Sunday, February 10, 2008

BALANCE for News&Trends


Country:
USA
Genre:
Rock
Style:
Pop Rock,Hard Rock ,AOR


Members:
Bob Kulick - Guitars (also in Skulls)
Doug Katsaros - Keyboards & Vocals
Peppy Castro (real name: Emil Thielheim) - Lead Vocals (also in The Blues Magoos 1966-69/Barnaby Bye 1973-74)
Dennis Feldman - Bass (only on the second LP)
Chuck Burgi - Drums (only on the second LP)


VIDEO
"Breaking Away"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcVoIFX0iOo


BALANCE (1981)

Credits:
Bass - John Siegler , Willie Weeks
Drums, Percussion - Andy Newmark
Engineer, Co-producer - Tony Bongiovi
Guitar - Bob Kulick
Keyboards, Backing Vocals - Doug "The Gling" Katsaros
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals - Peppy Castro
Producer - Balance


Tracklist:

01 Looking For The) Magic (3:58)
02 I'm Through Loving You (3:10)
03 Breaking Away (3:17)
04 No Getting Around My Love (3:54)
05 Fly Through The Night (3:58)
06 American Dream (4:20)
07 Haunting (3:52)
08 Falling In Love (3:19)
09 Hot Summer Nights (3:24)
10 It's So Strange (4:06)


Link to download:
http://rapidshare.com/files/90867002/balance_.rar.html

Background
Another ambassador for the G-DAZE site is this ever so legendary outfit from New York called Balance. This band should have been huge and probably would've too had the circumstances been right. These guys all came together from a variety of past musical lives and ventures. Castro had played in Wiggy Bits with some of the guys from Aviator, Kulick had played with Meatloaf while Katsaros had been around the scene for many years too. Balance's music was prime time suited for early eighties radio, such was their commercial style. The strength of Castro's breathy vocals combined with Kulick's OTT guitar and Katsaro's delightful ivory tinklings makes this a compulsory listen.

The Songs
Opening track 'Looking For The Magic' has some west coast leanings, before we really kick in on pomp overload with 'I'm Through Loving You'. Katsaro's keyboards are on overtime here. The single 'Breakin' Away' was one they played on the US TV Music show 'Solid Gold' that I remember seeing, and wondering who they the hell they were, because it was great! 'No Getting Around My Heart' has a Toto or Ambrosia feel, and has some funky moments and great harmony vocals. 'Fly Through The Night' sort of meanders, and has a persistent guitar strut throughout. 'American Dream' has a punchy approach similar to Survivor, while 'Falling in Love' wimps out big time as a softly softly type ballad. The pomp urgency of 'Hot Summer Nights' makes a welcome return, as does 'It's So Strange' the album closer.

In Summary
A great album, only surpassed by a true AOR classic that was 'In For The Count' released the following year. As I said earlier, this band could've been huge, if not for Castro's reluctance to travel and to seriously promote the band and their albums outside of New York, hence outside of the USA. We will never know what may have been.
(http://www.glory-daze.com/readarticle.php?article_id=462)

Reviews for Balance/In for the Count 2CD :

"This out of print 2-on-1 release features both studio albums by the AOR band Balance, which featured Bob Kulick on guitar. Balance served up keyboard drenched melodic pop/rock with great harmonies that was just perfect for early 80's radio consumption. The band's 1981 self-titled debut makes up the first 10 tracks of this CD, and has a decidedly lighter approach than the disc's second half. This is a straightforward pop album, and gets a bit cheesy at times. It reminds me of lighter Ambrosia and Toto material. It does, however, contain a fantastic hard rock song called "Fly through the Night" that is as good an 80's rock tune as you could hope to find. Fortunately the band decided to rock a bit more for their 1982 album In for the Count. Compare the guitar-driven album opener "In for the Count" to the first album's unbelievably cheesy leadoff track "Looking for the Magic" and you immediately know you're getting an entirely different album. The second half of the disc more than makes up for the first half. In For the Count has a REO Speedwagon/Touch/April Wine sound. It's "roller rink rock", but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Balance is one of my guilty pleasure bands. Sure, I'll hit the skip button on a couple of these songs, but for the most part this is a great collection of 80's rock. NOTE: In for the Count was recently reissued with a pair of bonus tracks. If you can't find a copy of this 2-on-1, that may be the way to go. Besides, that is the album with just about all of Balance's best songs"

"Two excellent albums on one CD! A real bargain! Balance would have deserved so much more attention! This band, with the powerful singer Peppy Castro and guitar genious Bob Kulick is AOR at its very best. Make no mistake about it! In my personal opinion the latter of the two, "In For The Count" will have to be my favourite. But why not grab both of them? Here's your chance! The entire Balance collection on 1 CD! Very good indeed. To sum this band up: Loverboy meets Toto meets FM. Could be worse, couldn't it? "

"When I first heard this product on cassette in the mid 80's I was astonished at the high quality of musicanship and songwriting of this hitherto unknown band (certainly unknown in the UK). Being a musician from this era I was delighted to see that the album has since been released on CD. It is a shame that this band does not reform - I am sure today's young musicians could learn a great deal relative to crafting a fine product of such excellence."





















IN FOR THE COUNT (1982) [Remastered CD 2007 with bonus]

Credits:
Backing Vocals - Peppy Castro
Bass - Dennis Feldman
Drums - Chuck Burgi
Engineer - Bill Scheniman , Dave Greenberg , Doug "The Gling" Katsaros , Jason Corsaro , Larry Alexander , Malcolm Pollack , Scott Litt , Tony Bongiovi
Engineer [Additional] - Bruce Hensel /Engineer [Assistant] - Alex Clarke
Executive Producer - Louis Levin
Guitar - Bob Kulick
Keyboards - Doug "The Gling" Katsaros
Mastered By - Bob Ludwig /Photography [Sleeve Photo] - Barry Levine
Producer - Bob Kulick , Doug Katsaros , Peppy Castro , Tony Bongiovi
Vocals - Peppy Castro /Written-By - P. Castro

Notes:
The bonus tracks (10-11) are from the "Ride The Wave" EP from 1983


Tracklist:

01 In For The Count (4:52)
02 Is It Over (3:05)
03 Slow Motion (4:24)
04 Undercover Man (4:27)
05 On My Honor (3:33)
06 All The Way (3:37)
07 Pull The Plug (3:43)
08 Bedroom Eyes (3:55)
09 We Can Have It All (3:47)


Bonus EP:
10 Ride The Wave (3:47)
11 She's Alone Tonight (3:09)


Link to download:
http://rapidshare.com/files/90869369/balance07.rar.html

"This is a classic! AOR doesn?t get any better than this! What Peppy Castro, Bob Kulick, Doug Katsaros, Dennis Feldman and Chuck Burgi did in the studio back in 1982 to create this legendary album - noone knows but it sure can?t be done again.I don?t think these guys could pull it off again even if they tried because all from the sensational synthesizer intro of "In for the count" (that probably gave Joey Tempest the idea to The Final Countdown) to the superb chorus of "All the way" - this is one historic AOR album.It was released on CD back in 1996 together with the first album on a 2 on 1 edition but now gets a proper release on Rock Candy records with the rare bonus tracks "Ride the wave" and "She?s alone tonight".These tracks was only released as a single in Japan back in 1981 and was almost impossible to find, 2 awesome songs that will please many AOR fans now.I just wanna sing "On my honor"......and rock myself to sleep, a true masterpiece!AMEN!" (http://www.melodic.net/reviewsOne.asp?revnr=5432)

"THE HARD rock minefield is littered with the bodies of fallen comrades; brave souls who played hard and died young, all in the name of liberty and the power of rock. 25 years on, a handful of names have now become the stuff of legend. Balance is one of them…Formed in the early ’80s as a veritable mini-super group, the membership draws from such diverse musical backgrounds as the Blues Magoos, Wiggy Bits, Speedway Boulevard and Brand X. Guitarist Bob Kulick in particular had developed a seasoned resume that included work with Meat Loaf, Paul Stanley, Kiss and more, proving himself a safe pair of hands, either holed up in the studio (Lou Reed) or out there on the boards (Alice Cooper).Securing a deal with the CBS Records-backed Portrait label, this East Coast outfit scored successfully at AOR radio with ‘Breaking Away’ (from their self-titled debut album), but by the time ‘In For The Count’ was recorded they had redefined their musical ambition, diving deeper into the world of hard rock with spectacular results. Not only are the vocals – courtesy of Peppy Castro – wonderfully expressive, but they’re matched blow for blow by the guitar work of Kulick, both men giving of their best to take the music of Balance into an area not traditionally touched on by the AOR names of the day… For lovers of high pedigree hard rock, these recordings (co-produced by Tony Bongiovi, cousin of Jon Bon Jovi) occupy truly legendary status."(http://www.rockcandyrecords.co.uk/catalogue/215)

"this is the second and last album one of the my favourites bands of the 80´s aor,the voice of peppy castro is very solid, and sometimes recalls me to freddie mercury,"slow motion" is for me the best song of all its career."

"This is how good melodic AOR should sound, a lot of great edgy guitarplaying, superb hooks and singing. Why this album is sanked without trace back in the early 80:s is one big mystery. Thankfully they have released it on cd so I can upgrade from my wornout vinyl."


More review:
http://www.glory-daze.com/readarticle.php?article_id=520



Balance to Return!

Shaking off the cobwebs of a 25 year slumber, BALANCE, the iconic legendary 80’s band who released such AOR masterpieces as “In For The Count” and the self titled debut, resurfaces with a vengeance.
Grammy Award winning producer / guitarist Bob Kulick whose credits read like a who’s who of Hard Rock and Metal music (Kiss, Motorhead, Wasp, Alice Cooper etc) again joins forces with one of the greatest singers of the AOR genre, former Blues Magoos, Barnaby Bye, Wiggy Bits, vocalist/ musician Peppy Castro and the other Grammy Award winning keyboardist/vocalist Doug Katsaros who has made a major mark in every musical genre, from playing with Dee Snider and Paul Stanley to working with Elton John, Rod Stewart and even on Broadway musicals.
These super talents announce the return of BALANCE with a 12 song cd of ALL new material to be released on Frontiers Records in the coming months.
“It’s my second childhood. I get to relive the glory of Balance from a more relaxed perspective” says Castro, and Katsaros feels the same: “To me it feels much more relaxed, we can simply make cool music, without the concerns normally associated with making a record - we are all at such a high plateau in our current situations, I actually think it allows us to be more at ease, less stressed, and the music reflects that”.
“After the demise/breakup of the band in 1983”, says Kulick, “I toured the world as a lead guitarist with various artists (Meatloaf, Paul Stanley etc.) and everywhere I’d go I’d get great comments from fans and press alike, saying how they dug BALANCE and its music.. .it always amazed me. I can’t wait for those fanatics to be satiated at last by our new cd”.
“We have a very healthy attitude” segues Castro, “The music breathes and we’ve been able to connect very well with each other. The great thing is that we are all such productive people. So there will be an abundance of material and we will edit our selves down to the best of the bunch and that will be the record”.
Recording of the yet untitled new album has commenced in Los Angeles and NY and the band are well into it now.
“Anyone who is or was ever a fan will not be dissappointed, in fact, there may finally be an international hit amongst the tunes on this new outing - we have all matured, and what’s coming out is simply fantastic! Like the best of both of our earlier records. After all nobody sings better than Peppy, nobody rocks better than Bob, and who better in America to toss around some fat synth patches than me?” concludes Katsaros.
(http://hardrockhideout.wordpress.com/2007/07/05/balance-and-stan-bush-in-the-news/)


Biography:
Balance was an early 1980s pop rock group based out of New York City and fronted by Illinois native, Peppy Castro, formerly of Blues Magoos. Other members included guitarist Bob Kulick, arranger and keyboardist Doug Katsaros, drummer Chuck Burgi, and bassist Dennis Feldman.The group's most noteworthy hit was 1981's "Breaking Away". The song peaked at #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balance_(band))

BALANCE traded in slick, radio orientated Rock made distinctive by strong songwriting and pedigree guitar work. Initially put together as a studio project by vocalist Peppy Castro, guitarist Bob Kulick and keyboard player Doug 'Gling' Katsaros, who ranked amongst New York's leading session men of the day, BALANCE quickly evolved into something a little more substantial once the single 'Breaking Away' took off in America. Kulick, brother of fellow guitarist Bruce Kulick (HOOKFOOT, BLACKJACK, GOOD RATS and KISS), had just missed out on the original lead guitarist's position in KISS to ACE FREHLEY back in 1972. He retained close links with the self-styled Hottest Band In The World as he later substituted for ACE FREHLEY on the studio tracks of KISS' 'Alive II' album as well guesting on PAUL STANLEY's solo album a year later in 1978.As irony would have it, Castro grew up with Frehley in the Bronx, teaching the future 'Space Ace' his first bar chords. Castro recorded with BARNABY BYE in 1972 and later found himself in the Polydor signed WIGGY BITS. Castro and Katsaros also appear on PAUL STANLEY's solo record, an event which may have sewn the seeds for the formation of BALANCE, who signed to the Portrait label and issued their self-titled first record in 1981, a record once described by Kerrang! magazine as being 'up to its naked thighs in gloriously smooth harmonies and melodies'.Following the relative success of the debut BALANCE album, the group toughened up a little with Kulick clearly calling the shots on 1982's 'In For The Count', the material reflecting a more solid, punchy approach.Determined to take the group out on the road a permanent rhythm section was recruited for the album. Whilst seasoned veterans Willie Weeks and Andy Newmark ably contributed to the eponymous debut, the pair were replaced by bassist Dennis Feldman, ex-SPEEDWAY BOULEVARD, and Chuck Burgi on drums respectively for 'In For The Count'.However, the dream of taking BALANCE out on the road effectively died due to Castro's reluctance to tour, possibly because he was making too much money singing on TV and radio commercials. Ironic, then, that BALANCE's swansong should be a single released in Japan only, 'Ride The Wave', which was used to advertise Daihatsu cars! Kulick later went on to stints with MICHAEL BOLTON, more famously with MEAT LOAF, recorded and played live with DIANA ROSS (at the time KISS man GENE SIMMONS' latest squeeze) and formed further commendable outfits SKULL and BLACKTHORNE. Burgi's post BALANCE career included stints with RAINBOW, BLUE OYSTER CULT and also SKULL. Castro continued to pursue a lucrative career in television jingles and also fronted up a band unit known as U.M.O. during 1988, this formation involving ex-AGENTZ guitarist Steve Bondy, keyboard player Doug Kistner and AEROSMITH drummer Joey Kramer.Feldman joined MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP and toured with Kulick in PAUL STANLEY's 1989 solo club tour before teaming up with Kulick again to record the SKULL album (using his adopted nom de plume of Dennis St. James).The BALANCE albums were issued on CD in Germany during 1992 and again, on a Two On One CD in 1997.(http://www.rockdetector.com/officialbio,856.sm;jsessionid=C622AFBD4FE26B0CEFB7544855F0893B)

Bob Kulick, Doug Katsaros and Peppy Castro are well underway with their work on the forthcoming BALANCE come back album.According to Kulick “The songs are real Balance and we definitely want this to be great”. Some of the song titles which will make it to the final album are “Breathe”, “Rainbow’s End”, “Winner Takes All”, “Walk Away”, “Forever”, “Twist of Fate”, “Old Friends”, “Who You Gonna Love”.More songs are in progress and the recording process is reportedly going “extremely well”. Lookout for the new BALANCE album in the early part of 2008!
(http://www.sonny1968.de/news.htm)

ALBUMS:
Balance (1981)
In For The Count (1982)
Balance/In for the Count-2 CD reissue (1996)
Equilibrium (2009)

!!!NEWS!!!

"Frontiers Records is proud to announce the return of BALANCE with the release of the band's anticipated new album entitled "Equilibrium" on February 20th 2009.

Completed with the help of Bret Chassen on drums (who also co-produced the album together with Bob Kulick), the resulting album "Equilibrium" is truly a labour of love: a record written and crafted with the highest respect for the fans and the same enthusiasm as the old days, bringing back the trademark sound and updating it to the production techniques and taste of the new millennium. "All the guitars, vocals, synths and mix sounds are based on the original two records", explains Katsaros, "we took great care in making certain there was nothing that could not have been performed in the 1980s, even the sequences. Also, the songs are authentic to the time period, since most of them were written in the time period! And we always had astonishing background harmonies and Peppy and I worked hard to keep that up as well. And you can't beat using the original members to get an authentic sound! It was also great fun to recreate the whole blend of a tight intricate keyboard part as a counterpoint to Bobby's brilliance"
(http://www.kiss-related-recordings.nl/brucekulick_balance.html)

Bob Kulickis
an American guitarist (best known for his studio work with Kiss) and producer.
Read more:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Kulick

Peppy Castro
Producer / Sound Engineer, leader of the legendary "Blues Magoos" who wrote songs for Diana Ross and Alisha ,played with Robin Trower,Cher,Laura Branigan,Michael Bolton etc.

"Peppy Castro has done it all and is a successful seasoned professional with great variety in his music! His fame and 1st hit record began at the age of 17 as one of the founding fathers of the legendary rock group “The Blues Magoos”. His rock and roll status led him to a starring role in the original Broadway Production of “Hair”. He is also an award-winning playwright for his music and lyrics for the musical comedy “Zen Boogie” and multi-instrumentalist. He’s penned and performed an amazing amount of well-known commercial jingles. His songs have been covered by the likes of Diana Ross, Kiss, and Cher, among others. His potent back-up vocals have been heard on records for numerous well-known recording artists. He’s enjoyed years of diverse music by being an original member of the bands Balance, Barnaby Bye, and Wiggy Bits. Currently, Peppy is enjoying the resurgence of music as he and all his former band mates from Barnaby Bye, Balance and the Magoos are all in the studio recording new Cd’s for there is still a global audience. He’s authored a new POP Opera musical called Xstar and is performing as solo and with Barnaby Bye."
(http://www.barnabybye.com/images/Music_Workshop_with_Peppy_Castr.htm)

Doug Katsaros
Grammy Award winning keyboarder and composer,who played with Cher,Sinéad O'Connor,Kiss,Paul Stanley etc..He is the orchestrator for "Rocky Horror Show" currently playing on Broadway.

"DOUG KATSAROS has played, sung & arranged for Gloria Estefan, KISS, Rod Stewart, Judy Collins, Peter Paul & Mary, Cher, Bon Jovi, LIVE, Frank Sinatra, Michael Bolton, Sinéad O’Connor, Donny Osmond, Aerosmith, B. B. King, Diane Schuur, Todd Rundgren, Richie Havens & others. Broadway: conducted Footloose; orchestrated The Rocky Horror Show; dance & vocal arranged The Life, Composed Laughing Room Only. Off-Broadway: co-wrote A...My Name Is Alice, Diamonds; composed Just So and Abie’s Island Rose; arranged 1966. Also wrote “By Mennen.”" (http://www.playbill.com/celebritybuzz/whoswho/biography/9106.html)

More info:

Bob Kulick:
http://www.myspace.com/bobkulick

http://www.kissfaq.com/focus/bob.html detailed bio

http://www.battlehelm.com/interviews/Bobkulick.html interview

http://www.peppycastro.com/ Peppy Castro home page

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=178076507 Peppy Castro's Myspace page

http://www.dougkatsaros.com/ Doug Katsaros home page

http://www.rockpages.gr/interviews/Balance2006-eng.htm Balance interview 2006


10 Comments:

Blogger skids said...

thanks for the bonus songs

2:01 AM  
Blogger Guy Smiley said...

wow what an amazing blog.
I've hunted down the first two Firefly albums, and was trying to work out whether it was even the same band that wrote Keep On (which I also have and love) your blog absolutely educated me in a way no other site on the net has been able to.
I really appreciate it.. keep it coming (the more Italo the better)

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Doug said...

Hey - this is truly a gas - so nice to see such beautiful and positive reaction to our old stuff, and even the buzz for the new stuff! Thank you to all of you for keeping us in your hearts!

Love, Doug Katsaros

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello Doug,

im so happy to see you here!:)
Thank you for your great music,we are looking forward to listen the new album!

best regards
salty

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved Balance when I was in college and was sorry to see them disappear. Can anyone tell me if their music is on CD somewhere? I'd love to get it.

Thanks for the great info!!

Best regards,
Megan

8:55 AM  
Blogger bobbysu said...

thank you very much

12:33 AM  
Blogger 123 123 said...

Nice blog as for me. It would be great to read more about this topic.
By the way look at the design I've made myself London escort

6:01 AM  
Blogger Peppy said...

You have to love the internet. I found this blog while surfing. For Starters this is Peppy Castro from Balance and I would like to set the record straight. That I never had a reluctance to touring. The fact is that no one ever offered "Balance a Tour"! I started the band and created the name etc. So it was my passion to see Balance make great music. Mr. Bob Kulick while being a great guitarist
threw me under the bus. It is also with great sadness that the reunion record was such a disappointment to me. I really didn't have any control on that one and I asked that my name be taken of the record as a producer! That's how disappointed I was. you live and learn. Peace.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the soundtrack for the 1978 musical "Zen Boogie" available somewhere? I loved that play and saw it 4 times in Los Angeles.
Peppy Castro was there, right?
Thanks

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Viagra Online without prescription said...

thanks for the amazing compilation. Also it is a great review about them and their background.

6:04 AM  

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