It was like a group divorce," Michael Stanley would later recall, to Cleveland Magazine in a July, 1994 interview. "After we did the last show with the band in December, 1987 (the Front Row Club "farewell" shows), I didn't touch a guitar for six months," Michael Stanley said in a 1992 interview, "...I wanted to walk away from it for awhile. I thought, 'Yeah, I'll stop for a little bit, come back and it'll be like turning on the faucet.' It was the total opposite. It was like writer's block for a long, long time." In late 1991, the 'block' fell away... Not surprisingly, Michael's 'post-MSB' years found him still working in the Cleveland-area entertainment spotlight: he served as co-host of WJW-Channel 8's "Cleveland Tonight" and "P.M. Magazine", 'til they were canceled, and later as a weekly featured reporter for TV8's "First Look".
It was only natural he'd find music calling him again, and he overlapped his television career with a new one in radio broadcasting--as afternoon disc jockey and on-air personality at Cleveland's WNCX 98.5... Coming Up For Air... In December, 1991, during a Las Vegas vacation, Michael suffered a heart attack. The near-tragedy resulted in Michael's re-evaluation of his life and career, and, with renewed determination and perspective, he began building a life of balance, exploring new interests while rediscovering old ones. He 'settled in', buying Chagrin Falls acreage, and lent his support to a number of good causes and charitable projects.
Former Ohio native and MSB-fan, Razor & Tie Records' Cliff Chenfield, had contacted him, and the 'compilation' release they had discussed, "Right Back At Ya", was released in February, 1992, leading to a following decision to 're-issue' the entire Michael Stanley catalog. Michael remarked, in a 1994 Cleveland Magazine interview, "After a six-year drought, we had eight albums out one year and four the next. I finally got to have a copy of everything we'd done." In 1993, Michael reunited with Jonah Koslen, Bob Pelander and Jennifer Lee (an area singer whose vocals had contributed to many MSB studio projects and concert appearances) to form The Ghost Poets. With the MSB reissues selling so well, Cliff Chenfield decided to release the group's eponymously-titled "The Ghost Poets" through Razor & Tie Records in 1994.
Sales that followed were good, but local airplay was difficult--a Cleveland 'blackout' had resulted, as many radio stations viewed Michael Stanley--WNCX's highly-visible personality--as a competitor. The Ghost Poets continued to perform for a little over a year after the release, when a decision was made to disband the effort, and move on... Following the quiet disbanding of The Ghost Poets, Michael went into the studio with another set of former MSB bandmates--including Bob Pelander, drummer Tommy Dobeck, bassist Michael Gismondi and guitarist Danny Powers--and recorded his first 'solo' endeavor since 1973's "Friends & Legends". "Coming Up For Air", a quiet, intensely emotional and introspective album that centered around the title track--Stanley's chilling reliving of his recent heart attack--was released through Intersound Music (now Platinum Entertainment) on February 27, 1996. "Though declaring a 1994 Blossom 'MSB reunion' concert as the 'final' one, Michael Stanley continued to perform with several long-time friends and former band members in and around the Cleveland area, billed as 'Michael Stanley & Friends'. Not surprisingly, his solo work led him to a decidedly 'acoustic' approach: in April, 1997, a two-nighter at Akron's Tangiers was duly recorded, and released by Razor & Tie Records as "Live In Tangiers: The Acoustic Shows" on June 3, 1998... The release was received warmly by his fans and new converts alike, and the following 2 years were ones spent engaged in work on his next studio release.
On June 6, 2000, of "Eighteen Down": elegantly titled (as an eighteenth album -- nineteen if one includes his debut endeavor with Silk, "Smooth As Raw Silk" -- spanning a musical career of over three decades) and brimming with new songs that both rocked with heartland spirit and embraced an oftimes-reflective maturity. Again, many familiar names joined Michael Stanley in the creation of that effort. Now, and on "The Ground" with "The Farrago Sessions"... The following year saw Michael maintaining a busy schedule of work at WNCX, 'Friends' appearances and creative time in the studio mulling his next move. All was right in the world... September 11, 2001, changed a lot of lives, and Michael was no exception.
Tragedy has long inspired art, perhaps as a memorial to loss, grief and change. And, in the process, we are tutored as to what is really 'right in the world', and made stronger by the realization. It was a muse that would lead Stanley to pen new material that reflected this, to cherish family and embrace friends. By now, "Michael Stanley & The Resonators" had become the band's performing moniker, and they were pleasing their loyal MSB fans while winning over new ones, with a set list of old favorites and clever covers interspersed with fresh originals... Not long after, a gumbo of Cleveland talent began rocking the Northcoast music scene as "The Midlife Chryslers", composed of musical alumni of the Resonators, MSB, The TopKats, My Old School, Jonah Koslen and the Gentleman Rockers, Wish You Were Here and more... It was during this storm of creative activity that Michael somehow found the time to hit the studio and begin work on "The Ground", released on October 21, 2003.
The momentum continued, and an inspired collection of Michael's personal favorites, "The Farrago Sessions", resulted, dropping late summer, 2006. Featuring such gems as "I Wish It Would Rain", a medley-fied pair of classics, "Withi-Tai-To" and "Sweet Jane", and a dozen other goodies, "The Farrago Sessions" is Michael's first-ever "cover" set, but, judging by the favorable response, won't be the last... Michael continues to man the airwaves as afternoon 'drive-time' personality at Cleveland's popular WNCX, while performing with "The Resonators" and "Midlife Chryslers" throughout Ohio... The pace shows no signs of letting up... 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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