On May 17, 1998 rock legend Dick
Wagner and I took the Gift into Downtown Digital
Studios to make a demonstration recording of "Iíll Get High
With You." We were impressed with the group, their
songwriting and this particular song. We wound up liking
the result and several more tunes were recorded. Both of
the producers thought that the group had "superstar" potential
and I wound up mentoring the group.
Although the oldest band member (Jeremy) was merely 20, the
group had been together for 7 years. I felt that the
band could possibly overcome the tradition of breaking up
always seems to plague bands and cause their demise.
Time may yet prove that I had good judgment in this matter.
Although the group did break up in 2001, they have re-formed
and been again performing as Giftvs in local area rock clubs.
The group is composed of two brothers, Jeremy Lafferty
(Guitar/Vocals) and Josh (Drums). Long time friend Kevin
Calcaterra (Bass) rounds out the group.
The HDH Offer
In the late
1990's, The famous HDH writing team got an influx of capitol
from their songwriting endeavors that produced 50+ hit
songs for the Motown and Invictus/Hot Wax Labels. After
more than a decade and a half of relative inactivity as a
label producing current hit records, Edward felt
that the time was right to reestablish an independent record
company and sought to launch a new HDH label. Their
previous label activity was primarily re-release of older
masters. Several up and coming groups and even established
artists were signed to the new label and production was
started on a half-dozen projects for initial release.
The label began releasing product late 1998 and charted with
releases by Ronnie Laws (Jazz artist), "4U" (an R&B group) and
rapper "Flexx G".
Right in the
middle of the label establishing itself, I told Edward Holland
about "The Gift." Edward was very enthused about the
idea and wanted to hear product right away. From day
one, however, the group wasn't a perfect fit for the label.
The company was used to polished and established recording
artists and Giftvs was a developing talent with lots of good
material and raw potential. Despite this fact, the group
was offered a contract and a timetable was established for
budgeting promotional funds for a Michigan release on the
In Michigan, we
geared up production on nine tunes that would eventually be
released as a CD entitled "Sturgeon General's Warning." But as
release time grew near, we were informed of delays in the
funding as the company needed to gather resources to make sure
other artists got the kind of support needed to realize their
realizing that at least a half year delay would be necessary
for HDH to get behind the group like I wanted, I killed the
deal, in favor of putting out the product ourselves, even
without a proper promotional budget. The release got
regular airplay at a mid-Michigan rock station and had
noticeable sales through stores and good sales at personal
appearances. But without the national label name and an
adequate promotional budget, the release only generated about
1/3 of the sales numbers that would have made it an attractive
venture for a national label.
started and almost completed on a full-length follow up
release on the artist, but stress between members resulted in
a break-up of the group before the release could be
I've been to two
recent performances of the re-formed group and they are
putting on killer shows like I knew they eventually would when
we started production 8 years ago. The group is back in
the studio producing new cuts and, in my opinion will be a
"new sensation" in the Motown scene shortly.
MySpace page for Givtvs