At long last, the album that was started some 40 years ago has now been completed!
Back in the 70's, when we were young, idealist and full of energy, a group of us local musicians got together and decided to do something unique and different from all the local bands around our area. The progressive music scene was heating up at the time. Bands like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, Argent, Triumvirat, Gentle Giant and Camel were among some of my favorites. Scott was a big ELP fan so we started Axis with that style of music in mind. Fortunately, we stumbled onto a really great drummer who loved exactly that kind of music and could play those kinds of styles. Mike Carrol. He fit perfectly. There was also this hotshot guitarist that lived around Scott that wanted to join. Asa Fisher or "Machine Gun Fisher" as we liked to refer to him as because of his blazin' machine gun like licks. So with the band all together, we started writing music and got a set together. We did a few concerts that we put on ourselves in some local venues complete with lights and smoke pots. That kind of show was sort of unique around our area. Boy we used to be full of ourselves back then. We had fun planning and playing them. Sadly though Mike wanted to play more often and make more money so he moved on to a full time playing gig and we were left without a drummer.
As fortune would have it, we came across this drummer who was playing in a local band that wanted to do more interesting music. Enter Jim Stromberg. Wow, we didn't realize it at the time but Jim worked hard at his craft and was probably the best drummer around these parts and is still regarded by many as such. He picked up Mike's parts and added his style and we had a band again. We went on to record the majority of our songs at Sutton Sound in Atascadero. It was the first real time I and my mates had gotten to record in a real studio and it was great. We borrowed instruments like vibraphone, a gong and synthesizers. We learned so much about the process and enjoyed every minute of it.
We also got help from a variety of musicians. Linda Stromberg, Jim's wife sang the vocal part on "Jungle". We didn't even know she could sing. We later formed a top 40 club band "Tracer" with Linda as the lead singer. Paul Arriola sang the lead on Raven. His vocal complemented out style and he put down a terrific track. Sadly he passed away in 2018. R.I.P. Also Rocky Blythe sang backup on Raven, He later joined Tracer as guitarist/vocalist.
The reason the album took so long to finish was because we had not recorded the very last song "Battle" of our epic masterpiece "Invasion". So we left it on the shelf. I had pulled all the mastered songs off of the old 1/4" masters with great difficulty because the tapes were old but somehow managed to get most of it without too much tape stretch and dropouts. Asa, Scott and I always lamented the fact that we never finished our epic opus. Our friend and original drummer Mike Carrol passed away in 2015. I thought it would be a wonderful tribute to him if we actually recreated that last song and it featured his playing. Since everyone was doing nothing because of the lockdowns, I decided to see about doing Battle. I had an old cassette tape recording from the garage days with Mike playing. The tape was what we used to show Jim the parts. Well after listening to Battle, I realized that Mike had played his part rather flawlessly. Scott, Asa and my parts weren't so good but Mike's were. And we actually got through the whole song. I didn't know if we could pull off rerecording the song. So I decided to map out the song and meticulously recreated the parts that Mike had played almost note for note as best I could. Well darn if it didn't sound pretty good. I told Scott and Asa that we were going to finish Invasion by recording Battle. They were on board. Took a long time because of Covid but we got er done. After further review, Silence of Space was kind of dragging because of the old tape so we decided to redo that as well. I recreated Jim's parts note for note best I could. Asa, Scott and I recreated our parts and we are quite satisfied with the results.
Our vision of what we were trying to do back then finally came to fruition. On reflection, this album brought us back to those days of invincibility when we would conquer the world.