Sunday, October 6, 2013

1979 Masque rehearsal session - FASHION SEEKERS

(photo by Jenny Lens. From left to right : Alice Bag, Belinda, Hellin Killer, Pleasant Gehman)

Fashion Seekers '79, live from the Masque

In the January '79 issue of Flipside Magazine, this week's MIT track - a signature early song of the original Go Go's – was mentioned specifically as the band had recently recorded it in the studio, but for reasons undisclosed, it was stated they did not intend to release it. How the actual track came about remains shrouded in mystery, and with the tragic death of co-writer Joseph Fleury earlier this year (see sidebar box below), subsequent attempts at contacting Ms. Caffey for public comment have unfortunately been met without success (if we do connect with her in the future we will certainly update this posting).

For the relative handful who have heard this recording previously, unanimous consent has been expressed that this version of Fashion Seekers is the finest rendition the band has ever committed to tape (the studio version of which essentially no one has heard, aside). The recording quality – for what it is - is indeed outstanding and every member of the band is simply spot on in their performance. The co-lead vocal, harmonized effectively by Jane and Belinda, is a refreshing departure from the band's later formula that became standard fare in their post-1980 recordings. The anthem-like lyrical message - concerning the utterly transparent and exploitative attempts at co-option of the early LA punk scene - is a dangerous dart that pierces one big-business bulls-eye after another. “Bland ideas in a borrowed head,” the lyrical assault begins, “..taking notes in all of our clubs/pretending to be one of us.” 'Don't mess with our posse or our scene' they seem to be saying, 'ok??' As a side-note, the song also takes an amusing musical stab at the ubiquitous disco-bunnies of the late '70's “They dance the hustle in Italian boots” - easily the most hated musical genre of punks and rockers of that time.

Though a hint of bitterness is clearly detected in their decree and a melodic melancholy rings through Caffey's simplistic, sparkling lead lines, it is the girls and their gang of ne'er-do-well cohorts at the Masque who clearly have the last laugh: “They think that we're too young to know (but) they wear the fads that we outgrow” the band declares in mischievous middle-finger mockery and self-triumph.

More could certainly be expressed about this stellar early track, but we'll leave it up to MIT listeners to read between the lines of this song further if they're so inclined. So without further ado, here's Fashion Seekers '79, live from the Masque....  
~Eden Felt

Go-Go's - Fashion Seekers (live 1979)

(Joseph Fleury. Photo by Jenny Lens)

Who was Joseph Fleury? 
In honor of his memory, MIT would like to dedicate this week's posting to Joseph Fleury, who we were informed died in January of this year. From what is known from the several people who were contacted, Joseph Fleury was originally from New York but moved to Los Angeles where he worked with his business partner, John Hewlett of John's Children. From what is understood, Fleury was never in an actual band himself but managed many groups including The Dickies, Sparks, The Mumps, The Swinging Madisons, Milk'n'Cookies and others. Musician Kristian Hoffman of the bands The Mumps and Swinging Madisons as well as Jane Wiedlin's Downtown Sensation called Joseph Fleury "a dear friend who got me my solo record contract (and) with whom I shared many wonderful events". Thanks also to his former band-mate Paul Rutner for additional information as well as Danny Benair from the Three O'Clock.
~Eden Felt  


  1. hey guys. thanks for the latest upload of "fashion seekers"
    so far, i love the upload of "london boys" the best!
    you guys are doing a great job. thanks!

  2. Thanks again guys! I am so thrilled to finally see MiT after all these years of wishing! And Fashion Seekers! And the lyrics! Signed off by the band, if not the writer herself. Funny, I always assumed Jane had a hand in writing that one. I need to read my liner notes better! So so cool, Thanks a million xx

  3. Thanks, great to hear another version of Fashion Seekers!
    I think I even noticed the last 2 lines of the 2nd verse are different to the printed version (something about "polka dots".)
    And was that snooker/pool balls I heard clacking together in the background at around at 2:58?
    Can you tell us, was there any between-song chatter or were they all quite tightly edited?

  4. ^^Good ear on the alternative verse, few seem to catch that. Indeed, Belinda also sings this line in the '78 Whisky show. "Pretending" and "claiming" are also used interchangeably on different versions. As some of you know, stripes & polka dots were the rage for many in the scene back then (esp. females), it was a mod-influenced look that later became a staple of New Wave.
    There is some between song chatter between songs, not a lot. Perhaps you noticed I did make sure to include a short bass/drums jam after the conclusion of the track though :--)

  5. Great stuff.
    I love it.

    George Vreeland Hill

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  8. Thanks a lot Lion Jay, this website was/is a labor of live for me. Peeaacce!

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  10. The studio version was recorded on 12/8/78. They only did two recorded takes of it - one with vocals, and one without. Jane's guitar was double-tracked. I know because I found it this year (2023). It sounds very raw and very alive. It was the original lineup (with Elissa and Margot). I've reached out to everyone I can to let them know about it. Hopefully it can see the light of day, because it deserves to be heard - but I have no desire to get sued...

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