Amnesty International had approached Richard with the idea that something needed to be said on behalf of the artists, poets and musicians who had ‘disappeared’ or had been persecuted for their resistance by the Chilean dictator Pinochet who was still in power when Mr. Mister headlined the Vina Del Mar Festival in Santiago. This was an annual government sponsored concert that was broadcast on television all over South America along with 25,000 plus people in attendance.
After arriving in Santiago, a man wearing a disguise (fake moustache, wig and walking with a cane) came to the hotel to meet with Richard about what to say the evening of the first of two nights shows. Written in Spanish, it basically said, “We stand with the artists who have been persecuted”. This didn’t go over well as one would imagine with the government connected people in the first ten rows of the venue. Boos and thumbs down gestures were directed at the band and yet the regular folks that made up the majority of the audience were wildly applauding and screaming their approval. The show was abruptly stopped, Richard was escorted down a hallway lined with soldiers with automatic weapons and into a room where the very aggravated TV producer said to him, “I invite you to my house for dinner and you shit on my table!”. Calmly, Richard responded, “In my country we say whatever we want.” To which the TV producer yelled, “This isn’t your F-ing country!” When Richard refused to go back on stage and apologize, the show was cancelled and the band went back to their hotel thinking they may never get out of the country.
A long, sleepless night followed with the band and crew huddling in one room wondering if drugs would be planted and they all would be arrested.
The next day, Richard was driven to the office of the local mayor who was a very friendly, tall, articulate woman who asked in English if he would please apologize and say he was given the note and didn’t know what was on it. Again, he refused and after some negotiating, he agreed that he wouldn’t say anything political that night and the band was allowed to play (actually they had to let them play because there was no other headliner and the fans would’ve rioted).
That evening’s show was a huge success. Mr. Mister received ‘The Torch”, the award given to the best artist of the festival.
Later that year, Pinochet was removed from power and Chile became a democracy. One would like to think that Mr. Mister’s public denouncement of Pinochet’s administration had something to do his removal, but we will never know.
Spring Break, Daytona Beach Florida 1986. Headlining this concert, the band played to a huge crowd in the baking sun. The show was being taped by MTV for a later broadcast and the place couldn’t have been more electric.
Shot in Miami while on tour with Tina Turner, this video and single was the follow up to Broken Wings. The band used the stage they were performing on every night as the ‘live performance’ part of the video. The idea was not to have a specific theme to the story, just the guys in and around the tour doing what a band does together. Going to a radio station for an interview, walking on the beach, riding around in a limo, which, by the way, actually broke down during the shoot. The guys really got out and pushed it to the curb and waited for another one to be sent by the limo company. This video got a lot of play on MTV like Broken Wings and kept the momentum going for the band as they toured the world.
If you were to ask the four members of the band and all who were associated with them when making this now iconic video, none of them would’ve predicted its massive success. The prevailing thought was that this was a very special song and if given the chance might resonate with a broad audience. But no one could’ve guessed how broad it would become. MTV, which was just hitting its stride as the most popular television channel for young music fans in 1985-86, was all over this video. The song reached #1 across the globe along with the album Welcome to the Real World which also hit the #1 spot. Welcome to the Real World is one of very few rock albums to have two #1 hits while the album was also #1.
Oley Sassone, the video’s director came to the band with his concept of a young man looking for something; his reason for living perhaps, a woman he’d lost, or for the reason why that hawk kept flying over his head. The Tango dancers are still a mystery, but hey, it was the 80’s and videos didn’t have to mean anything really. I was up to the viewer to decide. The point was that somehow it became incredibly popular and to this day, if you were alive and listen and appreciated music in the mid-80’s you couldn’t escape this song and video.
Using some of the latest video trickery of the time, the boys taped this video in New York City for the first single, Something Real, from the follow up album to Welcome to the Real World, Go On. This was the state of the art video production many artists were using in those days. Although the single didn’t chart the way Broken Wings, Kyrie and Is It Love did, the band felt they had broken new ground with this song and album.
This concert at the world famous Ritz Theater in New York City is the best recorded and produced Mr. Mister live concert video from that time. This was an intimate show for a wild New York audience and has been viewed by people all over the world. The band was at its absolute best, playing every song of their number one album, Welcome to the Real World. People still comment on the band’s tight musicianship and stage presence.
One of the only songs from Mr. Mister’s first album I Wear The Face to be included in concert, Life Goes On was always a crowd pleaser.
After the break out success of Broken Wings and Kyrie, the band was approached by a well- known beauty products company to shoot a video for the third single “Is It Love” featuring fashion models, the latest, hippest clothing and of course, their beauty products. The deal was this; the company would pay all production costs if they could subtly put their label somewhere in the video, letting people know their involvement. This is something that is common these days, but in 1986-87 it was unusual for a rock band to collaborate with a multinational company.
We’re still not sure what the meaning of the video is although the girl is obviously dealing with an abusive boyfriend or husband. Richard is watching all this on a TV somewhere and then rushes to her rescue in a very cool old sports car. Oh yeah, the band is playing in another large room in the mansion while all this is going on. Makes no sense, but neither did most of the videos back then. MTV loved this video and put it into maximum rotation.
Richard remembered that the producers invited all the wives, girlfriends and family members to audition to be extras on the shoot. Linda, Richard’s wife, actually went to the audition and didn’t tell the producers who she was. She passed the audition (they told her she was perfect and had great hair!) and was going to come but one of their kids came down with the flu and she had to stay home. Also, the very expensive red jacket he is wearing in the video was stolen by a crew member at the end of the day. Show business!