Chapter 6 – Peaks And Valleys In 1982

Love Affair 1982
Love Affair – circa 1982. Left to right; John Zdravecky, Wes Coolbaugh, Rich Spina, Wayne Cukras, Mike Hudak, and Kevin Maiberger.

In retrospect, 1982 was the year that Love Affair hit its peak. Their fan base had ballooned to the extent that they actually hired additional staff to answer all of their fan mail. The live concerts were swelling due to the fact that their constant touring made them a commodity in many markets. With two albums of material to play, it seemed their star was ascending.

Amidst all of the positive things happening, the band learned that Radio Records was basically folding and that Atlantic Records was not going to pick up the band’s option. This meant that they were free to negotiate with other labels for their third album. Of course, it also meant that they were now just another unsigned band again.

Rich and Wayne onstage
Rich and Wayne onstage – circa 1982.

Due to the success of the lengthy Canadian tours, the band was afforded more free time at home between tours. They used that time to work up new material for the next record. It also enabled Richard to spend time at a recording studio run by his friends Kirk Yano and engineer George Sipl. Richard ended up producing his first artist, Eddie Klaen. During this period, Richard also struck up an acquaintance with a gifted teenage guitarist by the name of Billy Sullivan. Sullivan would figure heavily in Richard’s career in the years to come.

In the fall of 1982, things would quickly start to propel the band down a few different paths. First, Love Affair would land a new producer in the late Barry Mraz (who had produced Styx, The Ohio Players and Benny Mardones). Mraz liked the new material and passed on a few other major acts to produce the Cleveland phenomenon. Mraz came to town and agreed to do the tracks at Cleveland’s then state-of-the-art studio, The Recording Connection.

John and Wes onstage
Wes and John onstage – circa 1982.

The bad news during this period was that John wanted to leave the group. The guitarist was tired of touring and wanted to spend more time with his wife and children. The leaving of one of the founding members of the band shook everyone up and left them feeling uneasy. When the other members agreed on guitarist Jim Golan as a replacement, it was decided New Year’s Eve would be John’s last date with Love Affair.