Saturday, June 28, 2008

Avion Deliver 'Pomp Rock' To Australia

Sydney band Avion (not to be confused with the L.A. act current in the 00’s or the 'Par' variety) came into being during 1981. Randall Waller (vocals/guitar) had already released two solo albums (‘Oasis’ in 1978 and ‘Midnight Fire’ in 1980) before forming the band Lionheart which soon evolved into Avion. Completing the original line-up were Martin Toole (guitar), Evan Murray (keyboards), along with Waller’s brothers Kendall (bass) and John (drums). Avion’s musical style was unabashedly influenced by American Adult Oriented Rock (think Journey/Boston/Night Ranger etc). The band also included a strong Christian message in their music lyrically though it wasn’t overtly evident.

A recording contract with RCA led to the release of their eponymous debut album in 1983 (OZ#48). RCA obviously thought the group’s sound better suited the North American market because the album was release there before it was at home in Australia. The album didn’t receive much promotion and though the first single from it ‘I Need You’ was a minor hit (OZ#61 - reaching as high as #40 in NSW), Avion didn’t break through in a major way. Two more ‘Diamond Eyes’ and ‘Never Let Me Go’ were lifted from the album but neither made the charts. A stand alone single ‘Still The Night’ was released in August 1984 but again didn’t sell well.

Paul Gannell came in to replace Toole on guitar for the band’s second album, 1987’s ‘White Noise’. The album included the earlier single releases ‘We’ve Got Secrets’ and ‘Celebration’ but the celebrations were non existent as none made the charts. The band had remained a solid touring outfit throughout this period though, and it was on a late 1987 tour that keyboardist Evan Murray was killed in a car accident. The loss of Murray and the failure to break through commercially finally led Waller to call an end to Avion’s tenure.

Randall Waller continued a strong involvement in the Australian music scene and for a time played in Sharon O’Neill’s band. He then settled in the U.K. for a time, working as a producer and also playing with Bonnie Tyler’s band. During the 90s he was recruited to the legendary Billy Thorpe’s touring band, and there are unconfirmed reports that he was last seen playing with Shania Twain’s touring band.
‘I Need You’ was always a personal favourite of mine from that whole era of big loud ‘n brash music - pomp-rock to some - and a big word of thanks goes to Meggsy at 80s-Tapes (see ultra-cool links) for helping me out with a quality copy of this classic!

I Need You - Avion

No comments: