Queen City Sounds Podcast Ep. 18: Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons on Life Is So Strange

Dale Bozzio, photo courtesy the artist

Dale Bozzio is one of the New Wave style icons of the 1980s as the lead singer of Missing Persons. Her unique singing style and compelling stage presence coupled with her daring fashion sense for an aesthetic that was a bit futuristic the way David Bowie was in the mid-70s made Bozzio a fascinating figure in popular music. Hits like “Destination Unknown,” “Words,” “Mental Hopscotch,” “Walking in L.A.” and “Windows” took the fairly experimental art rock band into the mainstream. Its members had all been a part of Frank Zappa’s band in the late 70s and brought those technical chops and conceptual creativity to the more pop-oriented Missing Persons and having hits has cemented the band as a fixture of 80s pop, as their body of work deserves, but its craft and experimentation can often be missed in the larger cultural context. Nonetheless, Spring Session M, the group’s 1982 full-length debut, has aged well from its original era but the 1984 follow-up Rhyme & Reason, dismissed as an “art” album at the time of its release, is now starting to get some appreciation for its more forward-thinking material. But by 1986 due to interpersonal dynamics the band split with some brief reunions in 2001 and 2009 before Dale Bozzio relaunched the project as an ongoing concern in 2011 with strong live shows.

In December 2021 Dale Bozzio released her rather candid and poignant memoir Life Is So Strange: Missing Persons, Frank Zappa, Prince & Beyond. In the book Bozzio reveals to us aspects of her early life and the unorthodox ways in which she met Zappa climbing through a bathroom window at a music venue he was playing in Massachusetts as well as the ups and downs of life and her career and the extraordinary people with whom Bozzio worked and some of whom in with which she had a love affair including Prince. It’s a quick read and informed by Bozzio’s humor, warmth, personal insight with the unmistakable sensibility of someone who was and is creatively ambitious and wanted to do something with that spark that she cultivated from a young age. You can order the book directly from Bozzio on her Facebook page (linked below) which comes with a pink seven inch vinyl of “Destination Unknown” b/w “Mental Hopscotch” as remixed by Kevin Haskins of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets fame.

We had chance to speak with Bozzio by phone about some of the stories she details in the book and aspects of her life that perhaps aren’t included so hopefully you enjoy listening to the conversation and get a sample of what a sharp and, well, cool and thoughtful a person Bozzio really is. Listen to the interview on Bandcamp below. Also, catch Missing Persons on tour with that Lost 80s Live! tour running through summer 2022.

Dale Bozzio on Facebook