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The Syn

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The roots of The Syn are in an earlier north London R&B band called High Court including Steve Nardelli on guitar and his school friend George Arzimanow on vocals. The band evolved over time and, in 1965, with Nardelli now handling lead vocals and John Painter on guitar, they changed their name to The Syn.

Shortly after, however, The Syn merged with another local band, The Selfs, so Nardelli and Painter were joined by Chris Squire (bass), Andrew Jackman (keys) and Martyn Adelman (drums). The band's first gig, at Nardelli's school Kingsbury County, included covers of "(Love is Like a) Heat Wave" and The Marvelettes' "I'll Keep On Holding On". Paul Korda produced his song Merry-go-round as a demonstration record for the band.

John Painter was replaced by Peter Banks and Martyn Adelman was replaced by Gunnar Hákonarson from Iceland. The band also got a new manager, Peter Huggett, former bass player with Lonnie Donegan.

The band moved away from R&B covers and started writing their own material, led by Jackman and Nardelli. Reflecting the musical changes going on around them, they became more influenced by psychedelia. They released two singles titled Created by Clive and 14 Hour Technicolor Dream in 1967.

The band split up in 1967. Both Squire and Banks then joined Mabel Greer's Toyshop and then Yes.

Nardelli, Jackman and sometimes Squire also worked together after the band split up. Nardelli and Jackman recorded a planned further Syn single, entitled "Sunshine and Make Believe", with session appearances by Tony Kaye on keys and David O'List on guitar. Unfortunately, tapes for this session could not be located in 2004. Jackman recorded another Syn piece with an orchestra, "The Last Performance of the Royal Regimental Very Victorious and Valiant Band", eventually released on the 2004 compilation Original Syn. Another Syn piece, "Mr White's White Flying Machine", was eventually released in 1970 by Ayshea in a session produced by Jackman and with Squire on bass.

The Syn reunion grew out of two events. In 2003, Martyn Adelman contacted the webmaster of a Yes fan site and agreed to do an interview. Steve Nardelli saw this and was put back in touch with Adelman. With Banks too, they met up for lunch and discussed a reunion. Around the same time, Andrew Jackman died and there was a desire to mark his passing.

In 2004, the new band started rehearsals. Banks had brought in keyboard player Gerard Johnson, with whom he had worked on several previous projects. John Wetton was originally to have played bass, but pulled out at the last minute and was replaced by Steve Gee (bassist in progressive rock band Landmarq). The sessions produced new versions of old Syn songs "Illusion" and "Grounded" and an extended new version of Yes' song "Time and a Word". Recordings were carried out at the studio owned by guitarist Paul Stacey. However, Banks did not continue on with the group, and gave an explanation on his web site.

Nardelli continued with the band and, in late 2004, he and Johnson had begun recording on a new song Cathedral of Love when Nardelli asked Squire if he could play on the tune. Squire did and went on to join the band. Paul Stacey became the guitarist and his twin Jeremy Stacey, the drummer. Adelman had chosen to step away from performing, although he remains associated with the band as a photographer—photography rather than drumming having been his career for over 30 years.

The band released their first full studio album Syndestructible in October 2005, with Cathedral of Love coming out beforehand as a single. The lineup of musicians performing on that album is

  • Paul Stacey - guitars, engineer, co-producer
  • Gerard Johnson - keyboards, co-producer
  • Steve Nardelli - vocals
  • Jeremy Stacey - drums
  • Chris Squire - bass, backing vocals

The More Drama Tour, scheduled to begin in North America in August 2005, was to have seen three acts, The Syn, White and Steve Howe touring together, with Squire, Howe, Alan White and Geoff Downes playing Yes material at the end of the evening (with Kevin Currie of White handling lead vocals). However, the tour was cancelled shortly before it was due to begin. The Syn line-up for the tour was to have comprised:

  • Francis Dunnery - guitars
  • Gerard Johnson - keyboards
  • Steve Nardelli - vocals
  • Gary Husband - drums
  • Chris Squire - bass

The Syn album line-up debuted live at a show in London at the end of 2005 (assisted by Husband), but for live dates in January 2006, the band was:

  • Steve Nardelli - vocals
  • Chris Squire - bass guitar
  • Gerard Johnson - keyboards
  • Shane Theriot - guitar
  • Alan White - drums

A UK tour in May was cancelled through poor ticket sales and, on 16 May 2006, Squire announced his departure from the group: "Chris has decided to leave the Syn, and is no longer involved with that band despite reports to the contrary."

Nardelli assembled an album, Armistice Day, combining a new studio track ("Armistice Day", recorded with Johnson and P. Stacey) with live work from 2006. On an October 18, 2006, in a message on Yesworld.com, Chris Squire was discouraging fans from purchasing the album. Both Johnson and Stacey left the band too. While a release date in November 2006 was initially announced, legal action saw the album delayed until 2007.

Nardelli has talked of recording two new albums in 2007, however this would be with an all-new line-up without any other prior members of the band.

The Syn started work on the album Big Sky in March 2008 with a new core line-up of Steve Nardelli, Tom Brislin and Francis Dunnery which was released in 2009 and voted best progressive rock album of the year by USA Progressive Music magazine. In December 2010, Nardelli announced a new collaboration with Swedish band Moon Safari, known for their artistic rock sound and five-part harmonies. Recording sessions began in December 2010 in Skellefteå, Sweden. The resultant new Syn album was scheduled for release in 2011.  A member of Moon Safari said in October 2014 that, "The project is still in the works, but due to the work load of both parties, with Moon Safari playing live and recording new material while working day time jobs and Nardelli working on his projects outside of music, there hasn't been enough time left to get together and start recording for real. The tracks are done and sound fantastic, we just need to find a space in our schedules to enter the studio." In an interview for Progzilla radio on 25 October 2014 Steve Nardelli confirmed final recording for the album was scheduled for early December and January in the New Year. He also announced the release in early 2015 of The Syn Live at Rosfest coupled with a newly commissioned movie entitled The Syn in the 21st Century.

Discography Edit

Studio Albums Edit

Compilations Edit

Singles Edit

Videos/DVDs Edit

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