“The process for preparing for the recording of Guitar Alley was very different to that of our first two studio albums”, recalls Rick. “First off, all of a sudden we were getting offers from international producers who had taken notice of the band’s popularity and growing success. This meant that for the first time we had to decide on what production direction the new album was going to take. To keep ourselves challenged and growing artistically we wanted to keep what had worked for us in the past, and at the same time open up to some areas creatively allowing for a new producer’s input and inspiration”.
The music producer’s initial role is to act as a sounding board for the songwriter and then work through the material with the musicians. It’s the producer’s job to mirror, suggest ideas and encourage the musicians to guide them through the creative processes. A shortlist of producers was compiled and the decision process began. After the band had met with prospective producers the decision was finally made and Rik Emmett was chosen to lead SANTERS into the studio for their third album.
The project began with Rick Santers bringing his new songs to Emmett to work on. Once the songs were prepped the band and producer met for pre-production work. At this stage of the music’s development, the band rehearsed the material along with the producer, bar by bar, instrument by instrument, until a solid basic musical structure was realized. The difference with the “Guitar Alley” experience was that now the band had another set of ears listening and reflecting on the developmental process from beginning to end.
MetalWorks Studios in Mississauga became the band’s recording home for three weeks in the summer of 1983. The studio was outfitted with and MCI mixing console and an MCI 48 track capabilities running 2” tape.
The choice of the album name “Guitar Alley” came indirectly from a conversation Rick Santers had with the band’s live sound engineer at the time. Rick recalls, “We were playing in an odd-shaped venue and the sound console was situated on one side of the room instead of in the middle. After our soundcheck, I asked our sound engineer how everything was sounding. He said “Well, it’s hard to tell. All I’m hearing is the guitar. That’s all I’m hearing because I’m standing in guitar alley”. That name stuck in my head, and even though I never wrote a song with that title it seemed all too appropriate for the album’s title considering all the new guitar textures that were becoming the basis of the new album”.
For the “Guitar Alley” sessions Rick played his 1964 Stratocaster into Mesa Boogie amps running 4×12” Celestian speaker cabinets. Again, Mark played a double-headed Sonar drum kit along with Zildjian cymbals. Rick Lazaroff played his Fender Jazz bass through a modular amplifier set up of Ashly pre-amp and compressor running into a BGW power amp with custom-designed speaker cabinets.
The release of SANTERS “Guitar Alley” was groundbreaking for the band in many ways. Along with the album being recognized and released in Europe and Canada, it was also released for the first time in the United States and Japan expanding on SANTERS international popularity. Offers to tour into the midwestern and southern United States increased the band’s already extensive touring schedule and the video for the song “Can’t Shake You” found a home in regular rotation on MTV. Also, SANTERS version of FREE’s classic “All Right Now” became a serious contender in many top 40 charts.
With the release of “The Definitive Remasters Collection” SANTERS fans can finally listen to the band’s vast catalogue of rock classics mastered to the level of sound quality that was originally intended. So, sit back, crank it up and listen to SANTERS the way they were meant to be heard. Enjoy!
Rick Santers: lead vocals, guitars, keyboards
Mark Santers: drums and percussion
Rick Lazaroff: bass, bass pedals
Produced by Rik Emmett
Engineered by Ed Stone
Assisted by Noel Golden and Hugh Cooper
Keyboards: Lou Pomanti on "Can't Shake You", "High Risk" and "Dreaming"
Background Vocals: Shawne Jackson on "High Risk" and "All Right Now"
Recorded and Mixed at Metalworks, Mississauga, ON
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Masterdisk, New York, NY
Digital Remastering: Edward Tobin at ECV Mastering, Toronto ON
A 3-panel fold out B&W poster with lyrics on other side is included.
Printed inner sleeve with other releases from Ready Records
Direction: Alex D. Andronache for Double A Entertainment Inc.
Tour Coordination: Andy Holland
Road Crew: Al “Julio” Robb – Concert Sound Engineer, Kelly “K-Rock” Jones – Lighting
Director, Jeff “Whiffer” Harris – Stage and Monitors
Thanks to: Toronto Percussion Centre, Music City, Ed and Mike at KOSS, Ken Thompson and
T&L, Blue and Steve at the Agency, Maria Berman, Gerry Rosa, Dave Dickson, Joe Owens,
Mike Primeau, Aly Mundinger, David Partridge, Peter Parker, Joe Barnes and the Argos and
everyone at Ready Records.
In England, Magnum and crew, Tony Henderson, Rob Sawyer, Richard Liteman, Paul Suter,
Howard Johnson, Dave Roberts, Neil Warnock and “Stu-baby” Hopkins.
In U.S.A., Joe Anthony, Les Norton, Joe Miller, Steve Driscoll, Jesse Ryan, Troy Blakely,
Tony Ferrentino, Mike Faley and Tom Barone.
Special thanks to Gottlieb and Linda, Axel, Donna and Leta, Debbi Ferrentino,
Gary “Bahahahaha” Rowe and Atomic Sound, the Whale and the Buburban, Rockit,
the Bird, the Rem, Sandee Bathgate and the “Primal Shrieks”, Charles Hunfeld and …You!