Out and About
“Book of Love” returns to play Toronto March 9, 2018 (Exclusive Interview)
Though Book of Love disbanded in 1993, they have regrouped to record several new tracks and re-mixes, and are doing a few select live shows, including one in Toronto on March 9th, 2018 at Lee’s Palace, their only Canadian show date. See below for exclusive interview theBUZZ did with the band.
Book of Love are Susan Ottaviano (Lead Vocals), Ted Ottaviano (Songwriter/Keyboards/Vocals), Lauren Roselli (Keyboards/Vocals) and Jade Lee (Keyboards/Vocals). They were part of the Sire/Warner Group from 1984 – 1993, and recorded four studio albums: Book Of Love, Lullaby, Candy Carol, and LoveBubble. The band’s music was featured in the classic films Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Silence of the Lambs, and American Psycho. In 2016, Book of Love marked their 30th anniversary with the release of a new compilation album “MMXVI – Book of Love – The 30th Anniversary Collection”.
The recently released Anthology collection (BOOK OF LOVE, The SIRE Years (1985-1993) is the perfect mix of the enduring dance and pop hits from their four albums. This CD anthology, assembled by the label, includes 20 newly re-mastered fan favourites, and an 8-page booklet of rare photos and memorabilia. It also includes new songs, “Getting Faster”, “Try”, and the bonus track “It’s In Your Eyes” which was one of the first songs ever written by the group, but never recorded until now. Two brand new tunes were also recorded in 2017, “All Girl Band” and “Something Good”, and released as separate CD singles.
Friends since high school, Ted and Susan (who share the same last name but are not related) initially worked with Susan’s Philadelphia College of Art classmate Jade Lee in a band called Head Cheese in the early 80s. In 1984 Ted recruited fellow School Of Visual Arts friend Lauren Roselli, and a quick chain of events secured Book of Love its breakthrough. It was Roselli who got a copy of “Boy” to DJ Ivan Ivan who himself had just scored a dance hit with “The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight” and was looking for new projects. Ivan then passed it along to Seymour Stein, head of Sire Records.
“When Ivan played Seymour the demo of ‘Boy’,” says Ted, “he went, ‘That’s the One I want.’ Anchored by pulsating keyboards, infectious hooks and a deadpan delivery, the song told the tale of a girl who wanted to be where the (gay) boys are, but was not allowed. An underground smash in NYC, this one track had secured the unknown group a recording contract and support slots on tours that introduced them to America.
They continued to produce a steady string of influential club hits. “I Touch Roses”, released in 1985 would eventually chart as a #1 dance single. On the self-titled 1986 album it featured not only the dance staples “Boy” and “I Touch Roses”, but the dreamy “Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes)” which also charted on the Top Ten, and also the ebullient “You Make Me Feel So Good”. The bands warmth and vibrancy was obvious with Susan’s seductive vocals and Ted’s ethereal production work. Sticking to their art school backgrounds and post punk aesthetic, the album was a perfect pastiche of colours and flavours mixed with accessible pop sensibilities.
After a two-year opening slot for Depeche Mode as well as headlining their own tour, their second album, “Lullaby” was released, that included the chart topping remix of Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells (Theme from The Exorcist)” and the socially conscious “Pretty Boys & Pretty Girls”, which was also a crossover on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles charts. The song became one of the earliest to address a new disease that was beginning to devastate NYC. “We talked about AIDS at a time when people were not talking about it,” Susan says.
Fast forward to 2018, and the band are super excited to be coming back to play for a Toronto audience once again. theBUZZ chatted with band members in an exclusive interview, and here’s what they had to say.
1. You’re doing a mini-tour that includes a stop in Toronto (the only Canadian date), a place you’ve played before a few years back. Can you tell me when and where that was, and what memories do you have of that show?
We originally played Toronto with Depeche Mode for their Black Celebration tour at the Kingswood Music Theater. We came back later that year for our own club show. We drove a van to Toronto and ran out of gas downtown in the middle of traffic. We were young and green and out there on our own. The shows were great. We hadn’t played live much prior to Depeche so it was a conspicuous learning process in front of an audience.
2. You’re coming back to play our fair city again, so what can your fans expect at this show? Will there be a support act playing with you?
We are supporting a new anthology that our label just released. The show will be an overview of the highlights from our four albums and some personal favorites we have. DJ Lazarus will be spinning tunes from our era as well as new stuff. Not sure about support yet.
3. You’ve recently recorded two new tracks, which were included on your anthology of past tracks? Will there be more to follow? Perhaps a full album?
We are not currenlty working on a full album but have something we’re cooking up for later this year. We’re not ready to announce yet. Soon though 🙂
4. What has the band been up to between the last tour dates and these current ones, musically and/or otherwise – career, life, etc?
Raising families and doing our art work. We all began in art school and everyone has continued there own creative endeavours.
5. Finally, why now to hit the road and tour again?
There has been an interest in our catalog over the last few years and we’re in a good space to return to honor the work and have a few laughs as well!
Book of Love, March 9, 2018 – Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor Street West
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.