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Sometimes referred to as power pop's first supergroup, Fotomaker was founded by former Rascals members Gene Cornish (bass) and Dino Danelli (drums), who had played together in a previous post-Rascals band called Bulldog. The two contacted ex-Raspberries guitarist Wally Bryson, then playing in his native Cleveland with a band called Tattoo. Bryson agreed to join them in Long Island, and the Fotomaker lineup was subsequently completed with guitarist Lex Marchesi and keyboardist Frankie Vinci (lead vocal duties were split between several members). The group quickly landed a deal with Atlantic and released their self-titled debut in 1978, which produced the chart single "Where Have You Been All My Life." Before the year was out, they'd released another LP, this one titled Vis-a-Vis; it featured another minor hit in "Miles Away." Still, Fotomaker was never quite able to break out beyond the power pop cult, and Bryson left the group to return to Cleveland in mid-1979. Vinci assumed lead vocal duties for the final Fotomaker album, 1979's Transfer Station, but faced with diminishing returns, the group elected to call it a day.
Fotomaker was a power pop group based on Long Island, NY which released 3 albums between 1978 and 1979. It was considered to be somewhat of a supergroup of power-pop musicians, featuring what would become some future members of the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, albeit for their work with previous bands. They made three albums within the span of a little over a year, the third of which is considered the weaker of the three. They failed to achieve any measure of success, mostly due to lack of record company promotion.
The band Fotomaker was formed in 1978 by bassist Gene Cornish and drummer Dino Danelli, former members of the 1960s group The Rascals (a/k/a "The Young Rascals"). Rounding out the group were guitarist Wally Bryson, formerly of power-pop hitmakers Raspberries (which featured singer Eric Carmen), and two relative newcomers, guitarist/vocalist Lex Marchie and keyboardist/vocalist Frankie Vinci. The latter two members, though the only unknowns in the band, were the core talent that drove the band with their songwriting and vocal skills.
The 1978 debut release, simply titled Fotomaker, featured all the clichés of power-pop of the `70's: hook-laden choruses, tight overdriven guitars, lush strings, 12-string acoustic guitars, a few melodic ballads, 3-minute radio-friendly tunes and strong vocal harmonies throughout. The group didn't get the publicity or promotion it deserved, though, and its minor chart hits failed to win a wider audience.
The second album, Vis-a-Vis, was hurriedly released later that year and also failed to hit. Seeing that power-pop groups had all but died, with the exception of a few acts like Elvis Costello, The Knack, and The Cars who were defining themselves as "new wave" or "post punk", and with disco still raging on the charts, the third album, Transfer Station, targeted the dance genre. Wally Bryson had already left the band. "Transfer Station" sold even more poorly than their previous albums, and the group disbanded shortly thereafter.
In 1997, Gene Cornish and Dino Danelli, along with former Rascals bandmates Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, were inducted into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.
Wally Bryson went back to Cleveland and has since turned up in Raspberries reunions over the years; he has also collaborated with his son in The Bryson Group. Frankie Vinci has done plenty of TV work, including jingles and music for the Super Bowl, and has written songs for others such as country artist Tim McGraw.
Albums:Fotomaker (Atlantic, 1978) Produced by Eddie KramerVis-à-vis (Atlantic, 1978) Produced by Gene Cornish and Dino DanelliTransfer Station (Atlantic, 1979) Produced by Barry Mraz