|By the time Italian-born Alfie Zappacosta realized that white bell bottom pants and disco balls were on their way out, he'd already been in several pseudo disco groups, lastly with the Janette Brant Lee. The group featured three women singers, a three piece-horn section, and had melded into Toronto's disco/R & B scene. They played the circuit to moderate success until they disbanded in late 1978. |
With Zappacosta trading in his trumpet for a guitar, he was joined by fellow ex-JBL members guitarist Steve Jensen and drummer Paul Delaney. They wanted as far away as possible from the jumpsuits and disco balls, so they began practicing as a rock band, eventually rounding the lineup the following spring with Peter Curry on keyboards and Jeff Waddington on bass. They soon became staples on the GTA club circuit, and caught the attention of manager Ken Morris.
The band was signed to Capitol Records in '78. Hoping to capitalize on the progressive pop sound, executives at Capitol wisked them off to Kitchen Sound Recording Studios in Toronto. Their self-titled debut was full of intricate melodies and clever guitar hooks. But by the time it had hit the stores in '79, Currie was gone on keyboards and was replaced by Peter Boynton. "Finding Your Way" was the single, but peaked at a disappointing number 97. The band was touring relentlessly across the country, but wasn't living up to management's expectations. Meanwhile as tours dragged on, members slowly came and went.
They returned to the Sound Kitchen in Toronto over several sessions for the next few months, and the revolving door settled down in late 1981 when Zappacosta carried on with the core of Jensen and Delaney. The four-track ep NO SURRENDER was written and produced by Zappacostaon the shelves by the summer of '82, and featured an array of additional musicians, all of who had played with the band over the last year or so, including Steve Sexton, Gerald O'Brien, Calvin Sauro, Gerry Mosby (ex-Rhinegold and co-writer of "Strange Strange Way!"), and Peter Goodale on keyboardis, bassist Mitch Starkman and David Moyles on guitars.
"It's All Been Done Before" was being pushed as the single, and eventually cracked the Top 40. "Start Again" was released as the second single, but failed to keep label execs optimistic when it failed to chart. Management agreed to give the band one more shot, and shipped them off to LA to come up with something more palatable to a wider audience. But when management heard the final result, the project was canned and the group disbanded.
O'Brien left Surrender and toured with Klaatu before eventually forming his own jazz duo called Exchange, who still play the California circuit today. Delaney and Jensen had stayed on with Zappacosta as part of his touring band while he reworked the canned third Surrender lp. Zappacosta wound back up in Toronto with a new manager - Lou Blair, who also handled Loverboy. He then hooked up with Dee Long (Klaatu) as producer for a re-working of the canned third Surrender album, as well remakes of Surrender's last two singles. His eponymous solo album in 1984 featured many appearances from his Surrender band-mates and backed by the Bob Ezrin co-written "Passion," he won a Juno Award for Most Promising Male Vocalist.