Drummer David Lauser grew up in California, where he first learned how to play the drums after watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. During his teens, Sammy Hagar sat in with his band and they performed together until a move to San Francisco matched Sammy with Ronnie Montrose. He separated from David to perform in Montrose, but our drummer guest continued to perform as a solo artist and in several bands. Hagar produced a demo for one of these bands when he noticed how strong his former drummer still played, so he picked him to drum in his band during his first solo outing. The two performed together until fate again separated the two and “The Red Rocker” Sammy Hagar was asked to join Van Halen. David continued to perform and eventually the split between Hagar and Van Halen led to their professional reunion. David continued to play with Hagar into the next decade, even joining him on the unusual co-headlining tour with David Lee Roth in 2002.
With the recent release of the Fire and Grace Alliance album, David has this: “It seems like just yesterday that Gary (Pihl) called me about forming a group for the purpose of having a band outside of our main musical commitments. After several failed attempts with male and female vocalists and bassists, the illustrious A&R man, John Kalodner suggested we contact Robert Berry. Subsequently, Gary, Fitz (not on this album) and I jammed with Robert at Sammy Hagar’s home studio. There was a definite spark. An immediate connection. Was that really 30 years ago? Spanning three decades and an ever changing musical landscape, Alliance has been truly a labor of love for all of us.” – David “Bro” Lauser
Link to New Album Fire and Grace
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Gary Pihl is the lead guitarist for rock trio Alliance consisting of former guest Robert Berry on lead vocals, keyboards and bass, and drummer David Lauser.Raised in the suburbs of Chicago for the first 12 years of his life, Gary Pihl relocated to the San Francisco Bay area. At 19, Gary had his recording debut with Day Blindness in 1969. He says, “After my time in Day Blindness, I was in a band called Fox with Roy Garcia and Johnny V (Vernazza), who went on to play in Elvin Bishop’s band. We were on shows with Free (with Paul Rogers), Janis Joplin, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Eric Burdon and War and Mose Allison.”
Pihl’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?”
It was a great pleasure to bring this interview with Steve Fossen to the Better Each Day listeners. He is a founding member and original bassist for Heart. His work on the albums “Dreamboat Annie,” “Little Queen,” “Magazine,” “Dog & Butterfly,” “Bebe le Strange,” as well as several greatest hits and compilations, has been a staple of radio since their releases, selling tens of millions of copies.
In 2013, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honored the talents and contribution of the original six members of HEART: Ann and Nancy Wilson, Howard Leese, Roger Fisher, Steve Fossen and Michael Derosier. Steve and Mike are proving that they still have a lot of love left to give to the music world as they announce plans for their latest project – Heart By Heart.
Driven to recreate the songs of HEART, while bringing the essence and purity of the group back to the stage, Heart By Heart was created to offer fans the unique experience that only those who were actually in the original band could offer.
Steve Fossen, co-founder of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Heart.
“With Mike and me at the helm, we can, once again, help bring out those musical nuances and ignite the energy within our own band that made HEART one of the most beloved rock groups of our time,” explained Fossen.
In order to play the songs the way they were conceived, Fossen and Derosier surrounded themselves with musicians who shared their philosophy for excellence. Lead vocalist Somar Macek delivers a “jaw dropping performance” with her vocal range and stage presence. Fossen and Macek had been performing as a duo for years, often times naturally weaving their way into a HEART song as if being guided by a larger force. It was during their duo days, in fact, that Fossen actually started thinking about putting the band together. The name “Heart By Heart” came from Macek who said it signified their true feelings for one another.
With the help of the legendary Randy Hansen on guitar and Seattle radio host Bob Rivers on keyboards, the band was off and running. But it wasn’t until the group was performing at a local show that they finally found what they were missing – Lizzy Daymont on guitar and vocals.
“We were amazed with her musical talents and how well she knew the songs, one week later she joined us on stage as a member of Heart by Heart. In fact, when I heard Somar and Lizzy harmonize for the first time I had to hide my face because I thought I was going to cry,” said Fossen. Though not sisters they sing together as if they were.
After the departure of Bob Rivers, Lizzy added keyboards to her duties, and 30-year veteran touring guitarist Chad Quist has joined in place of Randy Hansen.
With the lineup complete, Heart By Heart’s mission is simple – to create music that is authentic, passionate, and true to HEART’s original recordings. After all, Fossen and Derosier, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 as members of HEART, would never do the music any injustice.
“When I first discovered Heart By Heart, I thought they were just a HEART tribute band – a really, really great HEART tribute band. I was excited to meet two rock legends – Steve and Mike – and to hear the band in person. What I wasn¹t prepared for was how amazing this band sounded,” said Tom Moon, of Starleigh Entertainment. “It wasn’t just that they are all world class players and singers, they are, but what astounded me most was the authenticity with which they played the material. Heart By Heart is way beyond a tribute band, their performance is a real and impactful musical experience, once you hear what they do, you cannot help but be won over.”
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Robert Berry has managed to survive in the treacherous minefield that is the music business and flourished as a performer, songwriter and producer. It seems he’s done it all. While he may be best known as the vocalist/bass player in the ELP spinoff, 3, with Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer, Berry impressive list of credits include a stint fronting Ambrosia, and long running affiliations with Alliance, December People, and the Greg Kihn Band.
Berry has released 5 solo albums, contributed to a number of high-profile tribute albums and has an impressive track record in the studio.
He grew up in a musical family in what would become Northern California’s Silicon Valley. It didn’t take long before he appropriated a Vox Continental organ from his father’s music store. By the time he was a freshman in high school, his group had released a single that went on to become a regional favorite. Although he denies it, according to his school mates, Berry was known as his school’s first full-fledged rock star. His bands became solid fixtures on the Bay Area college and club circuit, where they worked constantly. It was during this period that his interest in multi-track recording blossomed. Legend has it, Berry somehow finagled the very first Teac four-track recorder to arrive in the valley. It wasn’t long before he had written and recorded an experimental twenty-two song ‘rock opera’. As his quest for knowledge grew he managed to snag a part-time position as ‘assistant everything’ person at a busy San Jose recording studio. By the time he was a senior in high school he had acquired a reputation as a solid performer and in-demand studio musician.
2016 was a big year for Robert Berry as he met with pal Keith Emerson in Los Angeles to discuss a 30th anniversary release of the long awaited follow up to the debut 3 album. If that wasn’t enough, he co-wrote 11 all new songs, produced and played Rekihndled, the Greg Kihn Band’s first studio album in over 20 years.
The year 2017 was noteworthy for some major efforts. Early in the years, Berry, on bass and lead vocals joined with Terry Brock (GIANT, STRANGEWAYS) on lead vocals, Gary Pihl (BOSTON, SAMMY HAGAR, ALLIANCE) on guitar, and Matt Starr (ACE FREHLEY, MR. BIG) on drums, to form ALL 41. They release the band’s debut album, “World’s Best Hope”. Simultaneously, he mounted a dedicated effort to complete his collaboration with Keith Emerson on the long awaited 3 follow up. That album, which took shape in 2016, was nearly shattered with the news of Keith Emerson tragic death. Ultimately and as a tribute to the friendship of Emerson and Berry, it somewhat painfully got back on track and is set for a summer of 2018 release date as 3.2 – The Rules Have Changed on Frontiers Music SRL.
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