Alta Moda was created by chanteuse Molly Johnson and guitarist Norman Orenstein (Michael Jordana, Toby Lark) in 1979 after Orenstein saw Johnson performing in a Toronto club. Ex-Nails drummer Steven Gelineau was added in 1982 and bassist Etric Lyons (Liberty Silver) in 1983.
They performed for 6 years and held off record company suitors for three of those years. An independent cassette was the attraction and landed one of their songs, "American Chaser" to movie producers who placed the song in the film 'Popeye Doyle'
Alta Moda would sign with Gerry Young's Current Management (Parachute Club, M + M). When Johnson decided to break away from her career as a jazz/lounge singer (with Aaron Davis of Manteca and David Pilch of the Holly Cole Trio) she was more than delighted to sign a seven album record deal with CBS records to get her "out of jazz hell" (as she put it).
Their self-titled album, produced by Colin Thurston (Duran Duran, Human League), was released in December 1987 and took a lot of flack for being 'generic American funk' and some radio stations even went as far as refusing to play the material because it sounded 'too black'. They even declined a Juno nomination for the song "Julian" (a song written about the son of the owner of Toronto's Cameron House) in the R & B category which they felt was a mislabel.
It took CBS little time to cut Alta Moda loose after poor sales figures and the band dissolved. Johnson and Orenstein continued writing together as Molly returned to her jazz routes with a new band (who would later become stars in their own right as Big Sugar). Johnson, Orenstein and Etric Lyons would eventually get signed in July 1990 to IRS Records as The Infidels.
with notes from Norman Orenstein, Larry Baxter and Tim Applegarth.
Cool Love/Push [12"] (Current/Epic/CBS) 12EXP-3021
Julian/My Millionaire (Current/Epic/CBS) E4-3015
Notown (In Particular)/Classique (Current/Epic/CBS) E4-3040
Alta Moda [cassette] (independent)
Alta Moda (Current/Epic/CBS) EC-80126
Notown In Particular
"Julian" on 'Indie-Can '88' (Intrepid)
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