“The Saga Of GTR” retold by Paul Gibbon.

The story of the inception of the GTR project and its demise have been told in an earlier edition of TWR. However, the project didn’t simply end with Steve’s departure and the story of what happened next is now told by Paul Gibbon….

Steve Hackett joined forces with Steve Howe to form GTR. Had it been 1979, the results would have been very different. However, it was 1986 and probably the height of the MTV era and even Mr Hackett went “Miami Vice”.

GTR was a polished affair with the stellar lead track of When The Heart Rules The Mind. While we know the history of the band, I thought it would be worthwhile to review the debut album and look at what tracks would have graced the second album. Over the years, Steve Howe has put out a number of demos on his “Homebrew” series of albums. Hackett, Robert Berry and Max Bacon have also used tracks from this period on their solo albums.

GTR: GTR 1986 - Arista.

The album went Gold in the States and reached number 11 on the Billboard chart and reached number 44 in the UK.

When The Heart Rules The Mind (Hackett/Howe)
The Hunter (Downes)
Here I Wait (Hackett/Howe)
Sketches In The Sun (Howe)
Jekyll & Hyde (Hackett/Howe/Bacon)
You Can Still Get Through ((Hackett/Howe)
Reach Out (Never Say No) (Hackett/Howe/Spalding)
Toe The Line (Hackett/Howe)
Hackett to Bits (Hackett)
Imagining (Hackett/Howe/Mover)

When The Heart Rules The Mind: This track was a true joint writing effort between the two Steve’s. The track reached number 14 in the Billboard Top 100 and spent a couple of months on the chart. It would suggest that the original idea was from Steve Howe and the demo version of this song can be found on Homebrew under the title Follow Your Heart. There is also an edited single version, which can be found on the Highland bootleg: GTR - Oh! How I Love You.

The Hunter: The Hunter charted in the USA but did not fare that well and only reached 93. This was the sole track provided by Geoff Downes who was drafted in by Brian Lane (GTR manager) to produce the band. Asia would late re-record this track with John Payne on vocals.

Three versions by GTR exist. The “Special GTR Mix”, the single edit and the album version. The “Special GTR Mix” and the edit can be found on the Highland bootleg mentioned above.

Sketches In The Sun: This acoustic number was performed with Asia. The “Asia Live In Asia” home video has a recorded version of the song taken from the gig on 8th December 1983. Steve Howe has a number of versions available of this track including a demo on the original Homebrew demo released in 1996.

You Can Still Get Through: Initial opening riff from Howe and obviously collaborated on with Hackett to round out the track. On Homebrew #3, we have Getting Through which shows the basic riff.

Reach Out (Never Say No): Howe’s demo on Homebrew #3 suggests that the riff was already in place before GTR and further collaboration finished the track off for the GTR album.

Toe The Line: Steve Howe’s Homebrew sleeve notes state that this track came more or less complete from Howe. The version on Homebrew is called Against the Tide.

Hackett To Bits: I can only describe this as a re-recorded version of Please Don’t Touch.

Imagining: The “Making Of GTR” home video stated that the original track was called “Bone Shaker”. Steve Hackett has used the opening riff on various electric live medleys and also the opening acoustic guitar sequence within his live trio shows. This has also appeared as “The Last Word” on Howe’s Homebrew #3. This seems to show that he had the basis of the strange hook line.

GTR: GTR Live 1986 - King Biscuit 70710-88021-2

Recorded Live at The Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles on 19th July 1986.

Jekyll & Hyde (Hackett/Howe/Bacon)
Here I Wait (Hackett/Howe)
Prizefighters (Hackett/Howe)
Imagining (Hackett/Howe/Mover)
Hackett To Bits (Hackett)
Spectral Mornings (Hackett)
In That Quiet Earth/I Know What I Like (Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford)
Sketches In The Sun (Howe)
Pennants (Howe)
Roundabout (Anderson/Howe)
The Hunter (Downes)
You Can Still Get Through (Hackett/Howe)
Reach Out (Never Say No) (Hackett/Howe/Spalding)
When The Heart Rules The Mind (Hackett Howe)

Typical set list….

Steve Hackett Acoustic Set: The Journey/Blood On The Rooftops/Black Light/Cuckoo Cocoon/Two Vamps As Guests/Calmaria/Cavalcanti/Andante In C.

Steve Howe Acoustic Set: Mood For A Day/Ram/Second Initial/Country Mix/Clap.

Steve Hackett and Steve Howe with Matt Clifford: From A Place Where Time Runs Slow.

GTR set: As detailed above.

While the recording of the album went relatively smoothly, a gulf between Hackett and Howe developed on the road. It would suggest that a divide in the band also occurred with the Howe team (Max Bacon, Phil Spalding and Matt Clifford) and Hackett and Jonathan Mover being closer (for Jonathan’s comments on GTR check out the “Movers And Shakers” feature in #62) Hackett did not turn up for rehearsals for the follow up album in October 1986 and soon Mover had gone as well. Contractually the band could no longer be called GTR. Howe & Friends and Nerotrend are a couple of the names that were suggested at the time.
Some comments about the songs played on the tour are necessary here, as some of them were unreleased at the time.

Cavalcanti was to appear on Hackett’s Momentum album in 1988, it was originally called San Sebastian.

From A Place Where Time Runs Slow appears on Howe’s Turbulence album. However, the live versions in fact two songs merged into one. The second part is an instrumental of Oh! How I Love You. This was to appear as an instrumental on Hackett’s live acoustic album; There Are Many Sides To The Night, and on Feedback ‘86 with vocals by Chris Thompson .

Prizefighters appears here with part of Slot Machine included in this live version. This is a Hackett song that is credited as Hackett/Howe on the Feedback ‘86 release. A number of versions of this song are available on the Oh! How I Love You bootleg.

The Bootlegs:

So, with Steve Hackett and Jonathan Mover gone, Nigel Glockner of Saxon fame was brought in to replace Mover. Brian Lane (GTR manager) brought in Robert Berry (ex Hush) to replace Steve Hackett. The new line up was as follows: Max Bacon (Vocals), Steve Howe (Guitar), Robert Berry (Vocals/Guitar/Bass), Phil Spalding (Bass), Nigel Glockner (Drums).

GTR Nero trend - Unreleased 2nd album (Elements Of Crime)

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The first six tracks are Robert Berry songs and are all sung by him. These were songs that the Robert Berry Band performed back in California in the mid ‘80’s and were the demos that Robert gave away on cassette at gigs as a band sampler. According to Robert, these were just demos and not intended specifically for GTR and did not reflect his vision for GTR.

The studio versions can be found on Robert’s solo albums and the Alliance Group albums.

1. Young Hearts (The Dividing Line/Robert Berry 2008)
2. These Eyes - In These Eyes (Robert Berry)
3. Loneliness.
4. Young Blood (Alliance/Alliance & Takin’ It Back/Robert Berry)
5. Can’t Do That - Takin’ It Back
6. Endless Nights (Alliance/Alliance)

Young Hearts was recorded as a GTR #2 demo and on this bootleg we have both the Berry and Bacon vocalised versions (tracks 1/7)

Hungry Warrior was a song written by Geoff Downes from Asia. He had written The Hunter for GTR. The version on this bootleg is the same version that appears on Max Bacon’s The Higher You Climb album from 1985.

No One Else To Blame was a song written by Steve Howe and Robert Berry. A similar version can be found on Max Bacon’s The Higher You Climb and a better version can be found on Robert’s Pilgrimage To A Point from 1993. Another demo version does exist. Robert has stated that the version on Pilgrimage… was his version of what his vision for GTR would have been.

Sharp On Attack is a Steve Howe electric instrumental. A live version which can be found on a video/CD IRS release called Night Of The Guitar recorded at Hammersmith Odeon on 26th November 1988. IRS put a couple of No Speak albums out that featured the studio version of Sharp On Attack and Guitar Speak #3 features Hackett’s A Life In Movies. The inner notes on Howe’s Homebrew album state that the demo was recorded circa 1985.

Track 11; Listen To The People is a true GTR #2 tune. A finalised version can be found on Robert Berry’s The Dividing Line album.

Running In The Human Race is a Steve Howe track that again has appeared in many forms over the years. This track was released on Howe’s Turbulence album in 1991 as an instrumental track. It is also on Homebrew with Steve on vocals.

Finally, we have This World’s Big Enough. A Howe/Berry composition that features Bacon on vocals. This version was to change its name to Red & White on Howe’s Homebrew album and was later developed into Birthright for the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe debut album in 1989.

GTR Debut Album Demos (RARE!)

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What is most interesting about this bootleg is the inclusion of Hackett’s Wasteland and early demos of the debut GTR album. Also of interest is the GTR #2 version of Talkin’ About. This was a hit for 3 (Emerson/Palmer/Berry) in May 1989.

Welcome To Steve’s Place, Baby would later surface on Howe’s

Masquerade demo would turn up on Yes’s Union album in 1991.

Don’t Throw Away Your Time (Version 1)
Don’t Throw Away Your Time (Version 2)
Sketches In The Sun
Hackett To Pieces

I have already commented on Sharp On Attack, Hungry Warrior, No One Else To Blame; Running The Human Race and Young Hearts.

The Love We Share is a Steve Howe effort that Robert Berry worked on. The version on here is the Max Bacon version. Robert Berry’s superior version appears on Pilgrimage To A Point and is credited to Berry/Howe.

Talkin’ ‘Bout was later to be re-recorded by 3 which featured Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer. It reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. This version starts off with a brilliant opening solo guitar intro from Steve Howe.

Suddenly You’re There and Make A Stand are the two remaining tracks.

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GTR - Oh! How I Love You - Highland HL 469

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What we have here are the demos of what was to become Feedback ‘86 that was eventually released in 2000. You also get the GTR B sides and edits.

Slot Machine, Prizefighters and Don’t Fall In Love were Hackett demos that go back as far as 1984. Prizefighters and the instrumental riff from Slot Machine were used in the live GTR show in 1986. Prizefighters is actually a Hackett song but credited to Howe/Hackett for contractual reasons.

Slot Machine was originally sung by Chris Thompson and Brian May would eventually add his licks to this one. Cassandra is another track that both May and Thompson would take part in. Steve re-recorded this for the US version of Guitar Noir in 1993. The riff is also used in Omega Metallicus from Darktown.

Solid Ground is actually Don’t Fall In Love With Me. Steve’s Blues With A Feeling uses a re-worked version of this song. Also on Steve’s Unauthorised Biography a track called Don’t Fall is performed by Brian May and Steve. This song was created from a section of the original.

Oh! How I Love You initially featured as the second part of the Hackett/Howe acoustic set from the 1986 tour. Normally it would start with Howe’s From A Place Where Time Runs Slow and then move into an acoustic version of Oh! How I Love You.

Beja Flor is also known as Notre Dame Des Fleurs and is an acoustic number having appeared on Steve’s Momentum album in 1988.

Steve Howe - Homebrew Series GTR related tracks.

It would suggest that Steve Hackett didn’t want to give too much of his own material over to the GTR project. When The Heart Rules The Mind being a true joint effort with Steve Howe. We can also discount a few other songs; The Hunter (Downes), Sketches In the Sun (Howe) Hackett To Bits (re-arranged version of Please Don’t Touch).

We are left with…

Here I Wait
Jekyll & Hyde
You Can Still Get Through
Reach Out (Never Say No)
Toe The Line

The demos from Howe’s Homebrew album suggest that Hackett’s input was in the arrangement department.

Follow Your Heart shows that Howe had the intro and Hackett the verse, as pointed out in the “Making Of GTR” video.

Other albums which feature Robert’s material…..

Robert Berry - The Dividing Line Frontiers FR CD 397 (2008), A Soundtrack For The Wheel Of Time Magna Carta MAX 9052-2 (2001), Takin’ It Back Long Island Records LIR 00090 (1995)
In These Eyes Cirrus Moon CMRB 94002 (1994), Pilgrimage To A Point Leonardo LEN 6691 (1993)

Alliance (Featuring Robert Berry)

Road To Heaven Escape Music ESM168 (2008)
Missing Piece Escape Music ESM 048 (1999)
Alliance Escape Music ESM 012 (1997)

GTR - the official recordings and variants….

When The Heart Rules The Mind : Album version/Single Edit/Live Version/Follow Your Heart (Howe Deomo)

The Hunter: Album version/Single edit/Special GTR Mix/Live Version/Asia version (sung by John Payne circa 1997).

Here I Wait: Album version/Live version.

Sketches In The Sun: Album version/Asia version (Live In Asia 8/12/83 solo by Howe)

Jekyll & Hyde: Album version/Live version.

You Can Still Get Through: Album version/Live version/Getting Through (Howe demo).

Reach Out (Never Say No): Album version/Live version.

Toe The Line : Album version/Live version/Against The Tide (Howe demo)

Hackett To Bits: Album version/Live version/Please Don’t Touch (Original studio version 1978)

Imagining: Album version/Live version/The Last Word (Howe Demo)

GTR live

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Cavalcanti : Live version/Momentum album version (1988)
From A Place Where Time Runs Slow: Live version/Steve Howe Turbulence album version (1991).

Oh! How I Love You: Live version/Steve Hackett There Are Many Sides To The Night live acoustic version (1995)/ Feedback ‘86 studio vocal version (2000).

Prizefighters: Live version/Oh! How I Love You demos/Feedback ‘86 version (2000).

Slot Machine: Live version/Oh! How I Love You demos/Feedback ‘86 version (2000).

GTR - Nerotrend tracks

Robert Berry Demos

Young Hearts: Berry demo version/GTR#2 version with Bacon on vocals/Berry Dividing Line album version.

These Eyes: Berry demo version/Berry In These Eyes album version.

Loneliness: Berry demo version.

Young Blood: Berry demo version/Alliance version/Berry Takin’ It Back album version.

Can’t Do That: Berry demo version/Berry Takin’ It Back album version.

Hungry Warrior: GTR #2 version.

No One Else To Blame: GTR #2 version/Robbery Berry Pilgrimage To A Point album version.