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Flyer - 2007 Interview with Lou Rera
Interview With: Lou Rera of FLYER
Written By: Eric Abrahamsen
For: GLORY-DAZE
Date: 12 November, 2007

FLYER
Infinity Records' motto was 'All we ask you to do is listen', but unfortunately other than pomp masters New England and smooth jazz pioneers Spyro Gyra, few people took the labels advice. One Infinity band that slipped under the radar of most radio programmers and record buyers alike was Flyer and their album 'Send A Little Love My Way'. I am proud to say I actually bought the album back in 1979 and was instantly impressed with its mixture of AOR, Progressive rock and 60's British pop tendencies similar to the Canadian band Klaatu.


Since then the album has remained a personal favourite, but I have always been somewhat surprised 'Send A Little Love My Way' hardly ever gets a mention especially considering some of the well known names that contributed to the record. Listening to the record a few weeks ago lead to an internet search which turned up Flyer member Lou Rera and an interesting email exchange including news that the band has remastered the album from the original 24 track tapes.

EA: Lou, give us some background on how the Flyer came together and some of the groups influences.
LR: Flyer was formed by Bill Torrico and me. We got together around 1972, both from prior work in music with other musicians and bands. We were writers basically coming off influences primarily from The Beatles, Hollies, Bee Gees ('The early pre-disco material like 'New York Mining Disaster 1941'), Kinks, Cliff Richard, Beach Boys, a bit later Eric Carmen (Raspberries), Alan Parsons Project, Klaatu, Steely Dan etc. Of course there were many earlier: Elvis, Sedaka etc. I guess a list like this could go on and on. Bill and I wanted to record. We called Bob Wiesner for drums, and Tom Dussault for guitar work. We spent all of our time working out the parts for songs that we'd written. Almost 5 days a week. We rehearsed as a band, playing all the material live, but with the intention of cutting basic tracks then embellishing them with guitar, piano (keyboards) and vocal overdubs. We considered ourselves a studio band. Obviously we wanted to cut down on studio time. We could finesse the parts in the studio without wasting time working them out.


Of course the atmosphere in the studio is conducive for creative work. By the way all this was happening in Buffalo, New York at Trackmaster.

EA: How did Flyer end up on the Infinity label?
LR: The Infinity deal came about like a lot of deals in those days. Exposure and beating on doors. We won a few entries in the America Song Festival. Kim Carnes being one of the bigger names to come out of that. We met a few agents in New York City and did a marathon weekend session with an English producer, Barry Kingston (I believe) for 'Send a little love my way' He was associated with Peer-Southern Music out of the UK. We had signed a publishing deal with them a few months earlier. Lenny Silver from Amherst Records signed us to shop us around for a deal. At the same time Spyro Gyra was doing fairly well with their new release 'Morning Dance' on the independent Amherst label. Lenny got us into the deal with Ron Alexenburg from Infinity.

EA: The band mixed with some very impressive company during the recording and a few of those names appear on the album.
LR: We soon met Larry Emerine, a producer working out of Studio 55, an engineer for Richard Perry (Pointer Sisters, Leo Sayer, Harry Nilsson, Fats Domino, Rod Stewart). Studio 55 on Melrose in LA was a bee-hive of creative activity. A very hot place to cut tracks. Eric Carmen screaming into a wall to rough up his voice for some tracks, three studios going all day and all night. One of our first sessions, Linda Ronstadt was working across the hall. We met her in the coffee room and we knew we were miles from where we had started. Jeff Porcaro and David Paich had been working for months on Toto's first album in Studio 55. Jeff was also cutting tracks with Steely Dan at the same time at another studio across town.


Jeff brought in a rough mix from one of the Dan sessions, we all sat around in Studio A, blown away by what we heard. Emerine had arranged for David and Jeff to lay down basic tracks with us.
Other musician's got involved too. We made the circuit around L.A to accomplish different tracking needs. We met Dan Wynman at Sound Arts for synth work. We went out to work with Louie Shelton at Dawnbreaker Studios to cut some additional guitars. Jessie Dixon's vocal group did some backing vocal tracks. We spent months out there layering the album, strings included. For 'Let It Happen To You' we found Cameron McKay, a Renaissance festival performer to play bagpipes. The players were the best in the business. From our perspective, it was all about the music, the song. We'd spent so much time writing and arranging we wanted the best performances available, so the project took on a studio session feel and dynamic. Burton Cummings was working in one of the other studios. He basically stopped in one night and liked what he heard. He particularly liked a track titled 'Natalie'. He said he had some ideas for a keyboard part and we said sure. He did a few other things on the album, some backing vocals too. We became friends in that studio sense, visited him for some later concert work he'd done in Toronto.

EA: Like Dixon House Band and Screams, Flyer were casualties of Infinity's financial situation and there wasn't much promotion for the album was there?
LR: Inifinty hastily put the cover art together and did very little in the way of promotion as you alluded to. We did an opening at a couple of record store signings, but we knew we were dead out of the gate. We flew to New York City to meet with A&R, but nothing. We never knew if the company was already in the process of cutting back or folding. To this day, we still don't. After seven years of work, to get to that point of a major release, with modest air play and a Billboard pick for the single ('Send A Little Love My Way') We just dissolved. The band members were basically burned out, but not defeated. Hard to get another deal when the one you just did imploded with no real revenue. The Flyer project investment had been about 100k at 1979 prices.

EA: What happened after the break-up?
LR: I went on after that in 1980 doing studio work producing a band, Pauline and the Perils. Wrote all new material for myself, recorded an EP and went back to 55 to mix the project. I released a single titled 'Why Bother' on an indie label. Bill was still writing, submitting things to Richard Perry, I think for Donna Summer. Nothing ever materialized out of those projects.


Bob dropped out and went to work in a traditional environment. Tom Dussault, being a great performing guitarist went back to road band work and his own composing. Bill, Tom and myself got together for a couple of studio projects, soundtracks for TV News and corporate video work. Somewhere in the 90's the three of us decided to remix the Flyer project, we also re-cut some of the vocals and bass and guitar tracks and were satisfied by ending up with the mix that we originally wanted. I might add there was a fair amount of friction between the producer (Emerine) and ourselves, especially when it got to the mixing stage. He wanted a prelude to a disco sound. We hated that idea. The sounds were basically simple pop songs, written specifically for the market at the time. I will say this. We learned great studio techniques from the musicians and engineers. Porcaro showed us a little trick by placing an Auratone speaker on a snare drum, feeding the original snare track through the speaker, then recording that signal with different mic set-ups. The result was a fat-bigger-than-life snare sound (perfectly synced, no delay).

EA: Many thanks Lou, any final thoughts?
LR: I couldn't believe that after a search on the net, I could actually buy our original press kit from Infinity and a promo copy of the album. I guess now, nothing is ever gone for good (so to speak).

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This article has been tagged
Tags: Flyer (USA) 
 
Comments
#1 | whiterook on January 01 1970 01:00:00
How do we order the cd? Where is the website?
#2 | dannyrock on November 12 2007 12:40:41
It was great keep on rocki'n guys
#3 | gdazegod on November 29 2007 10:00:14
Whiterook, I don't think this is on CD, and there is no official website.. relating to Flyer.
 
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