Shark Island Resurfaces

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Tuesday, July 10, 2007 @ 10:00 AM

New Album Planned

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From a press release issued today:

Can a band that only released one official full-length album in its career be considered legendary? Ask any of the throng of Shark Island fans who flocked to the band’s hundreds of shows during their reign on Sunset Strip in the 80s. Their answer: a resounding yes! It’s a good bet that most still have their copy of 1990’s Law Of The Order as they’ve waited over the years for more.

Those fans, their kids and a whole new generation of rock and rollers will be ecstatic to hear that Shark Island is finally resurfacing after over a decade apart with an explosive new collection, Gathering Of The Faithful, that features 13 exciting new tracks co-composed by lead singer Richard Black and guitarist Spencer Sercombe, who originally met in high school and formed the group (originally known as The Sharks) in 1979.

Gathering has already caught fire in Europe, where Shark Island enjoys a rabid cult status, and it is currently available on iTunes and other major outlets. A heavy street team promotion is underway along with a push to college and internet radio in the U.S.

A little history is in order before Black, Sercombe, bassist Christian Heilmann (who first joined in 1989) and new drummer Glen Sobel get itchy from all the new activity and hit the road again. In the ten years leading up to Shark Island’s 1990 hit collection Law Of The Order, Black estimates that he and Sercombe clocked from 300-400 hours a year onstage—some shows jamming up to four hours. They were the kings of SoCal rock, playing everywhere from Pasadena to Huntington Beach, Los Angeles to Orange County hotspots like The Whisky, The Roxy, The Troubadour and The Palace. They also hit the road on occasion and worked their magic on fans throughout the country.

Following in the tradition of Van Halen, Mötley Crüe and other L.A. bands, Shark Island was also the house band for several years at the world famous Gazzari’s on the Sunset Strip. Before signing their major label deal at Epic, they independently released three albums, Altar Ego, S’cool Buss, and Bastille Day: Alive At The Whiskey. In 1989, their signature tunes “Dangerous” and “Father Time” were featured in the movie and on the soundtrack for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Their song “My City” was also featured on the soundtrack for the film Point Break.

The impetus behind Gathering Of The Faithful was the tireless passion of one fan, Robert Marshall, the owner of the label Manifest Music and Entertainment, who has known the guys for years and was looking for strong artists to sign to his new company. He pitched the idea for a new project first to Black in L.A., then Sercombe who has been living in Germany for the past ten years, and finally, to Heilmann in England.

The three joined forces with new drummer Glen Sobel. Shark Island dusted off and updated some old songs they had never had the chance to record, wrote a batch of new ones, and started recording new tracks at Henson Sound on La Brea. Back in the day, that facility was known as A&M studios, where they recorded “Dangerous,” “Father Time” and other tracks as part of a development deal with A&M in the late 80’s.

“Because we were scattered around the world, there was a lot of time and space between us that had to be breached,” says Sercombe, who during the intervening years played in Riverdogs, The Bill Ward Band (Black Sabbath drummer) and The Michael Schenker Group.

“One of the coolest things about the way this came together was that we got to do it at the old A&M Studios, where we recorded our first professional quality track over 20 years ago. Robert was shocked to learn that we hadn’t recorded in so long and really shook the tree to make things happen again. It had been 13 years since Richard and I had been in the studio together, yet it felt like it always did, comfortable and with great energy, like we had never stopped. It’s like the time had never gone by. We were also lucky to find Glen since our original drummer wasn’t available. Sometimes you don’t know how the chemistry is going to work, but in this case, we all locked in.”

For Black, who had been inactive in recent years after joining the supergroup Contraband (with members of Ratt, Vixen and L.A. Guns) and starting Black 13 in the mid-90s, Gathering Of The Faithful was a chance to make up for a lot of bad luck and poor decisions that ultimately dogged Shark Island’s career the first time around.

“This album is a little closer to the original intent of the band compared to any other project we ever recorded,” he says, “including Law Of The Order, which was created as much by us as by a consensus of our manager and the record company as a more distilled and packaged product. This time, we were really into recording solid rock songs that had words that meant something, songs you could listen to over and over and always find new, exciting sounds in the tracks. We had performed some of these before, but others were skeletal and had never been finished. We went in with no expectations at all, and our only mission was to please ourselves and put out songs for people to enjoy. We’re less worried about picking a hit single than simply letting listeners decide what they like because there’s something for everyone.”

The coolly grooving, anthemic opening track “Blue Skies” sums up the spirit of the Shark Island reunion. “It came from the moment of clarity we have when we’re pursuing a certain kind of dream and chasing after success or happiness at the end,” says Black. “Then, when you get it, it’s kind of a letdown so you realize that the journey was much more fulfilling than the end product.” Other key tracks are “The Stranger,” a song that questions the changing nature of a romantic relationship; the optimistic “Looking For The Sun” (about breaking through horrible moments of depression); and “Go West,” which they wrote in their heyday when hundreds of bands migrated to L.A. from back East, hoping to strike gold and platinum.

“We chose the title ‘Gathering Of The Faithful’ because that’s what this felt like, getting the remnants of the old Shark Island together along with others like our old road manager who played a part in our early success,” Black adds. “We’ve been through so many ups and downs, successes and failures, ins and outs, but honestly, it’s a real blessing to have the chance to make a living making music at all. Each of us has had the chance to touch so many people with what we’re doing. It’s wonderful to have someone like Robert champion us again, and getting back in the studio was like revisiting with old friends. We’re already writing songs for our next album and are excited about starting the recording process later in the summer.”

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