The story of KOH by Bruce Gaitsch:
“In 1989 I was working closely with Alan Kovac, Richard Marx's manager at the time. He told me he was releasing a new Poco album and by the next summer the band would need an opening act for their tour. If I wanted to put a band together we could have a deal (he would manage us) and an opening spot on their tour. He knew Kelly Keagy from Night Ranger was available since they had just broken up. So we had our drummer vocalist. George Hawkins Jr. (Kenny Loggins, John Fogerty) joined after Timothy B. Schmit, who played bass and sang on the early King Of Hearts demos, left to rejoin the Eagles. So we had our bass player vocalist. At the time Richard Marx and myself produced the song “(Everybody's Gotta) Face The Music” with Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon on lead vocals for a movie called “Sing”. We were looking for a backing vocalist with a voice that was higher than Richard's, so Tommy Funderburk (Airplay, Boston, The Front) got the job and he delivered an impressive performance. I asked Tommy if he was interested in joining a band and so we had our lead singer and my main writing partner.Tommy and I had also been writing for his solo deal which didn't happen even after an amazing showcase at the Roxy in June.
Tim Pierce on guitar, Randy Jackson on bass, Mike Baird on drums, CJ Vanston on keys and myself. The band was set...we recorded the basic tracks at Capitol Records studio B with David Cole (Bob Seger, Richard Marx, Jamie Kyle) engineering, producing and mixing. We finished the recordings at my home studio Frantic. David mixed at Lion Share in Hollywood and the record was finished. Wally Traugott mastered the record at Tower Mastering...he mastered several vinyl pressings of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" as well as Boston's first two albums and most of Bob Seger's records. Then things started to get exceedingly difficult as personal problems between the band and management caused Alan Kovac to quit, so we lost our manager and Chrysalis who had paid for our recording and signed us based on Alan's involvement backed out of the deal and the record was never released. A year of hard work and deep emotional commitment was thrown away in a minute. I was furious. Kelly and George went on working with other acts touring and Night Ranger eventually got back together.
They both live nearby here in Nashville now and we have started a new band. The Emotional Rex. We are writing our new project now and will record it soon.Tommy Funderburk and I went on to re-record a lot of the record and some new songs and put it out as a duo in Japan, Europe and South Africa. We even played 2 shows with a makeshift band in Stockholm, Sweden. So now we get to re-release the original record and you all get to hear how great the project was.I hope you enjoy the music and can feel how intent we were on making a super high quality project.I still get chills from "King Of Hearts" as well as "Lovin' Arms"...
”King Of Hearts “1989” album is a prime example of great song writing and amazing musiciansship, in addtion to the great talents in the band “1989” includes songs co-written by Amy Sky and Chris Farren and it also features Jeffrey “CJ” Vanston (Richard Marx, Steve Lukather, Peter Cetera), Bill Champlin (Chicago) and the two (former) Eagles members Randy Meisner and Timothy B. Schmit.
After being shelved for almost a decade “1989” was first released in 1999 in Japan only. The Japanese edition is long out of print and has become a sought after item. With the current release through Avenue Of Allies all AOR and Westcoast fans will have the great chance to add the King Of Hearts debut album to their collections. The first pressing comes as a limited Special Edition in a jewel case with an individually numbered additional slipcase and an extensive booklet including lyrics, new liner notes by Bruce Gaitsch and previously unpublished pictures from the recording sessions.
(Words: Bruce Gaitsch & Gregor Klee)