RTZ (Return to Zero) was an American rock band that featured Boston band members Brad Delp and Barry Goudreau. The band was formed in the early 90’s.
RTZ began as a collaboration between Boston members Brad Delp and Barry Goudreau around 1989. The original 1987 demo of “Face The Music” (featuring Fergie Frederiksen on vocals) was later made available for download at BarryGoudreau.com. Goudreau and Delp were both part of the original Boston line-up and after Goudreau’s departure from the band, they stayed in close contact with Delp contributing to Goudreau’s solo album and also to a lesser degree on the Orion the Hunter album.
Around 1989, Delp was on hiatus from Boston and looking to get active in writing again. He contacted Goudreau about a possible collaboration and RTZ was formed. Goudreau and Delp brought in keyboardist Brian Maes who was part of the Orion the Hunter touring band, drummer Dave Stefanelli and bass player Tim Archibald. Maes and Stefanelli had previously worked with producer Nick Lowe in England and Archibald’s band New Man had released an album on Epic.
Delp and Goudreau landed a deal with Giant Records and the first RTZ album, titled Return to Zero, was released in 1991.
“Until Your Love Comes Back Around” hit Top 30 in February of 1992, and helped forge a new identity for ex-Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau as well as perpetual Boston member, vocalist Brad Delp. Definitely ’80s rock, the opening track, “Face the Music,” could have worked on a latter day Starship album as well. On paper this looked like a huge act. The stadium veteran Delp fronting what became Peter Wolf’s band, bassist Tim Archibald from New Man, California Raisins/Robert Ellis Orral drummer David Stefanelli, and keyboardist/songwriter Brian Maes. The latter three are also a self-contained unit known as Brian Maes & the Memory, and they brought a cohesion to RTZ which helped the Boston band refugees deliver the goods. “There’s Another Side” is right up there with the opening track, a grade-A effort, only overshadowed by the beauty of the hit ballad “Until Your Love Comes Back Around.” Live they would perform “Dreams,” the song from the Barry Goudreau album that Tom Scholz allegedly felt sounded TOO much like his group, Boston. They were careful with Return to Zero to lean more towards Brad Delp’s pop side, “All You’ve Got” a perfect example proving Goudreau and Delp a formidable writing team. Chris Lord-Alge‘s production is straightforward, no nonsense let’s capture this excellent band exactly as they are. Goudreau’s guitar bursts on “All You’ve Got” are short and sweet, and combine his masterful playing with a bit of the band Boston‘s magical sound. Delp recorded three solo songs in the summer of 1988 at Mission Control Studios which went from Beatles to Steely Dan in the influences that made up their essence. That sound would have benefited RTZ in a very big way. Sure, “This Is My Life” has some of that tension as well as some of those ideas, but like most of this disc, the band becomes overpowering, and the material, although exquisite and beautiful, tends to sound dated. They manufactured a sound and stuck with it, but had these artists thrown a few more elements into this “debut,” if it can be called that, they might have been able to penetrate part of the timeless Steely Dan/Beatles marketplace, and not just the arena rock domain they were aiming for. Perhaps what is truly amazing is that the millions upon millions of fans rabid for a new Boston album didn’t devour this package which, despite its flaws, has a lot to offer. Between the variety of musicians there was an overabundance of good material, and Giant/Reprise, by not fostering a half a dozen or more albums, did the world a great disservice. “Rain Down on Me” is hard hitting without the excess of a Mickey Thomas, or the bombast that Journey tended to overdo. The music is big, but controlled, and all involved are cognizant of the ever important pop hook. Yes, it is ’80s rock in the ’90s, but if you are in the mood for that style of music, Return to Zero has integrity and will hold your interest.
1. “Face the Music” (Goudreau, Maes) – 4:01
2. “There’s Another Side” – 4:11
3. “All You’ve Got” – 4:02
4. “This Is My Life” – 5:33
5. “Rain Down on Me” (Delp, Goudreau, Maes, Stefanelli, Archibald) – 4:15
6. “Every Door Is Open” – 4:27
7. “Devil to Pay” – 4:30
8. “Until Your Love Comes Back Around” (Maes) – 5:56
9. “Livin’ for the Rock ‘N’ Roll” – 3:27
10. “Hard Time (In the Big House)” – 4:06
11. “Return to Zero” (Delp, Goudreau, Maes) – 3:25
All songs written by Delp and Goudreau, except where noted.
- Brad Delp – lead and background vocals
- Barry Goudreau – guitar, background vocals
- Brian Maes – keyboards, harmonica, tambourine, background vocals
- Tim Archibald – bass
- David Stefanelli – drums, background vocals
- Bob Gay – sax solo on Track 9
- Maxine Waters – background vocals on Track 7
- Julia Waters – background vocals on Track 7
Horns on Track 7
- Jerry Hey – trumpet
- Jay Cable – trumpet
- Bill Reichenbach Jr. – trombone
- Dan Higgins – sax
- Bill Liston – sax
Producing and recording
- Produced and Engineered and Mixed by Chris Lord-Alge
- Recorded at Studios Image Recording (Hollywood, California), Rumbo Recorders (Canoga Park, California), Village Recorders (Santa Monica, California), Blue Jay (Carlisle, MA)
- Assistant Engineers: Talley Sherwood, Jason Roberts, Rob Hart & Andy Udoff
- Assistant Engineer at Blue Jay Studios: Mark Tanzer
- Mastered By Bob Ludwig
Released: July 23, 1991
Recorded 1991 Studios: Image Recording, Hollywood, CA; Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, CA; Village Recorders, Santa Monica, CA and Blue Jay, Carlisle, MA.
Guitars on track 1 recorded at Barry’s house.
Mastered at Master Disc, New York, NY.
Directed for Ahern Associates.
Label – Giant Records