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Book details
  • Genre:MUSIC
  • SubGenre:Recording & Reproduction
  • Language:English
  • Pages:78
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098316945

Birth of A Band, The Record Deal and The Making of "Present Tense"

40th Anniversary Edition

by Jeff Murphy

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Formed through a common musical bond by high school friends John Murphy, Gary Klebe and Jeff Murphy, SHOES was a musical pipe-dream: to form a band and land a major-label record deal, so they could record and release their music as a profession. But, coming from Zion, Illinois, a small mid-western town with no clubs or venues to see live music, the likelihood of achieving that goal seemed extremely remote. Originally founded at the turn of the century as a religious community, Zion was a "dry" town, where alcohol, tobacco, movie theaters, gaming rooms and even dancing were illegal. Even though by the 1960's Zion had progressed to allow dancing, had a movie theater and permitted the sale and use of tobacco, alcohol was still not allowed for sale in the city limits. So, there was no live music or club scene. However, the town was within range of Chicago's AM radio transmissions and as the British Invasion dominated the airwaves, it brought rock music to Zion. Through period photos, notes and remembrances, this book details the genesis of the band SHOES and follows them through their early years, as they chase their dream, through their shared love of music, and achieve their goal of signing with a major record label and recording music for a living. The book culminates with the documentation of recording that first professional album, "Present Tense" in England. This 40th Anniversary edition includes a new 2020 Epilogue, updating events and high-points of SHOES' career.
With nothing more than their love of melodic, guitar-driven, rock music and the will to be in a band, three friends from a small mid-western town in Illinois; John Murphy, Gary Klebe and Jeff Murphy started their band; SHOES before any of them even knew how to play an instrument. Raised on the pop/rock inspiration of the British Invasion and Chicago's vibrant AM radio of their childhood, they not only taught themselves how to play their instruments and write songs, they also learned how to record and produce themselves, as well as manufacture and release their recordings on vinyl. They ended up signing a major-label record deal and having videos on MTV and VH-1. Getting their start during the early days of the Do-It-Yourself, home-recording renaissance of the 1970's, SHOES went from recording in their living room to recording their major-label debut in England at the legendary Manor Studio, with Queen's production alumnus; Michael Stone as their co-producer. They eventually built and ran their own recording studio and indie record label. With a musical career that now spans more than 40 years, this book documents the band's inception, through the process of recording that first major-label album; "Present Tense". This 40th Anniversary re-release edition includes a new Epilogue that expands on the years since that release. It's a "behind-the -music" peek at how they did it and what they went through along the way. In a testament to their common bond, they remain close friends and are still musically active, today.
About the author
As members of the band SHOES, Jeff Murphy, John Murphy and Gary Klebe started walking a road in the early 1970's that began in the unlikely location of Zion, Illinois and has gone from recording and releasing records, made on a 4-track tape machine in a living room, to signing a major label record deal and recording albums in England, Los Angeles and Chicago. The band started 3 publishing companies, their own indie record label; Black Vinyl Records and built a commercial recording studio; Short Order Recorder in their hometown of Zion. Eventually branching out into outside production, Jeff engineered, produced and managed the studio for over 20 years, working on projects for independent and major labels, as Shoes continued to record and release their own music. With the onset of digital recording, Shoes closed their analog studio in 2004 and set up digital recording studios in their homes. In 2007, Jeff released his home-recorded solo album, "Cantilever". In 2012, Shoes released "Ignition", their 11th studio album. As Shoes, Jeff, John and Gary continue to write and record new music, manage their label and oversee re-releases of their back-catalog. With the 2020 release of the "Elektrafied" 4-cd box set, Shoes has had releases in every one of the last 6 decades.