Was (Not Was)









Was (Not Was)

was founded by David Weiss (aka David Was), and Don Fagansen. Was (Not Was a pop group who were popular in the 1980's and 1990's. The two men were childhood friends and they grew up together in the suburbs of Detroit. The group was formed in 1979 and they got their name for it from Fagensenís son, who contradicted words such as was, not was. They recorded their first 12 inch dance record for the avant-garde Ze Records. It was called Wheel Me Out. Their first album called, Was (Not Was), was released in 1981. It was a mixture of rock, disco, weissís beat poetry, commentary, and jazz. The group recruited Harry Bowens and Sweet Pea Atkinson to do vocals. Guest members were Wayne Kramer (guitar) from MC5, and Doug Feiger (vocal), from The Knack.

The group released, Born to Laugh at Tornadoes, in 1983 and other musicians they had as guests consisted of Ozzy Osbourne, Mitch Ryder, and Mel Torme. The album was a mixture of ballad, rock-a-billy, rapping, and abstract funk. The record company dropped them because they claimed they were too hard to classify. In 1988 they released their album, What Up, Dog?. The album turned out to be their most successful of them all. They also had big hit singles called, Walk the Dinosaur, and Spy in the House of Love. Guests on this album included Stevie Salas, John Patitucci, Frank Sinatra, Jr, and a writing credit for Elvis Costello. The Was Brothers sought separate careers as producers, film scorers, and music supervisors.

In 1990 the group released, Are You Okay?. Guests on this one were Iggy Pop, Leonard Cohen, and The Roches and Syd Straw. The band toured with Dire Straits in 1992 then they split up and nothing more was done by them except a compilation album called, Hello Dad...Iím In Jail. Christoph Simon created videos for some of the songs. In 2004, Was (Not Was) re-formed and appeared back on stage for a 2 month tour in the Northeast and East Coast of the United States, and also California, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. They also played 4 gigs in London in 2005.

Detroitís Metro Times described the group as ďan endearing mess...a sausage factory of funk, jazz, rock, and electronic dance music, all providing boogie- down backdrop for a radical political message of unbridled personal freedom and skepticism of authority. The group had a total of 6 albums and 1 compilation. The group will be remembered by many fans of the era.