Summary: What does it take to maintain a career in music? We track down members of bands that flirted with stardom and find out what their lives are like now. How did it feel to get that first big break? What was fame like at its peak? What was the transition back into normal life like? And what have you been doing since?
The Escape Club had one of the biggest and most inescapable hits of the 80s with their 1988 number one blockbuster "Wild Wild West". Contrary to popular belief, they are not one-hit-wonders, and cracked the code again in 1991 when their balled "I'll Be There" hit the top 10 as well. Frontman Trevor Steel discusses the effects a number one smash has had on his life and, surprisingly, it isn't the consistent windfall huge hits have been for other guests we've featured on the show. He's had to pivot over the years to other roles within the music industry and Escape Club's fortunes have fluctuated. The band still do their thing occasionally, releasing an excellent album called Celebrity in 2012. He's a really good guy and honest about the ups and downs. https://www.facebook.com/theescapeclub/
Nuclear Valdez were an excellent and highly buzzed about alternative rock band out of Miami in the late 80s. A lot of the hype centered around what shouldn't be that unique of a thing, but is, the fact that they were all Hispanic. Their debut album, 1989's I Am I with it's debut single "Summer" made a splash and the band was invited to perform on one of the very first MTV Unplugged episodes. Unfortunately, the label never put their full muscle behind the band (even though similar artists like the Alarm and Jane's Addiction were seeing big success) and after a second album, 1991's Dream Another Dream, the guys called it quits. Lead singer Froilan Sosa reflects on this time in his life and how he processed it all. The good news is that they released a new album on Record Store Day called Present From the Past, which is a collection of songs they were working on back in the 90s. And, they are playing a reunion gig in Miami this Saturday (7/29)! Great band - deserved more. https://nuclearvaldez.com/
Jon was invited on Suburban Underground this week, one of his favorite radio programs (Bedford 105 in New Hampshire). Hosts Drew and Steve challenged all of us to bring a song from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s that should have been a hit and then defend our choices. We need you to tell us who you think has the best taste! Suburban Underground is a weekly show that plays excellent alternative rock that's under the radar or hasn't been heard in a while. It's also a podcast! Please subscribe for your weekly slab of great music that doesn't get heard as often. https://suburbanunderground.podbean.com/
XTC were one of the most beloved bands of the burgeoning alternative rock era. Armed with catchy and witty songs that leaned to the quirkier side of pop music, they produced a steady stream of excellent records from the late 70s until their demise in the 90s. Guitarist Dave Gregory shares with us some refreshingly honest stories about the challenges of being in the band such as not being able to tour and clashes with famous producers, but also the highs of recording such great music. Today, Dave's main gig is as a member of progressive rock band Big Big Train who released a new album, Grimspound, this year. Such a lovely guy and conversation! http://www.bigbigtrain.com/
Squeeze were one of the most beloved bands of the modern rock era and sitting at the center of the band was drummer Gilson Lavis. Always looking like a man out of time, looking smart and gentlemanly in the alternative UK underground, Gilson contributed to some of the best and most revered pop songs of the last 40 years like "Tempted", "Cool For Cats", and "Pulling Mussels From a Shell". He's been out of the band for 25 years now, but today he's employed by former bandmate Jools Holland in his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, so the music carries on. He's also begun a successful second life as a sketch artist and has a big show coming up at a gallery in NYC in September. If you're a Squeeze fanatic, you'll love this because we cover it all! https://www.facebook.com/gilsonlavisart/
This is a busy year for Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. For starters, there's a new String Quartet album of JT classics performed by the Carducci Quartet. In addition, this year marks the 40th anniversary of maybe the most formative album in my life, Songs From The Wood. He only had 20 mins to chat, so we discussed where Songs From the Wood fits in their canon and how the String Quartet album came to be, as well as a few nerdy things I've always wondered about. I could have kept him for hours! http://jethrotull.com/
Today is Independence Day in America and who better to celebrate with than Lee Greenwood! By now, his "God Bless the USA" has basically become another unofficial national anthem. He's performed the song for several Presidents, including at Donald Trump's inauguration in January. This is a unique opportunity to get to know the man behind the song. He had been a successful country singer in the early 80s before his signature tune took over his life. He talks candidly about how it's blessed his life as well as what gets him excited creatively today. We talk about the state of the country without making it about politics, which I'm particularly proud of. He's a really good man and a devout patriot. Enjoy! http://www.leegreenwood.com/
Believe it or not, Don McLean has always felt like a second-class citizen in the music business. Despite over 45 years of success, and the credit of writing one of the most important songs in the history of recorded music with "American Pie", as well as many other hits, Don feels he's had to fight to be taken seriously. In this short, but candid conversation, we discuss why that is, what went into the writing of his legendary song, how he finally became a wealthy man, and his astonishment over inspiring modern legends like Drake. Get to know the man behind the song. https://don-mclean.com/
Orleans were another beloved soft-rock band of the 70s scoring two giant hits with "Dance With Me" and the ever-present "Still The One", which remains one of those great tunes that never completely goes away. Frontman John Hall has had a very unique path through life for a rock star. He went on to serve two terms as a congressman from New York and he's written a book about his experience called "Still The One: A Rock n Roll Journey to Congress and Back" that's worth your attention if you're into politics. Today he's still passionate about many issues and remains involved on a local level, but he's also still out there playing solo and as Orleans when the opportunities arise. We also talk about that legendarily bad album cover and his ability to pay his bills from his hits. http://www.orleansonline.com/home.html http://www.johnhallmusic.com/index.html
When you think about it, Firefall were one of the original super groups. With members hailing from legendary acts like the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Byrds, and Spirt, success must have seemed imminent to these seasoned vets. Buoyed by the incredible songwriting of frontman Rick Roberts, Firefall score half a dozen top 40 hits ("You Are the Woman", "Just Remember I Love You", etc) and had a pretty good run there for a while. The band has split up and come back together many times over the years, but they are a solid entity now, hitting the summer nostalgia circuit hard year after year. This week is a twofer - first we get to hear from multi-instrumentalist David Muse and then former lead singer Rick Roberts, who no longer tours with the band, but does his own unique solo thing. http://www.firefallofficial.com/ http://davemuse.com/ http://rickrobertsmusic.com/
New England were another one of those great rock bands of the late 70s/early 80s that deserved more. So many things were in place to make them successful - they were managed by Kiss's manager Bill Aucoin, opened many shows for Kiss over the years, and they released three excellent albums between '79 and '81, each produced by a legend (Paul Stanley, Mike Stone and Todd Rundgren respectively) - yet it didn't happen. They did manage to crack the pop charts once when "Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya" reached #40 in 1979. Though the band came to an end, drummer Hirsh Gardner has maintained a successful career for himself as a producer, a label-head, and the manager of a Boston-area Guitar Center. He's a fun-loving guy that is still passionate about music and a great storyteller. https://www.hirshgardner.com/
Sisters Tracey and Melissa Belland grew up loving the alternative music coming out of Britain in the 80s. So, instead of sitting idly, they decided to move to the UK and start a band like their heroes, thus Voice of the Beehive. They had a good run there for a while, releasing three fun-filled albums between 1988 and 1995 and though they never crossed over to the pop charts, they did score a number of decent alternative hits. Eventually, the girls decided it wasn't worth continuing to pursue this dream and decided to call it a day. Since then, Tracey has found success as a teacher and Melissa has remained an artist and is also a care-giver. Believe it or not, the original band will be reforming for a reunion show in London on Oct. 7th this year. They are one of our most requested guests, proving the taste for the Beehive's music has never gone away!
Jesus Jones broke big in 1991 when their second album Doubt catapulted them into one of the biggest bands in the world. Hits like the still ever-present "Right Here Right Now" have never gone away, and have provided a nice living for lead singer Mike Edwards. So, expectations were high when they released the follow-up, 1993's Perverse. Unfortunately, that album underperformed mightily and the Jesus Jones bubble burst. The band released a couple more albums, but to less fanfare. Today, Mike and the band record and release music once in a while and are currently working on a Pledge Music campaign to fund a new album. Through it all, Mike remains a pretty unaffected guy, but also grateful for the success his hits have provided. https://www.jesusjones.com/
Paul grew up in the music industry of Los Angeles where hanging out with famous rock stars was no big deal. His dad worked for Capitol Records and helped discover acts like the Beach Boys and Bob Seger while his mom was an in demand session singer. After serving a mission for the LDS church, Paul dove headfirst into his own music career with his first major break through being a fruitful collaboration with producing icon Giorgio Moroder. From there he was selected to front a band put together by songwriting legend Holly Knight called Device. They only managed one excellent album called 22B3 and one top 40 hit with "Hanging On a Heart Attack" which reached #35 in 1986. After that he was pegged to join the second installment of popular band Animotion. With them he sang on the top 10 1989 smash "Room to Move". Once Animotion fizzled out, Paul eventually decided to leave the chaotic music business for a more normal life in the network marketing industry and settled in Provo, UT. It's been a wild ride, but Paul's never lost his head.
Johnny Hates Jazz was about to get big. Real big. In 1987 their seminal hit "Shattered Dreams" just hit #2 in the US (other singles did well in the UK and other parts of the world), they had a memorable band name, sleek videos, and the future looked bright. But, suddenly front man Clark Datchler decided he needed to leave the band and venture out on his own. In this engrossing conversation, Clark details what lead him to make that decision and how it impacted his bandmates. Basically, along with global success came an awakening to the sad, dark side of life on this planet as a member of the human race. It stirred within him a desire to fix what he could and inspire others to do the same. It's motivated him personally and creatively ever since and is at the core of who he is. So, get ready to go deep with a fascinating gentleman! http://johnnyhatesjazz.com/