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Music / Missing Persons

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What are words for when no one listens anymore?
— "Words"

Missing Persons was a Los Angeles-based band that played a blend of New Wave Music and electronic pop rock. The band was founded in 1980 in Los Angeles by vocalist Dale Bozzio, guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, 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.

Dale and Terry Bozzio met and married while working with Frank Zappa, and 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.

Studio discography:

  • Missing Persons (EP, 1980)
  • Spring Session M (1981)
  • Rhyme & Reason (1984)
  • Color in Your Life (1986)
  • Missing in Action (2014)
  • Dreaming (2020)

Missing Persons music videos:

"Tropin' in L.A., nobody tropes in L.A.":

  • The '80s: Their music reflects the sociocultural patterns around them.
  • '80s Hair: Dale was a prime example.
  • I Am the Band: Dale Bozzio has used the name Missing Persons for her own solo material and live shows, where she's backed by hired musicians. Rather infamously, her 2014 solo album Missing In Action was touted as "the first Missing Persons record in 28 years", despite being the work of her and a producer. The other members of the band have basically given her the go-ahead, since she is the only person apart from Warren Cucurullo who is still interested in their music.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Dale Bozzio is a woman. Terry Bozzio is a man.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Their song "Walking in L.A." is about disbelief at seeing a pedestrian in that famously car-heavy city.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Dale Bozzio in the band's heyday with her outrageous stage gear. She was a former Playboy bunny, after all.
  • The Power of Language: The subject of "Words", where the singer expresses frustration at her words' apparent complete lack of power.
    My lips are moving and the sound's coming out
    The words are audible but I have my doubts
    That you realize what has been said
    You look at me as if you're in a daze
    It's like the feeling at the end of the page
    When you realize you don't know what you just read...
  • Stealth Parody: Somewhat; their lyrics and image frequently parodied 80s tropes. The band members had previously worked with Frank Zappa and wanted to see if they could work his interest in unusual song structures into new wave music. However, their music was more commercial than his and was frequently serious (especially on Rhyme & Reason).
  • Uncommon Time: "No Way Out" (which closes Spring Session M) opens in 11/16, and has a coda in the extremely rare 19/16 time signature note 
    • "US Drag" (Track 6 from Spring Session M) is mostly in 6/4.