GTR were a supergroup founded in 1986 by ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and Yes and Asia guitarist Steve Howe. Other members included vocalist (and former milkman) Max Bacon (ex-Moby Dick, Nightwing, Bronz), bassist Phil Spalding (ex-Bernie Torme, Toyah, Mike Oldfield, Original Mirrors), and American drummer Jonathan Mover (ex-Marillion, later of Steve Vai fame). GTR were notable for attempting to create a band with guitar and synthesiser sounds, but without the use of conventional keyboard synths, using guitar/synthesisers instead. Hackett and Howe's guitars were outfitted with Roland synthesiser trigger pickups, which used the vibrations of the strings to create MIDI signals used to play the synthesizers. While this may have worked in the studio, they were forced to take a keyboardist on the road because of the poor tracking qualities of the guitar synths.
GTR's only studio album, a self-titled LP produced by Geoffrey Downes of Asia, released by Arista Records, went gold and spawned a hit single, "When the Heart Rules the Mind", which stayed in the charts for 16 weeks. Another single, "The Hunter," received some video coverage and modest airplay. While GTR's album was a chart success, it is highly debated with many fans of Genesis and Yes. Some fans claim it has rather substandard filler material and some criticism directed at Max Bacon's strident tenor which, in the view of this poster, only served to augment the sound of two of the world's greatest guitarists. However, it has become somewhat of a cult classic among fans, with some of them regarding it the best work ever.
After a poorly conceived trans-Atlantic tour, Hackett's dissatisfaction with the group's financial management spelled the end of the project. Subsequent to an abortive lineup change in 1987, Hackett left GTR, stating it had been "interesting for about five minutes". He once said of the group, "There are artistic limitations with any successful band and it was a successful band." There were artistic differences between him and Howe as well.
The King Biscuit recording from Los Angeles demonstrated that the group was extremely tight and well practiced live. Tracks include versions of Yes's "Roundabout" and a re-working of the Genesis classic "I Know What I Like" as well as songs from the band's sole studio album, Hackett's and Howe's solo LPs and the U.S. Top 40 single "When The Heart Rules The Mind". Also, a preview of a new song, "Prizefighters", was included on this collection. The song was later developed for Hackett's planned 1986 release Feedback (only eventually released in 2000).
After this, the band disbanded with Steve Hackett returning to solo releases including Guitar Noir. Steve Howe tried to reform the group with Robert Berry as a guitarist and lead vocals. The bootleg of the second album sessions called 'Nerotrend' (later released as a bootleg) features half the music sung by Berry and half sung by Bacon. Various bits of this release have appeared on future albums, including the song 'This World is Big Enough for All of Us' which became 'Birthright' on the ABWH album.
Max Bacon's 1996 solo album The Higher They Climb included GTR material. He later sang lead on "Going, Going, Gone" on Steve Howe's 1999 release, Portraits of Bob Dylan. There is also a CD of the LA GTR performance on King Biscuit Flower Hour at the Wilshire Theater.
This was undeniably a 'supergroup', regrettably one with little endurance due to competing views between Howe and Hackett. Oh well, that one album achieved quite a bit of notoriety, sufficient enough to send them into this forum with all the accolades due them.
"Master of images-Songs cast a light on you"