Austrian Eurodisco group Joy are scheduled to perform live in Santa Ana on 5 December Saint Nicholas Eve/Krampusnacht) at the Yost Theater. They will perform hits including “Touch By Touch,” “Hello,” “Japanese Girls,” “Valerie,” “Im In Love,” “Countdown of Love,” and more. Buy tickets now as there are only 1,000 and they’re going fast.
Joy were formed by three friends living in the small town of Bad Aussee: Andy Schweitzer, Manfred Temmel, and Freddy Jaklitsch. After school, the three pursued careers for a few years; Schweitzer as a policeman, Jaklitsch as a history teacher, and Temmel as a DJ at Orion, a disco in Traunreut, Germany. The three formed Joy in 1984 and signed with Viennese label OK Musica, who Michael Scheickl to work with the group. Scheickl had been involved with One Family, an successful Austrian rock band which formed in 1969, and later the duo Mess.
Joy’s debut single, “Lost In Hong Kong” b/w “Lucky Star,” was released in 1985. The A-side was co-written by Scheickl (as Michael Mell) and N.V. Rivé, who’d also been involved with One Family. It wasn’t a hit. The band’s Jaklitsch and Schweitzer wrote the B-side. They then wrote “Touch By Touch” b/w “Heartache No. 1,” the A-side of which became their most successful song. Their debut full-length, Hello, was released in 1986 and included both A-sides as well as six new songs, all produced and arranged by Scheickl.
Joy’s next singles were “Japanese Girls” b/w “I‘m In Love” and “Touch Me My Dear” b/w “Kisses Are The Doctor’s Order,” included on Joy’s follow-up, Joy And Tears, released in the summer of 1986. In addition to the singles it included five new songs, recorded at Vienna’s Pinguin Sound Studios. Wolfgang Karber, who assisted on Joy’s debut, played a larger role on Joy and Tears, co-writing three of the songs. Decidedly non-political, they were invited to play in East Germany, where they performed on the variety show Ein Kessel buntes in 1986 and ’87. Joy and Tears was less successful in Austria than in its predecessor. On the other hand, it was hugely popular in Korea, where they were voted most popular international act in 1986.
In 1987 Joy performed in Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea — a region of the world where Eurodisco became massively popular. In Seoul, Joy played twice to huge crowds at Jamsil Olympic Stadium, where they changed the lyrics of “Japanese Girls” to “Korean Girls.” After touring Asia, Joy performed in Los Angeles and San Jose to (according to their website) mainly Chinese and Vietnamese audiences. Especially embraced by the Vietnamese community, Joy used an image taken in largely-Vietnamese San Jose for the cover of “It Happens Tonight,” released in 1987. It was followed by “Destination Heartbeat” b/w “Gimme Gimme All Of You.”
With his permission of the other two, Schweitzer retained the Joy name for a duo he formed with “Anzo” (Hans Morawitz), formerly of Dyn Bros. The new line-up recorded Joy and the singles “Kissin’ Like Friends,” “She’s Dancing Alone” b/w “Venus,” and “Born to Sing a Love Song.” Though released by major label Polydor, they all performed poorly and Joy concluded in 1990. Jaklitsch and Temmel went on, several years later, to form the schlager group Seer.
In 1994 Jaklitsch and Temmel, signed a record deal with BMG using the Joy moniker. They released a new single, “Hello, Mrs. Johnson” and, with the addition of Johannes Groebl, again were a trio. They followed up with a single, “Felicidad” in 1995 and a full-length, Full of Joy, with Scheickl providing backing vocals. At the last minute, BMG decided not to release the album.
The three original members of Joy reunited in 2010 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut. In October they performed in Moscow at the Legends of Retro FM festival. Jaklitsch again left the group in 2013 and Scheickl became a full-time member.
The current line-up of Schweitzer, Temmel, and Scheickl will perform at the Yost Theater, Orange County’s oldest performing arts venue. The historic landmark opened in 1912 as a Vaudeville venue known as The Auditorium. It was renamed The Clunes later in 1912 and was again renamed The Yost Theater in 1919 after it was purchased by Ed Yost. The night will also feature DJ BPM — Ian Nguyen of Keep on Music — who will spin all the Italo/Eurodisco/Asian New Wave hits you’ve rightly come to expect. Buy tickets here.
Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities — or salaried work. He is not interested in writing advertorials, clickbait, listicles, or other 21st century variations of spam. Brightwell’s written work has appeared in Amoeblog, diaCRITICS, and KCET Departures. His work has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art Museum, Form Follows Function, Los Angeles County Store, Skid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Magazine, LAist, Eastsider LA, Boing Boing, Los Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of his maps are available from 1650 Gallery and on other products from Cal31. He is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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