SERGEANT

COUNTRY: Switzerland

STYLE: AOR
PhotobucketSergeant was formed out of the ashes of the Steve Whitney Band. SWB made two albums and split in 1982. The two  English guys (Mick and Rob) returned to England leaving the three Swiss guys to form (after a few months rest) a new band. Crigi liked the name “Sergeant Fury”. They recruited Urs Amacher on keyboards and, after placing an ad in England’s Melody Maker, a singer from England called Pete Prescott.

Pete flew out in October 1983 for three days and recorded six songs he had written with them. The next step was to get Rob back out to Switzerland to join the new band. Rob was not only an exceptional player but a good songwriter. The band had sent him tapes of the new songs that they had written with Pete. By the time Pete flew back in December. Rob was back in the band which was no called Sergeant and they were to become the main songwriters. A lot of songs for the first album were written by post: backing tracks were sent to Pete in England, he would  write lyrics and melodies. Then fly out and work on them with the band at weekends.

In June 1984 Sergeant went to Kirchheim (near Stuttgart) in Germany and recorded the first album: it was a  difficult album to make. It was recorded on down time (through the nights when the studio was not being used) and with limited time. Some of the songs were written just before the band entered the studio. So lyrics were written in hotel rooms, the studio, or in front of the microphone: “Rollin”, “You Got Me Reelin” and “Paradise”. The album had some good moments and one was a re-working of an old Steve Whitney song “Since you Wanted it” now called “Upside Down”. This became the single and recieved a lot of airplay.

In October 1984 Pete moved out of Switzerland to concentrate on promoting the band and gigs TV shows and radio filled a lot of 1985. They played with Uriah Heep in Zurich at St. Gallen in front of 20,000 with Joe Cocker and took part in the Swiss Live Aid show. They were getting a lot of airplay on radio stations throughout Europe.

Pete left a copy of the album with Tony Wilson at Radio 1 in England. Tommy Vance played it on his Friday Rock Show to audience of six million: a week later they had their first offer from a bigger company in America. Sadly it fell through due to the demands of their German company.

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Gama Records was run by Guntar Marek and Peter Garrattoni, they dealt with heavy metal acts. Sergeant was melodic rock so they couldn’t put them out with any of their acts. However, as the average album sales for the other bands was around 3,000 and Sergeant’s first album sold 12,000. GAMA knew they had something good. Yet they didn’t know what to do with the band…should they wait for a bigger company with a bigger offer? They had already turned one down. GAMA hoped another one woould come along. Sadly it didn’t. All the TV shows, radio  interviews, and gigs were arranged by the band, mainly Crigi, Rolf and Gary, they were the heart of the band.

Rob and Pete were writing through the year and in Nov/Dec 1985 went into the studio to record the second album. This time they were on the day shift and had a longer time to record. Sergeant spent three weeks laying down drums, guitars, keyboards, and ahead of schedule, most of the lead vocals. After Christmas they went back in and finished the album but on down time, it was to be called Streetwise.

Streetwise came out in March 1986. With no hits like “Upside Down” sales were lower (around 10,000) but it still was considered a very good album. More TV and more gigs with Wishbone Ash in Austria, Status Quo and Magnum in Arbon among others.

Powerstation Records in England made a lecensing deal and released a compilation album called Living in the Fast Lane in England. It recieved airplay from Tommy Vance and Alan Freeman among others. It recieved a four and a half star rating in Kerrang from Paul Miller who said “Records as classy as this are rarer than rocking horse manurel”.

But in mid 1986 Rolf and Crigi left the band. Some months later Gary also went, the band struggled on with new members. Whilst back in England in January 1986, Pete was asked to sing on a version of Smoke on the Water with Ray Fenwick (Ian Gillan band), Cozy Powell and Neil Murray in a project called Forcefield. The single was released and an album was planned for Japan. At the end of 1986 Pete left Sergeant.

Sergeant at their best were a good band, they took part in some memorable festivals in Switzerland, appeared in six TV shows, made one video and a forty minute documentary about three days in the life of a band without the help of the record company!

ALBUMS

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– Sergeant [1984]
– Streetwise [1986]

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