The new album - Fire and Grace
The new album - Fire and Grace
It is possible, maybe even likely that only keen-eared archaeologists of rock and those driven to dig deeper into the record racks will know of the great melodic hard rock band, Alliance. It would be news to some that their near thirty-year collaboration has previously yielded five highly regarded albums and that their almost secretively rare live shows could be counted on a single hand. Their new release, Fire and Grace on Escape Music LTD., the first in several years following Bond of Union (1996), Alliance (1997), Missing Piece (1999), Destination Known (2007), and Road to Heaven (2008) marks their 6th offering. You would be wrong to assume that the semi-occasional nature of their efforts indicates a lack of commitment or waning passion.
For Fire and Grace, the core of the band remains the same with guitarist Gary Pihl (Boston), drummer Mr. David Lauser (Sammy Hagar) and bassist Robert Berry (3, GTR). The roots of their origin can be traced to Bill Graham’s place known as Wolfgang’s, in San Francisco. It was at Wolfgang’s that long time Sammy Hagar drummer David Lauser and keyboardist Jesse Harms were scouting for players while plotting their next moves after Hagar joined Van Halen. By chance, legendary Geffen Records A/R man John Kalodner had given Lauser demos from Robert Berry, a new artist being groomed by Geffen. Phone calls were exchanged, more demos were exchanged. Harms and Lauser traveled to Wolfgang’s to see Berry perform. Lauser liked what he saw, but things for everybody were about to get complicated. The forces of the Universe taking over. The new friends would have to wait for that first chance to play together as Harms hooked up with REO Speedwagon, Tom Scholz recruited Gary Pihl to join Boston, Berry was off to England to work with Steve Howe in GTR and later Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer. Mr. Lauser was immersed in recording with Hagar and other artists.
They kept in touch as destiny ran its course. Lauser, along with guitarist Gary Pihl still longed for the allusive missing pieces for the new project outside of their main gigs. Early in 1993, Berry received a call from Lauser. They agreed to try again and this time reached out to keyboardist Alan (Fitz) Fitzgerald. Fitz's band, Night Ranger had a shakeup and he too was eyeing something new. The timing was finally right. David, Gary, Robert, and Fitz gathered together at Hagar's studio in Mill Valley and worked through songs from their demos. According to a witness, “there was an immediate connection. Everybody in the room could feel it. The vibe was powerful and inspiring”. They immediately recognized the common thread that would feed their creativity.
So it all began in earnest. Initially, the new band recorded demos at Hagar's house and then at a studio in Boston. A signature style was beginning to emerge and the band was bonding even though they were spread geographically throughout the country, with Pihl in Boston, Fitz based in Texas, Lauser in Southern California and Berry in the heart Silicon Valley. They were then and remain committed to making their long-distance transcontinental sonic alliance work. Things were always complicated as Pihl was happily recording and touring with Boston, Fitz was touring with Van Halen, Lauser was always busy touring and recording with Hagar, and Berry, after completing an album and tour with Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer (in the band 3) was immersed as a producer for other artists as well as advancing his burgeoning solo career.
Over the years and still today Alliance continues to solidify and bolster their long distance collaborations. Though the scheduling remains challenging their passion and commitment remains energized. Their musical benchmark, perhaps a product of their high profile roles outside of Alliance, has always been pushed to the highest standard. And it’s clear that they always strive to surpass their previous release. Thus they have earned a loyal, patient and growing fan base over the years that are sure to enjoy and embrace the Fire and Grace.
More music from the guys that brought you Fire and Grace.
Episode 414 of the Iron City Rocks Podcast welcome's Mr. David Lauser of AllianceFrom Pittsburgh it's Episode 414 of the Iron City Rocks Podcast we welcome David Lauser of Alliance. Alliance recently released Fire & Grace in 2019 which is their first album in 11 years. David talks about how the three members (David, Boston’s East Coast Gary Phil and 3’s Robert Berry) wrote and refined the album over that long period of time. David also talked to us about his long relationship with the Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar. David talks about recognizing Sammy’s songwriting abilities while they were both still in high school, the fateful Farm Aid show that, for a time, ended Sammy’s solo career, and much, much more.
Listen the David on the Iron City Rocks Podcast Here
find more info about the Iron Ciry Rocks Podcast info Here
Wildfire Radio.com's SHOETOOTH – Episode 146 interviews Gary PihlThe Lineup:'East Coast Gary Pihl' - Cleanup - Rock History Lesson - Classic Rock. The scouting report on Boston, Sammy Hagar and Alliance's New Album - Fire and Grace. Also batting is Shoetooth 76ers Draft Announced, Boston-Philadelphia Wildwire Future Hall of Famers Ray Murphy Leadoff Midseason Pitching Report MLB Pitching Trade Market
Listen to Gary Pihl on with SHOETOOTH from Wildfire Radio Here
or find SHOETOOTH – Episode 146 Here
Central Coast Rock interviews Gary & David: Alliance & moreTo celebrate the release of Alliance’s new CD Fire & Grace we asked guitarist Gary Pihl and Drummer David Lauser a round of questions First off tell us how you discovered Music. Was there a certain personality or event that inspired you to start playing?
Gary Pihl: I always liked the sound of electric guitars. It started with Duane Eddy and The Ventures. When I was in a band in high school in California, the other guitarist said there was a great guitar teacher in the next town and that we should all take lessons from him. We started lessons and saw his band, The Warlocks, play at a local pizza parlor. He stopped giving lessons when his band changed their name to The Grateful Dead. That was Jerry Garcia giving us lessons.
David Lauser: Seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan…I had no aspirations of becoming a musician but that really got my attention. Oddly enough, I became a drummer by accident, as a friend gave me a pair of drum sticks when I was 14 years old…I began beating on any surface available to my favorite records….the rest is history.
Read more of the interview with Mr. Lauser and Gary here
BOSTON AND BEYOND: A CONVERSATION WITH GARY PIHLRegardless of what each project calls for, his professional and passionate approach to the music is what makes every collaboration worth listening to. I had the opportunity to speak with Pihl recently about his career and what fans can expect when they dive into the long-awaited new album from Alliance.
Music n Other Drugs: How did the idea for Alliance initially come about?
Pihl: Well, I had played in Sammy Hagar’s band for eight years and became really close with David Lauser and Alan Fitzgerald. Sammy came to us and said that he received an offer he couldn’t refuse from Van Halen, but he added that we were a great band and should continue on with something different. We had opened for Boston with Sammy in ’77, ’78, and into ’79, so I became friendly with Tom Scholz. Tom called me and asked if I wanted to come play on the last song of 1986’s “Third Stage,” which I did. I thought I would just help them finish the album and that would be it, but I ended up joining the band full-time, and, 30-something years later, here I am still in the band. After “Third Stage” was finished, Tom said that it would take a few years to make the next Boston album, so Alliance came together when David, Alan, and I started working with Robert Berry, and everything just clicked. We actually jammed together in Sammy’s home studio and it sounded great. Robert had also played with Sammy in Los Tres Gusanos in 1996 and 1998, so we were .....
Read more of the David Hens' MNOD interview with Gary here
BETTER EACH DAY AUDIO INTERVIEW WITH GARY PIHLHost Bruce Hilliard created the Better Each Day Podcast Radio Show to provide a platform and an build an audience for creative people to discuss and share their work. It’s the World’s Got Talent Show where everyone wins. Bruce say the best way to appreciate and understand a song and the artist is to hear the composer speak first-hand. That's what BED is about. The backstories of the artist and their work.
Listen to Bruce Hilliard's interview with Gary here
viriAOR Review of Alliance's “Fire & Grace”Algo habremos hecho mal en el mundo del rock melódico cuando siendo una de las variantes globales más satisfactoria de escuchar, vende tan poco en términos generales. Existen cientos de ejemplos en los que músicos venidos desde las galaxias más lejanas del mundo de la música, se afanan por sacar al menos una vez a lo largo de su carrera algún disco de AOR o sinónimos parecidos. Desde Roger Daltrey hasta componentes de ABBA, desde el guitarrista de Nightwish, hasta los componentes de The Magnificent que nada tienen que ver con ese sonido y sacan uno de los mejores discos melódicos de los últimos 20 años. El guitarrista de Duran Duran, no sé, ejemplos hay tantos que seguro que tú conoces 100 más. Y sin embargo, existe un cierto clima acerca de este estilo musical en el que parece no importar a nadie. Algo hemos hecho mal… en los conciertos de grupos melódicos en España van cuatro gatos, mientras las entradas para Metallica o AC&DC se agotan los ...
Read Wizard's entire viriAOR review, in Spanish, here
Extreme Guitars Ax Facts & Stats interview with Alliance & BOSTON guitarist Gary PihlMy guitar influences growing up were: Duane Eddy, Ventures, Rolling Stones. The guitars I use are: Bill Foley, PRS S2 Standard. The strings and tunings I use are: 9-46 or 10-46 standard A440. My current rig setup consists of: Tube amp I built for Alliance recordings, Rockman gear for Boston gigs. The greatest invention for guitars is: the pickup. My normal songwriting process consists of: riffs, words and arrangement – in that order. My favorite guitar solo from our band: Reason to Walk Away – Alliance, Walk On - Boston. My favorite all-time guitar solo (from another guitarist): While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Favorite all-time song (any artist) is: Tempted By The Fruit of Another - Squeeze. Favorite song by our band: Road to Heaven – Alliance, Long Time - Boston. Favorite song to perform in front of a live audience: My My My – Alliance, More Than A Feeling - Boston. My Career highlight thus far ...
Read more of Extreme Guitars Ax Facts & Stats interview with Gary here
GARY PIHL GUITARIST WITH CLASSIC ROCK LEGENDS 'BOSTON' RELEASES NEW ALBUM WITH 'ALLIANCE' EXCLUSIVEPihl’s first big break in came in 1977, when he joined Sammy Hagar’s band, where he toured and recorded for 8 years. Gary met Tom Scholz when Hagar was opening for BOSTON between ’77 and ’79. In 1985, Sammy joined Van Halen, however, Pihl didn’t miss a beat. He explains, “Tom called me up when he was working on the Third Stage album, he had one more song left to be recorded and asked me if I’d come out to work with him on it. As it turned out, I flew directly from Farm Aid (my last gig with Hagar) to Boston, so I wasn’t out of work for a day. I thought, how lucky could a guy get?” Alliance is one of the best melodic hard rock bands you’ve probably never heard of even though the band has collaborated together for nearly 30 years and counting. ...
Read entireTHE CLASSIC ROCK MUSIC REPORTER interview with Gary here
Metal Temple Review - Alliance - Fire and Grace
This trio has members that worked on famous names as GTR, 3, BOSTON, and Sammy Hagar, between others, so these guys know the way to create a very good set of songs. And “Fire and Grace” is filled with excellent accessible melodies, amazing instrumental and vocal parts, with everything working as it must. The technical level is not exaggerated, using sobriety as a strong basis. And their music is that old and good form of Melodic Hard Rock/AOR that can conquer the listeners easily. Yes, the same old formula, but using a personal insight.
The songs of “Fire and Grace” are all with a very good audio quality. Everything can be heard and understood without problems, but in some parts, the musical weight becomes evident (as can be heard on “I’ll Have Some of That”), so everything went well on the studio. Their secret resides on the organic set of tunes used for each musical instrument.
All the songs of the album are great, but “Don’t Stop the Wheel Turning” with its charming melodies (and guitars), the accessible energy with its Pop Rock appeal (especially during the chorus) of “Good Life”, the nasty silky touch of “I’ll Have Some of That” and of “Fire and Grace”, the charming Pop keyboards and guitars arrangements of “Time”, the catchy ambiance of “Reason to Walk Away” (if you stay stopped during it, you’re not alive), the sad bluesy touch on “Change of Heart”, and the mix between some aggressive subjective touch with very good harmonies of “You Are the Heroes” (very good work from bass guitar and drums) are the arrows that will pierce into the listeners’ hearts.
"Metal Mark" Garcia
Read Metal Mark's entire Metal Temple story Here
Dutch Progrock Magazine iO Pages #157
Alliance - Fire & Grace
Alliance werd in 1991 opgericht door voormalig Sammy Hagar-bandmaatjes David Lauser (drums) en Gary Pihl (gitaar), en Night Ranger-/Gamma-toetsenist Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald, die in Robert Berry de juiste aanvulling vonden voor hun project. Inmiddels is dat project toch een band gebleken, zij het eentje die op een laag pitje opereert, want elf jaar na het laatste wapenfeit Road To Heaven is hier dan de onverwachte opvolger, het vijfde album van dit gezelschap. De tijd lijkt te hebben stilgestaan, want de muziek van de heren klinkt niet veel anders dan die uit de jaren negentig. Berry’s stem is nog heel redelijk maar zeker niet beter dan twintig jaar geleden.
Natuurlijk kunnen deze heren musiceren, maar dertien nummers in 47 minuten geeft al aan in welke richting je moet zoeken: korte nummertjes met duidelijke kop en staart en in het algemeen pakkende maar weinig originele refreintjes. Aan de opening en sommige tussenstukjes hoor je beperkt dat er meer potentie in progressieve richting in zou zitten, maar de hoofdmoot is helaas ‘slechts’ zeer toegankelijke AOR. Was 3:2 zeker in het eerste deel voor mij een lichtpunt in de hedendaagse releases, dit album ontstijgt, met alle respect voor deze drie heren, amper de grauwe middenmoot, wellicht mede doordat toetsenist Fitz niet meedoet, want Berry speelt naast bas ook alle toetsenpartijen. Enige positieve uitzondering is de verhoudingsgewijs lange openingstrack Uncertain die een mooi intro, leuke tempowisselingen en een gezonde dosis overtuiging kent.
Menno von Brucken Fock
Talking Hendrix's Special #35 - David Lauser
Radio personality Ed Wrobleski, a Massachusetts native and host of the popular Talking Hendrix Program have been a music fan since the age of 8 and has completed over 200 shows that has been posted on mixcloud.com and archive.org. Ed's interview spin-off of the regular music show has broadened our horizons with interesting guests that may not have an obvious connection with Hendrix's music but may have somehow been influenced by his career in other mysterious ways those artists, songwriters, or author themselves may have not have realized. Listen and learn
This week Ed talks with Mr. David Lauser about the latest Alliance release, the Yardbirds album David bought as a youth, fun with Sammy Hagar and more interesting tales from Alliance's busy drummer.
Learn more about Ed Wrobleski and Talking Hendrix Here.
Listen to their conservation Here
Goldmine's Warren Kurtz spoke with Gary Pihl about Alliance’s new album
GOLDMINE: Thank you for all your music over the years… enjoying the new music from the Fire and Grace album. The song “Uncertain” is dramatic and filled with Robert’s keyboards.
GARY PIHL: Most of the songs were written by Robert or at least co-written by him with Dave, me or both of us. This one is written entirely by Robert. I am very pleased with all the songs. It has been a long time coming. We have been working on them, on and off, for the last six or so years, whenever we had a chance to get together to jam on some ideas. It wasn’t until this last year that we said that I was not on the road and neither were Dave or Robert, so we should get together and finish the album. We had established our Alliance sound on previous albums and I think we took a lot of chances on this album with styles that people may not be expecting. So, the songs are a little different, one way or another. I tried to approach the guitar a different way with different solos with a wah-wah or slide and on one song I played....
Read more of Warren Kurtz's Goldmine article Here.
ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites with Danny Coleman
...one of the first gigs we did was to open up for Boston at the end of their first tour. They liked us and we liked them and they asked us to open for their entire second tour so that's what we did all around the country in 1978 and 1979. Fast forward to 1985 and Sammy gets the call to join Van Halen and Tom Scholz from Boston calls me and says, "Hey Gary I heard you're out of a gig. I've got one more song to be recorded for our third album; will you come back here and work with me on it?" "So I said absolutely, you're one of my favorite bands and I'm out of work. So I flew directly from my last gig with Sammy which was "Farm Aid" out in Champagne, Illinois to Boston to start working with Tom. After a couple of weeks, Tom said, "Hey I think we work pretty well together ; why don't you move back here? We'll finish the album and go on tour and see what happens," and ....
Read more of Danny Coleman's interview with Gary Pihl Here....
House of Prog - Alliance: Fire and Grace
Here we have three guys who have been in the scene long enough to really know their way around, and have absolutely nothing to prove to anyone, so can go out and have a blast and that is exactly what they did here. It sounds like a full band having fun in the studio, ...
This [ Alliance: Fire and Grace] is sheer class and fun from start to finish. It is polished, but not to excess, while there are hooks all over the place, as one would expect from three musicians who have been at the top of the game for so very long. It is hard to pick a favourite so I’m not going to bother. If you enjoy American melodic commercial rock then this is essential, nothing less.
Read the entire House of Prog review Here....
Music Legends Online - The interview with Gary Pihl
Jason Saulnier interviews Gary Pihl of Boston, Sammy Hagar and Alliance. In this interview they discuss capturing the voice in a studio, Robert Berry, and handsome drummer David Lauser. The conversation also touches upon album artwork direction, Gary's guitar tones through the years, Boston albums, Sammy Hagar albums, Melodic Hard Rock and the popularity of rock music today....
Listen to MLO's Janson Saulnier interview with East Coast Gary Here....
The Herman Show - Audio interview with Gary Pihl
The Herman Show is a radio program hosted by Brandon Herman. The program is nationally syndicated on the Herman Radio Network. Listen to The Herman Show on their fine affiliate radio stations, KAKX 89.3 FM, WHFH 88.5 FM, WLTL 88.1 FM, WLNX 88.9 FM, WRLR 98.3 FM, WARG 88.9 FM, WAHS 89.5 FM....
Listen to Herman Show interview with our hero East Coast Gary Here....
Robert Berry, Boston guitarist Gary Pihl and drummer David Lauser (Sammy Hagar), are back with a new Alliance album – their first in ten years. ... There are plenty of hard rockers to grab your attention, be it the funky bass lines on the good time rock ‘n roll of ‘The Wheel’ (Gary Pihl has a great time on the slide solo battling away with a bit of harmonica) or the title track, driven along nicely by the drums of David Lauser. ‘Real Thing’ wouldn’t look out of place on a Power Station album, a nice funky groove... Another fine chapter in the Alliance musical story and hopefully they won’t leave it quite so long until their next album.
Jason Ritchie - Get Ready to ROCK!