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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

(the) Producers - You Make the Heat*, Run For Your Life~

Name: (the) Producers
Album(s): You Make The Heat*, Run For Your Life~
Year: 1982*, 1985~
Style: New Wave*, Power Pop* Yacht Rock~
Similar Bands: Squeeze*, Rod Stewart~, Kansas~, Rick Springfield~, Shoes~, Tommy Tutone*, Planets*, Cheap Trick*, Michael Bolton~, Genesis~, Journey~
One Word Review: Naive-Pop* Dad-Rock~
Based Out Of: Atlanta, Georgia
Label: Portrait Records, CBS, Marathon
 You Make The Heat* - Cover & Lyrics
You Make the Heat* - Back & Record
 Run For Your Life~ - Cover, Liner Notes, Record
Run For Your Life~ - Back, Liner Notes, Record
You Make the Heat (1982)*
  1. Back to Basics 5:10
  2. She Shelia 4:36
  3. Operation 4:19
  4. Dear John 5:59/
  5. Breakaway 3:44
  6. You Make the Heat 3:33
  7. Merry Go-Round 4:19
  8. Chinatown 3:53
  9. Domino 3:36
Run For Your Life (1985)~
  1. Run For Your Life 4:25
  2. Slow Dancing 3:57
  3. Depending on You 3:39
  4. Tight Rope 4:15
  5. Can't Cry Anymore 5:35/
  6. Boat Song 3:29
  7. Table For One 3:40
  8. Friendly Fire 5:01
  9. Big Mistake 3:51
  10. Waiting on a Train 4:24
Album Rating (1-10):*8.0

Members & Other Bands:
Van Temple - Guitar, Vox* (Cartoon, Rainmen, Reason Y, Steve Morse Band)
Kyle Henderson - Bass, Vox* (Whiteface, Laura Branigan, Kyle Henderson's Blue Eyed Soul, Boy Meets Girl, Kansas)
Wayne (McNatt) Famous - Keys* (Billy Joe Royal, Cartoon)
Bryan Holmes - Drums* (Cartoon, Pat Walsh, Charlie Mars, Ultraphonic, Nelson)
Tom Werman - Producer* (Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon)
Tim Smith - Bass~(Jellyfish, Umajets, Sheryl Crow, Lynyrd Skynyrd, David Mullen, Pat Walsh, The Perrys, Cricket, Stevie Nicks, Curly Corwin, Arvel Bird, Legacy Five, Molly Bancroft, Rusty Truck, Greater Vision, Abby Burke, Meghan Hayes, Jason Burton, Bonnie Bramlett, Emmylou Harris, Hennifer Hammond, Boots Randolph, Mr. Groove Band, Mastedon)
Joe Blaney - Production~
Rick Diamond - Photography~
Chuck Fedonczak - Engineer~
Louis Hajosy - Asst Engineer~
James Flournoy Holmes - Design~
Bob Ludwig - Mastering~
Linda Mitchell - Design~
Kim Parks - Sax~ (Bluebusters, T Lavitz, Pat Coli)
Luis Stefanel - Congas Percussion~(Dardanelle, Larry Saunders, Curtis Mayfield)
Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band. I got these albums in two purchasing trips seperated by many miles and many years. What looks like a standard pub rock, perhaps with a little power pop and new wave influence via the artwork and photo portraits on the first album, changes form on the second, to be a art deco, mid 80's style of adult contemporary pop. I'm hoping both lean toward the earlier guess.

Album Review:Starting as a Beatles cover band, they decided to write their own stuff and were picked up right away by CBS. Two albums got them some MTV airplay, and even a headliner spot in the MTV’s 1982  Rockin’ NYE. On their third album, they co-wrote a song “Can’t Cry Anymore” with Kansas, and it is featured on both their and Kansas’s albums. Aside from reuniting once in a while, the now hold as varying as taxi driver to carpeting & flooring labor.

*“Back to Basics” starts with a drum beat that you are not sure if it is going to go into an angular new wave song, or a reggae influenced song. And it kind of walks that line of ska, at least in tempo. But it falls more into the new wave camp, with the bouncy bass and cowbell. The vocal melody is kind of whiny, as it rises in volume and pitch. It is a descent building song, with good vocal energy, but it never capitalizes with a big hook. It feels a little like the Planets.
“She Shelia” was a single and popular MTV Video. It starts with a single synth note pinging around, creating a nervous tempo. Then an icy bell synth line is added over top, and the song has a steady progression. The vocals take the song off the ground and creating a solid new wave guitar driving song. The song powers through a steady template of single songwriting, and it trickles away with the beginning synth songs.
“Operation” begins with a dazey, loopy melody, reminding me of the instrumental winding down part of “School’s Out.” Guitars try to power themselves into the fray, but the song teeters on a half-steady tempo. There are some strong vocals in the chorus, which are followed up with some long, power guitar chords and some Cheap Trick vocalization.
“Dear John” chugs away with guitar power chords to introduce itself. It finds a natural Americana groove, and the song drives forward. Minus the small addition of some synth effects, the song has a little of a grungy, alternative style that was 10 years too early, with alarm-style guitars and choppy, slacker melodies. The end of the song falls into a Foreigner “Urgent” style loop.

“Breakaway” starts off side two like a different band. The song is sunnier, and poppier, and just all over catchier. Only the chorus has a touch of the metal edge, heavier guitars. But it is really a shiny power pop nugget.
“You Make the Heat” is the chugging start stop nervous song, with a slight dark undertone, that can really stand out in a band’s catalogue. It features a superbly catchy ska-tinged bridge that delivers some massively effective bopping release. It repeats enough times that it sticks in your head, and you anticipate it whenever the song comes on. I often questions when bands name an album after one sub-par song, as if that’s the sound they were going for. But here, this is a good model to try to live up to. The entire song is not that attractive, as the verse is a little sloppy and directionless. But the bridge and chorus more than make up for it. At the end of the song, the backing vocals carry the chorus out, while the lead vocals take an alternate melody/path.
“Merry Go-Round” follows up as another catchy, pop nugget. It bops side to side, and then up and down, like a happy name sake. Then there is a bit of a psychedelic part (like the break in Ugly Kid Joe’s “Everything I Hate About You”) part that they count down a couple days of the week. If this was produced a little differently, it has an ability to be an angular song, in a computer / Devo sort of way.
“Chinatown” was the b-side to “She Shelia.” A drum solo introduces the song, and then the guitar has a little of an “What I Like About You” for a burst, then it slows down to a dreamy sequence. The burst of guitars come back for the chorus, which has a bit of a Phil Collins emotional vibe to it, mixed with some island keyboard synth sounds and the Romantics riff.
“Domino” begins with a guitar hook, that sounds like the intro of XTC’s “Senses Working Over Time.” But the song itself grooves with a much less sinister tone. The underlying backing vocals that echo the lead vocals add a nice pop characteristic. The chorus comes out of nowhere and is just a shout of “Girl,” followed up with “I’m not a domino” that’s basically a refuting catcall. The second half of the song is basically a combination of the backing pop vocals with hair metal lead.

~“Run For Your Life” twinkles into existence with spaceship synth and a breathy running w/ footsteps. So the idea is of running from aliens. The vocals are a little smoother, or reigned in, more like Rod Stewart here. But there is no energy that would signify running for your life. After two run throughs, the breakdown features a bouncy keyboard and melody reprise. The synth that takes over in the instrumental is the complete opposite of threatening, taking meaning away from the song.
“Slow Dancing” is a slow-ish song, with a pendulum, guitar melody, which sweeps side to side. The song is about wanting to slow dance with a girl. It has a little mellow Def Leppard feel to the song, as a simple power rock attempt. More like Def Kitten. And it fades out without so much as a whimper
“Depending on You” was a single. It introduces the elements of the song in the intro. The guitar then picks up and chugs along under an uninspiring vocal melody, akin to Michael Bolton. It shifts gears slightly for the breakdown leading up to the instrumental, which is a sad guitar ballad.
“Tight Rope” starts off with a smoothed over prog-style synth melody (Mid-late Genesis), and vocals that walk a fine line between Rod Stewart and hair metal-styles. The build in the second half of the song is nice, but it leads into a spring-like synth instrumental that sucks the life out of the song.
“Can't Cry Anymore” was a collaboration with Kansas, and was also on their 1986 album Power. It starts as a slumping, leg dragging slow dance, punctuated with bell chimes. The vocals are reserved, but ready to burst like in a Journey song. The song is ambient; echoing like it takes place on a windy sailing vessel. It’s very sparse in production and instrumentation. And when it finally gets to the instrumental it is led by Yes-style keyboards.

“Boat Song” has marching drums, and a hooky synth line fade up from some boat horn sounds. The structure is a fun prog melody, and all things considered, is a strong start to side two. The loop of the jangley guitar is disjointed and chaotic, which makes it fun. They overlaid a lot of slight melodies, creating a complex song that actually works in the realms of Rush Prog music.
“Table For One” continues with the fun, almost Devo like guitar hook. But then the vocals begin, and it has an island-style cover band feel, with a Steve Nieve like piano in support. There is a conga breakdown, after a vocal overdub seating a guest at a table…for one, and the song embraces the island theme.
“Friendly Fire” fuses jangley guitar with a bunch of overproduced studio instruments creating an impotent jazzy adult contemporary pop song. There is a synth xylophone effect that reminds me of some of the later Oingo Boingo songs, but the song is just so tame, it cannot evoke any kind of emotion, but it could be used as backing music for a Miami Vice montage. And it just seems to go on for about an extra minute and half after it should have faded out.
“Big Mistake” begins with a bass driven lonely melody, reminding me of Heart’s “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You.” The vocals take any similarity away, but the melody feels like it could follow the same path. Instead, the song barely transitions from verse to chorus with any noticeable difference. As if to date the song further, they employ a gloomy sax.
“Waiting on a Train” begins with conductor announcements unintelligible and echoing at a train station’s vast cavernous size. The song’s melody sounds familiar, like a slow, sad Michael Bolton song, or a bad Richard Marx melody. The song is about the gloom associated with leaving a girl, and prolonging the grief by waiting for a train.

Stand Out Tracks: *You Make the Heat 
~Boat Song

fan site
Promo Photo
2012 Reunion article
Ear Candy Mag interview
2014 Article NOLA


  1. These albums are highly sought out by power-pop fans. There were CD releases briefly, but I think both are out of print and fetch high prices.

    I surprise people because I listen to a lot of progressive, yet have an affinity for power pop, too.

    I am sure I am misquoting Hugh Grant in "Music & Lyrics," but he said something like nothing can make you feel as happy as quickly as a good pop song."

    I have not heard their big songs in a long time, but from your description, it does not seem like they live up to their hype.

    I may be in the Philly area over the summer (and I seem to remember that's where you are based)-any record stores I should check out? All of the ones I remember are gone (used to love Plastic Fantastic on the Main Line)


  2. I've read their first album is pretty solid, and the B-Side of their second album is really good, but by the time the production style of the mid-80's caught up with the band's third album, it just falls flat. Not horrible, but underwhelming.

    Yes! Record Stores in Philly. If you come in, there are 4-5 solid stores:

    Marvelous in West Philly. Small, but dedicated selection of good stuff in West Philly: 49-50th & Baltimore

    Long in the Tooth. Superb collection of new and used vinyl. Nice "dollar" section: 20-21st and Sansom

    AKA: one of the longer standing record stores still around. They've got hundreds of 25 cent - $2 cds...some descent albums there, and they're expanding their Vinyl collection too...places are figuring out that vinyl is the $ maker.

    Beautiful World Syndicate- They've been around a while too, good selection, and some good cheap stuff too. 1619 E. Passyunk

    Repo Records is still on South Street, and their basement has a huge selection of cheap stuff...at least it used to: i've not been there in a while.

    And while on South Street, the Thrift store Philly Aids Thrift is a great, unique thrift shop where all of the proceeds go to AIDS foundations in the city...I used to organize their records, and buy what looked interesting. I've not been there in a while, but they always have a good amount if you feel like thumbing through postal service boxes of records. 710 S 5th St.

    I've heard Tequilla Sunrise is a good place on like 5th and Girard, but never been...and the old South Street record shop Philadelphia Record Exchange moved up to Fishtown area: 1524 Frankford Ave

    This should help out!