Being «too different» from the market
Interview with Brad Love of Aviary (Aug 2006)
By Robert Pally

Brad Love was leader of the US band Aviary, that released a fantastic album in 1979. The self-titled LP is a timeless piece of Art-Pop and Pomp-Rock, that has gained a new value especially since the Darkness presented a kind of an updated version of Aviary’s approach. In the interview Brad Love talks about the history of Aviary, his solo career, unreleased music, bad luck and right moves, being «too different» from the market and his connection with Wang Chung

E.C.: What was the first song you wrote and what was it about?

Brad Love: It was sort of a ballad, if I remember correctly, but I remember being very proud of it. It didn’t have lyrics so I don’t know what it was about, sorta sad I guess.

E.C.: What was the reason for you to start your first band, how was it called and what kind of music did they play?

Brad Love: One of my friends started guitar so we decided to play together. I was probably around 14-15 yrs old. I don’t remember any band name but we played mostly original music. We had to have something to play so I just made it up, we were not very good at figuring out music off of the radio. We played for several little «dances». Later we learned songs like «Sunshine of your Love» and «Purple Haze».

E.C.: Did you do any recording with them?

Brad Love: No, didn’t have any way to do that.

E.C.: How was Aviary formed?

Brad Love: Aviary grew out of my college bands. After going through a bunch of different bands, I started to want to do only original music. So in ’75 I started a band called GAK, just because I had no idea what it was about or what to call it. Later when we moved to Seattle the band became more formalized and we became Aviary.

E.C.: How was the Aviary discovered by Brian Lane?

Brad Love: By this time we had already done a bunch of recording, both in a small 8 track studio and at home with a Teac 4 track. A friend of ours in California had given our tape to a music lawyer who gave it to his A&R guy at a record company. Pretty soon we had several record companies coming up to see us in Seattle. Epic records convinced us to move to Los Angeles and record in their studio. They paid for our move and it was the Epic tapes that found their way into Brian’s office and he came to see us and immediately started a bidding war to get us signed. Epic had not signed us so they were pretty upset that Brian just walked in and took over.

E.C.: What was the biggest success with the first Aviary album?

Brad Love: Everything went quite well until it became apparent that radio was not going to pick up a single from the album. To the record company that is everything. But it was very «successful» till then.

E.C.: Why did the band go to England to record the 2nd Album?

Brad Love: Because Brian Lane is from England and his plan was to have us close by and try to shape us for the «new wave» market.

E.C.: If the record company paid for this trip that why didn't they have more money for to promote the album?

Brad Love: The record company, Epic, was not very excited with the record we recorded in England.

E.C.: What was wrong with your solo album «Colours» that the record company only released it on a technical basis (what does that mean anyway)?

Brad Love: It means they were contractually obliged to «release» the album but not to promote it. I think the record company thought it didn’t fit any market well enough to invest in.

E.C.: How come you were asked to write music for the film «Captain Invincible»?

Brad Love: My managers at the time were Australians, the film was an Australian film and they knew each other. My managers were Bestall and Renolds, they also managed Air Supply.

E.C.: How easy or how difficult was that for you to write soundtracks?

Brad Love: All I had to do was contribute songs, three I think. Doing an actual soundtrack is a whole different story, I have never done that.

E.C.: How did you meet the 3 guys from OXO?

Brad Love: They had lost their main songwriter/singer so it was a ready made situation for me at the time. I really needed something to do and it was fun. We were gotten together through a mutual friend, I believe it was Pat Fairly from Brian Lanes office.

E.C.: I remember seeing once a record by a band called OXO. Did they ever release anything?

Brad Love: They had one «hit» single before I came into the picture. I don’t remember the name of it. We had one very successful «demo» tape that almost got us a deal though!

E.C.: Looking back you had a lot of bad luck (Aviary, Solo, OXO). What made that with you? Were there times when you wanted to quite the music biz?

Brad Love: It is like they say about political campaigns, if you win you did everything right, if you lose you did everything wrong. If we had been successful it would have made it all look like the right steps were taken. As it is, I believe we did many things right but we/I always seemed to be «too different» from the market.

E.C.: How did you get involved with Wang Chung?

Brad Love: That was John Koloder’s of Geffen Records idea to help us get a band started, there were several of us who helped the two guys that were Wang Chung with a few TV appearances. There were 4 of us, all hand picked by John who he hoped would start a «super» band. Didn’t happen, too many egos.

E.C.: From 1985 till 1993 you started a few bands in L.A. but nothing lasted. What were you looking for?

Brad Love: The bands I started were created to get come new music out. I was looking to get it recorded, which we did.

E.C.: What is the most memorable moment form this time?

Brad Love: Recording the first Aviary record at Caribou Ranch.

E.C.: Why did you then move to Houston, Texas?

Brad Love: We moved in ’94 because of a job that my wife (Janine) had. We really knew nothing about the place. It is very hot here!

E.C.: What wanted you to achieve with your solo album «Through another door»?

Brad Love: I had a bunch of songs I really wanted to record, that was about it.

E.C.: Was it a kind of a process to handle your experiences in L.A.?

Brad Love: No, my experiences in LA were not a part of it.

E.C.: What triggered the re-release of the first Aviary record?

Brad Love: Dane Spencer of Rewind Records was told about us from a friend of his, he contacted Sony records and got the ball rolling. He was the one who got it re-released on CD.

E.C.: How satisfied are you with it today?

Brad Love: I am very satisfied with it. I only wish we had stayed with what we were strong at instead of doing what Brain Lane wanted us to do for our 2nd album.

E.C.: How good did it sell (CD)?

Brad Love: Not sure, Dane never really let us know how many were sold, just that it was selling well. (Note from writer: The first pressing is sold out)

E.C.: A band like Darkness is not so far away from what you did in the late 70ties, except that they have some irony in their songs. How serious did Aviary take themself in the '70?

Brad Love: Probably too much so.

E.C.: Is there someone you always wanted to work with but never could?

Brad Love: We had the chance to tour with Queen after our first album but management thought it was too expensive.

E.C.: What do you do for living today?

Brad Love: I teach piano privately. It is very rewarding and keeps me at the piano and thinking. I also play Friday and Saturday nights at a restaurant, The White Flamingo. Mostly standards but I try out some of my new songs to get a feel for them in a live situation. I am planning a solo piano CD this fall, all original of course.

E.C.: On what project are you working at the moment or are you planning to work in the future?

Brad Love: Right now I am enjoying a whole new set up, I’ve discovered the music notation program called «Sibelius». I can now easily write out all the piano music that I have wanted to organize for as long as I can remember. I am able to work on them and listen back as the computer plays it and make adjustments. Then I am able to practice this on the piano, so I am putting together a CD of music for solo piano. Some old songs from Aviary and before, a couple from later albums and a lot of new songs. Matthew Guarnere, musician and engineer, who has helped so much with getting the Aviary music out) has agreed to help get it recorded when it is ready. We will be recording later this year in a huge hall that has a beautiful 9 foot Steinway close by here in Houston. I can’t wait.

E.C.: Will the world ever hear new Aviary songs?

Brad Love: There are still a lot of Aviary songs that have not been released. We are planning on putting another group of songs together from the last period of Aviary. After that I would really like to get a CD together of early Aviary, that stuff is really interesting.