Heart in the Sky
The Boston rock band Ball and Pivot was formed in early 1984 by singer Bruce Wilkinson (previously the bass player with the Atlantics), guitarist Tom Hauck, and drummer Paul Caruso (both also formerly with the Atlantics). The group's first project was an independent six-song EP recorded at Syncro Sound and released on Z-Club Records in the spring of 1984. The band was joined on the record by Tim Long (keyboards) and Skip Smith (bass), who stayed with the group when Ball and Pivot started playing live in clubs and colleges in the New England area. The EP yielded the regional hit "Two O'Clock Jump." The next year the group was restructured, and Gene Gilmartin replaced Paul Caruso as the drummer and Paul Michael replaced Skip Smith on bass. The group returned to Syncro Sound with producer William Garrett and recorded the 12" single "Down." With support from Aruba's travel office, in the spring of 1985 Ball and Pivot went with director Luis Aira to Aruba and made a video of the song. The single, extolling the virtues of an oral hook-up, was a huge regional radio and dance club hit, and the controversial video-available in both regular and R-rated versions-made it briefly to MTV. During live performances the group was often joined onstage by vocalist Hope Moon, who was featured as the female partner during "Down." In 1986, the group traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida, to perform during Spring Break week. After only three days of a week-long contract the group was escorted out of the hotel by Daytona police and told not to come back, presumably due to Bruce and Hope's outrageous stage performance. During the next two years the band played to audiences in the New England area, and performed with artists as diverse as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Nona Hendryx, and INXS. In 1987 the band scored again with the rocker "Nowhere to Hide," released with a video by Jeff Hudson. Ball and Pivot was the quintessential 80's techno rock-dance band, with success both onstage and in urban dance clubs and radio. In early 1988 Dave Roberts replaced Paul Newman on bass. The band continued to perform until June, 1988, when they played their final show. Singer Bruce Wilkinson passed away in October 2000. 'Heart in the Sky' features 12 tracks recorded in 1985-1987, including the smash hits 'Down,' 'Two O'Clock Jump,' 'Downtown,' 'Looey Salamander,' and 8 more. All have been digitally remastered, and many have never been previously released. BOSTON GLOBE, May 25, 1985 Ball and Pivot... has worked out a deal in which they'll make a video for their new single, 'Down,' in tropical Aruba next month. Seems the band heard the island wanted to boost tourism, so after a quick call to the tourist board, the band agreed to make their video there in exchange for a free hotel stay, government assistance and a cut rate from American Airlines. 'We wanted to show what you can do if you just have enough nerve and imagination,' says Ball and Pivot's Tom Hauck. 'We have a minimum of capital, but we're probably getting $100,000 in production costs out of this.' The band, which plays tonight at Jumpin' Jack Flash, will also do an outdoor show in Aruba. Steve Morse THE NOISE BOSTON REVIEW, January 30, 2008 These songs, many previously unreleased, are like opening a time capsule from 1987 to find all the conventions of the synth-pop genre intact-the wheezy keyboards, the repetitive song structures, the mysterioso vocals, the percussion-heavy arrangements, the theatrical balladry. Yet, in their heyday, Ball and Pivot filled venues such as the Paradise and Spit/Axis. The thing is, while all the hipsters were grokking on Big Dipper and Dumptruck, the cognoscenti were snobbishly missing out on the decidedly mainstream pleasures of this equally fine band, Boston's answer to OMD (see, for instance, 'Blue Angel'). MTV-hit 'Down' and horn sections, as on 'Downtown,' may not have screamed indie cred, but they shouldn't have deterred rock's true believers from being able to appreciate Ball and Pivot. Maybe some of their repertoire was dance fodder, but that's not all it was; this offshoot of The Atlantics, led by Tom Hauck and Bruce Wilkinson, featured carefully thought-out songs spilling over with sophisticated arrangements (check out Paul Michael's bass build-up on the climax of 'It's Love, Miss Veronica'). And their love songs both said and meant something, as on the surprisingly Spartan 'Heart in the Sky' and the achingly evincing lament 'Christine.' Francis DiMenno BALL AND PIVOT "HEART IN THE SKY" RADIO REPORT 2/4/08 Thanks to these stations who publish online playlists and who have recently reported spins of Ball and Pivot! WMFO Jan 16th 2008 11:55pm PL Ball and Pivot-"It's love, Miss Veronica' Jan 12th 2008 7:55pm PL Ball and Pivot-"Down" WFNX 1/13/08 New England Product playlist BALL AND PIVOT-"Down" WMBR Pipeline! Playlist January 29, 2008 Ball and Pivot-"Down" KUSF The Menace's Attic Episode #321 February 1st, 2008 "Two O'Clock Jump" - Ball and Pivot (Something Hot) KPFT 90.1 FM Houston Commercial-Free Listener-Sponsored PACIFICA Radio JEFFREY THAMES [King of Grief] Host/Producer SOUND AWAKE Tuesday Afternoons 3-5 PM Central 4 O'CLOCK 80s BLOCK: BALL AND PIVOT / We Love The Dead / Heart in the Sky / something. Hot communications.
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