Meet Information Society [PHOTOS/VIDEOS]
“Information Society” is a pop/dance group that started out in a college dorm room in Minneapolis/St. Paul!The band’s name comes in part from the term “InSoc,” the word used in the novel “1984″ to describe English socialism. Timely, as the band formed in 1982 in Kurt Harland’s dorm room at Macalester College in St. Paul. Paul Robb and James Cassidy rounded out the original lineup.
The new band was known for playing avante-garde electronic music, sprinkled with hip-hop and reggae, along with electronic drum beats and other electronic sampling.
In 1983, the guys self-released two albums: “The InSoc EP” and “Creatures Of Influence.”
1985 brought “Running,” the group’s first single.
“Running” gained popularity in New York’s Latin Dance Clubs. The song was 7 minutes of electro-freestyle, written and sung by Murat Konar…who left the band shortly after its release! Further, the single was released through Minneapolis-based “Twin-Tone records,” which was known for rock songs, not dance!
The success of “Running” caused the band to move to New York.
New York money, New York contacts, and the addition of keyboardist Amanda Kramer, brought the band to the attention of “Tommy Boy Records.” (Kramer would leave in 1988).
The group’s debut album “Information Society” brought us their breakout hit: “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)”
The song shot right to #1 on the Dance charts, and stayed there for an amazing 39 weeks! It was a #3 smash on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988!
The song is best known for its vocal sample of “Star Trek’s” Mr Spock saying “Pure Energy.” Leonard Nimoy’s voice was licensed for use on the song, due, in part, to the efforts of Adam Nimoy (“Spock’s” son), a major fan of the band! Aren’t fan connections great?!
“Walking Away,” the second single, Went to #9 on the Hot 100 in early 1989. It was a #5 smash on the Dance charts.
“Repetition” stalled at #76.
A remake of the ABBA song “Lay All Your Love On Me” went to #23 on the Dance charts… but could only manage #83 on the Hot 100 charts, in 1989.
Overall, the “Information Society” album was such a big hit…that it sold out its first run pressing in the U.S, within two weeks!
It would go “Gold” in 5 months, and reach Platinum status (1 million copies) in the U.S….and Brazil! It would be the #25 album of the year.
At this point, the band released an “anonymous” song (made of 2 tracks from what would be Information Society’s second album) under the name “Think Tank.”
They also contributed the instrumental song “Hit Me” to the soundtrack of the movie “Earth Girls Are Easy” (1989).
And, the band joined the “Club MTV Tour 1989″ which also included: Paula Abdul, Milli Vanilli, Tone Loc, Was Not Was ( remember “Walk The Dinosaur”), and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam!
As the 1990′s dawned. Information Society released their second album, “Hack.” It wasn’t the success of the debut effort…
“Think” went to #28 on the Hot 100, #5 on the Club/Dance charts (1990).
The third album, “Peace And Love, Inc” was critically acclaimed in 1992…
…and the single of the same name hit #10 (1992) on the Dance chart. MTV refused to play the video…and the song did not hit the Hot 100 chart!
The album is notable for one more thing…its the first to include modem tones.
1997 was the release year for Information Society’s fourth album, “Don’t Be Afraid.” No songs charted. At this point, the original “InSoc” became, more or less, inactive.
Numerous remixes and compilation albums were issued over the next few years…
In November 2004, Information Society was included in an episode of “Bands Reunited” on VH-1. On the show, it looked like there was an agreement to reunite…however, Kurt Harland declined to be a part of a planned concert. His reasons, and how the show as aired differed from the reality, are detailed on the band’s official site, here.
There was some tour activity in 2005…and one source states that Kurt Harland joined in, and that helped facilitate what happened next…
In 2006, Paul Robb and James Cassidy decided to reform Information Society, but without the full participation of Kurt Harland. His absence in the recording studio was attributed to family and work obligations. Harland did sing lead vocals on the song “Seeds Of Pain.”
The albums “Oscillator” and “Synthesizer” (2007), with help from new additions to the lineup, were internet only/digital releases.
Since that time, Kurt, Paul and James, the original “InSoc” has toured on occasion.
Information Society…may you “live long and prosper.”