Did You Know that Ricky Gervais Was a Synth Pop Star in the 1980s?

Yes, ladies (and gentlemen), that is Ricky Gervais in the 1980s
Yes, ladies (and gentlemen), that is Ricky Gervais in the 1980s

The new print issue of Rolling Stone magazine (the one with Rihanna's perhaps-photoshopped booty shorts on the cover) has a feature/interview with UK comedy great Ricky Gervais (creator of The Office and Extras, and controversial awards-show MC). The feature is kind of strange because the interviewer doesn't really like Gervais, so there's a slightly hostile undertone throughout. But the most intriguing part of the article to us was the revelation that Ricky Gervais used to be in a synth pop band in the UK in the 1980s--and he looked the part.

Gervais was part of synth-duo Seona Dancing, which scored a chart hit in the UK back then:

Rolling Stone printed a photo of Gervais in 1983 and the article described his involvement with the band:

[Gervais] went to University College London, started off as a biology major, switched to philosophy, graduated, and decided to become a pop star. His band was called Seona Dancing, and the YouTube video of its one charting song features Gervais at age 22, looking incredibly handsome and self-assured in an androgynous David Bowie/Flock of Seagulls sort of way. But he soon dropped this dream, bounced around a little bit, and eventually got a job at the University of London Union.

There are in fact a number of Seona Dancing videos up on YouTube and they're all pretty striking:

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Here's a live performance (with later commentary by a VH1-type show in the UK):


The secret of Gervais' botched musical career is well-known in the UK, but many American fans will be surprised to realize that the David Brent version of "If You Don't Know Me By Now" and Gervais' discomfort-inducing self-deprecating turn against David Bowie in Extras have deep synth-pop roots.

Seona Dancing: again--that's the Ricky Gervais!
Seona Dancing: again--that's the Ricky Gervais!

Gervais, of course, is very open about his early bout with synth-pop fame and he even addressed the topic of Seona Dancing (pronounced "Shawna Dancing") in post-Office interviews:


Alright--he didn't say much. But, still--aren't you at least a little shocked at this bit of old news?

Alright--he does

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