Originally released in 1977, with only 5000 copies printed, the album "At Last" quickly became a sought-after item and a rare find indeed. Making only the one album, Topper went into cult status, never to be seen or heard from againâ€¦until now.
Online PR News – 25-April-2013 – Los Angeles – Artisthead Music presents the official re-release of the cult classic Topper album, "At Last", after 36 years, including two, previously unreleased songs. Originally released in 1977, with only 5000 copies printed, "At Last" quickly became a sought-after item and a rare find indeed. A must-have for collectors who've been seeking quality copies of this classic 70's album for decades, here it is.... At Last!
Topper was a highly theatrical band from the Kansas City area. Their stage show incorporated pyrotechnics and energetically dramatic performances by dynamic frontman, Jim Hodges. "At Last" was recorded on a Â˝ inch, 8-track machine by Topper keyboardist Rudy Passonno in a popular club that the group owned called "Cosmos". They would track into the wee hours of the night, after the local hot spot would shut down for the evening.
Making only the one album, Topper went into the cult archives, never to be seen or heard from again...until now.
Artisthead: How did Topper get started? Tell us about the members.
Jim: I owned a club in Riverside, Missouri by the name of "Daddy's Money". A club chain of the same name sued me, so I renamed the club "Cosmos". Being fans of the old "Topper" TV show, we put together the band under that name.
Rudy: I was on the road playing keys in rock clubs and decided it was time to settle down and concentrate on writing. I had played with Larry (the guitarist whom also became a member of Topper), so long that we had basically become a jam band much like Phish. We would take cover tunes and jam out the middle of the song and sometimes create new songs out of the jams.
Jackie: Before Topper, I toured the country with my own band and played with Sugarloaf at Sturgis. I joined the band two-weeks before Rudy.
Artisthead: When and where did you record the album?
Rudy: We played 5 nights a week at Cosmo's until 1:00 A.M. and would record in the club from 1:30 A.M. until 5 or 6 in the morning.
Jim: We recorded the album in about four-weeks in May 1977 we pressed 5000 albums and they sold very quickly. They are quite valuable today, going for around $125.
Artisthead: I heard that one of KISS' effects guys came on board with Topper. Is that true?
Jim: We got a call from a friend of a friend asking if it would be all right to bring Paul Stanley to the club. The friend was a man named Jim Stenner, (a.k.a Krazy Krell). He wanted off the road from KISS, so we hired him. He did all of our smoke and fire effects, which was a big part of our show.
Artisthead: Why did Topper split up?
Rudy: Why does any creative band split up? We recorded a single "Cosmic Rover" and b/w "Into Eternity" in 1978 but never really released it. We all felt like we should move in different directions and we had taken our act as far as it would go. The 80s were upon us and we weren't an 80s band.
Artisthead: Where are the members of Topper today and what are you doing?
Jim: I'm still here and am enjoying my semi-retired life with my children.
Jackie: After Topper I moved to Boston and helped to start a great blues band, the "Rockhouse Rebels". Now, I'm here working at a casino in K.C.
Rudy: Jackie, without a doubt was an integral part of Topper. She and I are working on a number of really cool tunes that could turn into "Topper II". Larry West had a series of strokes in the late 90s and is retired. Drummer, Bobby Brown passed away a few years ago. I'm still here and kickin' ass with my own music and having the best, most creative time of my life.
Listen to Topper's "At Last" here: http://ow.ly/khn9S