Friday, July 6, 2007

The Russians are coming...

Well, where do I start? I LOVE THIS ALBUM!
An essensial listen to all people that appreciate well played, creative, playful theatrical-prog-pomp-pop rock. I could say Saga as a reference, or even Queen, without coming near to describe this album/band. If I add City Boy, Be Bop Deluxe, Aviary, Zon, or even The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, I may be closing in a bit. But there's no need for comparing, this album stands perfectly on it's own secure set of big feets. It's frankly amazing, and this sort of theatrical prog might never been touched by any other band, until... maybe swedish The Act, or even lately My Chemical Romance. But don't let that scare you. You gotta listen to this, if you haven't already. Why they didn't sell, I won't even guess, but their name have been mentioned. How stupid. A masterpiece everyone should have.

RockReport:
'Touring America on the 'Rock n' Roll Marathon' tour on a bill that also featured MAHOGANY RUSH, MOTHER'S FINEST, ANGEL and HUMBLE PIE following the album's release. (WHY!!? Why wasn't I there!? I could've died a happy man right there. Well, a happy boy at least...)
Frustrated by their lack of progress and at the constant claims by mentally challenged members of the American public who were convinced they were Communists, RUSSIA took the decision to change their name to FORCE 10. They consequently changed their musical direction and losing whatever fan base they had as a result.'

So, DL this album, play it LOUD, and prepare to love it. And guess what, the mentioned Force 10 are among my next postings! :)


RUSSIA


Russia - Russia. 1980.
Own Vinylrip. Good sound. 192bitrate.
Produced and Engineered by Paul Ratajczak

1. Fight Back (Time After Time)
2. Who Do You Think You Are?
3. Gotta Get Away
4. Nothing To Say
5. Laughing (In The Face Of Fire)
6. If I Were You
7. Out Of My Mind
8. Poignant Claims
9. Piece Of Ice
10. Outer Space Seeds


Griff Stevens - Lead vocals, Woodwinds, Railroad Springs
Thomas Richard Brighton - Guitars & vocals
Richard Allyn White - Keyboards & vocals
Larry Tuttle - Bass & vocals
Jeff Swisstack - Drums
Link:

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

"DANKE" from Germany / Berlin

Anonymous said...

Thank you for listening tot his. Where did you find the album?
I was in the band..Thanks for the kind words

Rick / L.A.

Alocacoc said...

Hi Rick! Amazing.

I bought if back then, when it was released, at the local record store in a small town in Norway. The band looked good. Loved it. :D
Great to see you here, Rick!!! What did you guys do after the Russia/Force 10 albums!? I really would like to know.

I try to blog stuff here that's in no conflict with companies/bands
interests, just a shrine for past times greatness & mostly unheard goodies for common people. And to show & tell the bands and members that even if they didn't set the world on fire back then, reasons unknown, they were appreciated then AND now. And give those who didn't hear it, or wasn't even born when things happened, a chance to do so.

Again, thanks, Rick. Rock on!

Anonymous said...

No worries mate.
I love what you are doing. It was quite a surprise to see someone doing a review in 2007 of this album.

In the summer of 1980 we toured as opening act for Journey, Cheap Trick, Pat Travers, Eddie Money Etc.
One night we had another opening act in San Francisco, It was Def Leppard!! Their first album. Nobody had heard these guys in the states, but we all knew they'd be great! I think Joe Elliot was about 16 then. Nice Guys. We partied with them at Eddie Money's mangers place.

We were having the time of our lives, living our dreams at that time, we thought we had a killer record, nobody was doing what we were doing, but the record co. was not behind us. The record did pretty well on the west coast but we would finish a show in say Ohio or St. Louis with 15,000 people in the audience but the next morning there were no records in the stores. I can't believe you found it in Norway!! Is that where you are?

Anyway, no one wanted to change the name. That was forced on us. I still think that Russia Album had some great songs. We all participated. After the Force Ten Album we fell apart. Typical Rock and Roll story, the singer pulled a power play (Jim Morrison Type) very distructive....
I did some solo stuff with Tom Brighton, the guitar player. What a great feel that guy has!!! He helped me produce my stuff, which some day soon I hope to digitize and get out there.

Larry is one of the fore-most "stick" players in the country, doing mostly jazz now. He's a great player also.

Anyway, sorry to be so long winded.
Hey- if I download the album on your server can I get it to my computer or my ipod?

Looking forward to your review of Force Ten... More keyboards on that record

Do you have any other paraphenalia? Posters or anything? I would love to find one

Rock on Alocacoc Great to find you here too!!!

Alocacoc said...

Thanks for the food, Rick!
Awesome to get some facts & info about this band, as I said, didn't know much. Bought it, liked it.
And yes, I bought both albums in a town called Trondheim, in the middle of Norway, years ago.

Your input here are appreciated a LOT, Rick!
And sorry, no other 'paraphenalia' (pretending that I knew that word...). Just 2 great albums :)

Yes, download the albums here, use winrar to unpack the completely named mp3 files. Or, if you only got a Mac, I can upload them for you using Zip (no StuffIt on pc), just tell me.

Again, THANK YOU!

gdazegod said...

Russia would have to be one of the most revered bands on our site. Have had infrequent correspondence with Griff Stevens over the years. Very interesting and amusing guy indeed, who now lives in the backwops of Montana! I'm sure Griff would agree about the 'backwops' part. No disrespect to any Montana readers here.. lol!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I do only have Mac Alocacoc
It would be great to have a digital copy of the albums!
But let me know how to do it.
I'm not exactly a technological god!

I would gladly pay you for your time.
Just let me know

Perhaps one day you'll be in the states or I'll be in Norway we could have a drink or two or THREE!!!

Once again thanks for listening and taking the time to remember this.
You guys are awesome rockers!!!

Rick / L.A.

Alocacoc said...

Ok, Rick. I thought you maybe had a Mac. No problem.
I can zip the files, and post new download links, but the files I blog, have a 192 bitrate (I want ppl to hear the good & forgotten gems, and bigger files takes more time up & down), and I'd be happy to make you better quality cd's and post them to you, if that's ok? Either mp3's in 320 bitrate or wave files burned to 2 cd's... And ofcourse, no payment! Appreciated those albums for YEARS, and as I said, I'd be happy to send them to you. (in a few weeks I'll have a good enough printer to make you covers too)
If that's ok, leave info at my e-mail, alocacoc@norgespost.no

YES! A drink, two, three or even more would be great fun! I hereby invite you to Norway for a fun weekend, anytime. :)))

You rock. I just appreciate it... ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this Lost Classic! I bought this Lp when it first came out. It got heavy airplay at the time, and then....gone. They just disappeared! Force Ten just fell through the cracks [I don't think too many people--like myself at the time] knew it was them. They left behind a flawless gem. And Rick...if by chance you're reading this...Thank you so very much for your work on this great music!!

--D.Moose

Anonymous said...

Hey D. Moose yes, Im still paying attention. Thank you, and you are most welcome. It's very satisfying to hear that you appreciated it. We worked incredibly hard to get that 1st album out. It's really blowing me away that we are all talking about it 27 years later.. oops, I guess that shows how old we are.. :>)

Alocacoc, I've been meaning to tell you, in your original post you mentioned a band called Aviary. They were good friends of ours. The person who got them their record deal was also helping us.
Aviary was about a year ahead of us. We were all turned on to a gentlemen by the name of Brian Lane. He was the manager of a band called YES! One of my all time favorite bands.. anyway it didn't work out with us and him but it led us to Warner Bros. who put out our record.

Aviary was kind of like our mentors..I think they were from Seattle also which is where most of the guys in Russia were from.

That's all I got for now

Rick

Griff Stevens said...

Hi, Griff Stevens here; it's always nice to see musikers at play, nah? Oh - there's some funny stuff there, from Rick White. Rick was one of many keyboardists on the album, Brad Love and Rich Gibbs being the really good ones. There was no "power play" from the singer, merely an unsolvable lawsuit. Poor Rick - unable to add anything.
all the best, Griff Stevens

Anonymous said...

Dobry Wieczor, Komrades: It's possible that my rip is better than yours (Edd Haynes mastered it from virgin vinyl), if you visit me at MySpace or send a hallo to griffstevens@hotmail, I'll toss ya one. Since I have a NewsBot, I DO know george (gdaze), even sent him a cd with "an unreleased russia song", heh heh. Yeah, those were strange times and goofy records to be sure, but the real story is more like the nonfiction music biz book, "The Hit Men". The economic climate was a bloodbath, as was the political one. The initial strategy of naming that group "Russia" was sound - manager Rissmiller was on the Olympic Committee as a benefit of holding lockout event leases on both the Coliseum AND the Sports Arena, and it was a short leap to negotiate an opening at the then-future Moscow Olympics. The record was great,(we'd been playing it live on the road for about three years) but suddenly things went bad. Rissmiller had announced on the Tom Snyder Show his running for mayor of LA, despite the previous message sent him by the murder of his partner Steve Wolf, in a "burglary" in which nothing was stolen and the man was shot twenty-two times. The message? Stay out of SoCal politics, Lefty.....So, the Soviets invade Afghanistan, and the surge of engineered nationalist knee-jerk response in America made the name Russia an overnight irritant. Part of it one must guess, but I think that, if you understand first that Warner Bros. Music is less than one percent of Warners, it gets easier. The then-Chairman Steve Ross (I think) was a huge Reagan contributor or supporter, and I did hear downward percolated rumours that the Russia record was "ordered recalled" from perhaps that office. I know, it seems daft now, but equally silly things go on every day - look at the media management of the Middle East Conflict, for example. I was point-blank told this recall was real by the Warner Bros. man in Chicago, when we played Park City (sic) there, and the guys in REO Speedwagon said, unbidden, that they had heard about all this. So the Company demanded name change. I chose: REDNOISE, and provided a similarly great global marketing plan. They panicked. Refused. Hmm, another socialist name? Meanwhile, I had been trying to create some new musics on a cutting-edge Fairlight CMI, the first available digital composing instrument, and the single for the new album was written this way. Both the Musician's Union (because it was 'fake musicians') and Russia(because it was a 'creation', like Good Vibrations, and not created live) objected, and together with the Producer, Stronach, came up with an injunction to remove it from the album, which was now being called by it's Warner Bros. chosen name, "Force 10", because I was 'forced ento it".. The covers had already been printed but were recalled, to exclude the song title, "Shot Down Over Indiana". There was no other single for the album, so I think Watanabe was written in about ten replacement minutes, "Mountains of Love" I recall I had written while still in high school, like "Gotta Get Away" and some others. Okay, it was about that time I met at Warners with, I think maybe Russ Thyret, and maybe Carl Scott, and it was like a funeral service (only much shorter); I believe it was Russ who said, actually, "have you ever heard that saying, 'you'll never work in this town again?' well..." Jon Coffino and Rissmiller were, of course, congenitally baffled by these dynamics. But they tried to get me out of this mess by getting me a CBS deal (Coffino was from there, had signed Journey, in fact)and I did get sort of 'squirreled off' to New York. THIS is where it's interesting. I cut a pack of stunning tunes with Peter Hefter, and NYers like George Van Wagner, Steve Holley, Brian Stanley, Sara Lee, all kinds of staggering talent, but JUST when we finished our mix at the Hit Factory, "BLack Thursday" happened at CBS. You recall, on this day, ALL CBS executives were summarily fired, even President Al Teller (who signed my and Coffino's checks)and literally walked to the door by security bouncers. Black Thursday. The book "Hit Men" is this day, in essence. So there was no one who would listen to "al's" thing, all in all, it would be the second debacle of my Corporate musical life. After that would come the story of Neil Reshen and Morris Levy (yes, THE morris Levy) I can't recommend enough that book. It tells how Al, after being fired as President and unable to walk across the street and apply for another President job, ended up going to the racetrack to make Race Records (not like in the fifties, ha ha) just to keep being involved in vinyl. It was a damned tough time. So, Russia was this group TSA from Seattle, I joined as a writer-singer, we saved up and moved to LA and hired a couple of locals, who were not in the unit very much of it's six-year total life and they truly did not, and don't to this day, probably know any of these things that shaped that particular musical blip on the bell-curve. Certainly very little of the behind-the-scenes stuff at any rate. Fortunately, during all of this time, none of us took any drugs or engaged in any kind of anti-social or impolite behaviour. Kinda fun. Wouldn't change a thing.

Glad you asked?

Griff

Anonymous said...

I'll just let those words stand on their own merits..
I'm only here to celebrate a good record from a long time ago.

Thanks again guys

Rick

Alocacoc said...

Thanks Griff! Love the album.
Too bad such good bands and music never got the recognition it deserved back then. But I guess, that's how the music business always have been. Many of the best ones never get a proper promotion.
But these days, it's possible to at least get it heard.

And hi again, Rick!
I totally agree on that one.

Black Hole Horizon said...

Great blog, great record...I came to know Russia 'backwards' if you will. I found the 'Force 10' tape in a cutout bin at the mall in 1983 or '84 and bought it based on the cover art, the song titles...and the price. I played that tape to death, and years later (welcome internet) I tracked down an unopened LP to replace my dead cassette. Of course, I started Googling the members see what they were up to etc. and found out that there had been (shock) ANOTHER record released with the same lineup. I found a sealed Russia LP on eBay and as you know, it's an amazing record.
Despite my nostalgia and familiarity with the Force 10 record, the Russia record has come to mean just as much to me.

Thanks for talking about it!

-bhh

By the way, check out: The Force 10 fan site!

http://myspace.com/force10music

Tom said...

Can't seem to find the one .. who's not willing to point his gun .I'm just a traveler lost from another world ( less confusion)........ it has been for too long my old friend . are you out there ???? Peace......Tee

Boomland said...

I just found the Russia and Force 10 albums in second hand record shop the other day. What a score - both LPs for under five bucks (and Russia was still sealed)!

These albums are AWESOME! Many thanks to ALOCACOC and his blog for bringing these overlooked vinyl gems to my attention.

Boomland (aka vinyldinosaurus)

Anonymous said...

Tom, yes i'm out here. sorry I haven't checked this site in a while. I'm really glad to hear from you. It's amazing people are still posting comments here!! Still love to listen to your guitar my old friend. Would like to get in touch with you. Have you seen Turtle?

Rick / L.A.

Outer Space Seeds said...

FYI:

Both Russia and Force 10 have fan sites at MySpace (with music and so on).

Force 10
myspace.com/force10music

Russia
myspace.com/outerspaceseeds

Both of these albums are worth the hunt...!

sleepmonk said...

I wanted to say thank you so much for this! I have truly missed this amazing record. I grew up on this and Force 10.I had a house fire last year and lost everything(music,clothes,all my paintings and 25 yrs worth of my writings).

It is just amazing to have both of these on cd now, Thanks to your wonderful blog. This has been a great day,finding your blog has brought back some great memories.
Thanks also for the Be Bop Deluxe, Moxy(1st album had Tommy Bolin on guitar) & Good Rats. Alocacoc to the rescue..

Hello to Rick & Griff, your music was inspiring. Hope the best to you both in all your endeavors.


Sincerely,Robert
Charlotte, North Carolina,USA
sleepmonk@hotmail.com
myspace.com/sleepmonk

Anonymous said...

Hello Sleepmonk,
and thanks for listening.
How did you come to know of Russia?
Sorry to hear about your house & your writings
Glad the music is back with you.
Alocacoc has provided a great service here.

Rick

sleepmonk said...

Hi Rick, It is nice to see you here again and that you appreciate what ALOCACOC is doing here. These records never made it to cd as far as my research goes (Cd had not enter the scene until 1986) and you know Warner Brothers had already cut and run by then.

Well onto your question, how did I hear your music? There was a little record store. Vinyl only, great selection of needles, turntables,cleaning supplies for vinyl and that was all. It was from his personal collection and conventions he would go to and the treasures he would bring back. I was 16 (1983)just got my driver license and stumbled onto his place and we became fast friends and we talked about music for hours.One day while thumbing thru records I come upon Russia Lp. Loved the cover,Read the liner notes and lyrics. We played the record in the store. Track 3 Gotta get away hit me like a ton of bricks. Opens with that great bassline and into a jungle sort of beat, into a dual Gtr/Piano James Bond Lick. It just stuck in your head. All of the songs had an interesting groove that just pulled you in. The more you listen the more fills & intricate segways would appear. Everything was distinctly different,refreshing. Many times I thought of Queen. I just love to airplay the piano line at the end of Nothing to say.
The guitar player (Thomas Richard Brighton) was very important to me too. He seem to understand the Miles Davis rule, "say more with less", or "it's not the notes you play, it's ones you leave out". You treat your listener with respect and vice versa.

I found Force 10 about a year later at the same record store and loved it as well.Hey I loved everything about the band by no means do I leave out Griff Stevens (I loved his voice & his phrasing).
Larry Tuttle(I had the bass player in my band at the time to learn Gotta get away intro, he loved it as well). Jeff Swisstack(was fun to airdrum to, his beats were never boring yet stayed with the tune).
I use to play drums but I was left handed and my drum instructor was right handed and the drums were set up for a rightie so I grew bored and started to write lyrics.
The band found a great drummer to replace me but we never found the right singer to stay long enough so we mostly played out as an instrumental cover band with some originals added to the sets.
A Instrumental band with a songwriter who could not sing,
Not exactly a recipe for success. I listened to everything, they listened to music of the time 1984-86. Such as:
Boston,Saga,Journey,Styx,Night Ranger,Iron Maiden,Ratt,etc. I listened to them but also Dead can Dance,Cure,Siousxie & the Banshees,
Pat Metheny,David Sanborn,Scott Joplin,Trapeze,Tommy Bolin,
Miles Davis(who I saw live,year before he died),John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk. I was a sponge soaking up anything I could get
my hands on and learn from.

You guys had the right set of
people at the right time making music that was fun, upbeat and off the beaten to death path. I do hope everyone is proud of themselves for the work on these two releases. I still think they hold up today. So regardless of whatever happened at the end. Thank you for your
contribution to my youth as well as my 40's.
Thank you Richard A. White for your time & your ear. All the best to you & yours.

Sincerely, Robert Lewis
Charlotte, North Carolina,USA
sleepmonk@hotmail.com
sleepmonk@gmail.com
myspace.com/sleepmonk

Anonymous said...

I hope Rick or any other member of the band read this.....Finding this long-time-looking-for album is a dream come true for me. This is one ofmy favorite albumsand this bandis G R E A T!!! A MUST HAVE!!!
My email is panamaaudiovideo@yahoo.com
Best Regards,
Carlos Remon.

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John Callender said...

I had the Russia album on vinyl and listened to it nonstop during my senior year in high school (in 1980). My friends Scott and Dan and I were all huge fans. When Russia played a show in Redondo Beach sometime around then (maybe a year later?) we were in the front row singing along with all the songs.

Then, from our perspective, the band just disappeared. When we heard about Force 10, we couldn't figure out what happened. Why would an awesome band that we loved so much, and were sure was on the verge of becoming huge, change its name? It sort of felt like a slap in our faces, like someone in the industry thought our opinions didn't matter.

I'd mostly forgotten about that, but had a yen to re-listen to the music (my vinyl collection went away a long time ago), and managed to google up this page, and download the .rar file. This is the first time I've listened to this music in 25 years, probably, which is kind of surreal.

Anyway, thanks for making it available, and thanks to the guys in the band who put so much effort into making some amazing music. _We_ appreciated, it at least.

John D. said...

Well this blog is sort of a dream come true.
I am suddenly and at long last overcome with calmness in regards to this great and heretofore mysterious enterprise. I have never known another human being who ever heard of this band (save one, as I'll explain) personally, and never learned of any fandom at all until now.
Firstly, I perused most of the posts (my eyes glaze when reading too much on a monitor) and I see no mention of the reissues of these albums on CD in 2008 (released by Wounded Bird Records). For all of you fans - go out and purchase - pronto!
also, I would like to have confirmed that the band members still get royalties from the sale of the CDs, for if so I will certainly purchase more copies - as my means allow - for gifts, back-ups, etc. much as I do with my favorite band, Rush.
I fell head over heels for Russia back in 1981 when I found their eponymous in a cut-out bin at a Gaylords in Delaware. Then, and ever after I have felt this to be just about the most perfect album ever made, for my tastes - the most perfectly recorded - the most perfect balance of each instrument and vocal - that I have ever heard, as well as being incredibly, endlessly exciting and original. Perhaps an album like this can ONLY be made once.
I live an uneventful and isolated life and music is my principal means of enjoying it. Russia was an extremely integral component of that enjoyment - and concomitant misery, thusly...
I do maddingly mad things too damn often, and one such occasion of madness was a decision to sell off my entire vinyl collection (of about 3500 records) in favor of cassettes and a small but burgeoning CD collection in the very late 80's. I had made a decent recording of the "Russia" album onto cassette, and believed that it would suffice. As luck would have it I chanced to sell the Russia album to a person who owned their second album Force 10, which I had not heard of at the time - nor had the fellow been aware of Russia - he having only heard them as Force 10. To make the story even sadder ( for me) he received the incalculable blessing of owning Russia, while I never got to hear Force 10, despite his assurance that he'd let me hear it. thus, I was left with only anecdotal evidence of this mysterious Force 10 connection, which for me may or may not have existed.
Proof of a God (or Karma, at least) may lie in the fact that not long after the selling of my Russia vinyl, I was punished for my intemperance in that my cassette copy was destroyed and I was left for many years bereft of the music except as it was preserved in my memory (which sadly was never great.)
To be continued (as allowed)…

John D. said...

cont'd,

So it was until the age of the internet arrived, and thankfully libraries with free access to it(circa, 1995). One of the first things I discovered on the internet was the Allmusic.com website, and one of the first things I learned from it was that there actually was a band/album called Force 10 and that it was in fact the same band as Russia. Nevertheless, it was not until something called Napster came along, around 2000, that I actually got to hear anything from Force 10, when I used it to rediscover the music of Russia - oh happy day that was! and as a bonus found the first two songs from their Force 10 album (alas, @ very low quality.) Unfortunately, my only means of preserving the music then was again to copy it to cassette (made three copies this time - which I still have.) A couple of years later I learned about CD burning, but never managed to make a good transfer from my cassettes - I am alas, no audiophile. soon after Napster bit the dust (practically) I moved on to Kazaa, then AudioGalaxy, then to my current home on the free-range lands of Soulseek, where I have amassed and share a huge collection of music of all kinds (mostly). Even there however, I have found only one poor rip of their two eponymi - which led me to actually seek out and purchase both albums on vinyl online - something I was only recently learning to trust in 2005 (though now I buy most of my CDs online.) Upside - I finally got to hear Force 10 in all it's vinyl glory; downside - my new Russia vinyl (though ostensibly still factory-sealed) skipped a couple of times, so I was unwilling to make a CD copy of them, and not being very trusting, I decided not to make another attempt at an online purchase.
I remained somewhat resigned to this state of affairs - only intermittently seeking (fruitlessly) new improved vinyl rips, and so was totally oblivious to the 2008 CD reissues until just a couple of weeks ago (and until just a few days ago even thought they were newer 2010 reissues.) Needless to say I was completely floored - A CD reissue was something I NEVER expected to see - or hear. Now having heard them, I am awash and (at times) giddy with delight - it is total Nirvana! (oops - not quite an appropriate association.) I feel almost re-born!
I have little talent for research, so my infrequent attempts over the years to learn more about the band and whatever else they were doing met with little (read "no") success. I had tried a few times to use "white pages" to find e-mail addresses for the band members, again with no result, so you can imagine my surpise and delight at finding this particular blog with actual, and fascinating, bandmember input. Being slow of comprehension, i will need to revisit and re-read this page to fully digest said input, and hopefully more such and from more members - I am supremely keen to learn what mssrs Brighton and Tuttle have been doing and where I can hear more from them.
I know not what more to say, except perhaps... gosh, gee-whiz, etc., etc. - how do I get (an) autograph(s)?. and so on ...and also, AMEN!

Andre said...

Hey Wow Great and... Finally!
I've been searching for this many years! Way back I bought the vinyl single of 'Who do you think you are' and 'Piece of ice' as a B-side track. Man I loved those tracks! And now finally the digital version of the complete album ... I'm enjoying it all over again! Russia, you guys deserve even more credits tha I ever was able to give you!

Anonymous said...

LOVE the Russia album! My favorite record of all time! dwaynekohn@aol.com