JAVA - Change Of Heart
Release Date: 25 August 2017
Lead vocals and Keyboards
Produced by: Guy Bidmead (Motorhead,
Whitesnake, Cozy Powell, Bernie Marsden, Jon Lord, Crawler, Grand
Prix and Exciter etc)
Founder Java members Rosella Santoro (keyboard and lead vocals) and Rob Deegan (lead guitar and vocals), had spent a couple of years playing together in a band which primarily gigged at working men’s and social clubs around London in the early eighties. Although they had written several of their own songs, they never really had the opportunity to air them on the club circuit and eventually, having tired of covering other groups pop songs, they decided to seek ‘musical’ pastures new elsewhere. Rob especially, who had been brought up on a diet of progressive rock and heavy rock in the late 60’s and early 70’s, wanted to play music with a much harder edge.
They initially teamed up with Chris Britton, guitarist and original member of the British rock band ‘The Troggs’. They wrote some songs and did some studio work together but nothing ever came of it.
In early 1985, Rosella auditioned for a local rock band which had an outstanding lead guitarist (Martin Latham). She eventually persuaded Martin to join her and Rob to help form a new melodic hard rock outfit, the result of which was ‘Java’. They quickly auditioned a bassist and started out as a five piece. However, the bassist left and Rob, who appreciated Martin’s superior axe skills, opted to play bass, thus reducing the lineup to a quartet.
With influences ranging from Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Ozzy and Heart amongst others, the band’s fusion of hard edged rock with a melodic female vocal soon started to get Java a lot of bookings in and around London. A couple of drummers came and went before Rosella poached Darran Bridge from another local band. With the lineup now complete Java started to become very popular on the London rock circuit, playing The Wellington, The Rock Garden, The Ad Lib Club, The Marquee and many other of the established venues that London had to offer. It was whilst supporting Girlschool in early spring 1986, Java were approached to make a video for their track ‘Helpless’ which was later released on a Kerrang rock compilation entitled ‘Powercuts’. Regular reviews in the music press and in magazines such as Metal Hammer and Kerrang also contributed to their popularity. Kerrang featuring Rosella as a “Lady-killer” several times.
Meatloaf and John Parr came to Darran's parents’ house for dinner courtesy of Chrissy Harwood (RCA Records) who was a family friend. Java had just finished recording a set of demos at the Padded Cell studio in Slough (where Go West were also recording tracks for their debut album). John and Meat played Darran their "Rock and Roll Mercenary" song which was being aired on British TV live the following evening. Darran reciprocated and played Meat and John some of the demo tracks. John Parr in particular was really interested in and liked what Java had been recording. He thought the demos truly revealed Java’s budding potential as a serious rock outfit.
Java also sent the same demos to the American TV network NBC who were looking to promote unsigned bands from the UK. NBC planned to shoot a video and secure a record deal back in the USA. Out of hundreds of demos sent, 4 bands were picked (Java being one of them) and the band was filmed live performing at the Guildford Stoke Hotel. The following day the video shoot continued at an outside location using Guildford Castle as a backdrop. NBC intended to air the video on American TV, and back it up with the possibility of a US tour. This was a very exciting time for Java.
In June of 1987 Java started work on their first and only album to date. They recruited the services of Guy Bidmead, a producer with credits to his name such as Motorhead, Whitesnake and Exciter. The album was recorded in The Chestnut Studios in Farnham, Surrey and was eventually mixed in July of the same year at The Mediterranean Studios in Ibiza.
Following extensive airplay on local radio and despite attracting interest from several major record companies, the ‘inevitable deal’ never materialized, which sadly led to the breakup of Java later that same year.
Shortly after this Rob was asked by a local newspaper why the band had split when everything seemed to going so well. His reply was as follows:
“We (Rosella and me) tried to stay positive for the sake of the band, but it was a hard thing to do, especially when we came so close to success without actually getting any where. We always believed it would happen and that the allusive record deal was just around the corner, but it wasn’t to be. I’ve always said if someone puts you down or criticizes you, you just have to keep on believing in yourself and the rest will happen. Unfortunately, one band member didn’t share that same conviction. Despite achieving all that we did, particularly in such a short space of time, it appeared that success wasn’t happening fast enough for him. As a result the momentum stopped and the band ground to a halt and to say I felt disappointed was a massive understatement.”
However, 30 years on the songs are now finally going to see the light of day.