Bow Wow Wow’s music ranges from simple, goofy, non-sensical tunes to complex, crisp pop masterpieces. Their music has been described as a pastiche of Latin and African beats, 50’s rock-n-roll, and Spaghetti Western soundtracks. The band packaged all of this together with an incredible sense of humor and vigor.
With thundering African/Latin percussion and twangy, Duane Eddy guitars, Bow Wow Wow struggled to maintain a consistent image and sound through a host of record producers in their short life span. But despite the numerous people who shaped their sound from 1980-1983, a strong Bow Wow Wow identity remained intact. That unique style created a wonderful antithesis to the gloom of the London and U.S. music scene in the early 80’s when unemployment and inflation were at record highs in both countries.
Bow Wow Wow’s first U.S. hit would have to wait for the release of the “Last of the Mohicans” EP in 1982. That same year, McLaren terminated his involvement with the band and went on to record his own albums. Producer Kenny Laguna, who had worked with Joan Jett, was brought in to record “I Want Candy” and to re-record and fix “Louis Quatorze” (which McLaren had originally produced using a weak mix).
The single from the EP, “I Want Candy,” was a Top 10 hit in the U.K., and made it into the Top 40 on the American charts. Looking back, that song seems to define something essential about the early 80’s. One, it marked a return to the 3 (actually 2:44) minute pop song; Two, the look of the band was just right for MTV, the “beach party” video becoming a staple on the fledgling channel; Three, it offered a wonderful, much-needed optimism for pop and “new wave” fans.
In 1983, tensions in the group were rising. Suffering from illness and exhaustion after intense US touring, they went there separate ways. Twenty years on, Bow Wow Wow were asked to reform to help KROQ celebrate its 25th Anniversary. The band performed alongside such luminaries as Duran Duran, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, Soft Cell’s Marc Almond and Interpol at the third annual Inland Invasion concert. The 45,000+ sell-out event, held at the Glen Helen Hyundai Pavilion on Sept. 20th 2003, was KROQ’s fastest selling concert ever.
Original members Leigh Gorman and Annabella Lwin were joined onstage by special guest Adrian Young from No Doubt, who took Dave Barbe’s seat behind the drums (Dave had prior commitments in the UK with dance band Cicane), and Phil Gough (who channeled the sound of the late Matthew Ashman).
After having a blast on stage in front of 30,000 + people, Bow Wow Wow decided to continue doing what they do best…playing killer live shows. Over the past 18 months the band have also made numerous radio and TV appearances (including Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Orlando Jones Show, and FUSE TV’s Daily Download), most recently recording segments for third series of VH1’s popular I Love The ‘80’s show. Bow Wow Wow has toured the past decade and Continues to entertain their fans in true Bow Wow Wow style.