ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON JULY 5, 1985
By Steve Newton
“The first time I heard it I knew it would be a hit,” says Animotion drummer Frenchy O’Brien, speaking of the group’s smash debut single, “Obsession”. The tune was originally recorded by its writers, Michael Des Barres and Holly Knight, for the movie A Night in Heaven, but it did nothing as a single the first time around.
So Arista Publishing sent it to producer John Ryan (Styx, Santana, Billy Rankin), who at the time was working on the first Animotion LP. Their version of it has since climbed into the Top Ten of such influential music-industry trades as Billboard and Cashbox and has propelled the album, The Language of Attraction, up the charts as well. (It is currently awaiting gold record certification.)
Of course, the song’s accompanying video–and its heavy rotation on MuchMusic–hasn’t hurt. A breezy romp, full of bright colours and fast edits, the clip shows a slinky rapport between lead vocalists Astrid Plane and Bill Wadhams. It gives the impression that the two have something going that is more than just musical.
“We basically like to leave that kind of thing up to the imagination of whoever is out there,” says O’Brien. “I mean it is show business,” he chuckles. “They’re interacting in a way that’s good for us, and natural for them onstage, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re romantically linked. Probably a lot of our fans think so, and if they think so, that’s fine.”
For their video of “Obsession” the band members wore costumes from the movie Cleopatra (the one with Elizabeth Taylor), and filmed it at an L.A. mansion that used to belong to notorious American gangster Bugsy Siegel.
As well as O’Brien, Wadhams, and Plane, Animotion includes session guitarist Don Kirkpatrick and keyboardist Greg Smith, who played on Michael Jackson’s Thriller album and toured with the late Marvin Gaye. Bassist Charles Ottavio rounds out the band, which–apart from Englishwoman Plane–is all American.
Even though they’ve done very well so far, drummer O’Brien realizes that the group can’t just sit back and ride on the success of “Obsession”.
“I’ve been really concerned about making sure that the second single [“Let Him Go”] goes somewhere because, you know, we don’t want to be a one-hit wonder. That’s the kiss of death.
“One hit and you get to taste it,” he adds, “but we want to sink our teeth into it.”
Animotion will be opening for Howard Jones this Tuesday (July 9) at the Orpheum Theatre.