1983 was a very busy year. We were back in the saddle! Cheater had just reformed after breaking up for about a year. We had a new attitude! We also had a new work ethic.

At least a month was spent in a rehearsal space writing and arranging!  We worked on some covers for the show also but it felt so good to be dedicating so much time to writing together!

We hit the area hard, still keeping up a pretty heavy performance schedule but we were now once again ready to commit to writing, recording and strictly working toward that elusive national recording contract. We actually scheduled almost a month of studio time and gave it all we had!

The new line-up was the same with one exception. The addition of Jimmy Fox on drums. Jimmy is a great drummer who played with the Canadian band “Toronto” along with some other guys from the Western New York area. You might remember the 1980 hit “Even The Score.”

After his departure from Toronto, Jimmy worked with myself and a few others from Cheater during our break-up year, in the band “Easton West.” (That is a whole story of its own, coming soon to a blog near you!)

When we made the decision to put Cheater back together. We added Jimmy.
With this fresh approach, we attacked the studio with some new songs. We were now working with a great producer, Nick Blogona. Nick had produced the Easton West recordings the year before. He is a well-respected producer who has a long list of artists to his credit including Roger Glover, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd and many others.

The new songs we were recording felt great. We knew they were strong and Nick gave us that sound that we knew would attract the attention of the record companies we would soon be shopping too. The commitment and hard work was finally working in our favor!

During Easton West, I had attracted the attention of a record executive from a major label. He did not sign Easton West, but he loved my voice and wanted to keep in touch. He was going to be the first person I would approach once the recordings were ready.

We will call the record company he was with, ABC records and we will call the record executive, Guy Recordbaum. Over the years there were many situations involving Guy Recordbaum. I will tell them in the future.

During the recording sessions of the new Cheater material, I received a call from Guy. Guy was working with Ted Nugent on his next album. Ted was looking for a new singer with the English rock flavor of Paul Rodgers (Bad Company), but American also, sans Lou Gramm (Foreigner). These happen to be my favorite singers!

Guy had Ted Nugent listen to some demos of mine. In Guy Recordbaum’s words, “Ted knows I want you for this gig. It is yours, guaranteed.”

I remind you dear reader, this offer comes on the heels of everything coming up roses for Cheater. The dream and goal I have had with these guys for a long time was finally looking reachable again. We were back together under the perfect circumstances. We had grown together, lived as brothers, we had great songs, an Incredible producer and national interest again! …All these things were spinning in my head. I was a mess, playing tug a war with myself!


Guy and I spoke for hours over the next few days. I didn’t know what to do. I was torn between this and what we had going on with Cheater.

I asked him straight out, What about Cheater?

Guy laid out a plan.

I would do the album with Ted Nugent and then tour with him for a while. A year or two of doing this I would have a name in the business, which would cinch the deal for Cheater.

That is exactly what I should do then! Right?…Take the offer! Right?…  An offer like this is what a singer dreams of.

I didn’t do it.

I couldn’t bail on my brothers and that is what it felt like I would be doing.

Two years! Could Cheater wait that long and still exist, still be viable? Wasn’t my dream to be a singer and songwriter in my own band with my bros? Didn’t I spend all these years to get to the point we are at now?

I didn’t make the decision lightly. I spoke to Nick Blagona about it. I spoke to many other people. Everyone leaned toward taking the gig but understood that the timing was horrible.

I never talked to the band about it much. They knew of the offer, but not the totality of it. It wasn’t discussed. I knew it would be a cluster F* of emotions and opinions. I didn’t want to go there.

It was my decision. I would live with it.

Guy Recordbaum did not hold it against me. He would still be giving Cheater the opportunity to get turned down by ABC Records! (That’s not funny!) He remained my friend and we would speak many times again.

Ted Nugent found his singer. In 1984 Ted released his album “Penetrator.” He decided to go with English singer, Brian Howe. Interestingly enough, I was told that Ted liked the fact even though Brian was English, he thought he resembled Lou Gramm more than Paul Rodgers. …He found what he was looking for.

Brian also later replaced Paul Rodgers in Bad Company for a short time and worked with Mick Jones of Foreigner on and off, writing and producing.

Looking back of course, I have to wonder… Would all of these things have happened for me? Would Ted’s album have done better or worse with me on it. Would Cheater have been able to hold out and gotten signed after a couple years. Would name recognition have made a difference?  Would…  I have a whole bunch more Woulds..

Feel free to jump in with your own!…..

2 thoughts on “Tug A War”

  1. Very interesting, i never knew this. While I think your voice would have been better than the guy who got the gig, I think you made the right choice. Cheater was your baby and all the guys who worked so hard for so many years are your brothers. No matter what happened, You have been and always will be an amazing singer and friend, as have all the guys in cheater. I cherish every moment and every song that Cheater did and every show they performed. I consider myself very lucky to have a copy of the TV Spot With “Don’t give up and Stand up Routine”, even though the host was a dork, and the last show you guys did at the Arcade. Never doubt yourself Jeff, It’s all good. Peace Bro!

    1. Thanks so much Mark. It really is humbling to know that you are so passionate! Can’t thank you enough my Brother!

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