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The Producers - Press kit from their debut album - Feb 1981
by Portrait Records
It wasn't too long ago that you could safely predict that any band hailing from Georgia would sport a trio of lead guitarists and a collection of songs devoted to women, whiskey and general hellraisin'. The Producers may call Atlanta home, but the music on The Producers, the quartet's debut Portrait album, is a striking blend of pop and rock that's far removed from standard southern boogie.
"The Atlanta scene is absolutely influenced by modern music, what has gone on for the last two or three years, and that's definitely the scene we're from," says Kyle Henderson. "Atlanta has produced at least two major modern bands and that's proof in itself that it's not the southern boogie scene. The B-52s are from Athens but they played Atlanta constantly and the Brains, who didn't sell as well but met with great reviews, are from Atlanta."
The Producers -- Van Temple (guitar/vocals), Wayne Famous (keyboards/vocals), Bryan Holmes (drums/vocals) and Henderson (bass/vocals) -- learned their instruments in the usual assortment of original and cover bands in and around the Atlanta club circuit. The band formed when Henderson caught Temple, Famous, and Holmes playing at Uncle Tom's Tavern in Atlanta on New Year's Eve of 1979.
Struck by a personal affinity with their music, Henderson immediately asked them if he could join the band. After an introductory jam that night proved that the chemistry was there, The Producers officially became a band on New Year's Day, 1980.
They spent the next few months rehearsing and writing new material before returning to the club circuit, mixing dates featuring their own songs with cover jobs to keep the money flowing. "We played with the Pretenders at the Agora in Atlanta," Holmes remembers, "and the next night we went across the street and played cover songs at a fraternity party at Georgia Tech."
In August, the band's manager contacted Tom Werman (Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, Molly Hatchet) about working with the band. When Werman suggested the band come up to New York to play for him, The Producers promptly canceled some Florida club dates and hopped into a van for the drive north.
We drove 17 hours straight to play one 45 minute set for him at SIR in New York," Henderson recalls. We were all hoping he would say, 'Sounds good, let me hear a tape.' We would have considered that a positive statement in this day and age."
Werman's response was a good deal more enthusiastic than that, and listening to The Producers will provide more than enough reasons why. The album reveals a distinctive, impeccable blend of basic rock drive, pop craftsmanship and memorable melodic hooks to burn on a collection of a dozen group-penned original songs.
"Usually, one or 2 people have the original idea, but we're trying to give the job of arranging a song as much importance as possible," maintains Henderson. "How the songs end up sounding is very dependent upon the input of all 4 members, so everybody is getting credit."
In the tradition of most great rock bands, the Producers have synthesized their individual influences into an imaginative, accessible style of their own. Werman's crisp, crackling production captures the assured power of the band's performance on material ranging from driving rock ("Sensations," "Who Do You Think You Are") to catchy pop ("Boys Say When," "What She Does To Me").
The lead vocals, shared by Temple and Henderson, are augmented by beautifully crafted and executed backing harmonies. The lyrics offer fresh twists and provocative insights into that most universal of themes, modern romance.
There's no sense in writing about something if no one's going to understand what you're talking about," Famous contends. "We really take pride in pushing the lyrics out so you can understand them. There is a meaning in the songs and we don't want to disguise it."
We feel, across the board as a band, that simplicity is a virtue, not a liability," Henderson sums up. "If there's a musical idea that's great in its simplest form, then keep it that way. To add too much to a simple, great idea is to take its greatness away."
Copyright 1981, Portrait Records
Copyright © 1997- 2003 by Paul Schulz. All rights reserved.
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