COMBO AUDIO

By 1984 Combo Audio had a well received record with a hit single out and had toured extensively to support it; albeit mostly locally in the midwest. But, they hit some roadblocks that were insurmountable. Though their success continued, the infrastructure supporting the band began to fracture as conflicts began over who controlled the band and its assets. It began to get ugly.

The band had a production deal in place with the Secret Records entity, and had a record deal with EMI. Secret Records believed it had rights to the EMI deal as well as John's pending publishing contract that had been offered by Warner Chappell Music. The relationship between band's management and Secret Records became acrimonious, complaints were filed and litigation was threatened on all sides. Understandably, as the potential deep pockets, EMI and Warner Chappell ceased all further efforts on the band's behalf until it had received notice that the conflicts between all parties were resolved.

There was also stress between the band and EMI as the label attempted to pressure the band into recording what they perceived as more "commercial" material which the band absolutely hated.

John comments:

"EMI brought us this terrible techno-pop song called "Nasty Love" which was one of the most banal, stupid and insipid things we had ever heard. The label, however, was convinced it was a hit song and told us they were worried that Toni Basil wanted to record it. They wanted us to do it and and do it fast. It certainly did not remotely resemble Combo Audio material and we were nauseated trying to listen to it much less embarrassed to record it. Why should we record this piece of crap ? We had some 50 songs in our pocket, which we played to great success every week on the road among which were at least 5 proven singles. Why not record those? EMI put the pressure on, but we refused to do it. It was a turning point with EMI. After that they perceived us as being difficult, particularly me."

Tensions between the band, management, the production company, the labels and publishers grew. As the band continued to perform for income, the stand off between the band and EMI became polarized. Combo Audio insisted that EMI release more money to put the band in the studio for another record. EMI insisted the band record and send more material to be considered.

The resolution came in 1985, when the president and entire A&R staff at EMI had either left the label or were exited, leaving the band with no contacts or support within the label. As is often the case, the new regime at EMI trimmed its roster including Combo Audio.

All three members re-located to Chicago by this time and continued performing sporadically.

Weary of the grind and conflict, John left performing on the road again and continued writing and recording new material with close friend and engineer Paul Klingberg.

Angus took an opportunity to tour with Miles Davis as long time friend and bassist Darryl Jones, (now of the Rolling Stones) left to play with a Sting who had begun a solo career.

Rick pursued other interests such as painting and djembe drumming.

Angus and John revived Combo Audio with a live show one more time in late 1986 with a different drummer, David Sycott. They added keyboards, percussionist and back up singers to the line up for a few well received shows. When Angus went off on tour with Miles Davis and Peter Wolf, John hired a replacement for Angus and did a few more shows with the larger line-up under the name Combo Audio in 1987.

Beckoned by opportunities and warner climates; John re-located to Los Angeles in early 1988 to work with Paul Klingberg at Ignited Productions and studios based in Hollywood, and has remained in LA to date.