About The Big 3-0 Tour: Dan Reed Network + FM + Gun
Dan Reed Network is a funk rock band formed by Dan Reed in Portland, Oregon, United States, in 1984. They released several albums during the mid- to late-1980s and scored a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988.
Dan Reed met Dan Pred in high school in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and after a time pursuing music studies at Northern State University, the pair returned to Portland and formed the Dan Reed Network in 1984. In 1986, they made their first recording, a six-track EP called Breathless which spawned a No. 1 single, "Steal Me", on Z-100 in Portland, Oregon.
The lineup at this point was Dan Reed on vocals and guitar, Brion James on guitar, Melvin Brannon II on bass guitar, Dan Pred on drums, and Rick DiGiallonado on keyboards. The band's diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds were reflected in the music, which, though discernibly hard rock, was blended with soul, funk, and jazz arrangements. DiGiallonado, who was married with one child, was replaced by Portlander Blake Sakamoto on keyboards; Sakamoto, of Japanese heritage, had returned from Los Angeles where he had been playing with future Atlantic Records artists Dear Mr. President .
The Dan Reed Network made a name for itself with the live performances. The Washington Post described the band in one performance as "easily charming its ... audience with an unlikely brand of heavy metal-ish rock sharpened by junk funk and plenty of rock 'n' roll theatrics," and that "the Network's strength lies in its infectious temperament."
The band signed to Mercury Records with the aid of Derek Shulman , and were managed by legendary concert promoter Bill Graham. In winter 1987, the group released an eponymous debut album which was produced by Bruce Fairbairn and was engineered and mixed by Mike Fraser at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver. They released their first single "Ritual", which peaked to No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Dan Reed Network album received positive reviews, not the least of which being a four-star write-up from the notoriously hard-to-please Rolling Stone magazine. Most reviews lauded the band's ability to blend elements of heavy funk with a gritty rock edge peppered with pop hooks, pulled together in an '80s radio-friendly production. Rolling Stone wrote that "Producer Fairbairn deserves a nod for adding just the right amount of pop polish where it's needed," and giving even the weaker songs on a strong album an appeal. Still, while People magazine's review of the album as being "polished to a brassy sheen" saw the glass half-full, some music critics saw Fairbairn's pop-savvy commercial production as minimizing the band's funk grooves and heavy rock guitar. Newsday said "the songs don't stand up to repeated listenings due to Bruce Fairbairn's absurdly pristine production ... Fairbairn, best known for recordings by Loverboy, Aerosmith, and Bon Jovi, is a master at neutering hard rock and rendering it antiseptic." The Washington Post approached the issue with a constructively balanced context, comparing the Dan Reed Network's debut album to its live performances, saying, "numbers such as 'Get to You,' irritatingly synth-heavy on the record, were played with enough soul and engagingly invidious guitar to redeem them."
The poor promotion of the Dan Reed Network's debut album impeded the band's traction in the United States market. Def Leppard's album Hysteria was having disappointing sales at Mercury/Polygram and the label was pulling support from new artists to focus on saving the British rock band's return to the scene. Ironically, it would be Def Leppard's managers Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch who would offer the Dan Reed Network the final leg of the Hysteria tour in the US if they would switch to their management company, Q Prime. The band was initially reluctant to jettison Bill Graham, but by the beginning of 1989, they signed with Q Prime and the band enjoyed its greatest success.
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