Was (Not Was) – Wheel Me Out

27th October 2023 · 1980, 1980s, Funk, Music

Sticking with the No Wave post-disco sound of Ze Records, here is the weird, eclectic and infectious debut single by Was (Not Was).

Propelled by slippery bass, an insistent dance beat, and spoken female vocals, Wheel Me Out helped put Ze on the map and was a huge club hit, kickstarting a new wave of mutant disco and funk.

Don Was and David Was were not brothers, or even relations (those are stage names) but old friends from a Detroit suburb who had begun writing songs together in high school.

After going on to study at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (hometown of Iggy Pop), Don Fagenson and David Weiss went their separate ways.

David Weiss moved to LA to become a jazz critic, while Don Fagenson stayed in Detroit, working as a producer and session musician until they reunited in Detroit in 1979 to create Was (Not Was).

Built around their own writing, production and playing (Don on bass, David on sax and keyboards), the project used numerous guest musicians and vocalists in its eclectic sound.

The bass player here is Bruce Nazarian from veteran rock band Brownsville Station, the guitarist is another Detroit legend, the MC5’s Wayne Kramer, and the female vocalist is David’s actress mother Elizabeth.