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The Rivits 1

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ALBUMS

The Rivits

Old Broadway

The late ‘70s saw an eclectic mix of popular music come in on a wave of big hair; the twin dawns of dicos and punk; the (forgettable) rise of corporate rock to the real emergence of reggae. An era when ‘pop’ became big business.
AM, FM, – the airwaves were alive with Springsteen and Supertramp by way of Talking Heads and Stevie Wonder mixed up alongside Rickie Lee Jones, Bob Marley and the Bee Gees; Peter Frampton and Earth, Wind and Fire and Tha Clash. “Soon after Stonechaser’s release, my long association with Island Records ended. Until, that is, Pete Wood and I decided to have some fun…” We need to backtrack a bit however... “CB eventually pulled the plug on the sessions for the Stonechaser album – I had just returned to Regent Sound with a new shaker device that I’d rushed to Manny’s music store to get – when Joel took me out back to his office and told me that Chris had decided to cancel the album. ‘I was pretty devastated! ‘Yes, I suppose things had not gone smoothly plus I was in the process of recording some of the songs for the second time – having decided that some of them were too over-produced for my liking. ‘I wanted something less conceived in the studio and more, er, organic. But despite all the faffing about, I don’t think I / we ever achieved that aim for the album. ‘So, at that point, that was it really! What would I do now? ‘Having been involved with aspects of my last two albums’ sleeve designs, I figured that I pretty much liked the idea of being a graphic designer – so, I threw myself into that idea.
‘And, I enrolled in a night-school class that taught typography, fundamental layout and design.
‘After a couple of months, I was lucky enough to land a job with a small agency that specialised in promotional work for several major book publishers. ‘I had a great teacher – a chap called Lincoln – and I learned to take pride in the work I was doing. ‘Meanwhile, I still had my recording equipment set-up at home and, I suppose now that music had become my hobby and not my career – truth be told, I started to really enjoy making music again for my own, and my family’s entertainment as opposed to trying to meet a contractual obligations that I no longer really had any true feeling for. ‘Pete and Maggie Wood had become our best friends in New York. ‘And, together, we searched out the best curry houses; the riding schools and the shops where a proper sausage and jars of Marmite and Marmalade could be found. ‘Plus, Pete and I would slap on our tracksuits and run the six miles around Central Park every day and then park ourselves in front of the Teac 4 track and ramble on... ‘So, that – in a fairly long nutshell – is how The Rivits came to be.”
﷯STEVE DWIRE had been working with a band called The Pin-Ups. “Our keyboard player was Peter Wood; the Pin-Ups were ten years out of their time, out-doing the B52’s way before the B52’s came about.”
“After a month or two, Peter said ‘I’ve got this friend and we’re going to cut a couple of tracks and we’d love to have you play bass on it.” “And, if you know any drummers, feel free to bring ‘em along and we’ll see how it works out.”
‘I knew Doane (Perry), we’d played a lot together, and, I said to him – ‘look, I don’t know too much about this, I don’t even know who this guy is but… do you want to come along?”
DOANE PERRY's musical life began with him playing piano from the age of the age of 7; he then – and in no particular order – discovered girls and The Beatles who, in his own words “came along and changed everything.” “I discovered the possibility, however unlikely that might have been, of young girls chasing me down the street if I took up the drums. So it began.“
“In 1972 or so I was doing everything I could to gain a wider musical background which ended up being an interesting combination of live and studio work that spanned an unusual cross section of music occurring in New York at that time.” Rock, Pop, Jazz, Orchestral, Dance, R&B, Folk, TV and Film scores and every ethnic music imaginable was flourishing at that time in NYC.
Doane also attended the Julliard School of Music as well as New York University and Rutgers briefly
DOANE PERRY – “Certainly getting a more formal education in music didn’t hurt. I always enjoyed playing in the ensembles although most of the time I really wasn’t playing a drum set. I was a section percussionist playing tuned and untuned percussion. But I was able to take a broad range of classes that took in theory, harmony, vocal training, ensemble playing and private lessons.” “Outside of school, I was always studying on my own, reading, practicing and taking lessons with teachers from jazz to orchestral.” “I am sure all of those experiences helped my drumming tremendously as it gave me a more balanced overall musical perspective as well as the actual experience of playing all of those different kinds of music.” “Coming from a keyboard background was a real asset. I often found I got much more information from reading a piano chart then a drum part.”

 

Steve Dwire

Peter Wood

Prior to hooking up with Jess in New York during 1980, Peter Wood had already cemented himself an enviable reputation as one of the top go-to session keyboard players, a reputation forged over many years amongst which were almost as many sessions as there were days on the road.

He’d co-founded Quiver – who, after gaining critical success and an enviable live reputation, became part of the imaginatively entitled enclave known better as The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver.

This was really a set-up manufactured by Island to allow the bros Sutherland to better tread the boards and follow up a couple of minor hits, The Pie as well as Sailing.

That song wasn’t much of a hit for SB&Q but it was one that Rod Stewart turned into sheer publishing platinum for one of the bros Sutherland (Gavin) – it is, incidentally, Rod the Mod’s biggest ever-selling UK single.

Pete also formed (sic) Natural Gas – the band which included Jerry Shirley who would go on to co-found Humble Pie.

He also played on three albums by Jonathan Kelly and one by Billy Lawrie (Lulu’s brother) that featured many of the musicians from Stone The Crows.

However, perhaps his biggest claim to fame was his work with Al Stewart (on Past Present & Future, Modern Times as well as Time Passages).

Plus, of course, he co-wrote Stewart’s endearing classic – Year Of The Cat, a record that pretty much definied bedsitter images for a million students and more around the world.

His pedigree also included work on Curved Air’s Midnight Wire plus records by Tom Paxton, Joan Armatrading, Ian Matthews, String Driven Thing, Wishbone Ash and Michael Chapman.

We're sad to have to remove the exclusive video that was here - which has been hacked and spread around the world -  disregarding all copyrights belonging to Jess Roden and Hidden Masters.

STEVE DWIRE – “We all went in to this little studio on West 20th called Sun Dragon and I’m pretty sure that the first track we cut was Nail That Turkey Down.”
Sun Dragon – located in lower Manhattan, was where Talking Heads would cut their seminal Talking Heads ‘77 album – and producer / engineer Ted Stasium remembers the studio thus: ‘Sun Dragon was this very small, very dead studio.’
‘There was a lot of carpeting in there, the control room couldn’t fit more than two or three people at a time. And the actual recording room wasn’t that much bigger – about the size of a conventional living room.’
“Pete knew Steve Dwire and Steve knew Doane Perry. Together, the four of us tipped up at Sun Dragon in mid-town Manhattan. ‘And, prior to our arrival, Sun Dragon had probably known better days but, thankfully, was within our budget – being not very much at all. ‘Our engineer was a guy named Tom Duffy who spoke like Tom Waits on a bad night.
‘Tom would, occasionally, accidentally erase something quite important (bless you Tom) but, at other times, would magically capture something not intended for the tape.”
STEVE DWIRE – “I remember wearing my headphones while Jess was doing a reference vocal and, y’know… after four lines of singing, the hair on the back of my neck was standing up.” “And, I turned to Doane and said, ‘Man, this guy’s voice is just off the charts.” “I’d no idea if it was going to be an album or… what, really. Y’see it had just been described to me as ‘we want to do something different here, a record with no lead guitar, just using all keyboards, synths, bass and drums.” “Most of it was cut pretty much live with very few overdubs. I don’t remember if all of the vocals were cut live but I think many of them might have been.”
“We’d pretty much written the tunes and knocked off the recording in less than a month.

The Rivits

A headline

"So now, what do we do? Well, why don’t we punt it around – after all, we’ve nothing to lose. So we approached Antilles (a division of Island Records in New York). And, we presented the band as a ‘garage outfit’ based in New Jersey that Pete Wood and I had discovered and produced.

"Surprisingly, Antilles decided to go for it. In retrospect, I suspect they knew that it was Pete and me and not some undiscovered band from New Jersey.

"Anyway, they gave us a budget to find a studio and do final mixes and, when that was done and the record released, packed us off on a tour of the East Coast radio and television stations.”

As a prelude to the album’s release, two cuts were included in the film They Call It An Accident / Ils Appellent ça Un Accident – a quirky (for wont of a better adjective) Euro-art-movie.

The soundtrack was also released by Island in France, the US and the UK – featuring a number of otherwise unavailable tracks (that are now real rarities) from U2 and Steve Winwood.

The two ‘Rivits’ tracks were simply credited to Jess Roden / Peter Wood, indicating that the album’s soundtrack was compiled prior to the official Rivits’ album release.

The Rivits album was – eventually – released on Island’s subsidiary Antilles label in North America and in the UK on Island itself. However – despite being credited, the entire band didn’t actually make it onto the back of the album jacket.

STEVE DWIRE – “We all lined up for the photograph and, I’m 6’1”, Doane is 6’4” and Jess and Peter... well... they’re not so tall.”

“Eventually, the photograph that came out has my head airbrushed onto Jess’ body while Doane doesn’t feature at all – his place was taken by a nephew of Chris Blackwell’s.”

“I never really knew what became of the record, until this friend of mine called one night.”

“He said, ‘Steve, there’s this all-hippy’d out bowling alley on University Place and 12th Street that doesn’t even open until midnight and most of the people who go in there to bowl are heroin addicts and alcoholics and punk-rockers and stuff like that but… they have the most amazing music.”

“And, one of the songs that they played like fifteen, twenty times a night was one of the tracks of the album... Future Soon.”

“Plus, I’d hear reports from the field… like from Doane when he was on tour with Jethro Tull.”

“He told me he was in a hotel room in Berlin this one time and he had his radio set to wake him up at a certain hour by playing the whatever-it-was radio station.”

“And, in that twilight of between sleep and awake he thought that he was dreaming about being in the studio cutting that track… Future Soon… until he realised it was actually his radio in this hotel room in Berlin – and, that’s what woke him up.” 

From his days turning up to sessions such as those for The Rivits, Doane has forged an enviable career – working with (among others): Lou Reed, Bette Midler, Todd Rundgren, Dave Mason, Pat Benatar, Jim Messina, Martha and the Vandellas, Dweezil Zappa, Stan Getz, Fairport Convention, Dionne Warwick, Liza Minelli, Patty Scialfa, Vonda Shepard, Charles Aznavour, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Freda Payne, Jeffrey Osbourne, Diane Warren, Elliot Murphy, Gary U.S.Bonds, Adrian Gurvitz & Gary Brooker.

And, a couple of years after the adventure of The Rivits, he joined Jethro Tull during 1984 – and, in fact, Doane is now their third longest serving member.

Following The Rivits’ album release the band played a brief series of dates that were prefaced by rehearsal sessions held at Pink Floyd’s facility in Long Island City.

STEVE DWIRE –“Doane had moved on by this time and Gary T. Amos came in to play drums.”

“The rehearsals were hot... I can remember driving back with, I think Pete and Jess, listening to the rehearsal tape and thinking... man, we’re cooking.” 

But, given a lack of ‘tour-support’ it wasn’t just Doane who missed the shows, Steve Dwire didn’t travel to the UK either.

That brief series of dates included a sold-out show in London at The Venue – originally the Victoria Picture Palace that had opened in 1911 directly across the street from what is now Victoria Street Tube Station. In 1978 it re-opened as a quasi nightclub-cum-concert auditorium owned by Virgin Records.

Through its brief, three year life, it became the equivalent to (say) The Ritz in New York as as London’s only important ‘club-sized-semi-showcase-styled-venue’ and played host to the likes of Hall & Oates, Aztec Camera, Cabaret Voltaire, Todd Rundgren, Lintoin Kewsi Johnson, Charlie Dore’s Back Pocket, Toots & The Maytals, James Brown, Captain Beefheart, The Skids, Altered Images, the Buzzcocks, Aswad and many more besides.

JR - “Still, never mind. Chris Blackwell had thought it an extremely interesting concept and so, signed Pete and myself (The Rivits) to Island Records - Yeh - cover blown! and, back in the old routine!

‘We tipped up at Compass Point in the Bahamas in January 1980.”

DOANE PERRY  - “I discovered the possibility, however unlikely that might have been, of young girls chasing me down the street if I took up the drums. So it began.“

The Rivits

Marriage dissolved


CHRIS BLACKWELL– “My plan was to assemble a core of session players that could rival the all time great session players of studios like Stax or Motown.” “A new, progressive sounding band; a Jamaican rhythm section with an edgy mid-range and a brilliant synth player. Get them together and let them jam and see what came out of it.” “And then bring down other artists that had no connection to the Caribbean, and have them interact with these musicians.” “I got what I wanted, fortunately. And I think that’s partly what makes this music so great.” Chris Blackwell
JR - “We had a few tunes already devised and, a fairly well defined concept for our new album. ‘In reality, our idea was probably a pre-cursor for Seven Windows as we had lots of instrumental passages linking songs – it would be all very ambient, wallpaper maybe but different. ‘And so, while we’d tipped up in the Bahamas to Compass Point, there was a bit of a problem when we first got there because we were going to record this new Rivits record with Sly and Robbie – but... they hadn’t arrived. ‘We had our little intros which were sort of themed and they, probably, wouldn’t have been cut with Sly and Robbie. In fact, we cut them pretty much as my home demos were. Then, the idea was that these ‘intros’ would break into the songs themselves. ‘So, a week or so went by and Pete and I went in and started recording things with Steve Stanley. We sat in the apartment and wrote other bits and pieces too.
‘Anyway, our first ‘production meeting’ – over a fairly length dinner with CB – threw up a slightly different concept. CB played us ‘One Nation Under a Groove’ – yep, Funkadelic’s masterpiece! – and, he suggested that we do an album comprising two songs – one each side.
‘Well, to be honest, that wasn’t far removed from our plan; the record would in a way have been continuous whereby one thing would segue into another, the music would never stop... so we went back and started to think… Hmmmm, well, ok… how do we..? ‘We recorded a couple of the introductions, but it never really happened. Sly and Robbie did eventually turn up, and we did one session where not much happened.”
JR - “Still, never mind. Chris Blackwell had thought it an extremely interesting concept and so, signed Pete and myself (The Rivits) to Island Records - Yeh - cover blown! and, back in the old routine! ‘We tipped up at Compass Point in the Bahamas in January 1980.” Founded by Chris Blackwell in 1977, its pretty much fair to say that anyone who was anyone recorded at Compass Point in its idyllic location on the island of New Providence in The Bahamas. Consider – Talking Heads to AC/DC; the Rolling Stones to Joe Cocker; Robert Palmer to Roger Waters, Carly Simon to James Brown, Tom Tom Club cut Genius Of Love there, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, U2, David Bowie, Burning Spear, The Cure, Third World, Serge Gainsbourg, Bryan Ferry, Tripping Daisy and Marianne Faithfull all recorded there – among countless dozens of musicians, band and producers besides. And, central to recording life there were Blackwell himself alongside engineer Alex Sadkin together with the sonically-formidable Compass Point All Stars. The CPA were, themselves, centered around the ‘rydim’ – the bass ‘n drums – section of Sly ‘n Robbie aided and musically abetted by the likes of Sticky (Uziah Thompson – percussion), Wally Badarou (all-things keyboards), Barry Reynolds and Mikey Chung (guitars), Tyrone Downie (keyboards). In essence, the CPA were modeled on Atlanta’s Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section as much as the core nucleus of Nashville musicians.
CB at Compass Point Studios with Steven Stanley far right
Compass Point beach
Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Sticky Thompson

Alex SadkinSadly, however, Compass Point went into decline in the late ‘80’s following the death in a car crash of Alex Sadkin. After his death, no one was resident who possessed any real international business acumen, meaning that fewer artists worked there and what was, at one time, state-of-the-art studio equipment began to suffer from lack of maintenance.

However, another factor was in play too since much of the Caribbean was hit by a hurricane as destructive as if it had been meteorological: cocaine from Colombia and Peru was being transported in large quantities to not only Jamaica but also The Bahamas from where it was shipped to Europe and America.

Nevertheless and over time, recovery occurred and Compass Point is once again thriving – and, although the days of that legendary house band are now long gone, the music lives on.

“Anyhow, at that time, Grace Jones, The Tom Tom Club, Joe Cocker and Sly & Robbie were all recording at Compass Point Studios.

‘So that was when I recorded with Grace on her ‘Nightclubbing ‘ album. Barry Reynolds was there, great great player… Wally Badarou, all that crowd, it was a fun time, very relaxed, but The Rivits did no more really.”

SLY DUNBAR (speaking to writer David Katz) – “Compass Point, you could describe it as oceanic sounds, the sound of the sea coming into the music.”

For anyone so-inclined the retrospective Funky Nassau: The Compass Point Story 1980-1986 is a worthy introduction to those heady times. 

“Returning to New York after a sublime ‘family winter ‘ in the Bahamas I realised that I needed to think long and hard about what I should do next...”

Pete moved on too and became part of Pink Floyd’s unseen, surrogate band – often referred to as ‘The Bleeding Hearts Band’ while they performed The Wall concerts – alongside former SB&Q cohort John ‘Willie’ Wilson, Andy Bown - formerly of The Herd, Peter Frampton’s band and nowadays a member of Status Quo – and Snowy White, for a time a member of Thin Lizzy.

In 1984, Pete joined Lou Reed’s band that comprised Bob Quine, Fernando Saunders and Fred Maher – making one album, New Sensations.

The Eighties also saw him complete sessions for: Graham Parker (The Up Escalator); Willie Nile (Places I Have Never Been); Carly Simon (Hello Big Man); Clarence Clemmons (Rescue); Martin Briley (Dangerous Moments), Cyndi Lauper (She’s So Unusual, Night To Remember & True Colours); Julian Lennon (Valotte); Rodney Crowell (Street Language, 1986) and Al Stewart (Last Days Of The Century).

He re-joined Roger Water and The Wall Tour, playing on the Live In Berlin doubleCD; Bob Dylan’s (The Bootleg Series 1-3) alongside Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Mick Ronson and Mick Taylor; and also made records with Sophie B. Hawkins, The Roches, The Local Boys (with Andy Fairweather-Low) as well as reuniting with, and playing on, Al Stewart’s 1993 release (Famous Last Words).

Unhappily, in December of that year, Pete died aged just 43.

Back in the grip of an Upper East Side  New York winter and far removed from the waves lapping the edge of New Providence, the seeds of change were, once again, in the wind. 

“It was pretty much all over then with Island; I must’ve been in New York maybe another month and we talked to CB and…  the marriage was dissolved.

“At first I didn’t write at all, but after a time I started again – after all, it was what I did, I enjoyed it.”

So... while Island was no more home (from home), all was not entirely lost as, from the quasi-blueprint of that second Rivits record...

 ... the seed of what became known as Seven Windows had been planted.

“It was pretty much all over then with Island; I must’ve been in New York maybe another month and we talked to CB and… the marriage was dissolved.

The Rivits - Albums

 

 

Steve Winwood – Your Silence Is Your Song 4:10

U2 – October 1:25

Marianne Faithfull – Guilt 4:45

Steve Winwood – Night Train 3:35

Jess Roden / Peter Wood – Some Vision 3:30

Steve Winwood – Main Theme (Ils Appellent Ca Un Accident) 4:55

Compass Point All Stars – Demolition Man 3:02

U2 / Wally Badarou – October 2:30

Wally Badarou – The First Flower (La Premiere Fleur) 2:30

Jess Roden / Peter Wood – Future Soon 4:55

Wally Badarou – Gabriel’s Dream (La Reve De Gabriel) 4:45

Steve Winwood –Your Silence Is Your Song 5:05

 

Produced by: Various

Label: Island

XILPS 9757 (US & Canada)

ISTA2 (UK)

Released: 1982

Album cover: Mike Prior

Notes: Contains a number of rarities – U2’s collaboration with Wally Badarou on the title track from their second album as well as Steve Winwood’s theme to the film - unavailable elsewhere other than on the soundtrack variants.

Synopsis: Julie Fabre (Nathalie Delon) is plunged into despair when her son dies on the operating table – but the depth of her loss is nothing compared to how she feels once she finds out that the doctors were responsible for her son’s death, and that one of the doctors was her own husband. He has disappeared, and in spite of harassing his fellow doctors to gain information on his whereabouts, Julie has no luck at all.

Just as she seems to have no means of finding her husband to exact the retribution she desires, she meets Gabriel (Patrick Norbert) – someone still mourning the death of his own brother – and between the two of them, they start to build a legal case against her spouse. As a part of that process, they steal some damaging medical records and when her husband comes to retrieve them, Julie kills him. Now both she and Gabriel, her accomplice, have to run from the police unless they decide to face prosecution -- not a likely scenario. ~

Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide

 

 

1. Some Vision (Jess Roden)

2. Multiplay (Jess Roden / Pete Wood)

3. Look All You Like (Jess Roden)

4. Oo She Do (Jess Roden / Pete Wood)

5. Old Broadway (Jess Roden)

6. Nail It Down (Jess Roden / Pete Wood)

7. Lookin’ (Jess Roden / Pete Wood)

8. Future Soon (Jess Roden / Pete Wood)

9. Red Light On (Pete Wood)

 

Label: Island ILPS 9617

Released: 1980

Recorded at: Sun Dragon Studios, New York

Engineer: Tom Duffy

Mixed by: John Jansen at Soundmixers, NYC

(assistant Ed Garcia)

Mastered by: George Marino at Sterling Sound, NYC

Sleeve design: Jess Roden

COPYRIGHT © NEIL STOREY 2010-2013