Unsung Heroes No. 7 – Dan Reed

28 11 2008
Melvin,Dan P,Dan R, Blake, Brion

L-R: Melvin,Dan P,Dan R, Blake, Brion

Back in the 80’s, as my Trapeze and Mother’s Finest albums had just about been played into oblivion, and the only funk around was Cameo in a red plastic jock strap, I was lounging at home preparing to watch a new “experiment” on British Television – All night programming. It seems quaint now, doesn’t it? but back then, the Yorkshire region was lucky enough to have been chosen to host “Music Box” – a series of hourly programmes running from midnight ’til six in the morning, consisting almost entirely of the promos that were being spewed forth from this video generation. The music, by this time – mid 80’s, was largely vacuous and disposable. But I remember the moment, the exact moment when the Dan Reed Network burst onto the screen with “Get to You”.

I almost fell out of my chair! This was what I’d been waiting for, the perfect fusion of 80’s technology with rock, funk and soul – the missing link to the funk rock of the 70’s. Dan’s voice was a perfect foil for the great band behind him. Possessed of a great scream, and soulful delivery, he really sold the song. Nasty bass from Melvin Brannon lll and Hendrixian guitar from Brion James really brought something to the party. Keyboard textures and stabs from Blake Sakamoto and wonderful interplay between digital rhythms and drummer Dan Pred completed this hard-hitting package.

Suffice to say, they screamed onto the scene, a great, cosmopolitan image, killer songs, Def Leppards management company, support slots for the Stones and Bon Jovi – they were going to be massive!

But they never were. I like to call it the Kev Moore kiss of death – any band I love never garners mass appeal. But I also think its a lot to do with the genre. People aren’t comfortable with crossover acts. Glenn Hughes and Mothers Finest suffer similarly. Rock fans aren’t comfortable with the danceable funky beats, and the dance freaks don’t want the guitars. Yet to me, this is the highest form of pop music. Rock you can dance to! Is there anything better? Not to me.

The Dan Reed Network released three killer albums, and they’re all worth checking out.

Dan Reed Network (1988)

Slam (1989)

The Heat (1991)

By 1993, the band members were beginning to go their separate ways, Dan Pred and Blake Sakamoto most notably appearing on the Slowrush album “Volume”. Dan Reed formed the band “Adrenaline Sky’ and released an eponymous album which featured 50/50 live and studio cuts. In 2004 he released an EP entitled “Sharp Turn” which was indeed a sharp turn away from the rock funk of his past. An almost eerie collection of electronica, the songs nevertheless shine through, showing that Dan had far from lost his touch.

Dan Reed

Dan Reed

Following a period living in Israel, Dan, a deeply thoughtful and considerate man, has now emerged and undertaken a tour that precedes the release of his new album “Coming up for Air”.

His music was inspiring to me in the 80’s, and to my daughter too, who was too young to ever see DRN live, but in recent years Dan has become a friend of the family, and she realised her dream of seeing him work in his studio in New York.

A musician’s musician, his return to the stage is a welcome one.

Kev Moore

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2 responses

11 02 2009
Sukhbir

Your feelings about Dan Reed Network are matched by mine. I got into them late after 1st 2 albums and with the release of The Heat I thought they were gonne be huge and they were my type of band. I had been waiting for something like them to replace Pink floyd. But perhaps the world was not ready for such a band at the time. Glad to see you are taking the blame for putting the Indian sign on them. For years I thought it was me. But Dan’s back with a new vigour, which was, seeming with time, to be more and more unlikely. Who knows he may even get the guys from the Network back together. Stanger things have happened though I cannot think of any at the moment.

12 02 2009
kevmoore

Thanks for your comment Sukhbir! – it’s great to see Dan “back on the boards” again. I don’t know if we’ll ever see The Network again, but they left us three fine albums.

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