About a thousand years ago, I went to see UK melodic rock band FM in concert. I didn't know who the support band was, so I was prepared to ignore them from the back of the club, pint in hand. Half an hour later I had been utterly blown away, and the next morning saw me queuing in the Post Office for enough postal orders to buy a mail-order copy of the first Drive, She Said album. Well, I did say it was a thousand years ago.
Without doubt they were one of the best AOR bands I had ever heard. Although, to be fair the UK wasn't a hot bed of AOR, and the internet had yet to be invented. But that album, and its follow-up, Drivin' Wheel, are still regular vinyl visitors to my turntable.
Put together by American Tears, Valhalla and Touch keyboard man Mark Mangold and vocalist/guitarist Al Fritsch, you'll be hard pushed to find a better selection of AOR songs than on their debut album. Naturally, the nineties weren't kind to them, and after a belated best-of compilation they vanished into the AOR winter lands, waiting for the inevitable musical thaw.
2003 saw them return with Real Life, a record I never warmed to, and then they disappeared again until the Firefest 2009 UK festival came calling. Mangold and Fritsch answered the call, resulting in yet another compilation album, this one topped off with four brand new Drive, She Said tracks. If the first two seem familiar then that probably means you're not one of the people who reads the small print on albums. "Fool's Game" was a hit for Michael Bolton and "I Found Someone" was one of Cher's big comeback hits. Both were written by Mark Mangold, and now he gets do to his versions, despite probably not needing the money! Then there's "Dreams Will Come," which was written on the night of the Firefest show, and sits comfortably amongst the gems to follow. The last new track is a rather bizarre funk-metal offering, which Extreme would have killed for back in the day, where the band get all potty mouthed in a manner that is quite unbecoming.