in the Game
by D. Roberts
on the member's name for a photo
from the east end of London, the three founding members, John Spinks, Tony
Lewis and Alan Jackman began recording and playing together as “The Baseball
Boys” in the early 80’s. They played a series of shows around London
and recorded a couple of early demos, which eventually caught the ear of
management who put them in touch with Columbia Records in the U.S.
Shortly thereafter, they were signed as a Columbia Records recording artist
and began polishing up the songs which would become their debut album,
“Play Deep” released in 1985. This album spawned a series of hit
singles including “Say It Isn’t So”, “All The Love In The World”,
“Everytime You Cry” and the most memorable of all, “Your Love”. In
support of “Play Deep”, they mounted a massive summer tour, opening for
Journey and Starship.
1986, they began recording the “Play Deep” follow-up album, titled “Bangin’”.
This album, released in 1987, was no disappointment to fans and cranked
out more hit singles, such as, “Since You’ve Been Gone” and the groove
oriented ballad, “No Surrender”. No strangers to the road, they headed
back out on tour with Night Ranger, in support of “Bangin’”.
band’s third album, “Voices of Babylon” for CBS/Columbia, was released
in 1988. The lead-off single, “Voices of Babylon” was well received
in Billboard’s Rock Charts. Other notable tunes from this album included
“My Paradise” and “The Night Ain’t Over”. This album marked a bit
of a change in the band’s sound, it was an incredibly well produced album
with a very polished sound. It was definitely the band at their best.
After the recording of this album, original drummer, Alan Jackman, made
the decision to leave the band before the supporting tour began.
The band quickly hired Paul Reed to fill in on the drums for the “Voices”
tour. That summer, “The Outfield” played a series of very successful
shows that opened for “Mike and The Mechanics”. In many cases,
getting a more energetic and excitable response from the crowd than the
the dawn of the early 90’s, John Spinks and Tony Lewis set out to record
their fourth album, on a new label, MCA. Officially now a duo, the
band began experimenting more with electronic drums and a session drummer
named, Simon Dawson. The album titled “Diamond Days” (East London
slang for: The Best of Times) was released in 1990 and produced one of
their biggest hits, the ballad “For You”. This single rocketed up the pop
and adult contemporary charts because of the connection many people felt
to the song with the Gulf War closing in. Because of the war,
the band were unable to tour in support of this album. Choosing rather
to go back and begin work on their fifth album and the second for MCA called
“Rockeye”. This album was much more a throw back to the band’s earlier
sound and featured more of an energetic “live drum” sound from Simon Dawson
who was becoming more involved in the sound of the band. With songs like
“Closer To Me” and “Winning It All” this album definitely satisfied the
rock craving in it’s fan base! The song “Winning it All” was used in several
sports broadcasts and videos for the NBA as well as landing on the soundtrack
for one of the “Mighty Ducks” movies.
music changed in the mid 90’s and as the band saw classic, well written
pop/rock become overthrown by the raw gritty grunge sound of band’s
like Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. It became clear to them that they would
need to take a few years and see where this thing was going. Never
one to follow fads or trends, and not interested in changing their style
to suit the major label craving to sign every “alterna-rock, look-a-like
and sound-a-like” band in the mid 90’s, they decided to stay out
of the limelight and rather opted to write and record for themselves
and wait until the time was right. In 1998 as a renewed interest
in the music of the 80’s began to surface, the band once again started
compiling songs for demos to pitch to record companies. In 1998 released
a self produced CD for the fan club and tour only that was appropriately
titled “It Ain’t Over”. The band toured the states in the fall of 1998
and sold out nearly 80% of the club dates and theatres that they played.
Highlighting the tour was a show in Trinidad where they played along with
Survivor” and “Air Supply” for nearly 40,000 fans. Having received a massive
response from “It Ain’t Over” and having sold out every last copy of it,
they decided to look into major distribution.
Outfield have now signed with Platinum Entertainment to release “Extra
Innings - Unreleased”, which is a compilation of music that they recorded
over the past 5 years as well as 4 brand new songs recorded in 1998/99.
The album showcases the classic style and timeless sound of The Outfield
and is a testament to the band’s early influences including the Police,
The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, & The Cars. This release, set for
July 13, is being promoted now with a summer tour across America, including
many festivals, theatres, and club dates. For a schedule see the Official
Outfield Web site at “www.theoutfield.com”
an official three piece again, John Spinks, Tony Lewis, and Simon Dawson
are one of the loudest, most energetic live band’s around. And the chance
to catch one of their shows should not be missed! The guitar sounds
range from “The Police” to “Metallica” and for fans of high vocals, Tony’s
voice has never sounded better! As for Simon’s drums, well let’s
just say the Kit has to be bolted to the floor!
band recently shot an interview with VH-1 for a new “Where Are They Now”
segment which will air sometime in early August.
Deep (Columbia)- 1985
of Babylon (Columbia)- 1988
Days (MCA)- 1990
Ain't Over / Limited Edition (Never Records) - 1998
Innings Unreleased (Platinum Entertainment)
- July 1999!
the Field (Sony Music Special Products) - 1992
Innings/Best of the Outfield (Sony Legacy) - 1996
Super Hits (Sony) - 1998
Looks Could Kill
on the band, tour dates, and multimedia can be found at the Official
Outfield Web site www.theoutfield.com
Roberts is the web master of theOfficial
Outfield Web site.