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Articles Home » 1991 Articles » Return To Zero (RTZ) - 1991 Return To Zero
Return To Zero (RTZ) - 1991 Return To Zero

ARTIST: Return To Zero (RTZ)
ALBUM: Return To Zero
LABEL: Reprise/Giant
SERIAL: 9 24422-2
YEAR: 1991
CD REISSUE: 2016, Rock Candy Records, CANDY291


LINEUP: Brad Delp - lead and backing vocals * Barry Goudreau - guitar, backing vocals * Tim Archibald - bass * Brian Maes - keyboards, backing vocals * David Stefanelli - drums, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Face The Music * 02 There's Another Side * 03 All You've Got * 04 This Is My Life * 05 Rain Down On Me * 06 Every Door Is Open * 07 Devil To Pay * 08 Until Your Love Comes Back Around * 09 Livin' For The Rock 'n' Roll * 10 Hard Time (In The Big House) * 11 Return To Zero

This is one of those albums that re-crosses my desk in an attempt to impress a second time around. And it does. Given that 1991 was a transitional year in the hard rock industry, Return To Zero (or RTZ to the rest of you) managed to scrape out a modicum of success before the flannelette brigade took over. Of course, anyone travelling up and down AOR boulevard during these unseemly times would've been highly intrigued by a new project involving two fifths of Boston, notably the 'voice' Bradley Delp and guitarist Barry Goudreau. As 'Third Stage' was some five years distant, RTZ filled a waypoint between that album and 1994's 'Walk On', though RTZ was hardly a Boston retread. In fact, this five-piece don't desire to rehash the familiar harmonies and song structures of Tom Scholz's mob, instead they go off in their own direction and do their own thing. Some have called it Boston lite, but even that description is a little off-beam. RTZ were a far more radio friendly proposition, and 1991 saw them make a slight dent in the radio waves. Formed in 1989, the band were complimented by fellow Boston resident Tim Archibald, a member of 80's pop/rock outfit New Man (reviewed here at GDAZE), keyboardist Brian Maes, a former member of Goudreau's Orion The Hunter's touring band, plus drummer David Stefanelli.

The Songs
Of the songs, there are a few highlights. Videos were made for the lead off track 'Face The Music' and the No#1 selling single 'Until Your Love Comes Back Around'. Both are great examples of AOR, one a melodic radio rocker, the other a timeless ballad sealed in a canister. 'There's Another Side' is more evidence of RTZ's radio oriented rock with a nod in the direction of Alias. The very nice acoustic/electric track 'All You've Got' has a definite Boston lite edge to it,while the track 'Rain Down On Me' is better known as one of John Warren's better tracks amongst his solo material. I think I prefer Warren's version than this one, truth be told. The remaining tracks are a steady energetic set of rockers, 'Hard Time' could be 'There's Another Side' part 2, 'Livin' For The Rock 'n' Roll' sees the band entertain in a big-band funtime way, while the closing title track 'Return To Zero' ends things on a raucous note.

In Summary
Despite a very good selling single, the label (Reprise/Giant) didn't know how to promote the band properly. That's pretty disgraceful considering they were given a No#1 song with 'Until Your Love Comes Back Around'. Because of the situation and the changing fortunes for melodic rock, RTZ went on the back burner. Delp returned to Boston, while the others went off to other projects. Delp and Goudreau would reunite for a 2003 CD which was a far cry from their superior legacy work of other bands. Goudreau and Archibald are also part of local faves Ernie And The Automatics, while Delp (as we all know) passed away in 2007. RTZ is a far cry from the Boston sound, and though the material is credible, a handful of songs lifts this album up a few notches.

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#1 | jeffrey343 on July 20 2011 15:06:43
I picked this up sometime in the mid 90s at a used CD store, and I still play it a couple times a year. Overall pretty good stuff. If it had come out ten years earlier, it might be higher on my list.
#2 | Eric on July 20 2011 17:08:19
I was never enamoured with this disc. Its one of those late in the game AOR releases like Shadowking and Blue Tears that rate highly, but fall flat material wise, at least to my ears. Went right in the drill-hole budget bins too...
#3 | dangerzone on July 20 2011 17:17:04
I agree with Eric. I bought this used years ago and it never caught hold with me. The AOR scene in those years was fading fast and this sums up how bland melodic rock became after the 80's. You might have expected more from these guys, but when taking into account that horrific 2003 'Delp-Goudreau' effort maybe this isn't as surprising as thought.
#4 | jeffrey343 on July 21 2011 01:24:49
That 2003 Delp and Goudreau album wasn't anything special. I was hoping it would be a hidden gem, but I haven't listened to it in the three years since I posted a comment on it. I do think this RTZ album would have caught on better if it were released at least two years earlier. It works fine for me now if I'm in the right mood for it.
#5 | gdazegod on July 21 2011 02:24:34
That Goudreau/Delp CD was indeed horrific.
#6 | Nick C on July 21 2011 06:42:32
I think the first 5 tracks are pretty good but it starts to slide a little after these. I have to echo the comments with regards it not quite catching on with folk - I like it but some spark or something is missing to elevate it to a must have.
#7 | Jez on July 29 2011 22:47:44
Same as some peeps above, good and solid, nothing mind blowing.
#8 | trillion1999 on October 24 2011 13:58:41
I heard a track from this on TV but I did not remember it.A second hand-store that sold used CDs had it for 1 dollar but I never dared to buy it.Sorry.
#9 | AOR Lee on January 25 2013 04:43:42
RTZ s/t and Orion The Hunter form part of my Boston collection, providing some relief from those 2 gaps of 8 years! While the RTZ disc wasn't as strong as the 2 Boston albums either side of it, there were some AOR gems on side one. File between Third Stage and Walk On guitar
#10 | Carlos Ramirez on September 06 2014 01:11:51
'Until Your Love Comes Back Around' is a monster!
#11 | gdazegod on July 12 2016 03:22:50
Not quite sure why this is on the Rock Candy roster. Pretty average at best. helpless
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