Brian Moritz (Guitar, Keys, Backing Vocal)
Vince Claps (Lead and Backing Vocal)
Dave LaRue (Bass)
Rod Morgenstein (Drums)
Joel Kaplan (Keys)
Influences - Yes, Queen, Eagles and many many others. [Toto, Mecca, Chicago, Trillion]
Sounds Like - If I had to describe it in general, it would be a cross between the Eagles and Trevor Rabin-era Yes, with less gloss and a lot more notes sometimes!
Balance was formed in the Spring of 1995 but it's origins trace back to a band called Tyme which was the group leader Brian Moritz's first serious progressive rock band. Moritz said Tyme was in the final stages of signing a deal with a local label, when song-writing legend Jim Peterik was brought in as a consultant, and we got the Gong. "I don t blame Jim, we hadn't practiced in three months (two of the band members were away at school) when they booked us at Universal Studio and those hours logged there were among the longest of my life. We had submitted a demo tape that the label loved that had things like 12-part vocals, and Jim wanted to hear it live. We had worked up a set of brand new material, but they didn't want that - they wanted to hear our demo material live, we made an attempt and fell flat on our faces.
After that fiasco I demoed stuff and had interested labels in my solo material, but I'm not a solo kinda guy and they didn't like the rock band demos I played them, so I shelved the concept of doing something like a progressive band as it's been a downhill decline for good music for the past couple of decades.
Well that was until I hit the point of where it was either do what I love, or die from lack of creativity on jobbing dates trying to make a living as a player, tortured by the desire to do something unique and express myself. Thankfully there is a happy ending, I've never been happier, Balance is the culmination of a bunch of miracles that have happened in my life."
Moritz's prog roots trace back even further than Tyme with local AOR legends Trillion. "I stumbled across the opportunity to audition to replace Pat Leonard in the band, and that band being one of my favorite bands was absolutely amazing. I used to follow those guys around by myself, not even bothering with bringing friends to their gigs, because I didn t want them distracting me from watching the band play, Pat in particular.
I started producing local singer/songwriters and had done that for a few years when one day a guy that I went to College with walked into the studio as I was walking out and we started talking, and next thing I'm producing him, with Thom Griffin singing who was a friend of his.
I was pretty happy getting a chance to work with Thom, he's one of the very best vocalists and vocal arrangers there is, and once we got done with that project we went on to do jingles and sessions together occasionally always keeping in touch and talking about someday getting a chance to do something creative together."
Vince and Brian go back even further, since Vince's first audition was for a band that Brian was playing in. "Vince was all of about 16 and had the worst PA in the world, however, it was better than ours so he was in. Later we played in a string of bands over about a 10 year period of time, the most successful of which was making over six figures for a four-piece group, so we were pretty proud of ourselves having made it past the gig-less, money-less years.
After a while the money didn't matter, only having fun did and it wasn't fun for me or Vince slugging it out at wedding receptions, private parties and bars.
It was all turning into a giant re-run everywhere we played where it seemed like another night and another location. We always talked about doing something serious, but the timing never was right until last year, some 25 years after we met. Joel was a rep for music manufacturers and I worked in retail music so we got to know each other through the store I worked at. Joel's old guitarist Joe Stopka and I were good friends and their band the Crawdad's was selected as a finalist in the regional Yamaha Soundcheck Competition but Joe couldn t make it, so I was his sub.
Joel is a great keyboardist; he blew me away when I first heard him play. I hired him for a gig one night, and it was one of those magical nights where the band was on fire, so when the opportunity came up to put together a killer band, he was on a short list of one guy, his command of many styles and big ears made him a natural fit in the group.
Rod and Dave everyone knows are the rhythm section for the Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse is a very close friend, and one thing led to another. The day that those two decided to be a part of Balance II was the completion of a long journey where all along it I wondered why put myself through it...
Then it all started to make sense. Rod and Dave are the best of the best and I can't wait for Balance III to begin as there are many surprises in store - so stay tuned!
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