1995 Bay Area Music Awards - View
image of the 1995 Bay Area Music Awards
Music and Business
Forum - Article by M. Wilson -
image of the Band in the 1993 Music Forum Magazine Cover
Formerly called Secret Service they
are now known as The Trial. Their current line up began three years
ago in the Bay area and they are continuing to grow and become ever
more popular. Mark Busto is the band's motor on stage pounding out
nothing but solid grooves. Tom Perry on the bass axe holds down
the other half in the rhythm section. Rick Morgan is one of the
more tasty power hitting guitarists in Tampa and Steve Gruden, what
can I say, he's got the most awesome pipes, and the best I've heard
in the club Scene in years! (Tampa or otherwise.)
The styles that influenced these
rockers are the ones that set the standard for two decades of music.
Groups like Bad Company, Journey, Grand Funk, Aerosmith and the
like shaped the very being of each player, and this is reflected
in their abilities as writers and players. The concern and respect
that they show for each other and their music is truly genuine.
Over the last several years the bend
has managed to do some performances with the 95YNF and Morrisound
Studios, as well as Players Live, of which they released a cassette
that quickly sold 1,000 copies in the Bay area alone. Their popularity
has not decreased even though they have steadily worked the Tampa
scene for three solid years including being the near house band
at Killians on Waters Ave. These guys are a group of serious musicians
with a real grip on what it's going to take to spark their careers
for the final phase, a record company deal.
The Trial is now undergoing crucial
changes. "This is really a turning point for us," Mark
Busto told the Forum during the interview. "We are going to
get ourselves into some other market areas and spread the group
around for better exposure. There are also going to be some visual
changes on stage." After a long talk with The Trial I can tell
you this is only the beginning.
The Group will be performing some
dates that are going to take them to Atlanta this fall and then
up the East Coast as well. The quartet, currently writing and recording,
plans to have a C.D. quality demo by summer's end to start the shopping
of major labels. In a little known venture this past January, The
Trial signed a management deal with Cliff Witherspoon out of South
Carolina, the same company that got Jackal their deal with Geffen
The group has felt for quite some
time that their song material has been worthy of signing but the
presentation of the act was not. This is now changing at a dramatic
rate. "We don't feel like we have to compete with all the new
alternative bands or grunge rock groups," said Steve, "We're
just a good solid rock band and we're doing what feels right."
The band seems to agree that they're not happy with the way that
the music business is doing many groups. Tom says, "The over
exposure of bands on video is killing the life blood out of live
music and has given the new young generation a distorted view of
what rock and roll is supposed to be or what it's really about.
It is also giving youth false expectations of what live performances
should be like. MTV has really fucked-up rock and roll for the live
musician." Mark feels that "Music is an audio thing not
a visual thing. It's what it does for the mind and soul that matters
not what you see with your eyes."
The Trial members have outgrown the
need to sing the highest notes or play the fastest licks, they just
want to feel the music and say words in their music that mean something.
The members have all been playing for some 10 to 15 years each and
have had many good reasons to quit playing music, but none ever
did. Their heart and soul is in every beat of the drums and every
word that they sing. Steve has always stayed with his love of music
with no desire to learn another trade. He says, and I quote, "If
you have something to fall back on, you will." Rick and Steve
are the main writers in the band, however they have done some CO-writing
with Todd Cerney, an acclaimed Nashville Country writer who has
written songs for Loverboy, Cheap Trick and many others.
Well we would like to say that they're
a greast act to see live and the recordings they did, even though
live, were very professional and incredibly good sounding. The Trial
with their sound engineer Mick Face will be pouring out original
music all over the bay area and soon over the Eastern United States.
I believe that in the near future it will be much more than that!
From the Florida Music Association: December 4, 1992
Dear Secret Service:
The Florida Music Association Board of Directors would like to thank
you for your involvement with the FMA during the past year, most notably
your excellent performance for the FMA Networking Party at Killian's
in May. We are grateful for your help in our efforts to support community
events and to build a stronger music community throughout the state.
Again, thank you for your time and your performance. Florida Music
Association Board of Directors (Eric Comas, John Dunn, Bobby Friss,
Charlie Logan, Julee Milham, Tom Morris, Lynn Norton, Elliott Rubinson,
I had the pleasure of witnessing several SS performances from about
late '88 until the Grunge wave hit the beach! Steve was always impressive!
I saw no one better in Florida for that musical genre back in those
glittery days. Now I am in the DC area and have a band of my own and
will probably pinch many of Steve's moves and definitely his vocal
style. I think of Steve when I sing, he was a big influence on me
when I was young.
Sincerely yours, C Ryan
A Colored Chalk Portrait was given to Steve by Artist Alexandra
Fernandez on 1-16-92. The piece in titled "Compassion".
It was a beautiful gift that graced our wall with this inscription:
"Compassion" is my gift to you in thanks for the inspiration
I have felt through your music. Your songs will touch each of us in
our own way - They have encouraged me to believe in myself again.
Yours is a true gift and I know success for you is here now.
Secret Service began a newsletter and mailing list in 1991. We had
thousands of responses and did a big mailing monthly. To get on the
mailing list you had to fill out a green table-tent card. Many of
you added really great comments to the cards that were shared at band
meetings and rehearsals. The following are some of the most memorable:
Hey S.S. - I saw the band in Tampa last December and thought you were
great... being a musician myself ('66 Strat) really enjoyed your guitar
work. I signed up for your monthly newsletter, and enjoyed it - (change
of address) Would love to hear what you guys are doing - Wolfie
You are AWESOME - come back soon - Trina
If you guys need a place to stay in Orlando, you can stay with me
Yeee Ha - Pierre
I want the guitar player - Karen
We want a video - Mitzi
I'm in love with the drummer - Debbie
Don't wait to come out so late at Killians - Jane
Secret Service: Best Band heard in Tampa area seriously!! Especially
the originals - Robert
On your way - Would pay $25 a ticket - Michael
Rick - Play "Misty Moon" it's the f--king best song in the
world! - Pat
Really hope you guys make it! - Gina
We think you're great! - Truly - Rock & Roll! - Barb &
Dear Secret Service,
About two years ago I was in Killian's (Tampa, FL) for the first time.
Your band was playing that night, and it was also the first time I
had seen Secret Service. I fell in love with your music that night,
and have been a fan ever since. I do not get to see the band as often
as I would like to, but when I do, I always have a great time! I think
your music is terrific and I was glad to hear that you were up for
the Band of the Year. That is an award Secret Service truly deserves
to win, and Steve really does have a beautiful voice. Mainly, I just
wanted to drop you a line to let you know what a great band Secret
Service is! Keep Rockin' ! Stephanie
of the Worm. Click here to
To: Secret Service
From: Southeastern Music Conference, December 9, 1991
We appreciate your interest in SMC, and are happy to inform you that
you have been selected to participate as a showcase artist at one
of the showcase venues SMC will be hosting.... We are proud to have
you as a showcase participant for SMC "92, and look forward to
seeing you and hearing you in February. Cordially, Tom Morris,
SMC Co-Director Lynn Norton, SMC Co-Director .
Secret Service From: Tampa Bay Music Awards June 9, 1992 Click
here to View Image.
Congradulations on being chosen to perform at this year's Fourth Annual
Tampa Bay Music Awards at the fabulous Tampa Theatre. This will be
the best Music Awards ever. We hope you will enjoy it... Good luck!
Max Borges Tampa Bay Music Awards
Fourth Annual Tampa Bay Music Awards July 3, 1992 Click
here to View Image.
Nominees for the Best Male Vocalist:
Steve Gruden - Secret Service
Jonathan Harrison - Edison Shine
Joe Popp - Dogs On Ice
Kacy Ross - Deloris Telescope
Brij St. Warren - St. Warren
And the winner is ... Steve Gruden - Secret Service!
Nominees for Band of the Year:
Clang, Deloris Telescope, Savatage, Secret Service, UROK
Subject: Greatest Time I Ever Had.
Just want to say after all these years I've never lost the memories
of seeing or hearing Secret Service playing at Killians Bar. I have
been living in Dallas/Fort Worth area in Texas. I brag to all my friends
and family members what the greatest time in my life I have had. That
was living in Tampa, Florida and watching Secret Service play. I moved
back to Texas when I finished getting my degree from ITT in 1993.
I got a job in Dallas/Forth area at Texas Instruments. The job only
lasted a year. I had made some friends when I was living in Tampa
and stayed in touch with most of them. When I went on vacation it
was about March 1995. The vacation was return to Tampa to see everyone.
One of guys that knew Secret Service told me that Steve Gruden had
passed away, I was very very very sad. I was hoping to see which later
became the Trial/Secret Service when I was visiting. But I did manage
to buy Steve Gruden's Celebration of Life cd. Been listening to ever
since. I was wondering what the other guys in the band are doing now?
Are they continuing there music? Thank you for the web site. It is
always fun to reflect back. Look forward to the DVD coming out. Just
want to say, music will always live forever. And that means Secret
Service/The Trial and Steve will live forever in my memories. - Andy
Hope everything is going great for you and your family. Just want
to share some more stories with you. In the prevoius little story
I said I moved from Fort Worth, Texas to Tampa, Florida to continue
school at ITT to get my Bachelor's degree. A friend of mine from Texas
moved with me. He was having problems with his girlfriend. Thought
it might do him good to get away for awhile. I was only 20 years old
about to turn 21. Well, you know what that means? A place to party!
A neighbor at my apartments knew Tampa pretty well. He suggested to
go to Killians Bar. So, off we all went. I tell you when we got there
it was great from the start. Drinks were great, the people they were
great, and then.... this band got up on stage. The band was know as
Secret Service at the time. This band was awesome! Everything they
played was awesome. It was the greatest night of my life. Just turned
21 and seeing an awesome band playing. Well, a few months went by
and continued to see Secret Service play when a got a chance. This
one night my friend from Texas won tickets to see U2 in concert. Both
of us went to the concert, but we looked at each other after U2 was
into the 3rd song due to everyone looked like they were sleeping.
Believe it or not the concert was lame. So, we left and decided to
go see Secret Service play at Killians Bar. That show was 10 times
better than what U2 performed. And I'm not just saying that either.
I mean that. Those were the two greatest stories that I remember.
Hope you enjoy reading them. - Andy
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Thank You, Sheri
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