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  • Artist: Toy Cannon
  • Label: Eonian Records
  • UPC: 798576213794
  • Genre: Hard Rock
  • Release Date: 2022

    TOY CANNON was born in the musical hotbed of New Jersey and came up in the shadows of bands like Trixter, Skid Row and, of course, Bon Jovi. In a perfect world, they would have been next to grab the torch from their predecessors, but in retrospect, we all know the changing musical tides of the early ‘90s weren’t kind to commercial hard rock bands. The rest, as they say, is history. Fortunately, history can repeat itself and Eonian Records has given TOY CANNON a chance to grab that torch once again.TOY CANNON started out in northern New Jersey when bassist Bobby August and drummer Michael Aldi (both formerly of the band Vision) enlisted guitarist Mark Christopher from a neighboring band (Kryer). The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when Jorge Canan (a highly revered local singer, previously fronting Raze) accepted their offer as lead vocalist. As guitarist Mark Christopher recalls… “The TOY CANNON seed was planted when Kryer and Vision faced off in the Rahway (NJ) High School Battle of the Bands contest in 1987. Jorge happened to be a judge that night, since Raze was the big winner from the previous year. (So) all four of us were in the same room at the same time, but with very different agendas, before fate ultimately connected us musically”.Being inspired by the melodic sounds of Journey and the driving force of bands like Van Halen,TOY CANNON would rehearse diligently for long hours, several days a week, writing songs and focusing on their goals. Having secured professional representation early on with Peter Jaye Management (who previously managed Zakk Wylde in his former band Zyris), TOY CANNON and Peter Jaye, together, orchestrated a bold and unlikely strategy that actually took hold. It’s perplexing how Peter Jaye was able to entice a host of record executives and industry personnel to travel out of state, from NYC to NJ, to witness TOY CANNON showcase in Mark’s dank basement where the band rehearsed. Columbia Records and other major labels arrived in their limos, but unfortunately, the labels just weren’t biting.The first break came when producer/engineer Doug Oberkircher saw great potential in the band during a visit to their makeshift rehearsal studio in the basement. At the time, Doug was enjoying success from his work with Epic Recording Artist Firehouse and invited TOY CANNON to the legendary BearTracks Studio in Suffern, NY to record a set of demos. BearTracks was owned by Jay Beckenstein of Spyro Gyra fame and hosted recording sessions for many bands like Foreigner and Firehouse, as well as Dream Theater, Anthrax, White Lion, Ace Frehley of Kiss, and many notable others in its time.The results Oberkircher yielded in that session broke open the doors and enabled TOY CANNON to ultimately capture the ears of some heavyweights. In November of 1990, the demo tape was entered into a battle of the bands contest put on by New York City radio station Z-100. After going up against thousands of other hopefuls, TOY CANNON was chosen as the winner by Z-100’s Elvis Duran and MTV’s Adam Curry. Their prize was an opening slot for, none other than, Poison at the Academy Theatre in NYC. It also just happened to be the band’s first ever live performance! Nothing like playing your first show in front of an ocean of screaming fans, record executives and radio personalities. Besides having their song “Fallin’ In Love Again” flooding the Z-100 request lines, the band got coverage in regional music newspapers like the East Coast Rocker and The Aquarian, which helped further their cause.After the Z-100 contest and Poison show, the hype surrounding the band generated quite an industry buzz as NYC record executives frequented their showcases in the clubs and rehearsal studios. Interest was coming in strong! At that time, it was showcase after showcase in hopes of landing that highly esteemed major label deal. One of those live events took place at the Cat Club in NYC, where they played for EMI Records representative Gail Limongelli. Also, in attendance that night was A&R man Jerry Love from Famous Music. Love was responsible for leading many bands, including Living Colour, to sign major label deals.Afterwards, TOY CANNON hooked up with a NYC promotional team by the name of The Monkey Business Crew and continued to hit it hard on the local live scene, playing clubs like the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ to the Redspot and Ozone in Staten Island, NY, the Cat Club in NYC and everywhere in between, either headlining or opening for the likes of national acts such as Tyketto.TOY CANNON went on to record a second set of demos with Oberkircher some months later to further increase the interest from the label contacts they’ve been cultivating. These demos, like their initial set of demos, were recorded at BearTracks as well, but inevitably, as Mark Christopher recalls, “with grunge hitting, a lot of tables turned in the business. Interests shifted, job titles were reassigned, and ultimately (our) contacts were lost. The release of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ changed the entire landscape of music and pop culture. This pivoting moment was obvious and felt by all involved in the industry”.To reboot, TOY CANNON fundamentally reverted to recording some additional songs by tracking their music completely live, then overdubbing the vocals back home in their basement studio where it all began. At that point, the material was self-produced and more experimental, and they were literally and metaphorically on their own. Eventually, their entire catalog ended up in the vault, unearthed for decades, and the rest of their story became history until Eonian Records came along to pry open that vault in 2022. Songs like “Fallin’ In Love Again” (which garnered play on Z-100), “20th Century Girl” and “Forever One”, all from that first set of demos, and further tracks like “Rivers Run” and “Come A Little Closer”, clearly show TOY CANNON’s enthusiasm and drive and certainly capture their moment in time.Today, the members of TOY CANNON are all still friends and see each other on occasion as their busy schedules permit. Bobby August is still an active full-time musician playing with a great ‘70s rock tribute act named Super Trans Am and is also a member of long-time local NJ circuit band Lifespeed. Guitarist Mark Christopher is a public-school teacher and currently plays in a David Bowie tribute named Starman. Jorge Canan and Michael Aldi are somewhat retired from the music business (at least for now), but with their thirty-plus year friendships still intact, who knows what the future may hold for TOY CANNON!

Toy Cannon - Forever One (CD) (2022 - Eonian Records)

$13.79Price
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