CHINA SKY - China Sky II
European Import : ESM272
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Richard Smith (bass, backing vocals)
Steve Wheeler (guitar)
Tim McGowan (keyboards)
Bruce Crump (drums)
|A lot can change
in 25 years. Countless fashion trends have come and gone.
The Soviet Union ceased to exist. MTV stopped playing music
videos. People began to explore a whole new universe called
"the internet", and a forgotten album by a group
called China Sky became a cult classic. With its soaring
melodies, lush harmonies and flawless production, China
Sky seemed destined to be a rock classic from the word go.
Grammy winning Bee Gees producer Karl Richardson headed
up a production team that also featured celebrated composer
Frank Wildhorn, and a young Bob Marlette, who later went
on to work with Black Sabbath, Marilyn Manson, Seether,
Shinedown, and dozens of others. How could it go wrong?
All of the pieces appeared to be in place: the players,
the producers, the music, the management, the record label
Upon release, the album's first single, "The Glory,"
immediately began to receive radio airplay all over the
US and Canada. Records were flying off the shelves in Europe
and Japan. Derek Oliver raved in Kerrang Magazine. When
the second single, "Some Kind Of Miracle," was
released, more and more radio stations began to add China
Sky. Success seemed just around the corner, but six weeks
later the band China Sky was no more.
Just what happened was never completely clear to anyone, it happened so quickly and members of China Sky decided to cut their losses and bail out, leaving the promise of everything for which they had worked so hard unfulfilled.
Guitarist Bobby Ingram went on to join Jacksonville southern rock outfit Molly Hatchet. Singer Ron Perry spent fifteen years recording and touring with his band, The Ron Perry Connection. Bassist Richard Smith did studio work and played with several popular regional bands in the southeast. No one looked back. China Sky became a distant, painful memory marked with the scars of what might have been until sometime in the late 2000s, when Perry began to receive strange emails. Requests for China Sky pictures, CDs, and memorabilia started to become an increasingly regular occurrence. Collectors started to inquire about unreleased China Sky material. With the resurgence in popularity of what is now called "Melodic Rock" in Europe, Japan, and South America, Perry and Smith began to sense an opportunity to finally bring the early promise of China Sky to full fruition. The pair decided the time was right to take what they had started a quarter century earlier and make it right. That haunting feeling of having important unfinished business needed to be addressed. China Sky would be re-born. New guitarist Steve Wheeler was hired he seemed the natural choice for China Sky. The pieces were starting to come together, but things were not yet complete. Drummer Bruce Crump was next to join, a seasoned veteran with numerous gold and platinum records to his credit, Crump spent 15 years pounding the skins in southern rock band Molly Hatchet, with whom China Sky shared management in the 80's. By 1988, Hatchet's original members had pretty much had enough, and with the end of that situation looming, Crump actually did a few rehearsals with China Sky amid talk of joining the band. Management, however, wanting to squeeze every last dime out of Molly Hatchet, talked him out of it. Now, with the re-birth of China Sky, it seemed the next logical step would be for the boys to put in a call to their old friend Bruce, who, as it turned out, was itching to get involved in a serious project, and was quick to come on board. It was a perfect fit, but there was still one piece of the puzzle missing. The search was on for a keyboardist who could tie the whole package together. After much networking, scouting, and a couple of disastrous auditions, guitarist Steve Wheeler remembered a Scottish piano player with whom he had played a few pickup gigs. Tim McGowan was a crack keyboardist and an actual China Sky fan. With all of the pieces firmly in place, China Sky has entered the studio to begin production of their second album.