Iran. Iran's so far away ...
And I had to get away to a brighter time when The Dixie Chicks weren't shedding tears to Diane Sawyer about rednecks and bulldozers, or when Madonna wasn't defending throwing grenades at the president. Back when The Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" was rerecorded to say "Bomb Iran" and a little group of hairdressers named after a Neil Diamond movie were achieving awkward success in the name of the homonym. "I Ran" is "Iran," right?
Whatever. A Flock of Seagulls were essential to my hair at one point in my life. So, naturally, I tracked down my former hair god, Mike Score, he of the one-finger keyboard and the one-trick hair, for a little scalp talk.
Score lives a spit away on the Melbourne (Fla.) waterfront, these days, and is strikingly normal. He even bought a jeep from Gibson Truck World, my stupid trivia head informs me.
"Twice they had to rebuild the transmission," he turns straight, "and it still didn't work out. So I just took it back and said, 'Take it, or I'll start an anti-Gibson Truck World campaign!'"
So, um, the future's bright. Score is still peddling his wares as A Flock of Seagulls, only with an entirely different band lineup. Aging gracefully, then.
"Where did it all start," I don't age gracefully.
"If you look at the kind of bands that I liked at the time, and in fact, the rest of us liked, the bands that we liked were much more image conscious," he fixes his hair. "We were big into Alice Cooper when we were kids. Early Elton John, the yellow Captain Fantastic and all that stuff."
"Omigod!" I fix my hair. "Me too!"
"We looked like a flower in the middle of a grass field," he grows.
"Didn't anybody ever want to clip you, then?" I snip.
"Not really, no. The other good thing in England is that when you do something like that, people just go, 'All right, you want a pint?'"
HAHAHAHAHAHA. "They'll fight you for a minute, and then if you fight back, they'll 'Oh, he's all right. He's still a lad.'"
I'm soooo getting turned on. Hair products and bar fights? I'm in love.
"So, did you ever think it would take off," I Martha Quinn.
"It was not planned," he flips on the way-back. "These days I think you can say, I'm gonna spend two million on this band, and they're gonna be a success, because I'm gonna spend two million. In those days, especially with the whole punk thing breaking up and the New Romantic thing and nobody knew where it would go, I think record companies were more willing to take a chance."
"Did the Middle East have anything to do with America accepting your hair? I mean, 'I Ran,' 'Iran.' Duh."
"Heh, heh, heh," he coughs up the past. "I think maybe in the American conscience it was. Cuz it was like, 'Oh, Iran!' and the whole Iran thing was going on. But not for us when we were writing it a couple of years before. If people heard that on the radio in the background, it would pique their interest because of the whole Iranian situation."
These days, A Flock of Seagulls are in the Hair Hall of Fame, drawing spoofs in such places as Adam Sandler movies.
"What?! I don't think it's funny," he cuts my giggle short. "I mean, I don't do my hair like that anymore, and I haven't done it for 20 years, but I'd rather have them put me in that scene like that than ... "
"John Taylor?" I dream.
"Or Adam Ant, for that matter."
"Oooooh, he's been in a little trouble lately, hasn't he?" I institutionalize.
"He deserves it."
I like this side of the record. Throw me some more dirt.
"I don't know the dirt," he lies. "I can't dish on people."
"Tell me you did cocaine with Simon LeBon," I grab at a straw. "Please."
"HAHAHA. I can't say it!" he snorts. "I mean, a lot of those people you meet for 10 minutes, so to form a big judgement about them ... I met Simon LeBon a couple of times just to say 'Hi' and I met Adam Ant a couple of times just to say 'Hi.' And I don't know any of them."
"How did you do that hair?" I blow-dry, knowing damn well how he did it. Because I did it. "I used to hold my hand on my head and blow dry all around the sides."
"Well, I was doing a Ziggy Stardust, where it was spiked to the top like three inches high," he pretends to be cooler than me. "But Frank (the bass player) was trying to get into the mirror, and my hair was all standing up, but he just put his hand on top of my head and flattened it."
"What did you do in the rain?"
"We never went in the rain," he wins.
"So, um, are you always wearing a baseball cap now?" I run my fingers through my hair.
"Yeah. I don't have as much hair as I used to have," he balds, then rationalizes. "But you know part of it is that when I moved to Florida, it was so hot. And being a nice white boy, I turn into a lobster, so it became the baseball cap and dark-as-I-can-get-them sunglasses. Like the Roy Orbison of the '80s."
Crying, crying, cryyyyyy-ing.