Dan Reed Network - 80s Self Titled debut and Slam Albums Remastered

The December UK Big 3-0 Tour

Formed in 1984, the Dan Reed Network is probably one of the most important bands to emerge from the era of big hair and even bigger productions. The 80s did of course spawn a number of bands who created radio friendly, high energy rock, and in many ways it was perhaps considered to be the golden age of guitar-based music. Success was supported by the fact that the bands actually cared about what they wore on stage. The more over the top and androgynous the better. Whilst the Dan Reed Network invested in their image, it was never to the detriment of their music. Lead sing and songwriter Dan’s pride is firmly in tact in the knowledge that he never wore spandex. But where the Dan Reed Network stood out the most was musically. Firstly they can take credit for being one of the very first funk rock bands. Alongside bands such as Extreme they presented music that was highly technically gifted but also strong in melody. Their songs literally invited the listener to dance. Lyrically, there were no references to whiskey and women. They actually had something important to say. It was music that provided a subtle social commentary, often in a very covert and under the radar way, thus allowing the music shine whilst simultaneously making their point. It was 1986 when they first shared their music. Breathless was a 6-track EP which achieved immediate success in the form of a number 1 single in Steal Me on Z-100 in their native Portland, Oregon. However, it was their self-titled debut album released in 1988 where things really start to take off for the band. Produced Bruce Fairbairn their first single Ritual peaked at number 38 on the Billboard Hot 100. Songs such as World Has a Heart Too, Get To You and Tamin’ the Wild Nights secured the widespread opinion that this was a fine album indeed. Incredibly, the Dan Reed Network would take only a year to follow up this great record with its successor, Slam.  This Nile Rogers produced album proved to be the launchpad that would take things stratospheric. Tracks like Slam, Cruise Together and Rainbow Child led to high-profile and comprehensive tours with Bon Jovi and The Rolling Stones, two of the biggest bands of the day. Those arena and stadium shows were the perfect platform to present to the world the genius of the Dan Reed Network and their first two albums. For various reasons progress would soon stall for the band and they went on hiatus following the release of their 3rd album The Heat in 1991 though Dan Reed himself would keep these songs alive during solo shows until the band came back together in 2012. However those first two albums are something the band can be rightly proud of… and now they have now been remastered at Abbey Road Studios and re-released to mark the 30th anniversary of Slam, coinciding with the Big 3-0 tour with GUN and FM in December. Listening to these records again all the magic is still there, in fact it comes flooding back. They perhaps just sound a little fresher. What’s even more interesting is the fact that many of the tracks continue to maintain the lyrical relevance 30 years on. The current political climate of building walls seems to be more at the forefront in the news now that it was back in 1989. Overall these albums are an absolute joy and a true reminder of why the Dan Reed Network were so good!

Dan Reed Network’s self-titled debut and Slam are available now. In the meantime, enjoy the video to Rainbow Child below.