OPEN SKYZ - OPEN SKYZ (1993, RCA/BMG)
Hugo - vocals
Adam Holland - guitars
Craig Pullman - keyboards
Gerard Zappa - bass
Drums performed by Neil Christopher
The unfortunate demise of Long Island AOR heroes Valentine
rode on the back of missed opportunities, bad management and that old chestnut.. 'musical differences' among band members. At this point in their career, Valentine
had been pushed, pulled and prodded, not sure whether they were an MTV attraction, arena sellout, or AOR underground material. If they had three feet, they could have easily plonked one in each camp and kept everybody happy. Drummer Neil Christopher, an influential figure in the band, had departed the scene, hence Valentine
became known as Open Skyz, a deliberately mistyped title from one of their songs. One can only suggest that Christopher had a say in the original band-name. With a change in band-name came a change in producer and record label, and ultimately, sound. Out went Neil Kernon in came Richie Zito, out went Giant Records, in came RCA. The bombastic approach heard on Valentine
has made way for some lighter styled AOR. The Steve Perry
-isms, if they weren't so obvious on Valentine
, surely are now. Not that I mind!
There are a few decent moments on the album. Smooth AOR in the form of 'Nothing Without You', the bright sounding 'Golden Years' plus the pulsing title track. Even a cover of Supertramp
's 'Give A Little Bit' is attempted here, though I'm sure many of us would have preferred that it wasn't. By and large it is lighter AOR, harmless enough, but not as dangerous as it could've been.
While out on the road supporting Mr. Big
, RCA dropped a clanger, dropping the band in midstream. That would be enough to piss any band off and break up, and that is what exactly happened. A few years later Hugo appeared as a solo artist, with a few albums under his belt now for Now And Then/Frontiers Records. He is also a member of a Journey
cover band called Evolution
based on Long Island, New York. A group of guys who had talent, only to be wasted on some middle management executives with a hearing disorder!!
01 None Of It Matters
02 Nothing Without You
03 Golden Years
04 Open Skies
05 The Answer
06 Every Day of My Life
07 Pickin up the Pieces Again
08 Give a Little Bit
09 Candy from Strangers
10 Take Me There
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