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"Released" Finally Lives Up To Its Name
Billy Falcon
Radio then was screwed. Now it is totally screwed, controlled by money more than ever with very little exception. - Billy Falcon
by Josh Davidson
 [Chorus and Verse] Billy Falcon
Billy Falcon
Billy Falcon

As Billy Falcon recorded his third effort for Mercury Records in Red Bank, NJ, a musical explosion was taking place on the west coast. The grunge sounds which had originated by Seattle bands, including Nirvana and Pearl Jam, dominated the national airwaves, leaving little room for any other style.

So, when the album was completed, Mercury’s representatives did not know how to market it. The album never made it to stores.

Without major label support, Falcon continued to write songs, some which were recorded by Jon Bon Jovi. Falcon’s fans continued to await his material and pushed him to release more through his web site.

Nine years after he released his sophomore Mercury effort, 1994’s Letters From a Paper Ship, Falcon responded to his fans’ wishes and released Songs About Girls. That album, which features the background vocals of Falcon’s daughter, Rose, includes some text book examples of how a rock 'n’ roll song should be written.

Wanting to hear more, Falcon’s fans asked him to pull his final unreleased Mercury recording from the record label’s archives. With the help of his brother, John Falcone, the album was finally put out last year under the title Released.

Falcon credits his brother, along with Jeff Giles, his webmaster/site designer, and the fans who continued to log onto his site for the album’s release. Obie O’Brien and Jon Bon Jovi also did some great production work, he said.

“It was an honest record, written for the most part in about five days,” he said. “[I] didn’t have time to second guess myself.”

Released is a collection of ballsy rock 'n’ roll, with clever, relatable lyrics. The inclusion of an all-star cast of musicians such as Kenny Aronoff (drums), Richie Sambora (guitars), David Bryan (keyboards) and Tico Torres (percussion), added punch to Falcon’s fiery compositions.

Bon Jovi also stepped out of the control room and into the recording booth, joining in on harmonica and backing vocals. He also joined Bobby Bandiera as an electric guitarist during the album’s loosest, yet strongest track, "Adios."

“'Adios' is something I wrote on the front porch of a house I was living in on Long Island,” Falcon said. “I think it was Easter Sunday. I was sitting there and it all just kind of poured out. I remember all of Rosey’s little cousins standing around, singing along. We recorded 'Adios' for the Paper Ship record, but I held it off ‘cause it felt too stiff and premeditated.”

But Falcon brought the song out again when the recording portion of Released reached its end at Bon Jovi’s house.

“It was [Bon Jovi’s] idea to cut it live - all the guys in the room,” Falcon said. “Jon played guitar and screamed along with me on that one. We played it twice and I think we used the second take.”

Falcon expressed his own angst at the bandwagon jumping music industry on the song entitled "Radio."

“Radio then was screwed. Now it is totally screwed, controlled by money more than ever with very little exception,” he said. “It really doesn’t seem to be about the music. It sucks most of all for new young artists. There’s so much great new music but you really have to search it out not to miss it.”

Falcon performs with his daughter, Rose
Falcon performs with his daughter, Rose

Prior to the album’s release, Mercury’s representatives were trying to figure out what to do with Falcon. The album, Falcon said, most likely would have been released had it followed Pretty Blue World. That album was released in 1991 and featured the hit "Power Windows."

He said that some of the songs which made it onto Paper Ship were written as fun songs for his band to play. He said that he made some “bad decisions” during the making of Paper Ship.

“There are a couple of songs that I wish I hadn’t put on the record,” he said. “They just sound like I was pandering as a writer to my band and what I thought would get me back on the radio, like 'Power Windows.' I am really proud of the songs on Paper Ship for the most part - 'Lovebirds,' 'Paper Ship,' 'Mamma’s Face,' 'Wonder Years,' 'Drinks' and 'Jewelry.' The only thing I would change about them would be some of the production. So much for spilt milk!”

Letters From a Paper Ship did not accrue the same buzz that Pretty Blue World did and by the time Released was finished, the music industry had already undergone a drastic change.

“(Released) was a pretty good record for the most part - some amazing playing,” Falcon said. “Lance Quinn, and Richie [Sambora] did some beautiful work. There was no place in the world for it, though. The record label was going through some major changes and we didn’t want them to just stick it out like they did Paper Ship, so Jon was able to get it back for me.”

And, staying true to the definition of diehard fan, Falcon’s supporters kept on listening.

“As old as the record is, I was almost able to listen to it like it wasn’t me, if that’s possible,” he said. “I was happy to find that for the most part the songs held up - some better than others, though.”

[ Website: www.billyfalcon.com ]

Josh Davidson
Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.
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