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Loose Lips


Loose Lips segued seamlessly from the Chicago's blues rock scene to the nascent new wave movement percolating among undergrads. Anchored around Allstar vocalist and rhythm guitarist Richie Mayer and lead guitarist Jeff King, Loose Lips claimed northwesterly Portage Park as prime territory, but their live resume came to read like a Chicago club Zagat guide. Skinny ties, scarves, and suspenders firmly established their wave worship, while Kim Berez's hand-drawn lipsticked smackers logo acknowledged a hard-glitter past and hair-synth future.

In 1980, the quartet tracked four songs at Gary Hedden’s Hedden West Recording Studios in Schaumburg, with producer Mike Freeman. "Kyle" was an ode to an English-looking Loose Lips go-go dancer who, according to local lore, had a new boyfriend every 15 minutes. Despite writing and naming his song for her, Mayer never did get his go-round with Kyle. The Hung Up On Pop 10" appeard later that summer, issued by the band's own Outtatunes imprint. On its darkly comic cover, Mayer’s noosed silhouette sways above a jumbled stack of Invasion-era LPs.

Two years later, Hung Up had stalled-out; live and television appearances were failing to harvest any low-hanging major label fruit. Gary Ritchie and Jeff King threw up their hands and quit. Welch and Mayer sailed on as Loose Lips briefly before changing their look and sound to match the electro-pop vibe emanating from MTV. Kyle must’ve been several thousand boyfriends deep by the time Loose Lips’ last incarnation shipped out, to quietly sink out of sight.


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