You could be paying your dues for years and nothing happens, because no one wanted to get out of their comfort zone to believe in you and invest time to get you signed.
Gene Simmons at this time was prowling for bands. Van Halen was recording demos financed by Gene, Angel got a record deal with KISS’s label Casablanca because of Gene and he also told George Lynch he would never make it as a rock star if he didn’t change his name. He probably got the Lynch one wrong or right, depending on which definition of rockstar you believe in, the dictionary one or Gene’s definition of rock star.
Angel for me, was all about the path of Gregg Giuffria. It was his first label band, before he formed a band around his surname called Giuffria and then another band called House Of Lords. Throughout it all, he had small successes here and there. Actually Gregg Giuffria’s story is a typical “trying to make it” story with highs and lows.
You know the one, said artist plays in bars and clubs to get their name out and they finally get a label deal, however after five albums they have a debt they can’t pay back to the label and a record deal which no longer exists.
Then a new offer comes, to form a band around you instead of you being part of the band. But this is 1982 and metal and rock music was breaking through into the mainstream. And Giuffria, the band became a bus stop band for musicians who had bigger ambitions.
From the first Giuffria album, Craig Goldy on guitars, Gregg Giuffria on keys and Chuck Wright on bass are well known for their role in other bands, while on the second album Lanny Cordola on guitars is also known for his role in House Of Lords rather than Giuffria.
Giuffria however released two albums on MCA, had a third album ready to go but it didn’t get the green light.
And Gregg Giuffria was again at the cross roads. Good ole Gene came to the rescue again and basically said to Giuffria, “I’ll sign ya to my label, but you need to change the name of your band and you need to fire your lead singer”.
So in 1987 and after 14 years of trying to make it, Giuffria was still trying to make it.
And remember that third Giuffria album which didn’t get the green light, well they ended up on the debut “House Of Lords” album which did sound very derivative but was still a cool listen.
But let’s go back to the beginning.
On Earth As It’s On Heaven
Released in 1977. It’s their third album but it was the first album I heard from them and Eddie Kramer is on hand to produce.
The funky “White Lightning” musically hooks me in and a young Lenny Kravitz must have been listening to “Cast The First Stone” on repeat because he rewrote it many years later and called it “Are You Gonna Go My Way”.
In 1978, Angel became like ELO for album number four.
Flying With Broken Wings (Without You)
The outro of this song is excellent.
It’s like Tesla heard this and combined both “Hey Jude” and this one for the ending of “Love Song”.
Over and Over
I feel like Zebra was listening to this song over and over again as Angel took a 70s derivative riff and turned it into their own song.
You Could Lose Me
A sleazy riff kicks it off and how cool is that synth lick after the Chorus.
The fifth album is their best album released in 1978.
Don’t Take Your Love
The keys are prominent especially in the verses, however if one thing was clear in the 70s, the guitarists didn’t have it in them to become background musicians. So by default, you hear guitar, left, right and centre.
And the chorus is a perfect example of AOR pop with a riff which reminds me of a lot of songs and as I type this, I can’t remember any of them.
The honky tonk piano rocks, and the Rolling Stones influence is all over this song about an LA Lady who drives them crazy by the look in her eyes.
Just Can’t Take it
It’s just a good hard rock song which reminds me of REO Speedwagon.
The keys in the intro dominate, but that verse riff hooks me in and then that Chorus riff, keeps my interest going, followed by a wailing guitar lead, while the drums lay down a hard rock open/closed high hats beat which also borders on disco. Musically this song is excellent.
I’ll Bring The Whole World To Your Door
Yep, it’s got a Kashmir style riff in the verses, but not as exotic as the Led Zep version, however it then morphs into a pop rock song which is an excellent piece of song writing, merging different influences into a cohesive work.
I’ll Never Fall In Again
That Chorus keyboard riff is epic and it sounds like it’s in a 5/4 timing.
Wild And Hot
It’s like the best song Slade, Sweet or Alice Cooper wrote in 1978, which they didn’t write.