Just One FIXX

The Fixx had some awful, awful music videos. To wit, at about the 46-second mark of the one for the band’s biggest hit, “One Thing Leads to Another,” there’s a shot of two dogs rubbing noses. They’re back later on, running down a corridor and barking, and then there’s a geisha girl and a guy scrubbing some arrow graffiti off a wall, and then at the end of the video, the band is fighting through some sort of ticker-tape wind storm, because why wouldn’t they be? Please, please go to this Wikipedia page and read the description for the music video (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Thing_Leads_to_Another) and then come back and continue reading this. I’ll wait for you.

OK, I didn’t realize this was all happening in another dimension. Maybe I misunderstood the lyrics. Other videos, such as those for “Red Skies” and “Saved By Zero” have more of a plot, but are also rather bad. “Secret Separation” is particular scary. Luckily for frontman Cy Curnin and the rest of the band, time marches on, and children of the ’80s (today’s 40-somethings) love the videos and, more important, the music.

Founded in 1979 (originally as the Portraits), despite, or maybe because of (?) those videos, the band had some quite successful years in the ’80s, charting high with “One Thing Leads to Another” and “Stand or Fall.” 1983’s Reach the Beach was certified platinum. The band was awash in New Wave neon, jackets with giant shoulder pads and enough extra cash to afford to rent two Doberman pinschers for a day to film a video. Probably the most important thing that happened to the Fixx in the ’80s was the addition of bassist Dan K. Brown. Dan Brown is also the name of my editor, and I truly, truly hope that somehow this is the same Dan Brown [A&E Editor’s note: Sorry, Danny; it is not. I’m the other-real-cool-dude bassist who played with Royal Trux.]

The Fixx rode the New Wave well into the ’80s with more hits like the aforementioned “Secret Separation” and exposure through multiple mediums. Their music was featured in movies like Fletch and Desperately Seeking Susan and the actually great Streets of Fire. Fixx music was also heard on Miami Vice, a quintessential ’80s TV treasure. More recently, you may remember hearing “Saved by Zero” on an episode of Breaking Bad or the hit “One Thing Leads …” on the radio station in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as you drove around destroying humanity.

When compared to contemporaries, the Fixx have been more successful commercially than many others. Platinum albums, top-five hits and the ability to tour for more than 30 years usually add up to some level of financial stability. And the group isn’t to be ignored critically, either. In a decade known for greed and consumption, the Fixx put out socially conscious songs and contrasted socially or politically motivated lyrics with what has become the epitome New Wave sound, à la “One Thing Leads to Another.” It would be unfair to judge the musicians for being on a package bill with other bands from that decade, who may have been one-hit wonders, as simply milking the little bit of success they may have had, because they had at least their fair share.

Although success slowed down a bit for the Fixx in the ’90s and beyond, they have continued to put out music and tour extensively. Despite the success and weird videos, probably the most amazing accomplishment is that, for the most part, the original line up still tours. Typically, if you go see an ’80s band (or a ’90s band, for that matter) you are probably catching, at most, 75 percent of the guys who were in the room when the hit songs were written. Not so with the Fixx. From a little research into their recent endeavors, it looks like we’re in luck. They sound good. Though lead vocalist Cy Curnin moves a little less and his hair is less angular, he still has the chops and still sounds like the guy on the records. He may not look like a cross between ’80s Paul Weller and ’80s George Michael anymore, but his vocals are spot on. To see an act that sold (I’m guessing here) close to a million albums in a setting as intimate as Jack Rabbits is a rarity, so dust off your skinny tie, break out your hairspray spazzoids and resurrect those cheap sneakers.