**************************** 6/4/2008 *********************************
I apologize for taking so long to update this site. The Suncity Album has was realeased on 4/19/2008. You can purchase it a Suncity Record website. http://www.suncityrecords.com Thanks to Dave for all of his hard work on the album. Check out our audio page for some streaming versions of the tunes. I dug up a bunch of unreleased stuff… live at Club 19, and the Sunset club, and a bunch of unreleased studio stuff. Rick Howard is in the process of digitizing a lot more of the videos that we dug up. We will post them on YouTube as soon as they are done. --Rick
Valentine was formed in 1986 in Tampa Florida with Rick Bales on Vocals and Guitar , Jon Bales on Guitar , Rick Howard on Drums and Marc Togie on Keyboards. Frankie Baker joined soon after on Bass.
Rick Bales, Jon Bales and Marc Togie had previously been members of Next Exit and Rick Howard last band was called Cruella D'ville. Frank Baker relocated to Florida in 1986 and joined the band at that point.
Valentine played their first big show at the Florida Fairgrounds in 1986, to a few thousand people, after an appearance on V32 television.( the local version of MTV in Tampa) The band played the local rock clubs from 1986 to 1988. The Volley Club, Mr T's Club 19, The Stadium Lounge, Squires, The Sunset, The Yankee Rose, the London Victory Club and many other local venues.
In 1986 Valentine recorded a song called 'Heavy Gloves' for Southern Championship Wrestling. The song was used as the opening theme song, and snippets were used for commercial breaks. The song was featured on the show until it went off the air a few years later.
In 1987 Valentine met up with Keith Kollins, the bass player from Savatage. He produced a 4 song EP at American Music Works Studios in St Petersburg Florida. The EP featured "Room without a View", "Lace and Leather", "Lover's Hell", and "Your Eyes" At the time of this recording, a signed band called Valentine was recording and touring. Valentine changed their name to Cruella D'ville at this time to avoid confusion with the other Valentine. The EP was completed in 1988.
The EP got some airplay on 98 rocks local show in Tampa, and the band continued to play the local clubs, doing covers and original concerts. Soon after the completion of the EP Marc Togie and Cruella parted ways. The band continued as a 4 piece without keyboards.
Things were going well in Tampa, so the band decided to move to LA to be a part of the huge metal scene that was exploding there in the late 80s. Rick and Jon Bales moved to LA in Aug of 1989 and attended the Guitar Institue of Technology (GIT) Rick Howard moved out shortly afterward. Frankie Baker left the band at this time.
Juan Croucier, the bass player from Ratt heard the Cruella EP and expressed interest in producing a new project for the band. Finding the right bass player was not easy and before the replacement for Frankie was found, Juan moved on to produce another project.
Ray Caron joined the band in 1990 after many bass player auditions. Cruella started gigging in LA at the Troubadour, the Whisky, Gazzarri's, FM Station and many other venues. They got a weekly gig at the Troubadour playing every Wed night for over a year in 1990 at the Jon E Jam. The band was featured in all the local magazines, such as Rock City News and Screamer.
Cruella added a couple of girl backup singers in 1990. They were with the band for about a year. Jon Bales left the band in 1990 and was replaced by Bruce Hunt from St. Louis. Over 100 guitarist auditioned for the gig.
Cruella D'ville became a big draw on the 'Strip' packing the Whisky and Gazarris. A distribution deal was signed with Big Time Records to distribute the EP through magazine orders, while the band sold tapes at the shows, and local record stores.
The band was approached by a record company which shall remain unnamed and signed a deal to record an album. They continued to gig and write songs for the album. They collaborated with songwriter Steven Rosen. When all the preproduction was complete they recorded 11 songs for the album. There was a falling out with the record company and the album never got released.
In 1993 Ray Caron left the band and was replaced on bass by Jon Bales. The band gigged for a few more months after that and then disbanded.