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Of The Oakland Press

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Nearly 25 years after ABC’s first hit, frontman Martin Fry has decided “it’s great to be an elder statesman of pop. I wear it well, I think.”

And he’s still wearing it with ABC — the British band known for its ’80s hits “Poison Arrow,” “The Look of Love,” “Be Near Me” and the Smokey Robinson tribute “When Smokey Sings.”

Fry, who successfully battled non-Hodgkins lymphoma in the late ’80s and early ’90s, decided to reactivate ABC in 1997 after believing for a time that there was no place for the band in the then-current pop scene of Oasis, Blur, Pulp and the Prodigy.

“But kind of about ’97,” Fry says, “I put the radio on and heard ‘Tainted Love’ by Soft Cell or Depeche Mode or Duran Duran. I realized the whole generation growing up watching VH1 was kind of interested in that era. So we’ve got them and people my age who remember the ’80s fondly as a golden age before they had a big beer belly and a mortgage.

“I think any career goes through a spell of, ‘Oh, no, not you again.’ Then you reach another stage — ‘Oh, you’ve survived and we hold you in great esteem.’ I’m sure you can ask Neil Young or Elton John about that, too. But It’s a great privilege for me to sing these songs in 2006.”

Fry, 48, and his current ABC lineup are singing some new songs, too. They’ve just fi nished recording a new album called “Traffic,” though Fry is thinking about adding some instrumentation that may push its release to early 2007. But considering it’s been 17 years since ABC’s last album, he fi gures another few months won’t matter much.

“Until you’ve played a song in front of an audience,” Fry notes, “you never know if it’s any good; that’s as true now as when I fi rst started. You go through periods where you just don’t feel like making records, and then inspiration arrives. That what always renews my spirit.”

ABC and Good Luck Joes perform at 8 p.m. Thursday (June 8) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak. Tickets are $22.50. Call (248) 399-2980 or visit www.royaloak musictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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