The genus of Faldo's Toy The influences of jazz, rock, funk, and latin, in the crucible of Oakland, California
When four musicians play together for long enough, their styles and playing techniques begin to merge in interesting ways. After years of playing in nightclubs and casual gigs covering jazz, pop, top 40, rock, soul, R&B, funk, and even a little metal, a very interesting nucleus began to form between Ray and Jerry Merrill, James Zeigler, and Chris Weinress.
Faldo's Toy began writing and rehearsing in 1995, and released it's first album ICON in 1997. The album is considered by many to be a classic, often compared to Steely Dan's Gaucho. The influences are simply put together in a fresh, different way. Strong, sweeping melodies, driving grooves, and fearless transitions from the guttural to the pristine. Listening to ICON is like a 12-course, 5-star meal served during a downhill luge run.
The initial reaction to ICON from the music industry was rather predictable. New, unique music is difficult to classify, and so although a strong fan base and sales were forming almost immediately, Faldo's Toy was having difficulty getting noticed by the major labels. Families and turns in life gradually sent the band into a prolonged hiatus. Chris Weinress and James Zeigler started families, and Jerry Merrill moved to Los Angeles to pursue his production career.
A re-focusing of the group in 2002 led to the reality that Chris Weinress could not return to the group. Chris Galli was chosen to play bass, and almost at once, live performances began being offered. Even though the band had not been playing live, it seemed that ICON had been circulating and still growing the fan base.
Now, Faldo's Toy had become a phenomenon. Fueled by the renewed interest by fans, Faldo made it's way around the festival and live-music club circuits, winning new fans with every show. Sales of “ICON” remain steady to this day, nearly 9 years since it’s initial release, a testament to the power of Faldo’s music.
With the release of Faldo's Toy's new album, Twisted Pea Soup, the band has not only solidified the influences in ICON, it has focused them. The influence of smooth jazz is apparent with songs like Simpatico and Katie, while the funkiness of Mr. Potato Head and Hangtown Fry shows off the Garibaldi/Prestia influence.
The fun, taunting attitude of the band is apparent in Shorty; and Twisted Pea Soup borders on the avant garde. Tango Uniform re-states the band's love for latin, while Fire In The Hole conjures images of Chick Corea's electric band drinking cases of Red Bull.
The band wrote and recorded the new album over the course of three years, from 2002 through 2004. Basic tracks were completed at Audio International in Ojai, California, with overdubs at Jerry's production studio in Los Angeles, and at Ray's home in the east San Francisco Bay area.
Jerry had this to say about the writing - ...this is something that has not changed since the first day Ray, Jimmy, Chris Weinress and I walked into the rehearsal spot for the first time: We all write together. There are times, particularly while I was living in L.A., when the basic concept was written without me there, but then there's a burden for me to come in and do my part. [chuckle] and believe me, I have come in with some ideas that have completely turned some of those basic concepts around...
Now with “Twisted Pea Soup”, Chris Galli has co-written a whole record with us as a team, and it would be easy to say that he's filled some really big shoes..and he has. But he's brought something new, unique, and changed Faldo's Toy in a way that is very genuine.
Fans that pick up a copy of Twisted Pea Soup will NOT be disappointed, I assure you. We've done it again, it's another crazy, classic Faldo's Toy album.
Ray Merrill Toy Box Management 2555 Marsh Dr. San Ramon, CA 94583 (925) 984-6781