For what it’s worth, Bullseye’s ‘On Target’ is a thoroughly likeable album that will find a ton of fans here on GDMOnline.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: On Target
SERIAL: JC 35973
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Manny De Magistris – vocals, guitars * Tom Ferrara – guitars * Tom Graves – keyboards * Kevin Clougherty – bass * Alan Childs – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Treat Me Right * 02 Seventh Heaven * 03 I’ve Changed * 04 Moonwalk * 05 In The Heat Of Summer * 06 My Old Car * 07 Don’t Let Him Know * 08 What Can I Say * 09 Don’t Lose A Day * 10 March On, Time
This album has been a vague curiosity since reading about them in the HM Encyclopedia as far back as 1983. Described as average American heavy-metal pop, and a poor mans Riff Raff – that was enough of an intrigue to set me off on a search. Basically when this so called esteemed publication says something like this, you can guarantee that they’d be wrong 8 times out of 10.
From New York, musically Bullseye are a mix between Toto and a recent band that we reviewed a few weeks ago – Germany’s Break Point. Their style features that late 70’s vibe prevalent on a number of recordings from that era. Lots of stabbing pianos and twin guitar riffing between De Magistris and Ferrara.
On some songs they deviate to a southern rock sound with impressive results, on other occasions they dip into metro/urban power pop that had the HM Encyclopedia comparing them to The Kinks. A talented line-up who quite deservedly signed with the big boys CBS/Columbia, as two labels were bidding for their services at the time.
The well covered tune ‘Treat Me Right’ is first heard by this band, after which Pat Benatar and the superior version by Riff Raff would follow a few years later. The second track ‘Seventh Heaven’ gave me a heck of a fright! I thought I was listening to that classic one-off Creed album from 1978! Wow.
The best indication of their intended style is best heard on the commercial ‘I’ve Changed’. Pitching a curve ball to Southern rock capabilities is the Tangier like ‘Moonwalk’, though the vocalist (who I’ll assume to be De Magistris) is the spitting image of Eric Martin! Changing tack yet again is the power-pop flavour of ‘My Old Car’, it is this song which prompted The Kinks comparison, but really, this is just for one song – not an entire album!
Just to offer something different, ‘What Can I Say’ veers down a quasi funk/disco path, but that’s all forgotten with the strutting 70’s AOR of ‘Don’t Lose A Day’, a choice track with loads of keyboards in the mix. The band finish up with a tune called ‘March On, Time’, containing a ton of harmonies a la Gulliver and Morningstar.
Though the album was a good solid release, it was caught up in the backwash of the punk and new wave vibe overtaking the USA during the latter part of 1979. The success of The Knack sunk a few bands like Bullseye – who’s style was contrasting and not in favour during that year. And this was despite Billboard calling Bullseye ‘The Knack of 1980’!!! – goes to show how much they knew, idiots!
The new wave phenomenon would last for a short while, but bands caught up during this era lost out big time. So what became of this lot? After Bullseye disappeared, Ferrara, Graves and Childs went on to form the band Electra 5 (interesting name what!), but that didn’t last too long either.
Well, the most successful offspring would be drummer Alan Childs, who has played with John Waite, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Julian Lennon and a host of others.
De Magistris is a big player in the Creative Advertising industry in New York nowadays, the others, disappeared off the face of the earth it would seem, though I am sure that isn’t the case. For what it’s worth, Bullseye’s ‘On Target’ is a thoroughly likeable album that will find a ton of fans here on Gdmonline.
Treat Me Right