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The best kept secret in music


"Artist Hopes His CD Puts Pop on Top"

Think of Lawrence Lareau as a proud expectant pop. He's celebrating his imminent arrival with joy, excited about his new kid in town.

He's anticipating a new CD, his first with a full-fledged band. What makes him proud is the nature of the music: Unabashed, unapologetic pop. That's not pop as in teeny-bop/boy-band pop but lush, sweeping commercial pop, ala mainstream artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Elton John or Billy Joel.

This is daring. We're in an age where attitude, image, and street credibility mean everything. To be hip, to be cool, you gotta behave like you're allergic to selling records. That'd be selling out, which is a no-no.Lareau doesn't care about that.

"I'm not going to apologize for us being pop-rock," says Lareau, who lives in Warren, Pa. "I'm proud of it."

In fact, he concedes he's gunning for hits with the upcoming CD, due out on Captiva Records in December. The band will play both new songs (like the soaring "Maybe You Think") and old favorites (like the supercatchy "I Need You") on Saturday at Forward Hall.

"I've written 250 songs, and my music director Darrin Payne and I went through all the tapes," Lareau said. "Out of every 10 or 15, he'd say, 'That's a hit! Grab it, re-work it, and bring it back to a contemporary song.' ... So, I honestly think every one of them is hit material."

This is how anxious Lareau is for success. When his solo CD started getting some radio airplay in Germany, he not only decided to perform there but go the extra mile.

"I learned to speak German for two or three months, and went there," he said. "When they interviewed me for an hour on German radio, I answered questions in German."

That experience showed Lareau his songs had appeal, but it also told him he needed a real band to deliver the goods. He rounded up a good one with keyboardist and drummer Payne, formerly of Brandy Lies, guitarist Pete Gool (fp503), and bassist Shawn Phelps (Dodgems).

Lareau has lined up national distribution for its next CD, plus a prestige date at Pittsburgh's Hard Rock Café on Nov. 26. That's Thanksgiving eve, which means they'll play to a packed house.

Getting club dates around Erie has been trickier. The area has no shortage of places for country, blues, jazz, hardcore, jam, acoustic, and garage bands. But straight-ahead, melodic, lavishly produced pop?

"Pop rock has kind of gone underground," Lareau said. "It's weird. When you think about it, we're like the rebels, doing original, classic kind of pop rock. I'm thankful for places like Forward Hall, and think everyone should give those a guys a round of applause for hosting original music. Because it's basically saving Erie from cover-music hell." - Erie Times News


LAREAU - "Changes" 2006. First National CD release
Changes is first radio release nation-wide
Also available on i-tunes
Larry Lareau - "Reasons Why" Larry's solo CD
LAREAU - "Demo CD" 4 song EP
LAREAU - "LAREAU" first group CD
The song "Quicksand" was featured in an independent film that took 1st place in the Great Lakes Film Festival.
The song "Not the End" off the Reasons Why disc attracted radio play home and in Europe.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Based in the Jamestown area of Western New York, and the Warren area of Pennsylvania, Lareau (pronounced La Row), is stylistically reminiscent of acts like Ben Folds Five, The Dave Matthews Band, Three Doors Down and Ben Harper. Lareau, the debut CD, is on Cleveland-based indie Rust Records.

Originally from Kentucky, Lareau, the youngest of five boys, has been playing piano since age seven, cello since age 10, and sang opera professionally. Upon his family relocating to the northeast, he played in a myriad of bands, and was influenced heavily the Beatles, Moody Blues, Elton John, Billy Joel and Hall & Oates. He started AllSound Recording with close friend Dave Hone, and wrote over 200 songs, meeting drummer Darrin Payne at a session. With only one solo demo to his credit, Reasons Why, which he promoted by touring Germany for three weeks, he tossed around the idea of forming a band with Payne, a classically-trained pianist who just loved bangin’ on drums. Payne’s influences include Rush, Styx and Dream Theater, and ultimately brought guitarist Saxton into the band. Saxton’s influences include Neal Schon (Journey), Eddie Van Halen, George Lynch (Dokken), Joe Satriani and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Guitarist Pete Gool’s influences include David Bowie, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, guitarist Steve Stevens, U2, Adrian Belew and Van Halen.

Bassist Tim Reed and keyboardist Anthony Brown round out the group, which enabled Lareau to flesh out his universally appealing keyboard-based ballads and energetic rock tunes in a way he couldn’t do on his own. The unique spin that LAREAU has comes from the members’ vast array of musical experiences and current musical tastes.