Blanc Faces: Behind The New Faces Of AOR!
Brian La Blanc introduces fans to one of the great debut albums of 2005 and a new name for AOR fans to adore...
G'Day Brian, fabulous to be doing this interview. Almost entirely fabulous and unanimous reviews for the debut Blanc Faces CD - what do you guys think of that?!!
I am very happy with the positive feedback we are getting from everyone!
Could you have wishes for a better response?
Not really...the response has been great!
And it seems the fan base who have rushed to buy this are also agreeing - which is the all important factor. Let's take it right back to the beginning. You have been working in the business for along time now. Tell us about working with Rupert Holmes. What was your job for him and what was the reward for you guys?
We were very young when we worked with Rupert Holmes...He taught me a lot about songwriting! He must have seen something that he liked and was trying to give us some guidance...Nothing ever really came of it...but hey man that's the music business! He did teach me some things that I use to this day ..
I was surprised to learn you recorded and released an album in the early 80's. Tell us about that - who for, where can you find it and what did it sound like?!!
It was for an independent label called the New York Music Company....it was one of our first efforts produced by Felix Cavaliere from the Young Rascals....There were a couple of cool tunes on it that I still like...but I think we have come a long way since then....
And you also made a video for a song on that album?
We actually made two videos ...one aired for a while on MTV back in the days, when it wasn't all RAP music....( which I don't get at all ).
So why - at that point - did things not continue on that upwards path? Where did it go wrong, or why did you chose another path?
Andrew, we were always in the wrong place at the wrong time....That's really our story for the past 20 years....A lot of close calls...but no cigar....
Blanc Faces may be a new name to this scene, but you have been working in music both your whole lives haven't you? Can you tell us about a few other things that have occupied your time over the years until now?
Over the years we have had a lot of things that ALMOST happened but didn't....and then before I knew it 20 years had gone by....WOOOOW.....we were always working and trying to make it...but it has been a tough road brother.....that's it!
When did you start writing the songs that would make up the Blanc Faces album?
I started writing the majority of the songs about a year ago...9 songs are new and the other 3 I already had in the can from years ago.
I'm curious as to when you decided that now would be a great time to make a new record, or a new start as it seems?
This opportunity just came along unexpectedly and we said let's do it!! Let's get something out there.....I'm so glad we did....
And how did you come to the attention of Frontiers Records?
A friend of ours, Lenny Ventura, sent Serafino some tunes. Serafino liked them and is using them on other projects . Then my wife who acts as our personal manager really convinced Serafino to put out a Blanc Faces CD. It's pretty much her doing...
I heard the original mix of the album - it was good, but Dennis Ward's magic touch made it great! What were your thoughts on hearing Dennis' new mix?
I love what Dennis Ward did! This guy mixed and mastered the whole thing in a few days. He was really pressured ...If he had more time he would have made it even better...a true pro and a nice dude.....
You have a sound that mirrors some of the great artists of the 80's melodic rock scene - Survivor, Foreigner, Journey etc....what are your biggest influences as writers and performers and what albums by those artists have really been important to you?
In AOR style of music
the 3 that you mention are really right on the mark....also TOTO we love!
Lukather and the boys are the best....we saw Luke at a TOTO show a couple of months ago, and he said he wanted to play on our next record....I'll be taking him up on that one!
Any touring plans or plans to get the record to USA fans?
No touring plans right now, although we've been asked by Serafino to play in Germany at a festival in October, along with some other bands
so we are going!
How do the La Blanc Brothers record - what kind of a set up do you have? Home studio?
We recorded everything in my brother's house. Robbie engineered the whole record. Kyle Woodring and Tony Archer, the two drummers that played for us, played right next to the cat litter box in the basement. Man things have really changed... If not for home studios we could have never done this record. It would have cost way too much money. After all the tracks were recorded on our old A DAT units , we fly everything over to our friend Steve Milo and he puts it in his pro tools rig. We could have never done this album without this great guy! One of the nicest guys you'll ever meet and a real talented dude also! Then Dennis Ward mixes it from there. I'll do the same thing again when we do another record. It was a good combination how it all worked out. Serafino made the right call to bring in Dennis Ward!!
How did you hook up with the rest of the guys featured on the record?
Tony Archer who plays 2 songs on drums is an old and great friend of ours as is Jeff Batter , who played the keyboards. He plays simple parts on our CD, but you
should hear this guy play! He is EXCELLENT!! A very talented guy....I know Butch Taylor who played all the guitar solos from his local band that plays around the area. He really played some nice stuff, in my opinion....Then there is Kyle Woodring, who my wife Rosanne and I met at a Dennis DeYoung show in NYC. I got his phone # and flew him out from Chicago to Connecticut...he listened to the rough demos 2 times then went in and nailed every track in 1 or 2 takes playing to nothing but a click track and 1 acoustic guitar that I put down on tape. No Vocal guide no nothing! In my opinion He made the whole record come alive and gave us a great foundation to build upon. I'm so glad that we met him....also a terrific human being...he is a very good friend of ours now...
You must have some great and also heart wrenching stories from within the music industry. How about your best story and also your worst experience?
Well let me see.....I can't think of too many good stories but I have a lot of shitty ones! The worst was being signed to legendary producer Arif Mardin, who was the man at Atlantic Records for many years...he really liked us as well as the president of the label...but the A &R dept. thought that we were too healthy looking. So Arif said I don't want to do it if they're not going to promote you....we were all set to go then it was over just like that.....that whole thing really sucked......that was a tough time for us....
One of the best stories for us is having this CD out on Frontiers and talking to people like you! No kidding ...this is our best moment...we have had a lot of tough breaks in this business....but this whole Frontiers thing has been a lot of fun ...also listening to my 5 year old daughter sing all the songs on the Blanc Faces CD has been awesome...you should hear her sing ...she's unbelievable!
What's next for Blanc Faces? What can we expect in the next 18 months?
I'll continue to write music hopefully for another Blanc Faces CD as well as other projects that Serafino sends my way...we should be going to Germany in October to play at a festival with Survivor and some other bands....we're looking forward to that a lot....
What are you guys listening to right now - what has impressed you of the recent releases of 2004/05?
There is not a lot of new music that really kills me...I wish there was...my brother Robbie likes the band Maroon 5...I like the band Train......I heard this song by John Waite called New York City Girl the other day for the first time. I really love that tune!
Anything you guys would like to add?
I would like to thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview with me ....I really appreciate it.....and for all the people who gave us great reviews and that dig the record..." Here's To You " .......Thanks to my parents who are really enjoying this ....also thanks to my wife Rosanne who is our biggest fan and supporter....she got this whole thing going !!!
Many thanks for your time to do the interview. Let me know if you need anything at any time.
Take care Andrew...I hope to meet you someday.....God Bless man.....