Missing Persons is an American band that plays a blend of New Wave and pop rock. The band was founded in 1980 in Los Angeles by guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, vocalist Dale Bozzio, and drummer Terry Bozzio. They went on to add bassist Patrick O'Hearn and keyboardist Chuck Wild.
Dale's quirky voice and heavy makeup made the band a favorite on MTV in the early 1980s. Her revealing outfits played a pivotal role in moving the culture of music videos towards that of overt sexual exhibitionism.
Dale and Terry Bozzio met while working with Frank Zappa, and they married in 1979. Cuccurullo encountered the pair while contributing to the Zappa album Joe's Garage. O'Hearn was also a former member of Zappa's touring band, and Wild had played with a variety of bands before joining.
In 1980 the band made its first record, a 4-song EP entitled Missing Persons, in Zappa's brand-new Utility Muffin Research Kitchen studios; the recording was financed by Cuccurullo's father. The band toured, promoted the EP, appeared in the movie Lunch Wagon, and became a must-see band among the Los Angeles live music crowd. "Mental Hopscotch" was a No. 1 record on local radio station KROQ-FM, and the self-promoted EP sold 7,000 copies.
Two years of hard work led up to a signing with Capitol Records in 1982. With label support, the re-released EP sold another 250,000 units, and the new full-length album Spring Session M (an anagram of "Missing Persons") went gold.
The singles "Mental Hopscotch", "Surrender Your Heart" (1984), "Destination Unknown," "Words," "Walking in L.A.," and "Windows" met with varying success, especially in the local markets of Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. The visual effects used in the music video for "Words" were unusual for the time, making it popular on the fledgling cable TV channel MTV.
Missing Persons appeared at a three-day Southern California concert known as the US Festival in May 1983, along with Berlin, David Bowie, The Pretenders, U2, and other performers.
Although the band gained new attention by heavy play on MTV and FM rock-radio with the striking music video for "Surrender Your Heart" that was designed by Peter Max, the experimental album Rhyme & Reason (1984) was not a great success, and Capitol was not happy about the direction the band was taking. The band followed up with the more conventional Color In Your Life in June 1986, but during the short-lived promotional tour, increasing tensions between Terry and Dale Bozzio led to the end of the tour, the couple's marriage, and the band.
After the breakup of the band, Cuccurullo had his greatest success as guitarist for Duran Duran for fifteen years. Replacing original guitarist Andy Taylor in August 1986, he performed on the albums Notorious ('86) and Big Thing ('88), and was the sole guitarist on the global tours that followed. Becoming an official member in June 1989, he appeared on the group's next five studio albums, and was a co-writer of the hit singles "Ordinary World" and "Come Undone." He left Duran Duran in 2001 due to a reunion of the group's original members. Warren also recorded several solo albums before leaving Duran Duran. Later he collaborated with Neil Carlill in the experimental rock band Chicanery.
Dale Bozzio scored minor success as a solo performer under the name Dale with a top 40 hit on the Billboard Dance Chart, "Simon Simon," produced by Robert Brookins. Her album Riot In English was released in 1988 on Prince's Paisley Park label, and her album New Wave Sessions was released in 2007.
Terry Bozzio worked in 1987 with Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck. He has played with several groups and artists as a session or tour drummer including The Knack. He records albums and instructional videos in multiple styles and is a highly sought-after session/tour drummer as well as performing constantly at European music festivals and worldwide drum clinics. Most recently, Bozzio performed and recorded with Californian nu metal band Korn, in place of regular band drummer David Silveria, in preparation for their untitled eighth studio album.
Patrick O'Hearn is a composer and performer of ambient instrumental music on his own albums, and for television and movies.
Chuck Wild became an in-demand session player, playing keyboards on albums for Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul, and The Pointer Sisters. He composes New Age and meditation music under the name Liquid Mind, and also has released a 4 song digital only project entitled "One True Thing" with singer/ songwriter Michael Whitfield.
Spring Session M was released on CD in 1995, followed by Rhyme and Reason and Color In Your Life in 2000. All three reissues included rare B-sides and/or live tracks.
Classic Masters is a compilation of remastered tracks and dance mixes issued by Capitol Records with no band involvement.
Beginning in 1997, Cuccurullo began work on his "Missing Persons Archival Trilogy" project. The first CD to be released was Late Nights Early Days in 1998, a live concert recorded in 1981 with the added 1980 studio track "Action/Reaction." This was followed up by a compilation of modern remixes of classic MP tracks, Missing Persons Remixed Hits (1999) which included the TV Mania remix of "Destination Unknown." In 2002 Lost Tracks was released, a collection of extremely rare Missing Persons studio, live and remixed tracks from five different eras of the band.
In late 2000, Cuccurullo and Dale Bozzio again began discussing a Missing Persons reunion. In May 2001, after Warren's split with Duran Duran, the new Missing Persons appeared, consisting of original members Warren, Dale and Terry. Joining them were Dale's keyboardist, Ron Poster (jazz pianist and organist for the Boston Bruins home hockey arena) and Warren's bassist, Wes Wehmiller (also formerly Duran Duran's tour bassist from 1997–2001). The short-lived, official reunion consisted of promotional activities and three live performances in July 2001. The studio tracks "Dark And Dangerous Guy" and "Throw Money" that appear on "Lost Tracks" were recorded at this time, as well as the live performances of "Face To Face" and "Give" on the same album. The recordings are characterised by Dale's lower vocal range over the years.
Late 2002/early 2003 brought "Missing Persons Featuring Dale Bozzio and Warren Cuccurullo." Filling in were keyboardist Ron Poster, bassist Wes Wehmiller and drummer Joe Travers (formerly in Cuccurullo's solo band and Duran Duran's tour drummer from 1999–2001). This version of Missing Persons was featured on Access Hollywood (performing "Destination Unknown") and did three live performances in February 2003, disbanding shortly thereafter.
On May 11, 2011, it was announced on Dale Bozzio's website that "Dale and Warren have reformed Missing Persons for an incredible reunion tour in anticipation of the 30th Anniversary of Spring Session M, the band's groundbreaking, certified-Gold album originally released in 1982." In the same announcement, Terry Bozzio's absence in this reunion was explained by stating that "rock bands are dysfunctional families at best, and sometimes, the show just can't go on with all on-board." As of July 18, 2011, Dale Bozzio and Warren Cuccurullo have played several 'reunion' shows in the southern California area, with a new line up of musicians, and have scheduled additional shows throughout the end of the year. Prescott Niles of the Knack is playing bass for the group.
Failed reunion attempts
A 1994 attempt to reunite the band failed.
In a June 2010 interview, Warren Cuccurullo revealed that, prior to the end of 2009, he had tried to reunite Missing Persons for the band's 30th anniversary. Expressing concern for Dale Bozzio, Cuccurullo identified issues surrounding her as reasons for the reunion not having materialized.
In 2011, reuniting once again for the Missing Persons 30th Anniversary tour Cuccurullo and Dale Bozzio played shows in California and Nevada. More shows were planned, however, those did not take place.
Reunions of former members
Since 1986, Warren Cuccurullo, Terry Bozzio, and Patrick O'Hearn have continued to support each other's solo projects. From the late 1980s through the 1990s, Cuccurullo and Bozzio performed on some of O'Hearn's albums. Recently, Patrick O'Hearn performed in a jazz fusion group called OUTtrio with Terry Bozzio, and Bozzio is featured on Warren Cuccurullo's CD Playing in Tongues that was released in March, 2009.