Being a product of the first wave of the MTV generation has been both a blessing and a curse for The Fixx.
The five-man British group was first exposed to the American public via the world's first video music channel, which enabled it to score a trio of gold albums in the early 1980s.
But as keyboardist Rupert Greenall freely admits, the target audience wasn't exactly what The Fixx had in mind.
"Originally we fit very well into what they were doing," said Greenall, who leads his band into Hammerjacks tomorrow night for its first local appearance in two years. "Actually, I think the only qualification you needed at the time was to be from England. But we never set out to be a band for 10-year-old girls."
So after such brilliant hits as "Stand or Fall," "One Thing Leads to Another" and "Red Skies" The Fixx slipped into a sort of commercial funk, selling only marginally in the United States and Britain while subsisting from album to album and switching record companies three times.
The latest turn finds the band on the brand new label, Impact Records, with a fine recording called "Ink," which has a hit ("How Much Is Enough") getting moderate airplay across the nation.
"Originally we had an album done during the Christmas of 1989 for BMG Records, which is run by RCA," Greenall said. "We gave them the record and they said that there weren't any Top 40 singles on it. We agreed and said we weren't writing songs to be Top 40 singles. They dropped us from the label and we signed with Impact last year."
Greenall said he and his band mates, who include Cy Curnin (singer), Dan K. Brown (bassist), Adam Woods (drummer) and Jamie West-Oram (guitarist), have never thrived on or expected mainstream success.
"We like very much playing clubs and being close to the fan," Greenall said. "I think the biggest part of commercial success is luck. We're not complaining. We're existed from album to album, show to show and we've managed to be true to ourselves and to the music. We have yet to do anything solely for the money. We are living proof that it can be done."
The concert calendar . . .
Hammerjacks also welcomes Gene Loves Jezebel (Sunday) and Cheap Trick (Monday).
Max's On Broadway has The Sway reunion (tomorrow and Saturday) and Fairport Convention (Monday).
The Oak Ridge Boys perform at the Towson Center on Sunday.
The Merriweather Post Pavilion season opens May 24 with Styx. Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. Tickets for the June 1 show featuring Poison with Slaughter and the Bulletboys also go sale Monday at Ticketron outlets. Whitney Houston has been added to the schedule with a July 16 concert, and Frank Sinatra performs at the Pavilion July 22. Tickets go on sale Wednesday for Julia Iglesias' show on June 3.