Friday, September 6, 2013

THE BABYS RETURN TO THE SUNSET STRIP



Three decades later, legendary classic-rock band The Babys return for a show on the Sunset Strip, the British group's adopted home when they burst upon the scene after signing with Chrysalis in the 1970s. 

Having reformed this summer with original guitarist Wally Stocker and original drummer Tony Brock, The Babys headline the Roxy Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 19.

“It's going to be great to get back there. It will feel like home,” Stocker said. “I remember playing the Whisky for the last time on New Year's Eve in 1979, and there were so many people packed in that you couldn't even move. That was the last time we played the Sunset Strip.”

In the 1970s and early 80s, The Babys sold more than 15 million records and toured with Journey, Styx, Cheap Trick and others including a show before 80,000 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Former members John Waite, Jonathan Cain and Ricky Phillips have all gone on stardom. Waite had No. 1 singles with “Missing You” and again in Bad English with “When I See You Smile.” Cain joined Journey and penned a string of hit singles including “Don't Stop Believing,” the most downloaded song in history. Phillips is a longtime bass player for Styx.

In a remarkable comeback story, The Babys performed a benefit show to rave reviews in July before a capacity crowd at Canyon Club, about an hour north of Los Angeles – the group's first show in more than 30 years – and the band figures to be much stronger now that they've gotten their feet wet and been able to rehearse more.

The new members are John Bisaha, who sounds like John Waite and even looks a bit like him, along with ex-Buddy Miles guitarist J.P. Cervoni, roundly considered the No. 1 studio player in Los Angeles. 

The Babys have five hit singles that are still played on the radio every day – “Isn't it Time,” “Head First,” “Midnight Rendez-Vous,”“Everytime I Think of You” and the irresistible “Back on My Feet Again” – and every one them is in the concert set.

The Babys have released one new song, “Not Ready to Say Goodbye,” which sounds exactly like a mix of several of their hits. Tickets for the Roxy performance are available through ticketfly for $22. For VIP packages, visit thebabysofficial.com. In concert, The Babys feature a side keyboardist and two female backup singers.


Wally Stocker, guitarist – A key force throughout The Babys' original rise to stardom, Stocker first left home in London at 15 with just a couple of pounds in his pocket and a guitar strapped to his back in pursuit of his rock and roll dreams, and he has never turned back. A favorite among Babys fans for his spell-binding guitar riffs that always played the spaces as well as the notes, Stocker went on to join Rod Stewart's band, then Air Supply, then Humble Pie.

Tony Brock, drummer – Strongly considered one of the best drummers in the world, Brock plays with a rare combination of feel and timing, combined with a preference to hit the drums just about as hard as possible. Post-Babys, Brock was a long-time member of Rod Stewart's band in addition to playing with Jeff Beck, Bernie Taupin and others. Eventually, Brock founded Sliver Dreams Studios (silverdreamsstudios.com) near Los Angeles, where he produced platinum records for Jimmy Barnes and a string of others.

John Bisaha, vocals/bass – Blessed with terrific rock voice that sounds about as close to one-of-a-kind Waite as you can get, relative unknown Bisaha proved an instant star at The Babys' first comeback performance in July. The first song was “Looking For Love,” and it took about 30 seconds for Bisaha to have the capacity crowd in the palm of his hand. He sings and looks great – a key development for the new Babys to succeed – and through the years Bisaha has made his mark in theatre and studio work. A natural born star.


J.P.Cervoni, guitar – Best known for his work with Buddy Miles (ex-Hendrix), Cervoni plays the guitar upside down just like Jimi. In fact, on stage he uses the same exact guitar head that used to belong to Mr. Hendrix himself. A guitar virtuoso in all things rock, Cervoni is the go-to guy in Los Angeles if you want something to sound perfect in the studio, and he also has extensive touring experience. Italian-born before finding his way to Los Angeles, Cervoni is a legend in the studio.

14 comments:

  1. Do they know they misspelled the name of their band?

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  2. Well, I am sure the spelling was intentional...so is it any more of a spelling error than all those people who substituted "y" and "i" in names (Robyn, Peggi, etc)?

    "The Babies" doesn't have the same visual appeal...

    Can you give them a pass on this one if they promise to write "babies" 500 times on a blackboard?

    Do they even have blackboards anymore?

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  3. This was kind of exciting news for me, at first... until I realized it's not REALLY The Babys. No Waite and no Corby means no Babys.

    Even though, actually, Wally Stocker and Tony Brock were my favorites in the band. I have often said (even written it on one or both of my blogs) that I thought Tony Brock was one of Rock's all time greatest drummers and, therefore, criminally underrated. Now I'm reading this:

    "Tony Brock, drummer – Strongly considered one of the best drummers in the world,..."

    When did that assessment take place? Because as far as I knew, mine was an all-too-rare voice publicly saying that Brock was great (he always used the perfect amount of cow bell).

    I also liked Stocker's playing a great deal. As I recently said on my blog, he was very much impressed by Paul Kossoff's style and he played in a similar way. (For Brock's best, it's 'Give Me Your Love'; for Stocker it's 'Dying Man', in my op. I thought, and still do think, they were both tremendous and tremendously underrated musicians.)

    One reason this title grabbed my attention is because back in "the day" I saw The Babys play a show on Sunset Strip. And for awhile here I was thinking it might well have been the show Stocker referred to below:

    “It's going to be great to get back there. It will feel like home,” Stocker said. “I remember playing the Whisky for the last time on New Year's Eve in 1979

    I've always had trouble remembering if I saw them at The Whisky or The Roxy, but I'm almost positive it was The Whisky (where I also saw The Police when 'Roxanne' was just starting to get some airplay on our local "alternative" station, KROQ).

    And also, I thought the show was probably in 1979, but apparently it was '78, because I found the following at Wikipedia:

    Head First is the title of the third album by the Babys. Corby was removed from the group by Chrysalis on 28 August 1978, the remaining members of the Babys completed the album for a January 1979 release.

    First of all, how does the record label fire a band member? Apparently the other Babys agreed with the decision or it couldn't have been made. But I do know that Corby was with the band when I saw them at The Whisky. And I thought 'Head First' had already been released, but I must be mistaken about that.

    I called out several times for them to play 'Read My Stars', but those Babys refused to play it. Punks.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Stephen-

      The Babys were a band that were created by the label (they were assembled, not discovered), so I guess the label had the ability to fire.

      I was surprised at the comments about Brock since your post was either very recent or I reread it recently, so it was fresh in my mind when I read this press release. Maybe you were not as alone in your opinion as you thought (or maybe their publicist lifted the comment from your post).

      I plan to go to LA for a few days in late September, and would go see this show if it was while I was there....but like you, it's hard for me to call them the Babys with only two original members.

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    2. You are incorrect, DiscConnected. The Babys were created by Michael Corby and his associate, Adrian Millar. The Millar/Corby contract of 1974, following the band's conception at Smalls Cafe, at No: 313 Fulham Road, Chelsea, London, predates any member of the band joining the project.

      Corby/Millar hired Waite, Brock and Stocker and paid their wages up until the band were signed to Chrysalis.
      Michael Corby was removed from the band in 78 and my guess is the other band members didn't do anything to prevent this as the label were now paying them. I believe the removal of Corby was illegal but nonetheless it occurred, one could surmise, due to the lack of support he received from the other band members. Cain and Phillips were never contracted members of the band.

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    3. Hey, Anonymous, if you look at Stephen's comment and my reply, what I am remembering was that the band was formed as an entity before there were band members, which your comment supports.

      Remember, I am going from memory on something I read two or more decades ago...but I'd be interested if you can cite a source-I'd be interested in reading more.

      Your rendition of Corby being removed certainly falls in line with Stephen's recollection.

      In any event,it's not in the cards for me to make the show this Thursday. If you are going, I hope you enjoy-leave a comment back letting us know how it was!

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    4. Hi again. Michael Corby's own Facebook site has a lot of information to read that might interest you in the notes section. Also if you go into "Michael's Photos" you can read several documents penned by Adrian Millar. The information Michael has made public might give you a greater insight into all things Babys. Thank you.

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  4. According to the booklet that comes with my Two4One 'The Babys'/'Broken Heart' compact disc, the band first came about when Corby and his manager met Waite in a London pub. It does say the meeting was prearranged by Waite's then guitarist friend, but doesn't mention anything about the record label having anything to do with it.

    Maybe there's more to the story than I'm aware of (I figured The Monkees was the last industry-assembled band). But either way, the other band members MUST have approved of the replacement idea, because otherwise there was a lot they could have done to thwart it.

    They could have said the group was disbanded and reformed under the name "The Adolescents". They could have refused to record again under "The Babys" name for the duration of the contract. They could have recorded but hidden the master tapes from the record label (a la Petty with 'Damn The Torpedoes'), etc., etc.

    I can't imagine that the other band members had any strong feelings of opposition to the decision, because surely they had some counter-attack options available to them.

    Anyway, I kinda doubt The Babys' publicist is reading my blog. However, truly, I've never heard anyone else singing Brock's praises like I have done for many years. Guess I was just a little ahead of the curve.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Long ago I read an article that talked about the band being put together-maybe it was by the managers not the label and I am misrembering. Hard to believe the liner notes would lie (I have the same disc).

      I don't remember it being as blatant as The Monkees, but it was definitely a band that was assembled rather than discovered.

      You don't think the publicist follows "FFFF?"

      Have you ever actually "sung" praises?

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    2. Nah, I don't think the publicist follows my blog. He should, but he's an idiot.

      Ha! Actually, YES, I have sung praises. Just not Tony Brock's.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  5. I recall St. McCarthy writing about this group in the past. For the life of me though I don't remember their music. I never owned any of their albums. I guess the name made me think they were bubblegum or punk or something. I am familiar with John Waite though.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. Lee-

      I was surprised that Stephen liked these guys as much as he does-here are links to some of the songs you probably know but did not know the band.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvvGgqV6SGo

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-c8X52Qg4o

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxCfLfklqYE

      LC

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  6. I only know them thanks to Stephen, but I'm not sure how I feel about bands reassembling with different members. It's like how Queen used Paul Rodgers as a front man for a while. It's... just not the same (though I will say replacing John Waite is not nearly in the same league as trying to replace Freddie Mercury).

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    1. I guess I am used to it-although it's always a stickier business when you're replacing the lead vocalist.

      Actually, my biggest problem with the Paul Rodgers/Queen experiment was the ticket prices!

      More than $200 bucks to see him front Queen, but I'd seen him with Bad Company the year before for $40.

      Not sure if that was everywhere, or the AZ venue trying to rape their customers. The same venue charged $150 for The New Cars (with Todd Rundgren) and I'd been told Jones Beach (Long Island) was around $50. The only Todd tour I intentionally missed since...ever.

      I'm all about new music, so for me if the new linup produces new material, I'm good. If they simply cover the band's legacy material, it's a covers band.

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