SSQ (formerly Q) was a 1980s synthpop outfit consisting of Stacey
Swain, Jon St. James, Dan Van Patten and John Van Tongeren. It had
created several background songs for television shows, and would later
support Swain's music career as Stacey Q.
3 Stacey Q
5 External links
The original Q project was composed of
Stacey Swain as lead singer,
Jon St. James on guitars, and Dan Van Patten and
John Van Tongeren on
vocoder and synthesizer; it was a small American techno band. It was
formed in 1982 by
Jon St. James and Stacey Swain, and named after the
James Bond character. Ross Wood was also a group member. The group
only had two releases: a 7" single of their song "Playback" on Cocteau
Records, and a four-track EP released almost exclusively to college
radio stations that has become known among fans as The Q EP. Only
1,000 copies were printed of the EP.
In 1982 the band reformed with two new members, drummer Karl Moet and
synth player Rich West, alongside the official lineup of Van Tongeren,
St. James and Swain. After the reformation, St. James was forced to
change the name of Q because of copyright problems (famed producer
Quincy Jones reportedly had "established use of the 'Q' moniker").
Swain explained in a 2006 radio interview that the band was renamed
Jon St. James "was fishing in a lake 'no bigger than a
bathtub' and made a joke that the boat was the 'S.S. Q,'" referring to
the current band Q. St. James had another reason for the name: "SS"
stood for "Stacey Swain", who had become the most recognized of the
SSQ first released their debut album Playback in 1983 under Enigma
Records. The band's first live performance was held at the Greenworld
Distribution warehouse in Torrance, which was then the location of the
Enigma label. The video for "Synthicide" later premiered on West Coast
television and brought greater notoriety for the five-member band. By
Stacey Swain was already eclipsing her bandmates in popularity.
The band ultimately shifted its focus on Swain specifically, with
Skip Hahn and St. James as backup performers. Hahn
John Van Tongeren on keyboards, vocoder and bass
just before the release of Playback.
"Synthicide", "Big Electronic Beat" and "Clockwork" appeared on the
soundtrack of the 1984 comedy Hardbodies, while "Synthicide", "Walkman
On", and "Anonymous" appeared on the soundtrack of the 1985 comedy
Jon St. James served as composer of the latter film, with
Stacey Swain having a brief appearance as the character "Brenda". SSQ
also contributed two tracks, "Tonight (We'll Make Love Until We Die)"
and "Trash's Theme", to the soundtrack of the 1985 zombie flick The
Return of the Living Dead. "Tonight" is the track played by boom box
when Trash, played by Linnea Quigley, performs the film's famous
In television, SSQ recorded background tracks for productions
including St. Elsewhere,
Hill Street Blues
Hill Street Blues and WKRP in Cincinnati. In
addition, the recorded but unused title track for Playback was
included on The Enigma Variations Vol. 1 various artist compilation
The track "Anonymous" can be heard during the end credits of the 2011
film Beyond the Black Rainbow.
In 2015, Playback was re-released on iTunes, and was digitally
remastered as well as remixed by Jon. St. James. A few bonus tracks
were also included in the album.
In 2016, SSQ re-released Playback on vinyl on the Strange Disc label.
Two bonus tracks included are "The Model" and "Tonight (We'll Make
Love Until We Die)".
The new lineup carried on with Swain under the name Stacey Q, and they
acted as musicians on her first two albums,
Better Than Heaven
Better Than Heaven and
Hard Machine. They went on to success with dance-pop tracks like "Two
of Hearts" and "We Connect". Rich West, Karl Moet and
Skip Hahn were
collectively credited as "SSQ" on the credits of albums and singles
released as "Stacey Q". The backup members also recorded some material
Stacey Swain on vocals. One such track, the hip-hop-inspired
"Pleasure Dog", was featured on The Enigma Variations Vol. 2.
1983: "Synthicide" (#47 U.S. Dance)
1983: "Big Electronic Beat"
1983: "Screaming in My Pillow" (music video single only)
1986: "Tonight (We'll Make Love Until We Die) / Trash's Theme" (Japan
Stacey Q official website
Stacey Q fan club