Despite what looked like a promising career ahead, Sheriff hung up their holsters in 1983 after only one album, leaving Arnold Lanni and Wolf Hassel to step back and re-evaluate their futures.
Lanni was planning on recording a solo project to launch his new recording studio, Arnyard Studios in Toronto. With himself handling vocals, guitar and keyboards, he began working with Hassel on bass and vocals, and by the spring of ’86, wind of the new project caught the ear of WEA’s Bob Roper. Once he’d heard the demos, he convinced them to do the record as a group, brought in engineer Stephen Taylor (Rupert Hine’s assistant), and their eponymous debut album was in the stores early the next year.
“Should I See,” an anti-censorship song, was the first single, and along with an accompanying video getting airplay on MuchMusic, the song made it to #27 in Canada and #69 in the US. They filled out a touring roster with Phil X and Pierre Bordeleau on guitars, John McCarthy on keyboards and drummer John Bouvette on keyboards. They toured North America for the next year, opening for the likes of Howard Jones and The Thompson Twins, while watching the subsequent singles “Promises,” “Yum Bai-Ya, and “End Of The Line” enter the charts but drop out just as quickly. Still, they won the Juno Award for Most Promising Act in 1987, and earned a nomination in the Best Video category for “Should I See.”
They returned to Arnyard for the follow-up, NICE PLACE TO VISIT in ’88, which featured several guest appearances, including Tony Maretta and Honeymoon Suite‘s Derry Grehan, Singles were released for “Pauper In Paradise,” and the ballad “Dream Come True” which peaked at #16 in Canada. “Videos for the singles were slickly produced and made them darlings of the screen. More touring ensued with a slimmed down entourage, as Lanni and Hassel now rode the buses with Bouvette and Sammy Bartel on guitars and keys.
Following another stint across Canada and some American dates, things looked promising, but a revival in American radio’s interest in Sheriff derailed the band. Seizing the opportunity to make a buck, Capitol re-released Sheriff‘s 1983 ballad “When I’m With You,” selling over a million copies worldwide while it cracked Billboard’s Top 20, a feat better than its original run.
To make matters worse from a gameplan approach, Frozen Ghost was hit with another double whammy – Capitol then re-released Sheriff‘s single album, which Lanni didn’t actually mind however, as he owned the band name and was collecting royalties for the re-release of the single.
Then the other half of Sheriff , Freddie Curci and Steve DeMarchi, formed their own band called Alias. Like Sheriff , Alias sounded a lot like Frozen Ghost – well-crafted pop with the token ballads, and the confusion and muddying of the musical waters caused Lanni to put the band on hold for a few years while he concentrated on production work, including working with teh likes of Wild T and The Spirit.
Deciding the resurgance in the old material had died off and the band could return, 1992’s SHAKE YOUR SPIRT featured Bouvette and Phil X as ‘official’ members now, as well as cameos by Colin Linden and Wild T (Tony Springer). Considered by many as the Canadian equivalent to Tears For Fears or Duran Duran, the album carried on where its predecessor left off – radio friendly synth-pop, but with a slightly harder edge. Three singles were released, but “Head Over Heels” was the biggest hit, but only made it to #16. “Shine On Me,” and the title track also failed to make much of a dent on the charts, even after dates across Canada and into the US were over.
Lanni pulled the plug on Frozen Ghost in ’93, and went back to production work, working with Wild T & The Spirit again, as well as Our Lady Peace, Finger Eleven, King’s X, The Waking Eyes, Simple Plan, and Thousand Foot Krutch.
WEA released THE ESSENTIALS in ’95, nicely summing up the band’s career in one package, but contained no bonus material.