It’s been 20 years since NU SHOOZ owned the global dance floor with the hit single, “I Can’t Wait.” Audiences picked up on it from the very first time it was played on KKRZ FM in our hometown of Portland, Ore...but who knew it would become an enduring ‘80s classic, as loved today as it was two decades ago.
Even now the subject of NU SHOOZ comes up every day. We get letters from remote corners of the world. We get stopped on the street by fans who say, “That was my favorite song when I was in high school!” or ask “When are you guys going to get back together?” The answer to the former has always been, “Thanks so much!” To the latter, it’s been a shrug and some- thing like, “Hmm...well...never.”
Now, don’t get us wrong. NU SHOOZ has been good to us. Very good. From the early days of packing in the crowds for Ladies Night at The Last Hurrah, to tours when sleeping at the Economy West Motel (“For The Rest of Your Life”) versus our own cars was luxurious, to having a Top Ten hit on the Billboard charts, a Grammy nomination, appearances on American Bandstand and Solid Gold, England’s Top of the Pops....
But the 80s are long gone and we’ve moved on: John to writing everything from film scores to comic books, Valerie to performing and recording with big bands and some of the nation’s top jazz musicians.
So why look back?
Not too long ago, at a fundraiser for our niece’s school, a few fans uttered the predictable call, “Play ‘I Can’t Wait!’” Our first response was the usual, “We can’t play ‘I Can’t Wait’ with just a singer and an acoustic guitar. That song has, like, ten horn parts! And what about the bass line?”
Then, suddenly...“Well, why not?” So we did it; one guitar, one voice, unplugged. When it was over, some of the audience was actually in tears! And instead of never, we were left wondering, “What if...”
What if we did bring the “song that wouldn’t die” to a larger audience once again? You know, as a thank you of sorts to the fans and supporters that made all of this possible in the first place? Even better, what if we built a bridge from yesterday’s sound to that of what turns us on today? After all, to quote Astro- Lounge composer Esquivel, “A song is like a Barbie Doll.” It’s fun to dress them up in new outfits!
We recorded the “I Can’t Wait” unplugged version as an experiment, dressing up Barbie for the new millennium. We didn’t know if we’d even like it...but we did. We hope you do too.
Thanks for listening!
NU SHOOZ was nominated for a “Best New Artist” Grammy award in 1987 and earned a Gold record for its album, “Poolside.” The band has been featured on seminal music programs from “American Bandstand” to the UK’s “Tops of the Pops,” and has toured with many of the biggest names in pop and R&B, including Tina Turner, Billy Ocean, the Pointer Sisters and many others. Still adored for a sound that helped define a decade, NU SHOOZ is all grown-up and back for a new ride.
Valerie Day - vocals, congas
John Smith - guitar
Gregg Williams - drums, percussion
Dave Captein - bass
Sean Holmes - backup vocals
Mike Horsfall - vibes
Paul Mazzio - trumpet
Una O'Riordan - cello
Produced by: Gregg Williams and Valerie Day
Engineered and mixed by Gregg Williams
Go Remix produced by: John Smith
Go Remix mixed by: John Smith and Gregg Williams
Mastered by Roger Seibel at SAE Mastering
Graphic Design - Gere Donovan Creative
(Mike Donovan Hausler, Adam Murdoch)
Photography - Phil Harris
Best Grip - Scott Jones
Stylist - Shannon Day
Makeup/Hair - Heather DeField
Special thanks to: Rick Waritz, Greg Lee, Karamy Muessig, Kevin Welch, Malcolm Smith, Chloe's posse - Laura and Muriel, and to all NU SHOOZ fans...past and present.
All selections ©1985 JohnSmith/Nu Shooz Orchestra LLC/BMI