Long Way to Go
Never one to let a creative urge go unattended, Jeff Laine has emerged from a year in the studio with a new CD: Long Way To Go. Produced by Magic Kramer (Ray Charles, Michael Jackson) and supported by musicians culled from the bands of Lucinda Williams, Melissa Etheridge, MC5's Wayne Kramer and Willie Nelson, these brand new recordings capture Jeff Laine at his best. For those who've followed his career closely, this CD fulfills their loftiest expectations. For the uninitiated listening for the first time, reserve a place in the CD changer-you've got some catching up to do. Born in Detroit, Jeff was raised on Motown and the MC5. He relentlessly badgered his parents to get him a guitar. They relented shortly after his eighth birthday. He soon began playing in rock bands with kids from the neighborhood. One stormy afternoon, Jeff and former bandmate Doug Fieger drove a red Karman Ghia to Los Angeles. Neither came back. Fieger formed a band called the Knack which produced one of the 80s biggest hit records for Capitol ('My Sharona'). Jeff came under the tutelage of Grammy winning blues and soul legend, Etta James. Her advice was simple and direct...'It ain't if you're good. It ain't if you're bad...it's if you're happening.' Etta's guidance was not lost on Jeff when he became lead singer and principal songwriter for sophisto-punk band Hollywood Underground. Their live performances became the stuff of legend as much for what happened off the stage as on it. When his first wife, super model and fashion designer Mag de Laine lost her life to cancer, Jeff fell into a manic state of disorienting depression. He took to living on the fringe of sexual propriety and documented his experiences in a series of graphic songs. Soon, a self produced EP began getting airplay on LA radio as Hollywood Underground's loyal, but twisted legion of fans grew dramatically. At this point Apache/Capitol Records, stepped into the picture, signed the band, and quickly began hyping it as the next 'can't miss' sensation to hit pop music. The first single, Jeff's autobiographical tale of incest and lust, was aptly titled 'Blue Taboo', but mainstream radio programmers felt it was a little to edgy for their playlists. When they had the same reaction to the follow-up, 'Little Runaway', the band and the label looked fate straight in the eye-and neither blinked. Apache Records went out of business, the members of Hollywood Underground went their separate ways. When he'd spent his last record company dollar and exhausted all his label contacts, Jeff simply rolled up his sleeves and went to work as a bus boy in a Santa Monica burger joint. A short lived attempt to supplement his earnings as a street singer on the Venice Boardwalk ended when he was promoted to 'world's worst waiter' and got fired from his gig. It didn't take Jeff very long to figure out that he needed to write and make music full time. Back on the boards in local LA clubs with the exotic hybrid hard rock motorcycle band, Poetic Justice, he attracted the attention of William Smith, a.k.a. 'Smitty', one night while performing at the world renown Whiskey a Go-Go. The legendary producer and keyboard player for John Lennon, Bob Dylan andRod Stewart admired Jeff's no-nonsense songs and uncompromising stage presence and assembled a hand picked rhythm section from the bands of Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young and Dwight Yoakum to create 'Western Love Affair', which was recorded for 3M Entertainment. It was to be the last record Smitty produced before his untimely and tragic death. Returning to the theme of Hollywood heartbreaks, Jeff enlisted the help of longtime friend Venetta Fields ( the voice on Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon) for duets and backing vocals for the recording of 'Weeping Women'. The video which accompanied the stirring title track, gained universal critical acclaim and aptly capturing Jeff's explosive performance. Jeff emerged with a renewed spirit when his son, Maximilian, was born. He followed a new voice within and ventured to San Francisco where he studied Classical music and symphonic composition. The libidinous punk and bad boy rocker found himself enthralled by Stravinsky and Beethoven and he returned to LA to record Ghost, an intensely personal four song EP that's a Gothic blend of traditional folk musical forms coupled with his haunting lyric poetry. Because of it's personal nature, Ghost remains unreleased. As surely as life is more about the journey than the destination, so too is Jeff Laine. That's what makes his songs such an intriguing proposition. His music like his personae is an ever-evolving work in progress. You feel his strong musical roots planted deeply in the greatest traditions of the past; yet you are constantly aware that there is some indefinable element that you have never heard before. Come join him on the journey. 'We've come a long way...we got a Long way to Go'