After releasing two albums for Universal Music, MAdE left the label in the midst of the merger with Polygram Records, leaving the remaining members to search for a new musical direction. With the drumming and touring taking up less of her time Alison began concentrating more on songwriting. After submitting a demo version of her song Tennessee to the MIX 99.9 Standard Radio Songwriting Competition, Alison won the Regional competition and then the National competition. Next came her second place showing in the Unisong International Songwriting Contest in the AA category. Needing an outlet to showcase her new found knack for songwriting, Alison put out the word that she was forming a new band.
Fourstar was born - a supergroup of talented friends that she had met while playing with MAdE. Answering the call were bassist Bruce Gordon (I Mother Earth), guitarist James Reid (Soul Decision, Ashley MacIsaac) and Tavis Stanley (Thornley) and future INXS protégé Suzi MacNeil on vocals. The star powered line-up combined with the award winning set list brought them instant attention, but it also lead to their downfall. One by one each member was drawn away by bigger offers.
The final blow came when Suzi left to star in the reality TV show Rockstar INXS. A program designed to help the Australian band find a new singer. Once again Alison was left with an album full of hit songs but no one to play them. Continuing with the formula that had worked so well in the past seemed like the obvious route to take.
In 2007 Calling Wendy was born. MAdE’s rhythm section was reunited when Alison was joined by her old friend bassist Chris Sytnyk. One by one female singers took the lead but the revolving door of voices never allowed for any consistency and a radical change had to be made. Enter Chris Ioannou, 25 year-old singer and guitar player. Chris was originally hired to add rhythm guitar and some backup vocals to the then female-led project.
After two years of steady commitment, Chris is now fronting the show. The turning point came when a storm knocked out the power at the Durham International Festival. The band could have easily just packed up and gone home but Chris jumped up on stage and played the entire set with nothing but a borrowed acoustic guitar and his bare voice. Calling Wendy had found their man. With Ioannou fronting the band, the sound and direction had evolved.
The soaring melodies are still there, but the sound of the band had taken on a harder edge. Gone are the country tinged jangles of acoustic guitars, replaced by crunchy overdriven electrics. Alison got back into her comfort zone too, crashing her cymbals in a way not heard since Made’s “Bedazzler” was released internationally over ten years ago. It all seemed to be paying off for the three core members of Calling Wendy.
“Lovelorn” the first song recorded with Ioannou singing lead vocals, was a finalist in the 2010 International Songwriting Competition. Coincidentally, with the new sound, the three musicians had begun to feel that they had outgrown the Calling Wendy moniker and started a search for a name that would better suit the band’s musical direction. As if destiny came knocking Calling Wendy was approached by the “What’s In A Name” television show. The band needed a new name. The show needed a band looking for a new name.
The universe was in full alignment. Filming began in the Fall of 2010 and wrapped in Spring 2011. The show is scheduled to air in Canada on History Television throughout October, November and December. The highlight of the filming was an opportunity to meet and be mentored by Canada’s own rock legend Randy Bachman(The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive.) They even had a chance to perform a new song for Randy entitled “Breakdown” which had only been performed once before.
After hearing the song Bachman called it a 9 1/2 out of 10. He offered up some tips and words of wisdom before picking up his guitar and joining them for hard rockin’ version of the tune. More info can be obtained from the official Little Creatures website www.littlecreaturesmusic.com Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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