Mr. Mister were one of a wave of American rock bands from the early-to-mid 80s who seemed to combine pleasant songs, superb musicianship and glossy production skills with an almost staggering
ability to appear as anonymous
as possible. Their spiritual brothers were Toto
, and like that band they were composed of one-time LA session musicians
. They could play their instruments with flawless precison, whilst their lead singer gave the impression that he could deliver his vocals in precisely the same way, take after take, like a machine. Yet even at the height of their fame, nobody in America could have named them or picked them from a police line-up
; if the third world war
had broken out, Lockheed
could have used their genes to create a fleet of undetectable stealth bomber
In fact they consisted of Richard Page, who sang, and Steve George, Pat Mastelotto, Steve Farris, who played the instruments. Steve Farris was replaced towards the end of the group's life by a man called Buzzy Feiten. I have no idea who these people are, and neither do you. They're just... names. Mr. Mister had no message of any kind and stood for nothing; journalists assumed that the lyrics of 'Kyrie' indicated that they were fundamentalist Christians, something which they denied in interviews.
Their first album, I Wear the Face, was released in 1984 and bombed, the name presumably confusing people into thinking that they were something to do with The Who. Despite this, they persisted, and their second project was much more successful. Living in the Real World was released in 1985 and sold over ten million copies on the strength of its two US number one singles - 'Broken Wings', their masterpiece, and 'Kyrie' and a further top ten hit in the form of 'Is It Love' (sans question mark). They toured with Tina Turner and Heart in 1986, and released their third album, Go On, in 1987. By which time everybody had forgotten about them, and the album sold poorly. They recorded a further album in 1989 entitled Pull, which was never released, and that was that. The group split up to go back to lucrative session work, where they presumably remain today. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can... no, that's a different group of people.
In the end, Mr. Mister were very 1985, and could not have survived beyond that year. The music had big, gated drums, lots of synthesizers, loud stereo guitars, and meaningless lyrics, all delivered with utter professionalism and less humanity than anything by Kraftwerk. Musicians such as Gary Numan and The Eurythmics worked hard to create as emotionless a facade as possible; with Mr Mister - and Toto, Asia, mid-80s Genesis, Mike and the Mechanics, Level 42, Huey Lewis and the News, Climie Fisher, the list is endless - it came naturally.