SFM Public Relations
Martin Fry of the band ABC.

The 1980s was a fun decade. It was filled with Day-Glo fashions and quirky hairstyles.

It saw the first Live Aid and Farm Aid concerts and, of course, the birth of MTV.

Then there was the music. Within the keyboard-pop realm of new wave, the bands ABC, Human League, Flock of Seagulls and Naked Eyes were at the top of the charts. As was the Go-Go's, which was fronted by Belinda Carlisle.

Well, the '80s will live again when the Regeneration Tour, featuring the bands and Carlisle, hits the Depot.

"The '80s was an age of innocence," said ABC lead singer Martin Fry during a phone call from London. "There was a positive spirit that surrounded everything. Everyone had a contagious optimism, and we said goodbye to the '70s.

"The great thing about those years was the fact that we could be serious and silly at the same time. We could sing about issues, but also have a lot of fun.

"I think the music has endured because of that, and the fact that the music featured big choruses."

Fry, whose band formed in Sheffield, England (the same city where the Human League was formed), said it was only a matter of time when the two bands would tour together.

"It's funny how long it took the idea to happen," said Fry with a laugh. "We had bumped into each other over the years, and it was finally time."

Throughout the years, Fry has kept the ABC name on the road and in the recording studio. Two years ago, he and David Palmer, ABC's original drummer, reunited thanks to the VH1 show "Bands Reunited." The two also played a show in Springville's Acres Park with Naked Eyes and Dave Wakeling & the English Beat.

"We had a great time there," said Fry. "The audience was so fun to see reacting to the songs."

The gig and reunion were so enjoyable that Fry and Palmer wrote and recorded a new album, "Traffic," which was released in Europe in April.

"The album was basically songs written when we were touring," said Fry. "So it's about the tour. Or, should I say, it's about moving from one gig to another."

ABC teamed up with producer Gary Langan, who engineered the band's breakthough album "Lexicon of Love" (1982) and produced "Beauty Stab" (1983).

"Gary is one of those guys whom I have known for years," said Fry. "It is good to have a past."

When Fry and Palmer decided to do a new album, the challenge was finding a muse.

"When you have written 100 songs, you have to find something special to write about," said Fry. "We talked about everything. And realized we were sitting on a wealth of ideas on the tour."

Fry said he's looking for a distribution deal for "Traffic" in the United States (but the album is available as an import release.)

He also said he has talked with Palmer and if his schedule is open (Palmer is an in-demand touring drummer), he will join Fry for the tour.

"Regardless if he's free or not during the first few dates, we will hook up later," said Fry.

While recording the new album was enjoyable, Fry said there is nothing like getting on stage and performing.

"Music is very emotional," he said. "It gives me a chance to say things that I would not otherwise say. And if I acted or did some of the things I do on stage in the middle of the street, I'd get put away by the authorities.

"And while I have a great time on stage, it's always a good feeling to see people smiling at the end of (the song) 'Be Near Me' or singing along to 'Poison Arrow,' which, by the way, I never thought when ABC was formed that I would be doing in 2008.

"But then I look at guys like Neil Diamond and the Rolling Stones, who are much older than me, and they are inspirations," said Fry. "I also thought the Led Zeppelin reunion was spectacular."

Still, performing is what Fry decided to do more than 30 years ago. And he still loves it.

"I also don't forget why I do it," he said. "The fans are amazing. They grew up with my music. And I just want to share this with you. We just wrapped up a tour that took us to 8,000 people a night.

"I can tell you that I felt like I completed my apprenticeship. I am comfortable with calling myself a singer now."

If you go

What: Regeneration Tour: ABC, Human League, Belinda Carlisle, Flock of Seagulls

Where: The Depot, 400 W. South Temple

When: Thursday, 7 p.m.

How much: $29-$49

Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499

Web: www.smithstix.com


E-mail: scott@desnews.com