"Just For The Record" is a brand new section at the RockUnited site where 'DJ Urban' has a look at some old(er) records/albums in the great history of hard rock and metal. It could be some "obscure" minor record label release that simply didn't get the attention it so rightly deserved the first time around. It could also be a what you would call a "classic" album or sort of a best-seller. They all have one thing in common though. They all ROCK and and they all have at least one classy enough band member to answer our q's.
EYES and their self-titled debut album from the year of 1990. This were originally the first attempt at L.A.Rocks in the mid eighties and featured Kelly Hansen on lead vocals, guitarist Steve Dougherty (ex-Burning Rome, Berlin), bassist Chuck Wright (ex-Giuffria) and drummer Aldy Damian. Hansen took off for the band Hurricane and Chuck Wright to Quiet Riot and House Of Lords. Enter new bassist Jimmy O'Shea (ex-Cacophony) and powerhouse vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) and a brand new monicker in EYES. This is just a great fun and actually rather "commerical" hard rock album. Hey, you can find a great version of Dianne Warren's "Don't Turn Around", also recorded by such various artists and bands as Aswad (reggae), Tina Turner, Bananarama, and Ace Of Base. The originals are rockin' tunes in the vein of Winger, Kiss (especially the song: Can't Get Enough), and even Def Leppard (Wired 4 Love). Great production, the backing vocals are huge and their excellent powerhouse vocalist moved on to other bands such as: Talisman, Axel Rudi Pell, Journey, W.E.T. and not to forget his solo career and albums. Here to tell us everything about the first EYES album, the one and only, JEFF SCOTT SOTO.
How long did this album take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
Well initially, we did that entire album ourselves although the Production credit is shared with Spencer Proffer. We took a bit longer than I am used to on an album because of this! We wanted to make a HUGE sounding album to compete with the likes of Def Leppard. I think it took us 2 1/2 months from start to finish.
What kind of initial budget are we talking about here?
ZERO! Well, we were on Proffer's Pasha label but the deal was based on the mega Country label Curb Records so the advances which were in the 6 figures all went to Pasha... we were given "free range" of Pasha Studios to complete the album which ultimately meant no money for the band & every day we used the studio, Curb had to pay Pasha, it was a sweet deal....for THEM! With that, we just concentrated on getting the album done best we could.
How much of the budget did you actually spend on useless equipment and other nonsense?
None really, every aspect of time & rentals was utilized effectively.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
As I mentioned, we wanted to compete with the big productions of say Def Leppard or Terry Thomas (Bad Company /Tommy Shaw) so we used a lot of the same recording techniques to achieve this.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
Spencer Proffer's involvement on the album was basically popping his head through the door for 15 seconds & giving us a thumbs up saying 'sounds great guys, keep at it!'
And were you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Well yes & no, I think we over processed the drums a bit to make them sound like cannons which was a bit much for my liking but overall the album sounds pretty tight & well produced.
Did the producer use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
Not that I can remember, well the engineer that is, already mentioned the
producer's technique... not show up! I only remember my process of backing
How much time did you spend on overdubs?
Pretty much the whole album was overdubs, nothing we did during tracking was kept after drums were confirmed done.
Which band member spent most of his days in the studio and why?
I think we all shared in the same amount of time, we were all behind the production of the album even past our own personal parts & involvement. I think I took off during mixes to go to Sweden to work on the debut Talisman album but that's another story :)
Which band member hardly spent any time at all in the studio and why?
It was pretty equal for all of us from start to finish.
Let's talk about the lyrics. Are you just as fond of them today or are they typical of its time?
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound', or perhaps you didn't?
No, we went in for the full Monty with production, we didn't want to sound live, we wanted to sound like a band that would require 50 people to recreate... on purpose!
Did the record company interfere anything on your "sound" and "songs", considering what's 'hot and not' at the time?
Not really, we were given free range after the initial songs were chosen for the album.
Your favourite songs off the album and why?
I like the single "Calling All Girls" but "Young & Innocent" was always a favorite. I also loved "Every Single Minute" as well as "Wired For Love", the true Def Lep rip off, haha.
Any 'oh-I-wish-we-had-never-recorded' song on this album?
The last 2, "Can't Get Enough" and "Start Livin'" were pretty much throwaways.
Were there any other tracks recorded during those studio sessions that didn't make the cut?
What's your honest opinion about the songs and the production today? Dated, fresh, a mess?
A bit dated but still sounds damn good, especially for a bunch of young guns who were left to fend for themselves. My proudest moment was the last minute addition of the acapella track "Somebody To Love!"
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
Not really, the guys were pretty mellow & we went in with a mission, to work & get the best result out of it.
Were you ever a "priority" case or merely just another release at your record label?
We were a priority on a label who had no clue...basically, we were on a Country label looking to sign a Rock band, Rap group & Pop band based on them being the leaders in Country.... they had no clue & dropped the ball the whole way. We were overlooked by all the bands new & old passing us by. It was quite frustrating as we had as good a shot as any of the other new bands but we were soon blanketed by incompetence.
Did you ever feel like the record label supported you guys enough afterwards? (promotion-wise, tours, etc.).
Not really, in the end they spent a lot of money but all in the wrong places. I got us three (3) major tours as a support band but the label shot it down each time stating they would rather spend the money on radio & other promotional items where we tried to tell them we needed to be on the road to get seen & heard...
Any regrets whatsoever? (regarding the album of course)
Not really, it was a great album for its time but also paved the road for other aspects of my life & career. I still watch the video we made for it with fond memories.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, or promote, please do:
1990, 20 years ago, seems like yesterday in some ways but it was a time
where music was about to make a major metamorphosis, Eyes was amongst the last bands that had that 80's sound as we entered the 90's, perhaps one of
our downfalls but in the end, a snapshot of a great time in music!
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,