The Knack is back - this time for good

Published: Friday, Aug. 21 1998 12:00 a.m. MDT

Contrary to popular belief, the Knack hasn't broken up since its reunion in 1986.

"We broke up in 1982 and regrouped four years later," said lead singer/guitarist Doug Fieger during a telephone interview from his home in Los Angeles, Calif. "We just didn't play together for a few years, although we did play some surprise dates last year."Well, this year, the Knack is back for good. The band, which has inspired such groups as Nirvana and Hole, will make a stop at the Zephyr Club, 301 S. West Temple, on Monday, Aug. 24. Doors open at 7 p.m.

To solidify the band's comeback, it has released a new album called "Zoom."

The Knack hit its peak in 1979 with its trademark hit, "My Sharona." Many critics of the time called the band an overnight success. But Fieger has a different story.

"It was a seven-year climb to become an overnight hit," Fieger said with a chuckle. "I wrote the first bona-fide Knack song in 1972 (`Good Girls Don't'), and Capitol Records turned it down three times."

In 1978, the record company turned around and signed the band. Good thing, too. A year later "My Sharona" hit No. 1 and stayed there for six weeks. "Good Girls Don't" landed at No. 11.

"I just didn't give up," Fieger said. "And after it all exploded, I still didn't give up. We didn't feel a lot of pressure following up those hits. Success was only an enticing element to keep us going."

Although the following hits didn't quite reach the proportions of the earlier songs, Fieger and the Knack just wanted to focus on what was in front of them, namely the music. "The money and fame was a byproduct. And I don't think I would be content on making money. I want to make music."

These days, The Knack features three of the originals - Fieger, bassist Prescott Niles, lead guitarist Berton Averre. Original drummer Bruce Gary was replaced in 1986 by Billy Ward (no relation to Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward), who was, in turn, replaced by renowned percussionist Terry Bozzio. Bozzio is best known for his work with Missing Persons, Frank Zappa and jazz drum clinics.

"Bruce and the band never really got along," Fieger said. "And we were lucky to find Terry. Let it be known, we're here to stay."

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