Level - 2006 Interview with Tommy Marolda

A quick and nasty email based interview with Tommy Marolda regarding the band Level.

Just recently, Glory Daze reviewed a very rare album by an American band called Level. Refer our album review (click the tag 'Level' below). Now this album goes way back to 1982, and not a lot was known about the band. However, the album has received rave reviews over at Strutter Zine, AOR-FM.com (good one Bruce!), and was mentioned and reviewed in Issue #6 of AOR Classics Magazine, with a solid 9/10 rating there.

So, armed with magnifying glasses and Sherlock Holmes like endeavour, our intrepid writer/reviewer Richard Baldwyn went off in search of someone, anyone, remotely involved with the band. A hopeless task one would think. Aha!! Not so. Step up to the plate producer Tommy Marolda, who knows a good deal more about what went on in the Level camp than any other person on the planet, apart from the long lost band members themselves. He shares a few brief words with Rich about Level things.

How long had the band been together before you produced their album, and had they recorded anything previously in different bands? - They've written some great songs, and they sound like they've got a wealth of experience behind them.</font color>
Frank Annunziata (a.k.a Frank Jerome) came to me in 1981 as the main person in the band Level as he heard about my studio and my group The Toms. We recorded a track for a local radio station which was received very well on the compilation record which I also produced. The band and myself began pre-production at my studio and with my guidance, we began laying tracks for their debut LP. The band had been playing some local gigs for approximately a year with the same members I think. Frank was a great vocalist and could lead the band in any direction they wanted to go in.

Would I be right in thinking you produced their album and Black Sheep is your own record label?</font color>
Yes. We put the record out on my Black Sheep label which had The Toms, Tomfoolery and Dash Weaver which was another local band. At the time we were trying to get a feel somewhat of the Rolling Stones 'Exile' LP, at least with the energy, because they were new to the studio surroundings.

What happened to the guys after the album? Did they continue playing on the local circuit in attempt to land a major deal? (They certainly sounded good enough to do so)</font color>
After the LP came out, I didn't stay in direct contact with the band, so I'm not sure how much longer they remained together as a major record deal didn't develop. I know they played some shows in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania area, but I don't think they stayed together as a band much longer than that and surely didn't record anymore material that I know of. I packed up and went to California to pursue film scoring and never heard from them again, although I think Frank tried to contact me at some point and maybe we did talk briefly, but I can't remember for sure.

Assuming you were the producer, do you have access to the Master Tapes? - melodic rock fans would dearly like to see a CD re-release.</font color>
I would like to take the masters which I have and possibly put a CD together remastered of course with the original mixes intact. My background was power pop, so I infused my taste into their style which I think they really captured well.

Were any more songs laid down in the recording sessions, other than those on the album?</font color>
If I can reach Frank who was the main writer. and I have to see if I wrote or cowrote anything with them too before I begin.

Virtually nothing is nothing is known about Level but despite this, some copies of the record have found their way over to Europe and the band have won over fans in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Sweden and even New Zealand.</font color>
It doesn't surprise me that they flourish in Europe as my Toms record and some others are going for 300 to 500 US dollars. Not Lame Records has since re-released my Toms LPs on CD with bonus tracks and I still record under various names. HLC, Horizontal Ladies Club, The Toms, St. Nick's Lonely Club Band and The Monkeymen.

Tommy Marolda

Tommy has the masters of this album. As a producer, he would be willing to get this released onto CD, and is currently trying to track down Frank Annunziata and the rest of the band for any additional material. He is also looking for ideas as to how to release the album, if it becomes viable. PM any messages.

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