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Country USA

Style AOR

Adrenalin is an American rock band from East Detroit Michigan, that is perhaps best known for their song “Road of the Gypsy,” featured in the 1986 film Iron Eagle. Adrenalin is made up of six friends from elementary school (St. Veronica) to high school (Grosse Pointe North). Brian and Mark Pastoria, Jimmy and Mike Romeo, Bruce Schafer and Mike “Flash” Haggerty started the band in the mid-seventies with the help of lead singer David Larson.

Adrenalin created a huge buzz among fans and the music industry alike, as well as quickly earning the respect of musicians such as Bob Seger and Aerosmith. They continually won awards throughout the late ’70s and well into the ’80s when Marc Gilbert joined the band and were getting radio airplay across the country. Their albums boasted heartland rockers like “Don’t Be Lookin Back,” “Faraway Eyes,” and “Road Of The Gypsy,” a song featured in the film, Iron Eagle. Adrenalin was even in rotation when MTV was still a fledgling station that actually played music videos. They produced an EP, Don’t Be Looking Back in 1983, and two albums, American Heart (1984) and Road of the Gypsy (1986) both produced by Vini Poncia.

By the end of Adrenalin’s run as a band, the members had coped with the suicide of their original lead singer, David Larson. They were dropped by Polygram during the mid-’80s collapse of MCA records. “Through all of this,” remembers Brian Pastoria, “we never considered packing it in. We believed in what we were doing…Giving up was not an option.” The Pastoria brothers and the Romeo brothers formed a new band, DC Drive. With the addition of Doug Kahan on bass and Joey Bowen on vocals, DC Drive picked up where Adrenalin left off. They debuted by warming up for Cheap Trick in front of 50,000 fans.

During all of these changes, the band realized that they wanted to record and produce themselves. “With a $125,000 recording budget, you can pay per diems (to studios on the East or West Coast) or buy the equipment (yourself),” reasoned Brian Pastoria. The band was soon rewarded for their efforts with a recording deal from Capitol Records/EMI of Canada and began working with famed hard-rock producer, Vini Poncia. The result was a self-titled disk full of rock and soul. As bassist Doug Kahan so gracefully put it, “Imagine the MC5 in bed with the Supremes.”

The album and the single, “You Need Love,” were a success across Detroit and in Canada. In 1993, DC Drive and PR Music garnered many awards and much recognition, including seven nominations and four awards including Best Rock Group and Best Single (“You Need Love”) at the Motor City Music Awards. DC Drive disbanded in 1993, when Joey quit to “do his own thing” and Doug went to Nashville. Adrenalin re-united for a show at the Royal Oak Music Theatre on May 25, 2002 with singer Graham Strachan fronting the band. During their 16-year tenure from 1977-1993, these east side Detroit rockers known first as Adrenalin and then as DC Drive created rugged, muscular, earnest working-man’s music that was as much the epitome of Detroit as anything created by forebears such as Mitch Ryder or Bob Seger.

That the group’s brief moments in the national spotlight – three albums and a minor hit, “Road of the Gypsy” in the movie “Iron Eagle” – does not diminish the passion the groups displayed as they slogged through the trenches. As drummer Brian Pastoria notes, “That’s what we initially set out to do – make music. That was the whole goal. We didn’t get the breaks like some people, but the music still stands up.”

“Drama” and “intrigue” were words used to describe this east side Detroit group as much as the terms “dynamic” and “exciting.” They endured the suicide of their lead singer, the jailing of the owners of the record label, the loss of their master tapes and a revolving door of high-profile vocalists. Still, Adrenalin — and its later incarnation, DC Drive — remains a legend in the Motor City. “We always felt we were as good as any band out there, but we just didn’t get the breaks,” said Brian Pastoria, who now runs the Harmonie Park recording studio in downtown Detroit with his brother Mark. “We knew it wasn’t going to last forever, and we felt the moment had passed us by and we weren’t going to fool ourselves, so we split up and put our lives together.”

Adrenalin gained attention in 1979 with its independent single, “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin… In ’84 they were signed to Rocshire/MCA and had a Billboard AOR charted song called “Faraway Eyes.” Singer David Larson, who worked at Eastland shopping center in Harper Woods by day and rocked with the band at night, shocked his band mates when he committed suicide in the winter of 1980. “We were at a show waiting for him and he never came,” Pastoria recalled. “It wasn’t like him to miss a show at all. After we found out what happened, it was hard to believe.”

The group’s personnel changed with the addition Marc Gilbert — brother of the late Rockets vocalist Dave Gilbert — and later, young vocal powerhouse Joey Bowen. More behind-the-scenes problems continued with record labels and lawsuits and the band changed its name. Each time, it appeared national success was near but elusive. They were mentored by Grammy Award winning producer Vini Poncia (Kiss) through two albums American Heart and Road of the Gypsy (Iron Eagle).

In 1987, they hooked up with former Grand Funk Railroad front man Mark Farner and toured North America before regrouping with new singer Joey Hamady. The new band called themselves DC Drive and recorded their self titled album for Capitol records produced again by Vini Poncia. After 4 years of non-stop touring and on the eve of their American tour Joey decided he “wanted to do his own thing”. By this time the Pastoria and Romeo brothers after 16 years of slugging it out as a band felt it was time for a change. The members got on with their lives and started families.

– Don’t Be Lookin’ Back [1983]
– American Heart [1984]
– Road Of The Gypsy [1986]

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