members, and now modern rock legends, Lwin and the band's bassist
and founder Leigh Gorman reunited in 1998 to play a 25th Anniversary
party for mega Los Angeles rock station KROQ at their Inland Invasion
concert in Southern California (the event proved to be the station's
fastest selling event ever). Alongside other bands on the bill including
The Cure, Hot Hot Heat and Duran Duran, Bow Wow Wow played a lively
daylight set with Young on drums and Phil Gough, of reggae band
Common Sense, playing guitar. After having a blast onstage in front
of 30,000+ people, the band decided to continue doing what they
do best - playing killer live shows. The overwhelming response from
the gig encouraged the band with its updated line-up to hit the
road this summer.
for the KROQ show, Gorman spent five weeks with No Doubt's drummer
perfecting the rhythm section by teaching Young the unique Latin
and Burundi technique of drumming. Ironically, Young began drumming
as a teenager listening to new wave (including Bow Wow Wow), punk
and ska in the Orange County, CA music scene. In his own words "It's
a dream come true to play with a band I grew up idolizing. I feel
like a kid back in the sand box."
start at the beginning.
The year is 1980 and the place is London. Adam and the Ants were
moving away from their "Dirk Wears White Sox" punk days,
adopting the driving rhythms of the central African Burundi tribe,
the war paint of Native Americans, pirate costumes and swashbuckling
antics. This change came about through the mechanisms of the ex-manager/image
consultant of the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren. According to legend,
after charging £1,000.00 for his advice and consultation,
the Ants (Dave Barbarossa, Matthew Ashman, and Leigh Gorman) fell
prey to McLaren's charm and left Adam to find other Ants. As Matthew
put it: "I was an Ant. It was a horrendous experience. I'm
really glad I'm out the band. McLaren came along to be our manager
in the Ants and he told us to kick Adam out. So we did. Adam was
writing all of the songs before McLaren came along
wasn't very good really. Didn't really like him really. He wasn't
very good at dancing and I thought he was a bit old. He was 25
we kicked him out."
McLaren knew the group needed a lead singer. Legend has it that
McLaren discovered the 14-year-old Myant Myant Aye (Burmese for"cool,
cool, high") singing in a north London (Kilburn) dry cleaners.
Actually, according to Annabella, one of McLaren's people came in
to the dry cleaners where she was working part-time after school
and asked her if she wanted to audition for the band. She showed
up at the audition and got the part. McLaren changed her name to
Annabella Lwin (pronounced Lu-win) for English-speaking palates.
Annabella was born in Rangoon (the capitol of Burma) and had migrated
With Annabella's voice, smarts and charm, she fit McLaren's vision
of a musical experience that would be part high camp and high concept,
with a huge dose of adolescent sex and innocence.
Bow Wow Wow's first release came in the form of the world's first-ever
cassette single. In July 1980, EMI released "C30, C60, C90,
Go" only on cassette in the U.K. with "Sun, Sea, and Piracy"
to accompany it. The single was followed by another cassette-only,
U.K.-only release, "Your Cassette Pet," an extended cassette
EP featuring eight snappy tracks.
Lieutenant Lush arrived on the scene. A camp follower of the group.
Lush began co-fronting the group with Lwin and was booed off the
stage at the Rainbow Theatre gig in 1981 and was dropped from the
line-up. Lieutenant Lush changed his name to Boy George, and created
SEE JUNGLE! - BOW WOW WOW'S FIRST ALBUM
In 1981, the band's first full album was released on RCA with possibly
one of the most bizarre titles ever to grace any album cover: "See
Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah! City All Over, Go Ape
The album cover art caused quite a stir. The photo featured Annabella
in the nude, tastefully turned away from the camera. Since she was
only 15 at the time, Annabella's mother tried to stop the release
of the cover. McLaren won and the cover was issued amidst controversy
of child pornography. The U.S. version of the album would not feature
this photo but still presented Annabella only slightly covered in
a see-through, white dress.
The album spawned Bow Wow Wow's first U.K. top 10 hit, "Go
Wild in the Country." McLaren stepped down from the producer's
post for this album and hired a host of other producers. The band
was slowly developing a unique style. The album received great critical
reviews and was a success in the U.K.
I WANT CANDY - BOW WOW WOW'S SECOND ALBUM
The single from the LP, "I Want Candy," was a top 10 hit
in the U.K. The song remains one of the icons of 80's pop and still
receives airplay today on radio and in soundtracks, and it appears
on numerous 80's compilation CD's. Somehow, looking back, that song
seems to define something essential about the early 80's. One, it
marked a return to the 3 (actually 2:44) minute pop song. Two, the
look of the band was just right for MTV and the "beach party"
video received much-needed airplay. Three, it offered a wonderful,
much-needed optimism for pop and "new wave" fans.
With the success of the single, the band needed to release a full-length
album. The compilation LP "I Want Candy" was released
12 ORIGINAL RECORDINGS - BOW WOW WOW'S THIRD ALBUM
Also in 1982, EMI wanted to cash in on the U.S. success of RCA's
"I Want Candy." So, Harvest/Moulin Rouge/EMI released
the compilation album called "12 Original Recordings."
This compilation would take the original 8 tracks from "Your
Cassette Pet" and the 2 tracks from the "C30, C60, C90
Go" cassette single and add the tracks "Mile High Club"
(different version w/longer spoken intro) and the extended (disco)
version of W.O.R.K." "12 Original Recordings" features
songs that were produced mainly by McLaren but with others involved.
This album essentially is the British "I Want Candy" LP
minus several tracks.
This LP would eventually go to CD on EMI's 1993 release, "Girl
Bites Dog: Your Compact Disc pet." Six other tracks were added
to the lineup, including "Bow Wow Wow," "Sex,"
"W.O.R.K." (single version), "Theme A," "Cast
Iron Arm," and "C30, C60, C90, Anda" (the Spanish
version of C30
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH THE TOUGH GET GOING -
BOW WOW WOW'S FOURTH AND FINAL (?) ALBUM
For their final album in 1983, the band brought in the wonderfully
talented producer Mike Chapman, who had been having great success
with bands like Blondie (who had just split up). The result was
the band's first album to have a clean, unified sound. In 1983,
tensions in the group were rising. Suffering from illness and exhaustion
after intense US touring, they went there separate ways.
WILD IN THE U.S.A. - BOW WOW WOW'S FIFTH ALBUM
For the first time in over a decade, Annabella and Leigh reunited
in December of 1997 for a 4-month tour of America. They recruited
new guitar player Dave Calhoun (Vapours), as a replacement for original
guitarist Matthew Ashman, who had died of complications from diabetes
in 1995. They also brought along drummer Eshan K. who replaced original
drummer Dave Barbarossa. Dave had prior touring commitments with
the band Republica and could not join the Bow Wow Wow reunion. Dave
did, however, have enough time to train Eshan with his unique style
of drumming before the band left England for their American tour.
The "Barking Mad" tour played to packed houses thru April
of 1998 which eventually led to the band signing a record deal with
indie giant Cleopatra Records. The live CD titled Wild in The U.S.A.
was captured from performances on the 97-98 "Barking Mad"
INLAND INVASION - 2003
After a 5-year hiatus Bow Wow Wow reformed once more to help KROQ
celebrate their 25th Anniversary. The band performed alongside such
luminaries as Duran Duran, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, Soft
Cell's Marc Almond and Interpol, to name but at few, at the third
installment of KROQ's prestigious Inland Invasion concert series,
held at the Glen Helen Hyundai Pavilion on Sept. 20th 2003. The
45,000+ sell-out event was KROQ's fasted selling concert ever.
Original members Leigh Gorman and Annabella Lwin were joined onstage
by special guest Adrian Young from No Doubt, who took Dave Barbe's
seat behind the drums (Dave had a prior commitment in the UK with
dance band Cicane).
splitting with Bow Wow Wow in 1983 Annabella continued as a solo
artist on RCA records. Annabella teamed up with various songwriters
and producers such as; John Robey and the team that made up "The
System." In May of 1986 RCA released Annabella's debut solo
effort called "Fever." During the next four years she
spent time collaborating with other musicians which led to her forming
a band called "Naked Experience." In 1992 legendary A&R
man and MD of S2 Records (part of Sony Records), Muff Winwood, signed
the band on the spot after seeing just one rehearsal. Unfortunately,
during this period, the band situation was not working out but S2
kept Annabella as a solo artist. She then worked with songwriters
Tom Kelly, Billy Steinberg (Madonna, Divynls) and Ellen Shipley
(Belinda Carlisle) in England and again in the U.S. Annabella's
first single release was "Carsex" in 1993 followed by
"Do What You Do" in 1994. "Do What You Do" did
well in the U.K. national charts and reached the top 10 on the Dance
During the late nineties Annabella worked on a Nike commercial,
recorded two singles in Germany, and, of course, reunited with Leigh
Gorman for the Bow Wow Wow reunion tour in 1997. Some of her material
was featured in the indie film "Desperate but not Serious,"
which starred Supermodel Claudia Schiffer, Christine Taylor (Brady
Bunch & The Wedding Singer movies) and Henry Rollins among others.
Annabella is currently writing new material.
Co-Founder / Bass -
World-class bass player, genre-busting composer and producer, and
multi-million selling artist Leigh Gorman started out playing classical
guitar at the age of 12. Graduating to the bass guitar two years
later, he developed a unique, classically-rooted, extremely fast
and funky style. Encouraged early on by Marc Bolan's road manager,
who lived nearby in London's East End and gave him free-range to
use all of Marc's spare equipment, Leigh was able to play virtually
anything he picked up, but quickly found an affinity with stringed
instruments. Aside from mastering classical, flamenco, rock and
bass guitar, Leigh taught himself to play the sitar, bouzouki, mandolin,
Leigh started doing session work at 16 and went on to join a band
called 57 Men, the first incarnation of which featured Glen Gregory
(who went on to form Heaven 17) on vocals. The band later became
Wang Chung. While gigging around town, Leigh was spotted by Knox
of The Vibrators and asked to audition for Adam and The Ants. He
joined the band in November of 1979. At the instigation of their
manager Malcolm McLaren, Leigh and fellow Ants Matthew Ashman and
Dave Barbarrosa parted from Adam to form their own band, Bow Wow
Wow. Six months later they recruited vocalist Annabella Lwin.
Bow Wow Wow's innovative Burundi/Latin/punk fusion soon made them
press darlings (as did their notorious rock n' roll antics). In
July 1980, Bow Wow Wow's much-documented pioneering spirit lead
them to release the first ever cassette single, a ditty appropriately
entitled "C30, C60, C90, Go." Its release caused a furor
in the unprepared music industry and the BPI subsequently banished
the single from the UK charts. In 1982, however, the group scored
two UK Top Ten hits with the singles "Go Wild In The Country"
and "I Want Candy." The latter also made waves on the
charts stateside. The band recorded a total of three albums and
toured the world extensively, headlining with Madness in Japan and
trekking across America several times. But life on the road took
its toll and in 1983 the exhausted band broke up.
Having mixed much of Bow Wow Wow's early material, production seemed
like a natural progression for Leigh. After setting up his own studio,
Leigh produced records for the likes of Voice Of The Beehive, Modern
English, Fuzzbox, Funk Deluxe, Adam Ant, Silver Bullet and Soho.
In a twelve month period, Leigh notched up three #1 singles on the
UK dance charts with Silver Bullet, Funk Deluxe, and Soho. In 1989,
Leigh's production of Silver Bullet's "Twenty Seconds To Comply"
also rose to #11 in the UK singles chart during the extremely competitive
Christmas season. Leigh's run of chart success continued the following
year when Soho's single "Hippychick," which Leigh produced,
went Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic. The single also bagged
the #1 slot on both the US and UK dance charts. Leigh received a
Gold Record for his work on the track, and his studio was rated
as one of the Top Ten in the world by Studio Week Magazine. Leigh
subsequently joined Soho and toured the US, appearing on Arsenio
In the early-90s, Leigh hooked up with Malcolm McLaren again, for
whom he co-wrote and produced the Paris album, featuring the voice
of Catherine Deneuve. This sophisticated jazz-influenced album sold
well throughout Europe, resulting in an album of Leigh's ambient
dance mixes being released. The duo proceeded to collaborate on
several high-profile TV commercials and two film scores. Leigh's
1992 score for the comedy Carry On Columbus broke new ground, being
the first soundtrack to feature the then underground hardcore Electronica
sound, and his stylish score for Catwalk escaped Oscar nomination
by a hair's breadth. Meanwhile, Leigh also wrote and produced micro-operettas,
soundscapes, and hip-hop & soul jams for the small screen for
such prestigious clients as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nike, Renault, and
MCI. Through this film and commercial work, Leigh gained a new freedom
to show his unique style, one that best illustrated his trademark
talent for fusing genres.
In 1995, Leigh spent seven months producing Gary Kemp's solo album
Little Bruises. It was recorded at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios
in London and Windmill Studios in Dublin, and mixed at A&M in
Los Angeles. The album featured a slew of world-renowned guest musicians
including Sly & Robbie and Pino Palladino. After completing
Kemp's Celtic influenced project, which featured elaborate orchestration,
Leigh decided it was time for a change. Demonstrating his versatility,
Leigh next set up a cutting-edge dance label called Bang To Rights.
For the next year he worked alongside top London DJs such as Danny
Rampling, Pete Heller, Malcolm Duffy and Steve Lee - all mainstays
of the city's thriving club scene. During this time Leigh also did
remixes for the likes of Paula Cole and Mr. President (in the summer
of 1997, his remix of Mr. President's "I Give You My Heart"
went Top 10 in the UK dance charts for 3 weeks).
In 1998, Leigh reformed Bow Wow Wow with Annabella and two new members.
They toured America, playing 70 dates in 101 days, and released
a live album called Wild In The USA. Leigh and Annabella subsequently
made a guest appearance in Bill Fishman's (whose previous credits
include Tapeheads, featuring the comedic talents of Tim Robbins
and John Cusack) film Desperate But Not Serious. The film starred
Claudia Schiffer, John Corbett, and Henry Rollins. Leigh and Annabella
also recorded a new song for the movie entitled "A Thousand
Tears." The tour sparked off a spate of label interest. This
demand also prompted Leigh to move to America.
Missing the dance world and playing in the live arena, in March
2000, Leigh joined the popular SoCal organic/electronic rave band
Electric Skychurch for some live dates. The band achieved notoriety
playing sunrise sets at the infamous Full Moon Gatherings deep in
the Mojave Desert, and subsequently gained a following worthy of
the Grateful Dead (a band they have been compared to many times).
In June 2000, Leigh and the rest of the band lugged their equipment
and a generator up to a dry lakebed near Death Valley for an unforgettable
moonlit live performance at Moontribe's Seven-Year Anniversary Full
Leigh now lives and works in Los Angeles producing bands (most recently
Morrissey and Stylus Automatic), doing remixes (including the alternative
radio remix of the Meredith Brooks/Queen Latifah duet "Lay
Down") and composing music for TV and film. For the past two
years Leigh has also been working with a New York production company
called Blue On Blue, who are producing a staged musical version
of Paris, the concept album which Leigh co-wrote with Malcolm McLaren.
(The music from this album was also featured in the 20002 Jonathan
Demme movie The Truth About Charlie). The musical is being co-produced
by, and will feature the work of, set designer Robin Wagner (The
Producers). Bookwriter David Henry Huang, (who successfully updated
the M. Butterfly story for Flower Drum Song) and director/ choreographer
Robert Longbottom (Flower Drum Song) are currently at work on the
Adrian Young is best known as the drummer for the band No Doubt
whose most recent albums have also showcased their love of new wave
music. With the band, Adrian has sold 20 million records, toured
the globe and earned a Grammy award. He began drumming as
a teenager listening to new wave, punk and ska in the Orange County,
CA music scene. In the process, he discovered Bow Wow Wow as an
avid KROQ (LA) listener. His admiration grew from there and now
is about to play drums with them at a show in Los Angeles.
In Adrian's words "It is a dream come true to play with a band
I grew up idolizing. I feel like a kid back in the sand box."
Adrian is also one of Playgirl's Sexiest Men In Music 2003