Giant are rightly revered in melodic rock circles, another of those bands who for a short period at the turn of the 1980s delivered two of the finest albums in the genre.
The band formed in 1987 after the two main-men – Dan Huff and brother David – had recorded three albums in a Christian rock band called Whiteheart.
Giant’s debut album in 1989 was ‘Last Of The Runaways’ on A & M Records and featured the Huff brothers with Alan Pasqua on keyboards, and Mike Brignardello on bass.
This album yielded the 1990 hit, a power ballad “I’ll See You In My Dreams”, written by Pasqua and Mark Spiro. The album as a whole showcased Dan Huff’s superb guitar work (and vocals) throughout.
Reviewing the 2020 reissue for Get Ready to ROCK! Brian McGowan commented: “Unfortunately for Giant, at the end of the decade, Melodic Rock as we know it was closing in on its sell-by date. Interest was waning. Some of the best stuff in the genre, like this album, was being overtaken by events. The Pacific Northwest was rising.”
‘Last Of The Runaways’ was recorded in the UK and produced by Terry Thomas who had also worked with Bad Company and Foreigner.
Thomas also produced ‘Time To Burn’ (1992) this time on the Epic label. It is harder hitting than its predecessor and yielded melodic hard rock gems such as ‘Chained’ and ‘Stay’.
A combination of poor sales and changing musical tastes (not least amongst record labels) led to the band’s dissolution.
Late period Giant (left to right: Mike Brognadello, bass. Mark Oakley guitar, Dan Huff (guitar, vocals), Blair Masters (keyboards) and David Huff (drums)
Since the early 1990s Dan Huff has followed a very successful session and production career, continuing his work started pre-Giant when he played on albums by artists such as Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. With Steve Lukather increasingly pre-occupied with Toto in the 1980s the young Huff had exploited an opening in the LA session scene.
His production work includes albums for Megadeth whilst his Nashville-based studio work has benefitted artists like Shania Twain, Keith Urban and Faith Hill.
Alan Pasqua returned to the session world, soundtracks, and collaborating with jazz artists.
A collection of unreleased tracks and demos appeared in 2001 as ‘III’ and a couple of years later ‘Live And Acoustic’ capitalised on the renewed interest in the band, bringing together archive live material recorded between 1989 and 1992.
A gig was recorded at the Town & Country Club, London in 1990, and is available via YouTube, but it appears that due to a technical issue Huff’s guitar parts were over-dubbed.
Giant were persuaded to “reform” by Frontiers Records for the 2010 album ‘Promise Land’ with original members David Huff (drums) and Mike Brignardello (bass) but Dan Huff was not fully involved.
Andy Nathan wrote for GRTR! “In the wish lists of bands melodic rock fans want to see joining the reformation craze, Giant have always been near the top of the list…However, the excitement of Giant resurfacing has been clouded with controversy as lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Dann Huff is not part of the new project, being fully occupied as Nashville’s go-to producer.” Whilst the reformation had Huff’s blessing the other issue was that he felt he couldn’t match his original vocals.
Winger guitarist John Roth was drafted in to this new line-up together with singer Terry Brock. Andy concluded that “In truth, it doesn’t sound too much like a Giant album, but what’s in a name?… one which is sure to still feature in many melodic rock best ofs at the end of 2010.”
That same line-up, this time with Perfect Plan frontman Kent Hilli on vocals, release a further Giant album in January 2022. But again Dan Huff is conspicuous by his absence save for one track. For many, because Huff was such a big part of the original band, the modern-day Giant is almost a tribute.
Feature by David Randall
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Power Plays w/c 16 May 2022 (Mon-Fri)
FLOYA The Hymn (Arising Empire)
VEXES The Dream Disease (indie)
NEAR DUSK The Way It Goes (Iron Head Records)
IN SEARCH OF SUN Make Me Crazy (indie)
WALLNER VAIN Deceive Her (indie)
FIGHT THE FADE Where You Go I Go (FiXT)
MARATON Non-Euclidean Heart (Indie Recordings)
Featured Albums w/c 16 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TERRA NOVA Ring That Bell (Lion Music)
12:00-13:00 FOZZY Boombox (Mascot)
14:00-16:00 MICHAEL McDERMOTT St.Paul’s Boulevard (Pauper Sky Records)
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