Eighties techno-pop band Vivabeat announced today that it will release remastered reissues of much of their back catalog via 80s-centric Rubellan Remasters on March 1. Founding members Marina Muhlfriedel (Marina del Rey) and Mick Muhlfriedel spearheaded the projects using material they found on some lost tape masters.
Vivabeat’s debut album “Party in the War Zone” comes with ten bonus tracks dating from the years after the original release. “The House is Burning” comes as a limited edition, purple and blue colored-vinyl, best-of package, which includes four previously unreleased songs.
“We never stopped believing in the music we made back then, and when a Vivabeat fan reached out on social media last year, urging us to connect with Rubellan Remasters’ founder Scott Davies, we did,” says Vivabeat keyboard player and vocalist Marina Muhlfriedel. “Scott was enthusiastic about working together, and seeing these projects get a second chance 40 years on is a remarkable gift.”
“After transferring the tapes to a digital format, I remixed two of the songs, one with the support of legendary producer Earle Mankey,” says bass player and lead songwriter Mick Muhlfriedel. “Then, Scott Davies’ expert remastering really breathed new life into the tracks.”
The CD and vinyl reissues serve as tribute to Terrance Robay, Connie DiSilva, and Alec Murphy, who died of AIDS, and to Doug Orilio, who succumbed to complications years after a motorcycle accident that left him as a paraplegic. Of the later members, guitarist Rob Dean, guitarist Jeff Gilbert (who also passed away), and drummer Chris Schendel figure most prominently in these recordings.
Vivabeat was formed in L.A. in 1978 as a hybrid of Los Angeles and Boston musicians playing in local punk/new wave bands and was active until the mid-1980s. Marina Muhlfriedel founded the seminal LA punk/pop band Backstage Pass; drummer Doug Orilio was in Boston’s Reddy Teddy, and Mick Muhlfriedel and Alec Murphy played with various Boston bands. When he joined the band, lead singer Terrance Robay was fresh off playing James Dean on the London stage. Connie DiSilva was a prodigy synth player and radio DJ.
Their debut album, “Party in the War Zone”, included the group’s most successful song, “Man from China” — a tune that first captured Peter Gabriel and Charisma Record’s attention.
The band continued to record, including an eponymously titled EP featuring Earle Mankey’s production and former Japan/Gary Numan/Sinead O’Connor guitarist, Rob Dean. It featured the song “The House is Burning (But There’s No One Home)”, which appears in the movie “Body Double” and has recently been licensed for Amazon Prime’s new animated series, “The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy”.
By 1982, Vivabeat found its footing alongside mainstream New Wave bands and spent a few years touring and playing shows with B-52s, Depeche Mode, Gang of Four, Human League, The Thompson Twins, R.E.M., Gary Numan, Wall of Voodoo, and others.
In 2001, Permanent Press Records released a best-of Vivabeat album titled “The Good Life 1979 – 1986”, which also featured tracks from See Jane Run, a Vivabeat spin-off band.
Marina is currently a writer living in Los Angeles. She occasionally performs with a Backstage Pass reboot and hosts Our Lips Unsealed, a rock and roll storytelling show. Mick is the president of a large youth soccer non-profit, the Downtown L.A. Soccer Club, and is working on a second album with his experimental Buff Roshi project.
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