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BILLY SATELLITE- II

European Import : AORH00131

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MUSICIANS:
Monty Byrom (vocals, guitar)
Danny Chauncey (guitar, backing vocals)
Ira Walker (bass, backing vocals)
Thomas "Fee" Falletti (drums)
Bill Coumo (keyboards)
 
Produced by: Keith Olsen
Engineered by: tbd
Mixed by : tbd
Digitally Remastered by: Chris Lyne
Billy Satellite frontman Monty Byrom always knew that what he wanted most in life was to be a rock star. Having (initially at least) turned his back on the burgeoning country music scene in his home town of Bakersfield, to be more like his idols Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Deep Purple, he was playing in a Bay Area group called The Heaters when he cheekily asked local whiz kid guitarist Danny Chauncey, then a member of RSO Records signed Mistress, to produce a demo tape. Chauncey duly did so. The two remained in touch. After Byrom had formed Billy Satellite as a trio in the early 80s, he again approached Chauncey. This time he wanted the guitarist in his band. Billy Satellite had originally formed some months before Chauncey's eventual arrival, with bassist Ira Walker and drummer Tom 'Fee' Falletti joining vocalist/guitarist Byrom in this exciting new adventure. Falletti and Walker, like Monty, had come of age playing the Bay Area music scene. Chauncey's musical career had taken off straight after leaving high school, when he had joined the aforementioned Mistress. However, as a disciple of Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs, the prospect of being in a harder rock band, which Monty promised with Billy Satellite, was too good an opportunity for Danny to miss. Billy Satellite's original demos were cut with Phil Kaffel manning the production desk. Kaffel has gone on to carve out a solid career in record production as a producer, engineer or mixer on albums from such diverse names as The Cult, Freak Of Nature, Heart, Eddie Money, Cher and No Doubt. Signed to Capitol Records in 1983 by the label's legendary A&R man John Carter Billy Satellite's debut album was produced by Don Gehman and recorded at Rumbo Recorders in Los Angeles. Although the debut Billy Satellite album is considered a jewel of the AOR genre, it's actually more of a straight ahead rock album than it has ever been given credit for. It did reasonably well at retail once released in mid 1984 too, hitting #139 in September that year, with the two single releases 'Satisfy Me' and 'I Wanna Go Back' both reaching decent Billboard chart positions (#64 and #78 respectively). Billy Satellite found themselves out on the road with Night Ranger (managed by Marty Cohn's brother Bruce Cohn) on the 'Midnight Madness' tour as the opening act, before heading out on a further stint of road work as support to Jefferson Starship. When it came time to begin preparations for Billy Satellite's second album, Monty and his colleagues were boosted by the news that Keith Olsen had been signed up to produce the record starting in Summer 1985 at Good Night L.A. studios. Once work had commenced things did sometimes get a little heated, as Monty and Danny fought with Olsen over some changes the producer wanted to make, specifically declaring that he wanted to bring in session bassist Randy Jackson to play Ira Walker's bass parts. In the end, only a keyboard player (Bill Cuomo) was brought in, but had Monty expected such a confrontation before working with Keith, or did it come as a bit of a shock? Monty recalls that the album took around four to six weeks to complete, but the band were soon on the receiving end of a bombshell that would utterly derail their progress. Having fallen out with key executives at Capitol, Carter had secured a similar post at A&M Records. He was replaced at Capitol by Jimmy Iovine. As a result, the second Billy Satellite album was quietly shelved and the band was dropped. There was never any working title for the second album and, to Monty's knowledge, none of the songs were utilised anywhere else. "I didn't listen to the second album for about five years," Monty adds. "But when I finally listened to it I kicked myself that it was never really finished. There are some really great songs on there! And we'd actually recorded around two other albums worth of material in our time. We were very prolific." Featuring a very interesting array of tunes, with a noticeably heavier direction in places than the first album that would've garnered rave reviews had it actually been released in 1985 or 86, Monty is really pleased that this record is finally, after twenty years, seeing official release. Of course, after Billy Satellite split Monty put together New Frontier with keyboardist David Neuhauser, drummer Marc Nelson and ex-Gamma bassist Glenn Letsch, releasing an album in 1987 through Polydor's MIKA Records imprint. Monty then gravitated more towards production and song writing work with Eddie Money (who had scored a chart hit in 1986 with a cover of Billy Satellite's 'I Wanna Go Back') and Grateful Dead's Brent Mydlands, in addition to writing credits on records by David Lee Roth, the Stray Cats and Rita Coolidge. However, having eschewed country music in his teens for the more powerful draw of hard rock, Monty found himself changing direction in the mid 90s by forming the country blues outfit Big House (not to be confused with the earlier Canadian hard rock group of the same name) with his former New Frontier cohort David Neuhauser, securing a deal with MCA and releasing three albums between 1997 and 2000. Byrom was then invited to join Bakersfield's country legends The Buckaroos following the sad passing of band leader Buck Owens, a band with whom he is still very much associated with. A fourth Big House album, 'Never Ending Train', was released in 2008, which is strangely the rarest of the four released titles. On January 31st 2010 Billy Satellite reunited at 'Slims' in San Francisco. More recently though, with the release of his first solo album in 2015 under the handle of Monty Byrom and the Road Pilots, Monty has further stepped back into the world of rock. 'A Hundred Miles South of Eden' is led by a terrific song entitled 'What A Blind Man Can See', on which Monty duets with Bekka Bramlett. It's a record that proves that there is still a great deal of music inside Monty Byrom, but the welcome release of the second Billy Satellite album through AOR Heaven gives us an insight as to what might have been had he and his talented cohorts been able to continue Billy Satellite's orbit.
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