Monday, January 17, 2011

Where Are They Now - Level 42

When I was an early teenager, I was a pure metal head. I loved all the hair metal bands that were huge at the time (Poison, Cinderella, Warrant, Trixter, etc.) and I loved the heavy metal bands of the day (Metallica, Megadeath, AC/DC, etc.). Metal music was my absolute favorite genre. However, I did have my softer side that was born from my pop influenced childhood. One of the bands that I loved listening to during my metal years was the very non-metal Level 42.

My friends jokingly questioned my sexual orientation when they would hear me blaring Lessons In Love from my bedroom stereo and singing along like I was at a rock concert. Their good natured ribbing never bothered me though. I was a fan. That summer I played the Running In The Family album so many times that I literally wore it out. I was addicted to Lessons In Love and to this day I still know all the words without hearing the song.

By sophomore year of high school, I had moved on musically. My tastes had expanded to more hard rock and heavy metal (probably as a statement to rebel). I discovered classic rock in a big, big way (The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen specifically) and my time with modern pop was just about over. By 1990 I had all but forgotten Level 42 and in 1994 the band would split up. Recently, I pulled out my old copy of Running In The Family and wondered what had happened to this band.

Level 42 formed in 1980 on the Isle of Wright in England by Mark King, Phil Gould, and Roland “Boon” Gould. Mike Lindup would join the band as their keyboardist shortly after the band’s formation. Later that year Level 42 would sign with an independent record label and release their first album. This album would bring them to the attention of Polydor and in 1981, they signed a contract with the major label who released their next album (their first major label release), Level 42.

The height of their fame came in 1985 with the release of World Machine. That record would sell millions of copies based on the strength of the massive single, Something About You. That song put Level 42 on the map in the United States and their new found fame exploded. For the next two years, the band went on a whirlwind touring and recording schedule, which resulted in the exceptional album Running In The Family.

In 1987, Boon and Phil Gould left Level 42. Nervous exhaustion had settled in over the two members and Boon could no longer live the grueling musician lifestyle any longer. Boon left first in the fall of ’87 and Phil would be gone by that December.

From 1988 through 1994, Level 42 continued to exist with new band members. Singer/bassist Mark King would go through a revolving door of musicians for the next few albums and tours. In 1994 the group decided to go their separate ways and disbanded. In 2001 Level 42 reunited with Mark King being the only original member of the band. In 2006, keyboardist Mike Lindup rejoined Mark King and the current incarnation of Level 42.

Where are they now?
In the summer of 2010, Level 42 released a 4-disc box set titled Living It Up. The set contained two discs of greatest hits, one disc of rarities, and disc of their hits being redone in acoustic format. A 30th anniversary tour (with King and Lindup as the only original members) followed the release of the box set. The tour lasted until November 2010. The band toured Japan, North America, and Europe during this time. Future plans are undecided, but it is rumored that Level 42 will be working on a new album in 2011.

After leaving Level 42, Phil Gould took some much needed downtime to rest and relax. In 1994 he helped co-write most of the songs for the Level 42 album, Forever Now. He did not tour with the band behind that album and has not worked with Level 42 since. In 2009, Gould released his first solo album, titled Watertight. You can visit his website for more information.

Boon Gould has been mostly quiet since leaving Level 42. He released two solo albums in the 90s and has stayed in contact with Mark King. There are no plans for Boon to rejoin Level 42 at this time. It is not known whether Boon is working on any new material.

Level 42 - Something About You
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Level 42 - Lessons In Love
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1 comment:

Loretta S. said...

One of my favorite of the long stream of British bands in the 80's. So good to hear they are alive and doing well.