Asian Diary PT. 2-Bali
Bali is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. So beautiful, that in it's surroundings, Scott was inspired to write and record more than an albums worth of music. A real 'hidden' gem here is 'Aku Cinta Kamu' a song that was considered for the BLISS release. It has a great island flair and even has a local [bahasa Indonesia] chorus. Another song written in Bali; 'Bigger than us both' did end up on the BLISS CD. You can notice the move here from funk to pop and ballads with only 2 funky/ groove oriented songs here ('Baby Don't Fade' and 'Heart Of Glass'). 'I Will Be Here' is a POP IS ART song, but this is an early version sounding MUCH different, with a 'You've got a friend' vibe. 'You can go your own way' a beautiful heartfelt ballad of break up is given a special touch by the sounds of Balinese birds chirping in the background (you can especially hear them when the music pauses). The Lyrics still retaining a very personal feel; like entries in a Diary. New Religion Bio: New Religion was formed in the early 90's. After disbanding his previous project and taking some time off, Scott decided to start work on something new ....something different. So he put this band together, based around the idea that not only would the songs be pop and danceable, but the show would be explosive. It took him a while to get the right ingredients together, so there were personnel changes, but the New Religion lineup that really clicked was: Scott McGinley on vocals, guitar, and keys, Lenny Barber on Bass, Mario Rivera on guitar, Tim Houseman on keys, Mickey D rapping, percussion, and head spinning, Shawn C. on percussion and energy, and Bobby DuAime on drums. After gaining a following in the Philly/New York scene with their self releases: AFRO-ADESIAC & PHILLY PHUNK, and some interest from small labels (Roberta Flack's label and Bill Aucoin-Kiss's former manager), manager Jeff Deutch proposed the band to try a new approach; move to the other side of the world! Asia was (and is) the quickest growing record buying market....it made sense on paper-but it just was so scary to leave homes, friends and work and move indefinitely to the other side of the world. In the end Jeff convinced the boys to take the chance, and after playing the 1st show, they knew it was a good decision. New Religion toured many countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand, and while playing 6 nights a week, they also spent time doing magazine, radio and tv interviews. In the midst of all this Scott was writing great new material, but there was a switch going on in the sound of the band. While the funk songs had an exciting stage show with choreography and alot of energy, the pop songs were getting radio attention. [Some songs from this time period can be heard on Asian Diary pt1] As the interest of radio turned to the pop songs, that became the focus of Scott's writing. 'I always enjoy writing all different kinds of music, so I jot down ideas in my little book all the time' says Scott, 'but if someone is interested in just certain songs, those are the ones that I work on finishing, producing, and recording.' New Religion started out in Jakarta Indonesia, went on to play Malaysia, Singapore, China, and on to Bali Indonesia. After a few successful self releases in several of these countries, New Religion signed a deal with Modern Art records and returned to the US to record their first major release [music from this time period can be heard on Asian Diary pt2 Bali]. 'Something Worth Keeping' was recorded in Connecticut at the Carriage House studios in between Electric Light Orchestra II's sessions. The album showcases a New Religion show in this time of transition: beautiful ballads, great pop songs and some down and dirty funk tunes. The CD was produced by Scott and went to #7 when they returned to Asia to promote it. Even as the band was achieving more and more successes, there were strains within the band. Members were growing tired of the constant touring and spending so long away from their friends and family. By the time they recorded 'Something worth keeping', Lenny and Tim had left, replaced by Tom Warrington and Pat McCabe. Soon after that, Mario and Mickey D left. ....and then there were 5! Which actually seemed to make more sense as a pop band, anyway. Shawn jumped on second guitar, and gone were the high energy dance routines from New Religion. When 'Something Worth Keeping' reached the top ten and the band was increasing their following everywhere they went, other larger labels became interested in signing New Religion. By the time they were playing in Thailand, a bidding war of sorts ensued. [music from this time can be heard on Asian Diary pt3 Bangkok] Between the friction and spreading discontent within the band, and the growing pressures of the business, Scott decided to disband New Religion and move on to the next project: BLISS. Most of the members are still friends and you can catch up with Tim and Mario playing around Philly as BLIND MAN's BLUFF or you may see Shawn, Mickey D or Lenny playing around if you happen to be in an Asian country. From the early 90's to '97 New Religion won over fans every time the played; from biker bars in Philly to exotic locations around the globe. After reaching millions of people, hanging out with music and movie stars, and playing seven different countries, New Religion was shelved. Scott remembers the band as 'the closest thing to that dream band you always hear about where everyone is like brothers-I have really great memories of it. People still come up to me and say 'aw man! You guys had the best show i've ever seen!'' From 'Guide To Bangkok' Thailand, June 1998 '[New Religion's] Something Worth Keeping is one of those albums you like instanly but don't get bored of easily.'