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Pages

History - Pages

Before they formed Mr. Mister, Richard Page and Steve George were already highly respected studio musicians. They had been hired by a wide range of artists, from all possible music styles, to do some session work on their albums; as song writers, musicians and mostly as backing vocalists.

It all started at high school. They played together in a lot of high school bands as teenagers. At the age of 19 Steve was playing in Los Angeles with a group called Andy Hardy, named after the movie character played by Mickey Rooney in the late 30’s and 40’s. Eventually Richard joined the band. He had also begun writing his own material, and he started a new band called Joyce, named after its guitarist's girlfriend. He began as a drummer, and later played the lead guitar. In search of fortune and fame they moved to Hollywood, but soon enough Richard came back to L.A., broke but unbowed. He joined Steve again, and they found themselves playing funk at The Red Onion, a black nightclub somewhere in L.A.

They eventually moved further to Las Vegas, where they immediately found work on the club circuit, sometimes playing seven or eight sets a night. This was, of course, very exhaustive and Richard's voice couldn't take it very long, so they decided to end their collaboration. While Steve continued to work in Vegas, Richard moved to San Diego to attend a music school for performing arts. When he had no more money left to cover his studies, he relocated to a tiny apartment in Studio City, Los Angeles to earn some money by playing in different bands.

Before long, Richard got together with Steve again to record an original demo. This tape ended up on the desk of A&R man Bobby Colomby (the former drummer of Blood, Sweat & Tears), who offered to sign them a deal with Epic Records. In 1977, Pages was born. Bobby Colomby said about the album: "Pages represents the mainstream of contemporary music. They utilize various elements and combine them into an original and tasty mixture that will appeal to all formats of radio."

They played mainly jazz and fusion. Their self-titled debut was released in 1978, followed by the single ‘If I Saw You Again’.

Pages was not like any average band. There was Richard and Steve, who wrote most songs together with Richard's cousin John Lang. Joe Manfredi (bass) contributed to the songwriting on five tracks. A whole range of sessions musicians and artists contributed to the album: Philip Bailey, Steve Forman (percussion), Bobby Colomby (background vocals, percussion, producer), Dave Grusin (strings), Claudio Slon (percussion), Victor Feldman (vibes), Michael Brecker (sax) and many others. On this album Richard did lead and backing vocals, clavinet and grand piano, and Steve did backing vocals, Fender Rhodes, Mini-Moog, synthesizer (Yamaha CS-80 and Oberheim) and grand piano. He even did lead vocals for two songs: ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Listen for the Love’ (together with Richard). The line-up on the debut album had strong personal bonds between them, but signs of internal strain on the musical end were surfacing. Thus, during sessions, Peter Lennheiser and Russell Battelene left the band.

From this very first album to the present time (from Pages, over Mr. Mister and 3rd Matinee, to Richard's solo career) management has always been in the hands of George Ghiz Management & Entertainment.

Their first album wasn't a commercial breakthrough, but a year later, in 1979, a second album Future Street was released, containing the single ‘I Do Believe In You’ (which has been covered by Frank Stallone—yes, the brother of actor Sylvester—in 1983 on his album Far From Over)  which appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts in December and peaked only at # 84. With the release of their second Epic LP, Pages went in a harder direction and was well on the way to blazing a new trail on the rock frontier. Richard Page recalls: "Jerry, Steve and myself were writing all the music but it just didn't sound right. Everybody knew it, but it was left unspoken for a long time because of that lingering bond. With Charles and George everything went perfect for the first time. The potential was just staring us in the face". Pages bassist, co-composer Jerry Manfredi, and Chase bassist for two years, comments: "It's difficult to describe our music because it crosses a lot of areas. Somebody can listen to our first single 'I do believe in you' and say, "These guys play great rock", but within it there seems to be some sort of rock-R1B-jazz-fusion style happening. I think music has evolved to the point where people can appreciate all these different styles. We like it all, too, and that comes through in our music. It's so much its own thing that it's not even fusion anymore". However, their music still wasn't very popular at that particular time. It didn't seem to fit in anywhere. It was the era of disco and rock. There was nothing in between …

Pages increased their line-up, with Charles ‘Icarus’ Johnson, Jerry Manfredi and George Lawrence. Most lyrics were written by Richard and John Lang. One track, titled ‘Who's Right, Who's Wrong’ was co-written by Kenny Loggins. This song has also been recorded for the 1982 Casino Lights—Live in Montreux, Switzerland album and has been performed by Al Jarreau and Randy Crawford.

Success failure prompted them to switch to another record label, Capitol Records. They also found a new producer: the award-winning musician/composer/producer Jay Graydon. Pages now turned to a Toto-like pop/rock style and in January 1981 a third album titled Pages was released, producing two singles: ‘You Need A Hero’ and ‘Come On Home’.

Right then, Pages consisted of Richard, Steve,  and John Lang. Despite of the fact that some of L.A.'s best musicians like Charles Johnson, Neil Stubenhaus, Ralph Humphrey, Steve Khan, Jeff Porcaro, Paulinho DaCosta, Vince Colaiuta, Tom Scott, Jay Graydon, Mike Baird and Al Jarreau contributed to this album, it didn't sell either …

So, by the end of 1981, they decided to end Pages. After all, it wasn't such a good idea to form a band without a steady line-up.

Richard and Steve returned once more to the session circuit. Page was part of the well-known back-up vocal trio of Richard Page, Tommy Funderbeck and Tom Kelly (Bob Carlisle was invited to take Richard's place after he formed Mr. Mister). Unlikr their lack of success with Pages, they earned a lot of musical respect and they became highly recommended songwriters and backing vocalists. Many well-known producers like David Foster and Quincy Jones appealed to them for work. They performed on albums for Al Jarreau, Donna Summer, Chaka Khan, REO Speedwagon, Kenny Loggins, Pointer Sisters…and even Molly Hatchet and Twisted Sister. Richard and Steve also did the vocals for Village People, together with Chicago's Bill Champlin and Tom Kelly. This playback-band was very popular by the end of the seventies and the beginning of the eighties, with their big hits ‘Y.M.C.A.’, ‘In the Navy’ and ‘Go West’. Many American Top 20 hits featured Richard and Steve, but of course who knew this? That started to become frustrating and annoying. In 1982, when Richard and Steve were on tour as backing vocalists with Andy Gibb, the idea grew to create a new band with regular members. So they started searching for a guitarist, a bass player and a drummer. This was the very beginning of Mr. Mister.