Out of nowhere comes JOSEPH LEE WOOD, an AOR performer who recorded an album in 1989, but had to wait 'till this day to release it. He has now released it through his own label WOODHILL MUSIC GROUP, and basically everyone who likes good old Classic 80s AOR a la STAN BUSH, STARSHIP, JEFF PARIS... should check out his release a.s.a.p. The album is filled with HIGH CLASS PURE 80S AOR! I had an interview with Joseph, so let's see what he has to say...
When did you start playing music etc.?
I grew up in the small eastern washington town of Walla Walla, WASH. a town known world wide for it's onions. Now they have intenationally praised wines such as leonetti, cayuse and many others.This town had some of the greatest guitar player i've heard. I started out as a bass player/leadsinger playing in local dance and club bands. Even from the start I was always alweays focused on writing my own material but also realized the learning process and so I played in half cover half origional bands. I soon moved to guitar and lead vocals and that was fun for a while. Then my eyes were opened when I met and saw Steve Wash from KANSAS. Music was changed for ever. I saw orchestrated rock as the future and so I bought my first hammond organ and moved to keys and lead vocals.with the addition the next year of a wurlitzer piano I thought I was rocking. Some ex members of the RON GARDNER GROUP (MCA) heard about me and drove across the state to try me out. I sang ( fooled around and fell in love), Mickey Thomas and the hired me and I moved to Seattle,and started playing night clubs there.
That was 1976 I played in the last incarnation of VENUS AND THE RAZORBLADES that year. Even though we had been offered an album deal on a canadian label based in montreal internal problems broke up the band. I went back to Seattle and put together BABY GUNN. This band was a highly talented young for piece band and everybody sang so the energy combined with power and tight vocals made this band a westcoast and rocky mountain favorite. Egos caused the band to break up on our way to L.A. to record our first album in 1979. I was told later that we would have been the second band on GEFFEN behind JOHN LENNON. An agent friend from denver colo. told a band in Chicago about me and they flew me in and I joined LOIS LANE. This band and SURVIVOR were just a handfull of midwest acts close to bigtime. Egos once again prevailed and I ended back in denver working on an album with JIM MASON who produced FIREFALL and BAD COMPANY.
The JOCKS were just like the OUTFIELD only two years earlier. This time greed prevailed and. I then did the vocal tracks for bloodrocks keyboard player which was produced by BEAU HILL (RATT, WINGER, WARRANT) but I wanted to come back to Seattle, and there I put together 24K and we headed north to Vancouver, B.C. to record at MUSHROOM recording studios and were produced by KIETH STIEN ( LOVERBOY). Kieth had approuched me about playing for JERRY DOUCETTE, and then TROOPER but I had the BABY GUNN deal. This band fell apart due to poor management and then I met a producer who had been a vice president of ABC/DUNHILL and UNIVERSAL. His name was NORMAN RATNER (THE HUGHES CORPORATION, LOU RAWLS, 707). Together we produced the CD that you here.
I signed a management deal with sound city studios and CARMAN PRODUCTIONS who handled RICK SPRINGFIELD and about 8 other majors.It finally seemed like I was on my way. All the major labels were interested but they just sat on the album and squabbled over % and the album fell through the cracks and I thought here I go again. So dissalusioned I had to get away from the buisness all the time though I knew that I had retained 100% of my rights to the album. That's the last 25 year saga.
Can you tell us about your first recordings?
The very first recording was a 45 for a leasing company called ACCENT RECORDS based in L.A. We did this even though we had a couple of major label offers because back then the majors were really ripping off there artist. The single was IN THE BACK OF MY HEAD. It got more airplay on the westcoast than the local major label bands did and that is what lead to the pending BABY GUNN deal.
Please tell us all about that first solo-CD of yours?
When I met NORMAN we hit it of and I had done an arrangement for another artist that he was producing and he said write me an album. so I got busy and wrote the songs in two months. Marty randles and I did all the preproduction in his back bedroom 8 track andnthen we took it in to triad. the first 5 songs were completely recorded by Marty and my self as I did all the keys and vocals and he did all the drums bass and rythm guitars but we also used skylar on guitar and he did great solos. bet you couldn't tell that the first 5 songs were drum machines sequenced. that took about a week including mixdown. We had to be very efficient in those days because of studio cost. Then we put the band together and did the second 5.
How do you look back at this CD and it's recordings from 1989?
After all that I had been through I thought that finally this was it. This album was my heart and soul and every thing that I had worked for for 15 years. It was real dissapointing that ones music can be used and abused.
I heard you're working on a new CD, will this be in the same classic AOR style as your debut and just tell us all about it (songs, style)?
Yes it will and also it will have a broader sound, bigger in some ways. Also I am covering the BABY'S hit in Holland years ago called PIECE OF THE ACTION a song written by MICHEAL JOPP for a friend because it's rings so true to my lfe. It has almost a metal edge on one song but big production rock. It also has some crossover ballads. by the way this CD is recorded in my studio and I did all the bass/ keys and vocal tracks lead and backing and I used three other guitarists although I did some of the guitar work myself and DON HILL one of my partners did all the drums and percussion.I am also engineering and producing it.
You released the CD on your own label, please tell us more about it (start of the label, included bands/artists etc.)?
Well an old booking agent friend of mine told me 15 years ago, if you want it done right you have to do it yourself. so when one of my partners John called me, he said joe it's time to get over it and release the album. He brought THE RED SECTOR to me and I loved them and then Kelly from RAIL called and we decided to put this together. As soon as that happened, people I had not seen in years came out of the wood work. I proposed a co-op kind of attitude with these different labels and it seems to be working. Some of them have alot of not so good acts but we have kept our label focused on what we think are groups that are a cut above and that we feel strong enough to get behind, like CINDY YOUNG who is phenomenal live, and ofcourse our affiliation with RAIL and we have another act called PICTURE YOUR OWN that i feel has 3 or 4 hits.
This kind of AOR you're playing is quite popular in Europe, have you tried to get in touch with some of the labels over here?
Actually we've been aproached by several labels wanting to distribute over there. MIDNIGHT RECORDS in Italy and NOW AND THEN RECORDS/FRONTIER,and as I'm not that familiar with the European Arena I am negotiating with different sources as well as is Kelly. We are hoping to release over there as soon as possible.
Your music is pure 80s influenced AOR, which bands/artists influenced you?
My very first influences growing up were the Beatles especially PAUL MCCARTNEY and THE BYRDS. Once I heard KANSAS I said this is it. STYX, SUPERTRAMP, BOSTON, JOURNEY, IAN LLOYD, FORIEGNER, MICKY THOMAS to name a few.
How's it going with the airplay of your CD, because this kind of 80s AOR is ignored all across America, right?
absolutley right. The U.S. airwaves are totally controlled by the
corporations that have esentially bought them up. You don't get
airplay unless the choose to give it.It is truley unfortunate
that the people in the U.S. have all this homoginized crap shoved
down there throats. It is absolutly amazing that we are suppose
to be the land of oppertunity and yet Europe is so far more
progressive and open and the people actually have more culture
and artistic choices than we do. The industry ignores these great
acts but they still seem to be top draws.
Well, thanks for answering the questions, finally, anything to add yourself...
All I can
say is that I look forward to the oppertunity of experiencing
connecting with the German people and in fact all of Europe.You
see even though we have to deal with the rediculous actions of
politicians and corporations the the one common bond that all of
us have is music and art. It sooths the heart and breaks down the
walls that seperate humanity. As JOHN KAY fom STEPPENWOLF said to
me the night the Berlin wall came down, my mother and I exscaped
from the east just before the wall went up. This is what truley
can be accomplished when all people come together. GABOR thank
you so much for your time and efforts and I truley hope that we
can come to Germany and Europe and connect with everyone not just
to perform but
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