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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Monday, 27 July 2015

YES SPINOFF: Inside Steve Hackett and Steve Howe’s ill-fated GTR supergroup: ‘The price of success was very high’

July 1986 saw the debut release from a one-off supergroup featuring two of prog rock’s most recognizable guitarists. What could go wrong, right? When it came to Steve Hackett and Steve Howe’s GTR, almost everything.
Steve Howe, it seems, had left Asia in a quest to move away from synth-focused music — though, curiously, he brought along as producer on the GTR album one Geoff Downes, keyboardist with Asia. Nevertheless, the focus for this project would be guitars, to the point that any electronic sounds were made with Roland pickups, which created MIDI signals via riffs. They’d also make an effort to capture a live feel, very much in contrast to the times.
GTR was completed with the addition of Jonathan Mover, ex-drummer with Marillion and later with Joe Satriani; Phil Spalding, who’d served as bassist with Mike Oldfield; and Max Bacon, perhaps best known for his stint singing with Moby Dick. The resulting album rose to No. 11 in America, and eventually went gold, while spinning off a No. 14 hit in “When the Heart Rules the Mind” and a heavy-rotation video for “The Hunter.”
Trouble loomed, however, even then: “We had a hit album in America, and a bankrupt company in England,” Steve Hackett tells us, in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown. “The price of success was very high, indeed. I think, also, there’s the aspect of novelty value. Being able to sustain a band at that level, it was a case of high finance. At the end of the day, a group is like any company. It has to make sense economically.”

Read on...

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