Chapter 7 – The Third Album?

Rich Spina, Barry Mraz, George Sipl
Rich Spina, Barry Mraz, & George Sipl at work on the third Love Affair album – 1983.

Although still somewhat unsettled due to John’s departure, the band nonetheless felt buoyed by the fact that Barry Mraz really understood the band and that the material that was written showed a marked maturity. The bulk of the material was being written by Richard and the band. The lyrics on the first two records were co-written with management and the lyrics on this next batch of songs were from Richard’s own pen. Subjects dealt with lesbian relationships, the end of the world and the streets of New York City. The touchie-feelie vibes of early Love Affair songs was gone. The boys were now men and were feeling their oats – a natural occurrence that all rock bands endure.

Keyboards were weaving in and out of the new songs and Mraz knew just where to embellish things and where to let it rock. One song, “The Rock Will Roll On,” was omitted from the final track list because it stood out from the other songs too much.

Rich Spina, Wayne Cukras, & Barry Mraz
Rich Spina, Wayne Cukras, & Barry Mraz in the studio with Love Affair’s third album – 1983.

That wisdom was arguable in retrospect because the song is probably the most enduring tune they ever produced.

Because it was obvious that this record would forge a new direction and signal a new era for the unit, they agreed to acquiesce to management and label input about their name. They agreed to change the name of the band. Manager Otto Neuber decided that having their fans name the band would be a great way to endear them to their followers while giving the record business a name that didn’t sound “like a disco band.” Hereafter, the band was to be known as Unknown Stranger.

So, in changing the name and the personnel of the band, it was decided that a new stage show was also in order. After recording his bass tracks for the album, Wayne began working with the road crew in designing and building a new stage set.

Fortunately, recording the album was a “pure joy and still my most enjoyable recording project,” Richard muses today. Mraz was quick to teach Richard any little tricks and processes he used to get various sounds. He explained every aspect of the recording process and Richard stayed to the end of every session to absorb all he could about the technical end of recording. When engineer George Sipl was brought in to help with the recording, it was an added bonus for Richard.

Rich Spina & Barry Mraz
Rich Spina & Barry Mraz in the studio with Love Affair’s third album – 1983.

“I felt that not only was I recording my next album, but I was going to school. I learned more in two months than I had in the previous nine years in the business,” he says now.