Origin: Detroit (USA)
- Alliance Interview
There aren't many groups worth raving about lately, except if you're talking about Detroit's " Alliance".
With a debut album out on Handshake Records titled " Alliance", these guys are definitely "hot".
We spoke with " Alliance" lead guitarist Pat Hand.
Q. Before you guys got this record deal, you were a Top 40 group in Detroit. Now, did you play the Holiday Inn, Sheraton Inn, Ramada Inn circuit?
A. Well, actually, we weren't that much of a laid-back group. We were playing the hipper nightclubs in Detroit. There's like rock rooms and then there's Top 40 rooms. There's some really sharp rooms, then there's the Holiday Inns which are still catering to almost disco. It's very, very laid-back; whereas we were very MOR. We weren't rock, we weren't disco; we were just Top 40. We were what's happening on the radio.
Q. Most groups will send their demo tape to a record company's A and R Department. You sent your tape to a management firm. Why?
A. I had seen friends and all kinds of people send their tapes to A and R Departments of record companies and a lot of them obviously weren't even opened. They were sent back; regret no interest, not buying at this time. I felt, there are hundreds and hundreds of groups giving tapes unsolicited to record companies. Now, the record companies have their hands full with tapes that are legitimately submitted by legitimate, big companies that carry a certain amount of clout. What I felt is, although you may sacrifice a certain percentage to a personal manager, the personal manager that has the clout and credibility of a Stan Bernstein (" Alliance" Manager) would get us where we wanted to go faster. I felt management would be our watchdog, the person that would bite the heels of the record company, make sure what had to be done, would get done.
Q. How many tapes did you sent out?
A. I sent out about twenty-five tapes, and I got a favorable response from lots of people. The majority of the reasons that we got any tapes back with no response at all, was because they didn't hear it.
Q. Just what are record companies looking for in a new group?
A. What record companies are looking for is the most commercial hit-oriented group they can find that involves the least amount of work for them to turn into a smash hit. If they look at a group, and they have management, the group is together, they have equipment, they have a show, they have enough songs written for three albums which we do. If the group is basically self-sufficient, that means a great deal less work on their part. All they have to worry about is putting the record out.
Q. Your lead singer almost sounds like Foreigners' Lou Gramm.
A. A lot of people think that. That's possible why the single "How Does It Feel" was picked, because he doesn't sound as much like him on "How Does It Feel". There are very few people in the world who can sing like Mark or Lou Gramm. There's probably ten in the world who have that strength and power, up high. Because there are so few, I think a lot of people when they hear a voice that's that clean and strong, immediately associate 'em with Lou Gramm, Frankie of Frankie and The Knockouts, Mickey Thomas from Jefferson Starship. Another thing that makes Mark sound like Lou Gramm is that Mark got his beginning in Gospel. Gospel singers tend to do riffs; they'll do these crazy adlibs, very good control. Lou Gramm does that because of his upbringing, whatever his musical upbringing was. Boy, there are some great voices springing up, there's no doubt. That's why when you look at it and knock on wood, you think how lucky you are.
Q. Will any of the songs being recorded today stand the test of time and be played twenty years from now?
A. I think there are, yeah. I don't think by any means all of them will stick. I think the majority of them will fall by the wayside, but so did most of the songs from the Sixties. There are classics being written and there will be songs that'll be around for a long time.
Q. How has your life changed since the album's release?
A. I'm getting tapes from musicians. You know, they want me to try and get them a deal, and I'm so wrapped up in this. They're friends, and I try. My God, I've got so much to worry about with this. Musicians, it's unfortunate, because they've devoted a lot of their life to become monster musicians, and common sense-wise, they're in the zone, and that's where you have to treat music as a business because it is. If only musicians would just think, and pursue the right business avenues, there would be more successful people.
© Gary James All Rights Reserved -
- This is the story of a band that could have made it. They were good, and had a lot of talent. Maybe there are lessons here. I don't know.
The story starts in the very late 70s in the Detroit area. One of the best bands playing the clubs around town was "Flight". They played excellent covers and occasionally an original. I wasn't much of a club or bar guy, but the guys in the band were friends with one of my oldest friends, and he talked me into coming out to see them. I was impressed.
My buddy Bob had been introduced to them by local radio guy Tom Force(aka Zak Burns). I believe he used his connections to get them an audition and eventually a contract with Columbia. Flight played their last show at Harpo's Theater on the east side. At least their last show as "Flight", as Columbia and their managers renamed the band "Alliance". I partied backstage after the show. I could not wait to hear their album, and I was just SO proud for them.
Marc Buccharo (Vocals)
Gradley Davidson (Bass & Background vocals)
Pat Hand (Guitars & Background vocals)
Mark Heckert (Keyboards & Background vocals)
About that time , because of the economy, I had to move to Ft. Worth Texas. But I still was in touch with Bob to keep up with the band who was by then in the studio. The Album was being produced by "Fat Albert"(the Albert brothers) who I knew from their work with Firefall and Harry Chapin. I was psyched, and checked the local record store often and talked up the band a lot. Finally the album dropped. Uh Oh.
The first problem was the cover. Sheesh! What were they thinking? This is a band that wants to get over, and the front cover has the band sitting in a preschool. The second problem was the label. Columbia had assigned them to Handshake Records, which was generally a disco label.
The album sounded great though, and I was still high on them.
When I came home for a visit I, of course, went to see the guys. Things had gone south. Mark(keyboards) had quit, and the album had gotten little airplay even in Detroit. Accoring to Pat Hand(I always LOVED his name) when the Alberts turned the album in, Columbia asked where was the single? The Alberts kinda shrugged and figured that something would emerge, but it didn't and they didn't push it. The band fell apart of course, and it was done.
Pat told me the album only sold in Detroit and (strangely) Dallas/Ft Worth, a place they had never played(hmmm how did THAT happen?).
Marc went on to make commercial jingles and Pat, who had at one time was recruited to tour with Clapton(he turned the offer down because of the album) and ended up playing lead for Atanis(Atanis Illitch-son of Tigers/Red Wings owner Mike). I lost track of the other guys.
I needle dropped the album recently and its still a very good album. I suppose its rare, and I never saw any cut outs.
JamieC (forum resident) -