Interview – Stacey Q

Interview – Stacey Q

Some artists leave such a strong impression that it resonates on for the decades that follow. One of those would have to be the undeniable stylish Stacey Q, forever famous for her massive 1986 hit single “Two of Hearts.” A song that still makes an impact all these years later, thanks to soundtrack placement and its irresistible sound, the story of Stacey Q is actually much more in-depth than the average person knows.

An entertainer from the start, Stacey Q first began as a dancer before diving into the world of singing and acting. Turning on an underground following with her Synthwave band SSQ, they would leave a mark on various motion picture soundtracks, including 1985’s Horror classic The Return of the Living Dead with their film defining cut “Tonight (We’ll Make Love Until We Die).” Just another impressionable moment in Stacey Q’s career, the more you dig, the more interesting you realize she and her music really is. Excited to still be going at it, she recently sat down to discuss her career, joining up the Lost 80s Live Tour, plus a bunch more. 

Cryptic Rock – You have been involved in entertainment for a long time as a musician, dancer, but also as an actress. How would you describe your career in entertainment to this point?

Stacey Q – Long. (Laughs) I started dancing when I was five and went to work when I was eleven. It has been a long career, but a very enjoyable and fulfilling one. As far as the music goes, and the Stacey Q project, I want to say that’s just the kind of thing you can practice all your life; you can work hard, be good, better, and the best, but being world famous is just something you cannot do by yourself. It has to do with the people that support you and the fans. I just want to say thank you for that. That is part of it you can’t do yourself. You can work hard, but you can’t just stand up and say, “I’m world famous and popular now!” 

Cryptic Rock  – Yes, it does take a lot of support. You had success during the ’80s with your mega hit “Two of Hearts,” your solo career, but also with your band SSQ. What was like for you when everything began to fire on all cylinders?

Stacey Q – It was a very exciting time. I was new to music at the time. Everybody in my band SSQ and Stacey Q were all very experienced musicians already. I had just dropped in from another town when I met Jon St. James; like a raindrop into the ocean. It was very thrilling for me. It was something I never really entertained doing. I never wanted to stand up and sing in front of people.

It was a very exciting time for all of us. It was a trying time for Jon and those guys, I think. When everybody is on the musician line dancing, and I’m a classic ballet dancer I said, “Hey Jon, why don’t I be a singer if you are looking for a singer in a band?” Thank goodness he thought I would do. He gave me a chance to learn the other trade. Low and behold we worked hard and had a lot of success at it. I never wanted to be a singer though; that is the opposite of most people who front bands. I never did want to, but now I’m still enjoying it.

Cryptic Rock – Very interesting. Here we are today! You were featured on various soundtracks such as The Return of the Living Dead (1985), Hard Bodies (1984), and Cavegirl (1985). When you are on a soundtrack, one can imagine it offers even more exposure. People will go back and watch those movies and recall the artists. That in mind, do you find a lot of people recognize your music from films as well?

Stacey Q – Yes, indeed. Especially the kids who saw “Two of Hearts” in Hard Bodies or Hot Rod (2007). You can tell by the age and gender of the person what movie they saw. In Australia they thought I was an actress and “Two of Hearts” was just in a TV show. I said no, “that song is established and I’m doing it after the fact.” Many thought I was just Tuti’s friend on The Facts of Life. You would think after that amount of time and exposure after a song went worldwide that people who know that, but they really don’t.

People learn music on their time. Yes, some people get it shoved down their throats. For me, I like to discover music on my own time too. I don’t necessarily love it while everybody else is loving it and playing it on the radio all day and night. That is not my way of discovering music. Right now I am enjoying music I never had the time or interest to listen to in the past, like Metallica. I really just love them now. Even though when they were on the covers of band magazines and I was only getting articles written about me in the middle or back. At the time I really didn’t have the time or air to enjoy them, but I’m crazy about them now. There are a lot of artists like that, like Jack Johnson, or things going back to the ’50s or ’60s.

EMI America

Atlantic

Cryptic Rock – That is what is great about music. It can be something that is thirty or forty years old, but it is new to you. You discover it on your time and it is something fresh. 

Stacey Q – It’s fascinating and delightful. The fact that I’m on this Lost 80s Live Tour now is a whole different ballgame from the Freestyle Explosion Tour; it’s a whole completely different set of bands. It’s so much fun to be doing it. I’ve been making records for forty years and it’s so much fun to still be doing it. It’s great to see people still being exposed to Stacey Q and to the rest of us. 

Cryptic Rock – Absolutely. Speaking of new music, you released a brand new SSQ album in 2020, Jet Town Je t’aime. A long time coming for fans, what was it like making that album?

Stacey Q – Well SSQ was probably my favorite musical project. To be able to do another SSQ album with Jon was just so satisfying. I love the sound of it, but a lot of people haven’t heard of it because of the shutdown. It is very special to me. It is also the first album Jon and I ever made all by ourselves. I wrote a couple of the songs, but basically it’s Jon’s record, and that’s why we called it an SSQ record. It’s not really a Stacey Q record, the style and songs are just very SSQ.

I love it, and I don’t have to love it. I can admit there are some songs on past records that I didn’t really love. However, I can say on the Jet Town Je t’aime album that I love them all. I would recommend it to anybody, whether you are a fan of Jazz guitar or guys who sing great. I can recommend you will listen to it again.

Cryptic Rock – Yes, it is a strong album. Unfortunately with all the shutdowns people may have missed it. Hopefully more people will look into it. Only released digitally, is an LP or CD release possible for Jet Town Je t’aime?

Stacey Q – Oh yes, anything is possible, especially in the wonderful world of recording. I used to really love being involved in the artwork of the records. I don’t just love it because my face was plastered on it, but working as a photographer’s model was one of my favorite jobs. I realize there has to be more to a record than just a pretty face. I’m glad I have more than that because it’s going to be a little difficult to sneak that by people nowadays. If you can’t do it, and your just good looking, it’s not going to fly.

Atlantic

Atlantic

Cryptic Rock – Right, well hopefully the album does get a physical release. You have been busy playing shows as well. What have the live shows been like for you?

Stacey Q – There are a couple of people I’ve known from the beginning, like Dale Bozzio from Missing Persons. We are old friends, so it’s very exciting to be working with some of these people like her on tour. A little awhile ago I was invited over to tour Australia. Even though I got sick there, I covered a good part of Australia with Berlin and that was fun. We had never really worked together, even though we came out of the studio in Fullerton together in the early ’80s.

I would definitely not say I was out there pounding the pavement in the ’90s. I took a nice well needed rest away from the biz. I can’t believe that after all that time came back again and am still getting booked on this tour. I’m so grateful and it’s so much fun.

I hope people are planning to come out because I don’t know how many years the ’80s thing has left; although it seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Thank goodness for that, but I pinch myself thinking how much longer can this thing last? I would have to say I am the one whose having a barrel of laughs and fun. Jon and the other guys in the band say, “that’s neat that your doing good Stacey,” but I’m the one having fun. I want to pay that forward. I am going to stay in here as long as I can. 

Cryptic Rock – It sounds like you are really enjoying yourself. With the Lost ’80s Live Tour you will be all over the USA through the summer. That in mind, the tour is limited in the amount of time you have on stage. Can we expect you to possibly go out on tour again to support the new SSQ music?

Stacey Q – I never really like to think of myself of the ham type. I’m a quiet girl, but I’m going to do this as long as they will let me. It’s still shocking they still let me in this place, but I’m having a ball. I would love to expand the set though, little by little we’re expanding the set. It’s not an international world tour where we’re going to be out there for years and come back. It’s a very relaxed tour, but it sure is fun and everyone’s having a great time. If you had to ask me which artist was my favorite, whether it be Dramarama, Animation, Bow Wow Wow, Missing Persons, Oinigo Bonigo, or The Romantics, I wouldn’t be able to say. I love them all on stage and off. When that many people come together there can be problems, but we’re not experiencing them.

Cryptic Rock – It’s a great show and people should check it out. So let’s talk about your music style. Some would be considered it Freestyle, some New Wave or Synthpop. Some of your music is more upbeat, but other times it is very dark and moody. What can you tell us about balancing these two styles?

Stacey Q – I met Jon St. James and we owned the studio, so we were recording constantly. Not having a place to do that, and having to pay for it, can keep a lot of people out. You may never see the better musicians because they never had a chance in there, it’s very expensive. It’s almost like race car driving, it’s not cheap, so if you’re going to do it, you have to have a place you are able to do it. Since we had a place to do it we were recording all the time.

As you know people are not Freestyle 24 hours a day, they have fights and bad days. I think the music that we record just reflects us. We weren’t trying to write a scary song or trying to write a Pop song, we were just recording all the time and using everything we could around us to write the songs about. I believe for me that’s how the music changed and evolved. We were growing, we were young, exciting, very good looking people, and having a great time in life. It’s not all ups though, there are downs. That is why I believe in our music projects the music styles fluctuates. 

Lately I’ve been looking at the live shows of Talking Heads from the ’70s into the early ’80s. Their sound and songs are very particular. It might seem redundant to some people, but for me it’s brand new and I love it. I am discovering what a brilliant group they are. I’m not saying we’re Talking Heads, but I akin us to a group that had their own sound. We had our own sound, and the album Better Than Heaven (1986) it is carried through the whole album.

ENo Records

Synthicide Records

Cryptic Rock – Most certainly. That is the point, you have such a unique balance of styles. Your music also very much sets an atmosphere. This was really the case with SSQ’s Playback (1983) which was such an atmospheric record.

Stacey Q – Oh yes, especially when you are working in the studio, you can feel that a lot. Later on the happier projects you can feel that too. When it is all said and done everything comes out in the salt water; I’m just a beach bum from Southern California. Music is a great outlet. That is what it has been for me, it’s been therapeutic. When you ask me that question today, I’m just very tinkled and pleased. 

I want to say anybody who is working in the industry, if you’re brand new and trying to get out there, you just never know. We never had any idea that Stacey Q would do what it did. We tried our hardest, put all our effort into it, and you can be better than everybody, but if you don’t make an effort, you might not get there. You have to work hard. It’s very rewarding if you get in there and just do it. Don’t let the local government get you down, it’s people first, and everybody needs to remember that. We cannot make too much more fighting because I’m not sure how much more we can take.

Cryptic Rock – That is the absolute truth. It seems like we are torn apart at the seams and hanging on by a thread. Last question. What are some of your personal favorite films?

Stacey Q – I remember a lot of movies I like. One of them is Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982). Also, Gladiator (2000) is a great film, even though they had the period dressing all wrong. Going back in time, I also love films like The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966) and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1979). There are many great Marilyn Monroe movies also like Niagara (1953) and Don’t Bother To Knock (1952). 

Lost 80s Live Tour Dates 2022:
8/12/2022 Maverik Center West Valley City, UT
8/13/2022 Fiddlers Green Amphitheatre Greenwood Village, CO
8/19/2022 Arena Theater Houston, TX
8/20/2022 Texas Trust CU Theater Grand Prairie, TX
8/21/2022 Haute Spot Event Venue Cedar Park, TX
8/25/2022 Mechanics Bank Theater Bakersfield, CA
8/26/2022 The Theatre at Virgin Hotel Las Vegas, NV
8/27/2022 Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay San Diego, CA
8/28/2022 The Greek Theatre Los Angeles, CA
9/1/2022 Celebrity Theatre Phoenix, AZ
9/3/2022 Mountain Winery Concerts Saratoga, CA
9/4/2022 Thunder Valley Outdoor Amphitheater Lincoln, CA
9/9/2022 Pompano Beach Amphitheater Pompano Beach, FL
9/10/2022 Straz Center Morsani Hall Tampa, FL
9/22/2022 The Genesee Waukegan, IL
9/23/2022 The PIAZZA Aurora, IL

For more on Stacey Q: Facebook | Twitter 

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