Last year, the one and only Dale Bozzio shared her life with us through the pages of her book, “Life is So Strange.” As the voice of Missing Persons, Bozzio drew much of the attention as they made waves on MTV thanks to “Mental Hopscotch,” “Words,” “Destination Unknown,” and “Walking in L.A.”
Now the front-woman of the iconic ‘80s band from Los Angeles is giving us new music so we can hear that classic voice once again. For information on the new album – plus some local shows – we figured we should ask Bozzio herself.
Traci: Hey Dale! What are you up to this week?
Dale: Well, this week I’m preparing. I’m rehearsing with my band because we’re going to play a new song called “Ice Blue Eyes.” I have a couple of concerts coming up at the beginning of November. I’m working towards that and I’m catching up on putting the fall schedule together now for my touring.
Traci: Is the new record coming out in November?
Dale: It’s actually out right now. You can order on my Facebook or my site. Yeah, I would suggest doing that to get it sooner.
Traci: Who worked on the album with you?
Dale: I wrote the whole record with my friend Adam Hamilton. Adam Hamilton is one of the musicians from L.A. Guns and he has been producing quite a bit of music. William Shatner and a lot of different movie stars and so forth. But he’s a very talented fellow. We wrote all the songs; there’s 11 tracks on it. “Hollywood Lie” actually being homicide, suicide, fame, fortune, glitz, and the glamor, and what you really can’t hold on to; it slips through your hands. A lot of people go through despair, I believe, from losing what they never even had. It inspired me to make this record because of a few different people. My own personal ex-husband decided to commit suicide last year. And the story from F. Scott Fitzgerald about the Great Gatsby. I have a song entitled “Gatsby” in honor of Gatsby. He is a figment of our imagination, but one of the greatest stigmas in history of gallant men.
Dale continued: And another fellow I dedicated the record to was Halston, the designer. Not really knowing what happened, what was his demise… So I took it a little bit to heart after I lost somebody to this sadness. And I just went immediately into the studio with Adam Hamilton and said, “Adam, we’re going to write this record.” And Prescott Niles and I have been together for 10 years, making music and in a rock band, and he plays on the whole record, as well as my other fine musicians. Nathaniel Morton on drums, Fred Bensi on keyboards, Karl D’Amico, guitar player of mine. And we play in concert as well. Steve Stevens is featured on one of the tunes, and Adam plays a lot of music. He plays all instruments, so he also has helped me write all the tunes. We kept it very tight between him and I because I didn’t want to lose the message.
Traci: Is that your normal process? Something affects you – good or bad – and you just have to go write about it?
Dale: I kind of find myself doing that. Yes, I do do that. I did that way back in the ‘70s. I fell out a window and when I was waking up, I started writing all these things down. I actually wrote “Destination Unknown” down and eventually got together with Terry Bozzio and Warren Cuccurullo and wrote that song for Missing Persons.
Traci: You fell out a window? Wait, I don’t think I have heard this story!
Dale: Yeah, I fell out of the window, from 40 feet from the Holiday Inn. That was 1976, and I had come to California. I made a record with Frank Zappa, actually, “Joe’s Garage” one, two, three, and four. And as soon as we finished, I had this terrible accident, fell out the window, had to be transported back to Boston. I finally got better; it took quite a long time for me to repair myself. I was on the life support, etcetera. But now, to look back on it, all things do happen in life, and we need to take everything with a grain of salt, good, bad or indifferent, because it’s gone in a flash. Just like that. It happens good, happens bad, and we can fix it and repair it and move on to better things. Have a heart. I say have a heart. Our friends could be sad and they may need our shoulder to cry on. I think that’s important.
Traci: I was telling a mutual friend that I saw your painting post on Facebook, and I said it was an amazing painting. The friend told me you had done another painting this week as you were affected by the situation with Israel and Palestine. It’s incredible to me that you can express your emotions in so many different ways with music and art; that you have such talent to do that.
Dale: Oh, well, that’s so nice of you to say that, and I appreciate that. I don’t know how talented it is, but I’m kind of outspoken. More than anything else I feel I have a big heart. I feel for the layman. I’m the one that stays in the back and talks to the cook. I’m the one that walks with the housekeeper in the hotel hallway. And I appreciate what everybody does for what their job is, not just for me, but I appreciate that. They make the world go round for us. All the people that have jobs, every day I hear them stop their cars and go on their journeys and think, “Wow, I can’t believe what am I doing? Just sitting around singing and dancing?” It almost not fair enough for me.
Dale continued: So that’s why I really wanted to write this record, which is the most important to me, is to say the right thing to the people that are listening to me. My two, my biggest fans, Tony and Ramon, my biggest fans since they were little boys. I need them always to know that confidence is just around the corner. “It’s just right there. All you got to do is just reach out a little further, just a tiny, tiny bit. Just like you’d go get a glass of milk and a chocolate chip cookie. I know you go a mile for that. So just hold on, I say a little bit longer. Wait for the cookie.”
Traci: That’s so sweet! But you just said, “Oh, I just sing and dance.” But that touches so many people and their memories. Personally, during COVID, music was how I coped in the lockdowns. I went back to the ‘80s music and relived so many wonderful memories and that’s what got me through. Your music does do that, even if it doesn’t feel like important, it affects and influences people.
Dale: Well, that’s one of the reasons, now that you say that, that I did take so personally and too hot to go and write this record. Because I thought to myself, I can’t waste any more time. Nothing left here to say that’s trite. Everything I have to say is very important now. It’s important to me and it’s important to some of the people that I love so dearly that kind of couldn’t even face it. And I think it’s so important to face the good and face the bad and it’s not going to stay forever. It’s like the Bible says, “This too will pass.”
Dale continued: It’s such an incredible delivery of words. I love words. I love what they do. I love how they can change your life, what you just said, because they happen to me. I know how words can just trip you up so quick, but unfortunately, unless there’s somebody there to talk to you, to tell you something, to tell you the words, to make it all true, maybe we can’t hear it. So that’s why I made the record. I wanted to make the words to go along with the music. Maybe you’ll listen a little more intently. Maybe it’s just not enough to say the words. Maybe it’s got to have some more impact. So that’s all we’re going for.
Traci: As they sing the words, the idea will sink in. They will think, “Wait a minute. That’s a good message. OK, Dale gave me a good motto.”
Dale: There you go! That’s the ticket.
Traci: Painting, songwriting, and you’re an author. What are you going to do next?
Dale: I’m going to make a movie soon! I’m waiting for Howie Huberman to get better. He’s a very dear friend of mine from the music business. When he gets better, I’m going to make a movie with him. In the meantime, I’m just going to sing a lot of songs.
Traci: Sounds like a good plan.
Dale: Well, I want you to take care of yourself over there. When I get out in that neck of the woods, I’ll be getting to see you. We’ll go horseback riding.
Traci: Another good plan!
Thanks to Dale Bozzio for the fascinating chat! Catch her in person November 1st when Bozzio and Missing Persons perform at Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach.
Don’t forget to grab your copy of “Hollywood Lie” now!