L-R: Tori the Bud Rep, Cy Curnin, and Tom

The Fixx Hoops It Up in Syracuse

The Fixx are a New Wave group, originally based in London, that managed to sustain a successful career in America for several years in the mid-'80s. The Fixx always flirted with the mainstream with their catchy, keyboard-driven pop. Formed by college friends vocalist/keyboardist Cy Curnin and drummer Adam Woods in the early '80s, the pair advertised in the music press for additional members; the remaining members of the group - guitarist Jamie West-Oram, keyboardist Rupert Greenall, and bassist Charlie Barret - all responded to the ad. Taking the name the Portraits, the band recorded a single for Ariola Records, "Hazards in the Home," which failed to gather much attention. Within a year, the band had changed their name to The Fixx and recorded "Lost Planes," the single that led to a record contract with MCA.
*The Fixx released their debut album, Shuttered Room, in 1982. A collection of their best work to that point, it stood in contrast to most of the other New Wave albums of the time, with its tight musicianship and apolitical overtones. Though the band held to some tenets of the New Wave, such as short songs devoid of solos and no fear of synthesizers and cavernous soundscapes, their cohesiveness as a rock band was made credible by their live performances.

Despite the album receiving minimal marketing push in the U.S., the record spawned two minor U.K. hits, "Stand or Fall" and "Red Skies." The videos for "Stand or Fall" and "Red Skies" were played heavily by MTV, which was then in its infancy. Later in the year The Fixx performed on Long Island for the King Biscuit Flower Hour. The concert, currently available on CD, served as a showcase for their special brand of dynamic minimalism. In America, none of the singles were hits, yet the album stayed on the charts for nearly a year. After Shuttered Room, Barret left the group and was replaced by Dan K. Brown.
*Reach the Beach was released in 1983 and immediately took off in the U.S., led by its single "Saved by Zero," and later by the catchy "One Thing Leads to Another," which became a number four hit, sending the album into the Top Ten. By the end of the year, Reach the Beach would go platinum, one more Top 40 single - "Sign of Fire." Despite all of their American success, The Fixx failed to break back into the British charts. In fact, they never had another British hit.
*The Fixx returned in 1984 with Phantoms. The album peaked at number 19 and went gold. Phantoms wasn't as successful as Reach the Beach. It launched the number 15 single "Are We Ourselves?" then record fell off the charts.
*The band kept their basic, synth-driven sound intact for 1986's Walkabout, which featured the hit "Secret Separation." After Walkabout, The Fixx stopped working with producer Rupert Hine, which resulted in a harder, more guitar-oriented sound for 1988's Calm Animals. The album charted at #72, but it spawned no hit singles.
* Ink (1991), the group's next album, didn't reverse their declining fortunes, even though they tried to update their sound with an emphasis on guitars and slick, dance-ready beats. After the record failed to recapture their mainstream audience, The Fixx seemed to fade away.
*After spending some time writing and recording new music, the band released a limited issue "demo" CD in 1997 called Happy Landings. Most of the songs eventually appeared (apparently re-recorded or re-mixed) on the album Elemental in 1998. The Fixx also got a new bassist, Chris Tait. A year later, they returned with a two-CD set collection of re-recordings of their greatest hits titled 1011 Woodland, named for the studio in which it was recorded.
*Once again engaged in a steady schedule of writing, recording, and touring, The Fixx's second wind brought them to 2003's Want That Life, recorded in Spain at El Cortijo Studios for a warm, smooth sound. Bass playing duties were taken ovar at that time by Gary Tibbs.
The album continues the band's tradition of fine craftsmanship, from the bittersweet "No Hollywood Ending" to the lunatic anthem "Straight 'Round the Bend."
The Fixx recently played in Syracuse as part of the city's celebration of the NCAA Play-offs. The Carrier Dome was hosting the second round and there were many out-of-towners sightseeing and partying in our fair city.
The Armory Square area had a big dedication ceremony to honor the 24 Second Shot Clock that originated in Syracuse, NY and changed the game of basketball. As part of the city's NCAA Tournament festivities, Budweiser's True Music Campaign brought The Fixx to play for the crowds.
I was working at the Blue Tusk that night and had made arrangements to slip out to see the show, which was in a huge tent just down the block from the bar.
The tent was packed and the band played a great set. The crowd consisted mostly of 30- to 40-something hoops fans that were drinking and rocking out politely in their team jerseys. Near the front were the true die-hard Fixx fans. They sported their old Fixx t-shirts and sang along to nearly every song. It wasn't until The Fixx broke into their classic hit "One Thing Leads to Another" that the rest of the crowd really got into it. The band played a few more songs and called it a night.
Thanks to the fact that I work at Blue Tusk, John Callahan (our bartender) hooked me up with Tori, the Budweiser beer representative, who got me backstage to meet the band. She also got me an autographed poster.
I got some photos with vocalist Cy Curnin and drummer Adam Woods. They were very friendly. I thanked them for the show and then headed back to work.

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