I can still remember clearly the first time I heard Debora Iyall's voice; me, a nubile 16 year old cruising through the streets of Arcadia, California, experiencing momentary bliss as I had somehow been given temporary control of the family's car radio. Onto KROQ came Romeo Void's "A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing)," and I knew it then; this was the kind of music I wanted to listen to forever. This was the kind of music I knew I was not going to be able to live without.
I then went on to discover "I Mean It," "Just Too Easy," and "Never Say Never," and here I am 25 years later still excited about this wonderful woman and her music.
Iyall started Romeo Void with fellow San Francisco Art Institute student Frank Zincavage in 1979 and the band was quickly signed to Howie Klein's independent label 415 Records, "the first North American record label devoted to new wave music." Romeo Void went on to be the most successful band on the label and following the success of 1981's It's a Condition 415 partnered up with Columbia Records for one of the very first independent/major label collaborations.
The duo came to their sound organically writing some of the songs together in Dunne's studio over the years and then adding to the catalog with new songs written since last fall. The rock and dance beats are still there, but both artists are interested in branching out and expanding their creative reach. Dunne's wide-open soundscapes include subtle touches of reggae, trip-hop, blues, hard rock and classic late night musical reverie, but it's still an unabashed pop album. "I grew up loving pop," Iyall says. "Working with Peter helps me stretch. To complement his inventive melodies, I grew as a singer on every song."
Although Iyall has been keeping a low musical profile for the past few years, she hasn't been forgotten by her fans or her peers. Frank Black, John Doe, Dave Wakeling, Martha Davis, Terri Nunn, Jello Biafra, Translator and Wire Train have all invited her to participate in shows in the past few years. At these shows, the response to the material that Iyall and Dunne have written for Stay Strong has been remarkable. "Looking out at fans singing along to a brand new song at a show has a powerful effect on me. I'm all fired up to embark on a new era. I've always loved being on stage and now that I have new songs to sing, I can’t wait to get back to performing."
Stay Strong is available in CD format at deboraiyall.com, with plans for digital downloads to follow.
Photo, used with permission: Debora Iyall