After a 20 year hiatus, Wang Chung (Nick Feldman and Jack Hues) finally return to the scene in support of their new album, Tazer Up! The longevity of their pop hits from the ‘80s, like “Dance Hall Days” and “Everyone Have Fun Tonight,” and their contribution to American pop culture is undeniable. “Wang Chunging” has been mentioned on TV and in movies and commercials for more than two decades.
Shockwave: What do you enjoy the most — touring, writing, or collaborating with others?
Nick: In the Wang Chung world, I really enjoy personally recording and writing. I feel that it’s the most creative aspect. That’s how we build up our records and construct them piece by bounce...playing live nowadays is much better. The live experience has really caught up with it...and it’s really fun, and the audience can sense that it’s a more entertaining experience for all of us.
How do you feel about the American fascination with British culture
(i.e., Doctor Who, One Direction, ‘fish fingers and custard’)?
I don’t know whether to be proud or what. Do you think there used to be a fascination…I think it’s come back a bit...we are good at [sic] English bands in America peak in the ‘80s, a few exceptions in ‘90s and 2000s. A lot of English bands find it to be successful. Could it be something to do with…we found, in the ‘80s, English culture is much more concentrated...in England there is RADIO 1; it’s become more proud, but it’s become much more concentrated. You would be influenced by all these kinds of music and created [sic] some kind of hybrid. MTV had started [sic] mixing synth with samplers...a new kind of mix of stuff that Americans hadn’t seen; maybe that [sic] English culture was able to shuffle it together.
Would you consider another ‘80s reunion tour, and if so, with who?
Yes, we would. We’ve done a couple, and we enjoyed it. We always try with our new album. We take it seriously. It’s not just a cabaret show, and when you play with other ‘80s bands, it can be perceived as a glamourized circus. It has been positive. We’d be happy to do it; we are open-minded.
What would be your ultimate dream band lineup (living or dead)?
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Sly and the Family Stone, Jimmy Hendrix, Zeppelin…the Beatles, and Marvin Gaye, with Ludwig Van Beethoven conducting.
How did you come up with the song/concept for “Everybody Have Fun Tonight?”
[Laughing] It was actually Jack. Jack and I would get together, and we’d play parts together...and we came up with the chorus ‘Everybody have fun tonight,” and I expected him to say we couldn’t have a song that says, ‘Everybody have fun tonight.’
[It’s] Slightly ‘Hey Judesy’ – Beatlesy. When we met the producer of Mosaic, Peter Wolf, Jack ad-libbed “Everybody Wang Chung tonight; everybody have fun tonight,” [where he] threw it in just as a throw away...and Peter said, “That’s it, it should be every chorus; you should speed up the song and make it feel good... knock it into shape!” And we recorded…and the rest is history.
Can’t help but to feel proud of it, it’s in the dictionary, and to be quite rude, to “Wang Chung” means whatever you want it to mean. We’ve entered the culture in a most significant way...it’s not like it’s faded away, and it still gets mentioned in punch line mentions [sic] in TV shows.
What is ‘Wang Chunging,’ by your definition?