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Country USA

Style AOR

A New York based commercially inclined Hard Rock band produced by Neil Kernon, with a particular penchant for rousing, singalong anthems, Richie Cerniglia and Michael Ricciardella put the New York based Aviator together following the demise of Network, with whom they’d recorded two albums for Epic Aviator the duo had played together in Wiggy Bits, a band that had recorded an album for Polydor in 1986 and also featured vocalist Peppy Castro (infamous for his much later role in Balance), with whom Ricciardella had recorded with in the early Seventies in Barnaby Bye.

Whilst Steve Vitale was a well known face on New York’s session circuit, Ernie White had previously been involved with the Casablanca signed Sam the Band who had released an album in 1983. Managed by Tommy Mottola, Aviator scored a deal with RCA and released an extremely well received eponymous debut album in 1986. Backing vocals on the record came courtesy of Strangeways man Terry Brock. A lack of promotion by the label and band indecision over touring led to White and Vitale continuing without Cerniglia and Ricciardella in order to find a new deal, after an inevitable split from RCA.The revised line-up (with the new men being ex-Magnum keyboard player Tommy Zito and former Hot Tuna drummer Kenny Kness) spent a couple of years recording some particularly strong demos with which they hoped to sign another major deal. Such a deal was not forthcoming however, and White split the band up to pursue a solo career in his native New Jersey.

White recorded a self-financed album, titled ‘Scenes From America‘ and following a more rootsy, acoustic based direction, which was issued in 199?.Vitale, meanwhile, had relocated to Austin, Texas, where he continues to work in Blues based groups. Following their departure from Aviator in 198?, Cerniglia and Ricciardella worked on a variety of local projects, Cerniglia actually living in Florida for a period before moving back to New York. During 1989 a privately pressed release, ‘The Demos‘, emerged onto the market. Attempts have been made in recent years by a couple of European based labels to re-issue the RCA album on CD, along with all the unreleased material in the band’s archives. British based label Escape Music eventually successfully negotiated to re-issue the album during the summer of 199?, with the addition of two unreleased tracks from the sessions recorded following the break up of the original quartet.

– Aviator [1986]

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AVIATOR, 8.8 out of 10 based on 8 ratings
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