|Gregg Cromack – vocals||Robby Boebel – guitar|
|Stephan Bayerlein – drums||Thomas Hutch Bauer – bass|
Fans of German hard rock no doubt remember Frontline as being resident hopefuls only a few steps away from the big time. The band released eight albums between 1991 and 2006, eventually fading away rather than going out in a blaze of glory. In 2015, however, Frontlines bassplayer Thomas „Hutch“ Bauer was asked by the promoter of Firefest / UK about a possible reunion show. Initially dismissed as a pointless endeavour – no doubt they would end up with a 45 minutes afternoon stage time – a Frontline reunion seemed plausible when it was revealed the offer was for a late evening performance.
„Firefest is not a huge festival, but it was still a festival,“ says drummer Stephan Bayerlein, „and we hadn’t been around in ages. Being offered a spot at the top of the bill… we began thinking that maybe we should really give it a shot. We started creating ideas of how to move ahead. We needed warm-up shows, there was talk about filming the show, making a DVD and releasing it as a package with a brand new album.“
Plans were discussed, band meetings were set up, but things quickly fell apart simply because the chemistry between the four members wasn´t right anymore. The fire had been lit, however, and the decision was made to forge ahead with music they had in the Frontline vault that guitarist Robby Boebel had written over the years. Stephan Bayerlein reached out to his old friend the iconic rock singer / songwriter Paul Sabu about helping out writing lyrics and vocal lines, with the plan of auditioning singers based on the finalized material. That search became an odyssey unto itself as the right vocalist continued to elude them, and the plan changed. With solid songs ready to go, the trio opted to contact singers they knew in the business with the intention of picking specific vocalists for specific tracks. Ultimately there would be five or six different singers involved.
Fast forward to spring 2020 and destiny landed on the doorstep like a 10 ton hammer.
„I was on social media and I found a video for a cover of Survivor’s ‚Didn’t Know It Was Love'“, says Stephan Bayerlein. „I couldn’t imagine anyone doing that track properly because that’s Jimi Jamison singing. It has such a positive vibe and it’s just a great song to begin with. But, I watched it, the vocalist started to sing, and I was stunned. I couldn’t believe what I heard. I’d never heard a version that was even close to the original.“
The singer in question was UK resident vocalist Gregg Cromack, who had taken part in The Garage Studios lockdown performance of the song during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Bayerlein reached out to Cromack, who was seriously interested in working together and one track was sent to Gregg to reproduce the vocals which were originally recorded by Paul Sabu.
Bayerlein: „Gregg sent it back to me, and I was blown away, we all loved what we heard and we were sure that this was the singer we had been looking for and here we are, it was the right chemistry and all of a sudden we were back to square one or in this case square two – the band was completed.
Since Gregg Cromack’s entrance the band has been working diligently yet kept the band’s existence quiet, but using the Frontline name wasn’t a sure thing. They were well aware of the pros and cons of working under an established name that had been retired years earlier. Rather than using the old name as a crutch, the band chose to „press the reset button and do something completely new.“
In April 2021, it was announced that a new hard rock band was to offer to the world: Ray Of Light.
With the debut album currently in the works, Ray Of Light have plans to shed more light – no pun intended – on what they have in store for the fans through social media updates, audio teasers and video clips. The as-yet-untitled debut album is expected to surface before the end of 2021 / beginning 2022
„We can be self confident and we don’t have to rely on a former band name to be successful,“ Bayerlein says of Ray Of Light’s push forward. „Too many musicians that reunite do that, expecting that fans will buy into the new music whether it’s good or not. The Ray Of Light name gives us real credibility. We’re going to complete the album and do things on our own terms, which is the only way to go.“
Biography by Carl Begai / Brave Words, based on an interview
This is our here, this is our now, let it be magicalRonny James Dio
Ray Of Light are:
Gregg Cromack – Vocals
Robby Boebel – Guitar
Stephan Bayerlein – Drums
Thomas „Hutch“ Bauer – Bass