GTR



GTR

Postby N2yes » Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:37 pm

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.
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Re: GTR

Postby N2yes » Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:39 pm

Just a visual reminder of the true greatness of this once mighty band.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy17kF9myDo
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Re: GTR

Postby sound_chaser » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:00 pm

To be honest, I haven't heard the album for a long time, but I remember being not very impressed by it. Perhaps I'll give it another try if I come across it one day.
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Re: GTR

Postby the greenman » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:06 pm

I bought it when it first came out, & couldnt get on with Bacon as vocalist. The idea of matching Howe & Hackett appealed, but it got lost in an 80s production (it got buggled, perhaps on might say.. :D )

I heard the live album recently & thought it much better.

still not sure about Bacon, tho!

The partnering of Squire & Hackett should be interesting!!
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Re: GTR

Postby sound_chaser » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:15 pm

the greenman wrote:The partnering of Squire & Hackett should be interesting!!


You'd like to think so, but I'm not holding my breath.
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Re: GTR

Postby the greenman » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:25 pm

sound_chaser wrote:You'd like to think so, but I'm not holding my breath.


well, me neither, but you know got to be optimistic about something!

having heard 'Aliens' on youtube, you're probably right to reserve judgement!! i just feel (no, ok - hope!!) its the middle section of something bigger..
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Re: GTR

Postby N2yes » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:26 pm

Alot of people have stated their lack of appreciation of Bacon's vocals. Hell and I thought he was perfect. Oh well...I can't sing, I ain't pretty and my legs are thin....
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Re: GTR

Postby Mr. Stout » Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:08 am

With GTR, you get the feeling there should have been more, but you`re left with a lot less. This band wasn`t indicative of the talent involved. i don`t have a problem with Bacon`s vocals. Hi voice is superb. It was the music which was AOR and it came across bland to my ears. I don`t know what Howe`s motivation was, but i do know Hackett has stated he viewed it as a one off and it was done for commercial purposes since his solo albums weren`t selling anymore. In all fairness, i have only heard the album a few times and its been a while, although a few people have pointed out they were more impressive live.
usually, any project Steve hackett has been involved lately has been top shelf. He`s one of the few old guard prog members that still makes challenging music. You can`t say that about too many of the old guard prog members. Hackett is my fave guitarist(no doubt, a heretical comment to make on a yes forum) and along with my fave bass player, i`m looking forward to the project. There hasn`t been too much music lately, prog or commercial that I have been overjoyed with, but that`s another thread entirely.
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Re: GTR

Postby Mr. Stout » Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:42 am

Oh, and I did notice Chris stated that Robert Berry was involved in the second album. Im glad that album didn`t officially happen. Dinkleberry while multitalented, does not have any distinction in any of his songwriting .It`s typical, sludge California autopilot AOR , and his vocals are rather generic.
The fool , if people remember, was involved in a band best forgotten called `Three', with Keith Emerson and carl palmer. This album ,unfortunately, folllowed the much underrated ELPowell project , which failed to continue due to lack of finances and hostilities between Emerson and Lake(nothing new!!). the Three album was nothing more than a Robert Berry solo work with Emerson and Palmer far relegated to the background. Nothing on this album is particularly memorable, and is actually quite dreadful, forgettable,and regrettable save for `On My Way Home." Emerson`s tribute to the late Charisma record label boss, Tony Stratton-smith
Dinkleberry has shown himslef to be a pompous,preening dick who thinks highly of himself. In a Goldmine article , he ripped into Greg lake, characterizing him as not `musically strong. ' Let`s see, an awe inspiring voice, two acoustic ballads, From The Beginning and Lucky man, that broke the top forty! An Xmas classic that`s played every year! And not to mention some of the most distinctive acoustic and bass guitar work ever heard. And what has Berry done? the last thing i heard of him was that excretable version of `Roundabaout on a Yes tribute album some years ago. Dinkleberry is nothing more than the soubriquet I have bestowed upon him, literally hanging off a rear end.
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Re: GTR

Postby sound_chaser » Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:08 am

Mr. Stout wrote:Oh, and I did notice Chris stated that Robert Berry was involved in the second album. Im glad that album didn`t officially happen. Dinkleberry while multitalented, does not have any distinction in any of his songwriting .It`s typical, sludge California autopilot AOR , and his vocals are rather generic.
The fool , if people remember, was involved in a band best forgotten called `Three', with Keith Emerson and carl palmer. This album ,unfortunately, folllowed the much underrated ELPowell project , which failed to continue due to lack of finances and hostilities between Emerson and Lake(nothing new!!). the Three album was nothing more than a Robert Berry solo work with Emerson and Palmer far relegated to the background. Nothing on this album is particularly memorable, and is actually quite dreadful, forgettable,and regrettable save for `On My Way Home." Emerson`s tribute to the late Charisma record label boss, Tony Stratton-smith
Dinkleberry has shown himslef to be a pompous,preening dick who thinks highly of himself. In a Goldmine article , he ripped into Greg lake, characterizing him as not `musically strong. ' Let`s see, an awe inspiring voice, two acoustic ballads, From The Beginning and Lucky man, that broke the top forty! An Xmas classic that`s played every year! And not to mention some of the most distinctive acoustic and bass guitar work ever heard. And what has Berry done? the last thing i heard of him was that excretable version of `Roundabaout on a Yes tribute album some years ago. Dinkleberry is nothing more than the soubriquet I have bestowed upon him, literally hanging off a rear end.


He He He. Now don't sit on the fence there Mr Stout: tell it like it is :)
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Re: GTR

Postby Tomfoolery » Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:51 am

N2yes wrote:Alot of people have stated their lack of appreciation of Bacon's vocals. Hell and I thought he was perfect. Oh well...I can't sing, I ain't pretty and my legs are thin....


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I might not give the answer that you want me to"
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Re: GTR

Postby TaterMouse » Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:28 pm

N2yes wrote:Alot of people have stated their lack of appreciation of Bacon's vocals. Hell and I thought he was perfect. Oh well...I can't sing, I ain't pretty and my legs are thin....


Bacon actually reminds me A LOT of Dennis DeYoung. When I listen to GTR (I do enjoy the LP), I get this weird feeling that I'm listening to some odd supergroup headed up by ex-genesis, Yes and Styx. Now someone said, "live album." What the hell? Where can I obtain that???
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Re: GTR

Postby the greenman » Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:49 pm

I agree with Mr Stout: "With GTR, you get the feeling there should have been more, but you`re left with a lot less. This band wasn`t indicative of the talent involved."

I think I expected something more proggy than AoR-y & more dueling guitars than we got.

The live album was never officially released but some sources have it, depending on how brave you feel -

CDJapan have it for $30..http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=IEBP-10015

I cant remember where I got mine - MP3fiesta.com, I think, but it's not listed there now..
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Re: GTR

Postby TaterMouse » Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:30 pm

the greenman wrote:"With GTR, you get the feeling there should have been more, but you`re left with a lot less. This band wasn`t indicative of the talent involved."


Actually, that's not so shocking when you think about it. The first album was released in 1986. That was the heart of the 80's pop machine. Everything that made it to release was pushed through that pop machine and I think always came out sounding a little different than intended. Also, it was around then that the Korg M-1 and Yamaha DX7 was put to market. Keyboardists went nuts as did producers. Face it, at this time in the ballgame, Eddie VanHalen and Geddy Lee were playing a synthesizer as often as they were a guitar. Asia had released three albums by this time. Now I LOVE Asia, from beginning to now, be it Wetton or Payne, but (despite Wetton's claims of prog rock) those were pretty much pop albums by prog artists. I think GTR was much the same. It was some prog people being pushed through the pop machine. Also... I don't remember who else was in the band, but it seems to me, listening to it again, that the support musicians were not quite the calibur you would have expected to have for a duo like that. So if you walk into GTR with the thought in your head of what the era was and what was going on, it's not so surprising. Not saying it should have happened that way, but it did.

Side note: Google GTR and you'll find another band out there using that name now. For them it stand for "Guys That Rock." Dorks.
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Re: GTR

Postby the greenman » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:34 pm

TaterMouse wrote:Actually, that's not so shocking when you think about it. The first album was released in 1986. That was the heart of the 80's pop machine. Everything that made it to release was pushed through that pop machine and I think always came out sounding a little different than intended. Also, it was around then that the Korg M-1 and Yamaha DX7 was put to market. Keyboardists went nuts as did producers. Face it, at this time in the ballgame, Eddie VanHalen and Geddy Lee were playing a synthesizer as often as they were a guitar. Asia had released three albums by this time. Now I LOVE Asia, from beginning to now, be it Wetton or Payne, but (despite Wetton's claims of prog rock) those were pretty much pop albums by prog artists. I think GTR was much the same. It was some prog people being pushed through the pop machine. Also... I don't remember who else was in the band, but it seems to me, listening to it again, that the support musicians were not quite the calibur you would have expected to have for a duo like that. So if you walk into GTR with the thought in your head of what the era was and what was going on, it's not so surprising. Not saying it should have happened that way, but it did.


Good post, Taters!! It just came out like it did cos it went thro a particular 'mincer' (& I dont mean producer, Geoff Downs...) & I agree that Asia weren't particularly 'proggy', prog pop perhaps, & I liked it for what it was, but it too could have been more.. I'm intregued that Payne's incarnation of Asia (AFJP) may take the sound in a more proggy extensive direction - they have some great talent there - with Erik Norlander on keys, Guthrie Govan on gtrs, and Circa's Jay Schellen behind the skins. That should be a most interesting release.

Personally, I've always liked Hackett's guitar work, which is generally more 'organic' than GTR ended up being. So I guess this underdelivered for me. I did try to go back to it, to re-appraise it with the benefit of passing years, but I didnt come away thinking 'oh an overlooked classic'

Sorry folks.. it's an 'ni-na' from me.. :(
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Re: GTR

Postby TaterMouse » Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:39 pm

I about shit when I heard Payne's Asia. It's actually quite awesome. I remember when the first Asia album with Payne on vocals came out. I said to myself, "Who is this jerk? He sucks!" But he grew on me like a weed. Now I love the guy. There is a song, it's the opening track on one of the later Asia LP's called "Awake." It's an amazing piece of music with great words and strong positive energy. And for what it's worth, Steve is playing on Free and I think a few other songs. I believe the album was Aura. I'm not sure. But Awake is an amazing piece of music.
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Re: GTR

Postby happytheman » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:00 pm

Mr. Stout wrote:With GTR, you get the feeling there should have been more, but you`re left with a lot less. This band wasn`t indicative of the talent involved.

Sort of like an album I have of John Wetton and Phil Manzanera. So much potential with the talent involved but it ended up sounding very "poppish".
Personally I like the last cut on the GTR album. Howe and Hackett rip on Imagining. As far as When the Heart Rules the Mind, pure 80's pop. As they say if your gonna do a pop song don't hold back!
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Re: GTR

Postby tardistraveler » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:13 pm

I was underwhelmed with GTR - good pop, but the same problem I had initially with Asia. You've got all of this amazing prog talent, and get pop???

The live show IS good - I have a copy of it, and I like what they did with the Yes/Genesis stuff.

Individually, I LOVE both Hackett and Howe . . . and prefer them individually over GTR . . .


And Tater, I like John Payne with Asia too . . . his voice is excellent, in my book, and I love Guthrie Govan on guitar . . . the later Asia is much proggier than early Asia, and it's my preference.
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Re: GTR

Postby N2yes » Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:35 am

Well, I'm not surprised that so many found it "poppish". However, I hear a high degree of dynamics with an extremely powerful and pervasive sound. I loved them and saw nothing poppish to them. Just a great assemblage of musicians that made a significant contribution. The bassist, Mr. Spaulding, I thought was extremely underrated and the drummer, the only Yank in the band, Mr. Mover was also underrated. Great musicians would likely prefer to convey their musical message through a medium more worthy of just some no-name filling in to reduce costs. I also think "The Hunter" was a great number in its own right. I lament their disbanding quite a bit. I respect everyone's opinion, but will not hesitate to differ with this one.
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Re: GTR

Postby happytheman » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:22 pm

Amazon has a copy of the live album for a decent price, I'll add it to my "wishlist" and when funds are available give it a listen. Nice selection of songs.
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Re: GTR

Postby TaterMouse » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:17 pm

N2yes wrote:I respect everyone's opinion, but will not hesitate to differ with this one.


I didn't say at any point that I didn't like it. I actually LOVE it! I just happen to find it a bit poppy. And you're right about "The Hunter." That's an awesome track!
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Re: GTR

Postby Yessong » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:21 pm

Like many, I was dissappointed with the pop approach...but more than anything I felt that the songs were just really weak....and I LIKE pop music!

The songs seemed to lack any sort of passion and were very contrived - the basic verse, chorus, verse, chorus formula just sounded real boring. Of all the songs on the LP I d=found The Hunter to be the most interesting...but bear in mind - that is the most interesting as compared to the rest of the lp - on many other lps that would be the weakest song....
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Re: GTR

Postby Chris2210 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:19 pm

I bought both albums relatively recently (only a few months ago). Think I picked them both up from eBy and neither cost me much more than a fiver with p&p.

I'm glad I didn't fork out much more. I'm in general agreement with most of the sentiment expressed here. In this case it was a question of the sum of the whole being less than the parts. My two favourite guitarists and I have a fair bit of each's solo work (actually virtually all of Howe's) which would suggest better even in terms of songwriting. I don't think any of it's bad... but as others have indicated there's actually more substance on the King Biscuit live album.

Perhaps on the strength of this it isn't any tragedy the project never went beyond one studio album. Encouraging to hear that in spite of their differences over this there's still a great deal of mutual regard and the 'Steves' remain friends to this day...
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Re: GTR

Postby the greenman » Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:29 pm

quite by chance, I found some 'making of GTR' pieces out there on YouTube - seems to be split into a number of parts, which are all out there..

enjoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t19wNq44t-A&NR=1
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