On Assignment – New England (1979) Ep478

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This week we return to the classroom as they go On Assignment for the 1979 self-titled release by New England. This time our teacher is Dennis Talbott from the Ages of Rock podcast. If you don’t know, Ages of Rock is a fantastic music discussion show that you should check out. Dennis has plenty of reasons why he assigned us this record. He bought it as a new release and has since purchased over 20 copies! Say what?! Would we feel the same enthusiasm for this album as Dennis? You’ll have to listen and find out! We give each song an A-F grade as well.

New England featured band leader guitarist/vocalist John Fannon, drummer Hirsh Gardner, bassist Gary Shea and keyboardist Jimmy Waldo. The group was best known for the song “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya”, which received heavy radio exposure on Album-oriented rock (AOR) stations and reached the US Top 40 in 1979. “Hello, Hello, Hello” also received some airplay.

The quartet formed in the Boston area and was discovered by manager Bill Aucoin, who also managed Kiss. Paul Stanley helped produce the debut album along with producer Mike “Clay” Stone, best known for his work with Queen and Asia. Guitarist and vocalist John Fannon was the leader of the band.

The group had a live stint supporting Kiss, but New England slid between the cracks of other Aucoin projects. The group’s success stalled when their label Infinity Records was absorbed by its parent company, MCA Records.

Gardner, Waldo, and Shea would go on to work with a then-unknown Vincent Cusano on a project dubbed Warrior before disbanding due to Cusano being brought into the KISS fold to replace guitarist Ace Frehley. Waldo and Shea would then go on to help form Alcatrazz.

We hope you enjoy our On Assignment episode discussing New England and SHARE with a friend!

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1 thought on “On Assignment – New England (1979) Ep478”

  1. Hello Decibel Guys
    Im very flattered by your kind remarks regarding my bass playing on the first New England album. Thank you so much.
    Myself and Jimmy Waldo are currently recording a new Alcatrazz album and a European tour of 16 shows in 9 countries starts in August. He and I have been in five bands togedether since 1975. One of you commented about prog rock and said exactly what Ive been saying for years. We were a prog rock band that played short songs. We were also much heavier live. Our aim was to be very musical and not be a one trick pony which so many bands are. We began playing in the 60s and our heroes were bands like The Moody Blues, Procol Harum, King Crimson and of course the Beatles. Like our friends in Cheap Trick we loved bands like The Move, Terry Reid, The Nice, Spooky Tooth, The Nazz and the Soft Machine etc etc.

    All our music was written and arranged prior to six record company presidents like Clive Davis, coming to see us at our studio in Boston.
    Brian May expressed working with us and gave our tape to Mike Stone. When we signed with Bill Aucoin we met with Michael. Brian had a schedule problem and it was suggested to try Paul Stanley.
    We thought that would be a good tie in and off we went to LA NYC and London to rerecord our 16 track Philidelphia demos to 24 track. Paul acted as a coach for performance. Again none of our music was altered by anyone other than us. We purposely have the keyboards up in the mix as John and Jimmy played many liines togethet as two guitars would do. The bass supported that with a third melody line in many places. Again all arranged nothing schitzo.
    Again let me say thank you I enjoyed all the comment and banter. Music is subjective and I am proud of our 40+ songs that dont repeat themselves.
    Cheers,
    Gary Shea

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