music News looks forward to seeing you in a few weeks!
Catch Dramarama in Catalina for the Lost at Sea ‘80s Beach Party along with A Flock of Seagulls, English Beat, Oingo Boingo Former Members, Missing Persons, The Untouchables, Annabella’s Bow Wow Wow, Wally Palmar of the Romantics, Tommy Tutone, Stacey Q, Naked Eyes, Josie Cotton, Shannon, Musical Youth, Trans-X, Kon Kan, and Burning Sensations. Tickets are on sale now for the May 27-29 event. In addition to regular tickets, VIP and cabana passes are available, but hurry because they sold out in 2021!
If you can’t make it to Catalina, check out the Lost ‘80s Live 20th Anniversary Tour. The tour will travel across the US and musical acts vary by location, but it will give you the ‘80s you need in 2022.