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Fotomaker was a power pop group based on Long Island, NY which released 3 albums between 1978 and 1979. They were somewhat of a supergroup of power-pop musicians from previous groups, featuring what would become some future members of the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, albeit for their work with previous bands. They made three albums within the span of a little over a year, the third of which is considered the weaker of the three. They failed to achieve any measure of success, mostly due to lack of record company promotion.
The band Fotomaker was formed in 1978 by bassist Gene Cornish and drummer Dino Danelli, former members of the 1960s group The Rascals (a/k/a "The Young Rascals"). Rounding out the group were guitarist Wally Bryson, formerly of power-pop hitmakers Raspberries (which featured singer Eric Carmen), and two relative newcomers, guitarist/vocalist Lex Marchesi and keyboardist/vocalist Frankie Vinci. The latter two members, though the only unknowns in the band, were the core talent that drove the band with their songwriting and vocal skills.
The 1978 debut release, simply titled Fotomaker, featured all the clichés of power-pop of the 1970s: hook-laden choruses, tight overdriven guitars, lush strings, 12-string acoustic guitars, a few melodic ballads, 3-minute radio-friendly tunes and strong vocal harmonies throughout. The group didn't get the publicity or promotion it deserved, though, and its minor chart hits failed to win a wider audience.
A full page ad in the March 11, 1978 edition of Billboard magazine featured the album cover – a picture of what seems like a preteen girl (or a very young-looking legal age model) with the band's name written in cursive in the top right hand corner. The LP was released by Atlantic Records and Tapes.
The second album, Vis-a-Vis, was hurriedly released later that year and also failed to hit. Seeing that power-pop groups had all but died, with the exception of a few acts like Elvis Costello, The Knack, and The Cars who were defining themselves as "new wave" or "post punk", and with disco still raging on the charts, the third album, Transfer Station, targeted the dance genre. Wally Bryson had already left the band. "Transfer Station" sold even more poorly than their previous albums, and the group disbanded shortly thereafter.
Wally Bryson went back to Cleveland and has since turned up in Raspberries reunions over the years; he has also collaborated with his son in The Bryson Group. Frankie Vinci has done plenty of TV work, including jingles and music for the Super Bowl, and has written songs for others such as country artist Tim McGraw. He also wrote songs for the 1983 summer camp slasher film Sleepaway Camp.
- Fotomaker (Atlantic, 1978) Produced by Eddie Kramer
- Vis-à-vis (Atlantic, 1978) Produced by Gene Cornish and Dino Danelli
- Transfer Station (Atlantic, 1979) Produced by Barry Mraz