Is this the "Third" Boston abum?
For as long as musicians have been playing in bands, their legacies have been wrought with the age old malady of “Creative Differences”. These differences will cause one of three things to happen.
- You end up with a band full of people who hate each other, and that hatred fuels a white hot stream of creativity. (See: Cream, The Police, Eagles.. )
- The band breaks up (See: Cream, The Police, Eagles..)
- Someone in the band releases a solo album.
Ahh, the solo album. The musical nugget of self indulgence. That moment to show there world that the old band would be so much better off, if they’d just use some of my songs.
The original line of a band is a sacred thing among fans. In 1974, drummer John Rutsey left Rush and caused the only line up change in Rush’s 40 year history. Neil Peart joined the band just in time to record their second album “Fly By Night”, but is still widely regarded as “the new guy”. So when the original line up of a band splinters, it causes some separation anxiety among long time fans. Sometimes the solo album is like an assuring note to fans that “everything is going to be OK”.
In 1968, things were not going well in Pink Floyd. Their leader, guitarist and singer Syd Barrett had suffered the rigors of hallucinogenic drugs, and bizarre behavior and depression had made him become a liability to Pink Floyd. His eventual ouster came, by replacing him with his childhood friend David Gilmour, who coincidentally taught Barrett how to play guitar. His departure was needed, but approached reluctantly. When it was time for Syd to continue with his recording career, his first solo album “The Madcap Laughs” was produced by Floyd bassist (and then leader of Pink Floyd) Roger Waters. Syd’s follow up album simply titled “Barrett” was produced by Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. The music on those two releases were erratic, humorous, manic and brilliant. At this point Syd Barrett was a different man. In the coming years, each member of Pink Floyd would release solo recordings. Roger Waters “The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking” and David Gilmours’ Self titled effort were magnificent. Nick Mason’s “Fictitious Spirits” and Richard Wright’s 1978 album “Wet Dream” were monumentally forgettable.
In the early 1980’s CBS records, (home to such musical heavyweights of the time like Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Blue Öyster Cult and Boston) realized that there was money to be made by releasing recordings of members of dormant bands, or by members who have recently left high profile bands. One album to raise the eyebrows of fans was Barry Goudreau, who in 1979 split from the group Boston. Fans were hungry for a third Boston album, and since his former band would take the next few years recording the follow up to 1978’s Don’t Look Back, a subsidiary of Epic records, Portrait records offered Barry a solo contract. What came out, sounded too much like Boston for his former boss Tom Scholz to feel happy with. Armed with Boston vocalist Brad Delp, drummer Sib Hashian and another vocalist who doubled on bass named Fran Cosmo (The original bass player for Boston was named Fran Sheehan.. Coincedence? You decide), lawsuits ensued. CBS also issued an interesting effort by former Ted Nugent Vocalist Derek St. Holmes, and recently emancipated Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford simply called “Whitford St. Holmes”. While the musical direction of the album was not what one might expect from members of Nugent/Aerosmith, the album was very good. Blue Öyster Cult guitarist Buck Dharma released a solo album at the height of BÖC’s popularity called “Born To Rock”, also a solid effort.
One solo project which ha confounded me for years, was that of Thin Lizzy leader Phillip Lynott. Lynott called the shots in Thin Lizzy, he was their leader, songwriter and frontman. In 1980 he released “Solo In Soho” and “The Phillip Lynott Album” in 1982, to critical acclaim, but confusing many longtime Lizzy fans. The music on these albums embraced the “New Wave” boom happening at the time, and had less to do with guitar driven rock of Thin Lizzy.
The 80’s also brought a solo career by Phil Collins. which brought forth fruit that was musically indistinguishable from what his band Genesis was doing at the time. Even Tom Petty could not resist the lure of a solo project. In 1989 he released Full Moon Fever which was released free of the “Heartbreakers” moniker, but not without every member of his band with the exception of drummer Stan Lynch.
In the most bloated, ego driven move in modern music, all four members of Kiss released solo albums. It showed the world what talent Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley had, and showing how much Gene Simmons did not.
There is one solo project was one that never “actually” existed. In 1972, Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel recorded a solo album called “Calm Caravan”, but due to a mixup while the album artwork was being done, the album was “released” under the name “Clam Caravan”.
My personal favorite solo albums..
Davey Johnstone - Smiling Face (Elton John Guitarist)
Neal Schon - Beyond The Thunder (Journey Guitarist)
Glenn Hughes - Feel (Deep Purple/Trapeze Bassist - Black Sabbath Vocalist)
Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs - (Pink Floyd Guitarist)
Bill Ward - Along The Way (Black Sabbath Drummer)
Barry Goudreau - ST - (Boston Guitarist)
Nigel Olsson - Drum Orchestra and Chorus (Elton John drummer)
Bob Mould - Black Sheets Of Rain (Hüsker Dü guitarist)
Peter Green - Reaching the cold 100 (Fleetwood Mac Guitarist)
Jerry Garcia - Garcia (You know who he is)