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New Jersey hard rockers Trigger were born in late 1973, almost within eyesight of the Big Apple, as a five-piece assembled by keyboard player Tom "Sebastian" Ayres. But after going to the trouble of corralling vocalist/guitarist Jimmy Duggan, vocalist/guitarist Richie House, bassist Tom Nigra, and vocalist/drummer Derek Remington from several competing local bands, Ayres abandoned ship when he was offered a position in a new band put together by former Mountain members Felix Pappalardi and Corky Laing. The remaining foursome bore him no grudge, however (any one of them would have done the same thing, had they been in his shoes), and despite having to work up their own material amid more lucrative gigs as a covers band, Trigger duly established themselves as one of New Jersey's top bar bands. By 1975, they'd amassed enough songs and funds to record and release their own debut album, Trigger Treat, but its inconsistent quality standards and mishmash of styles (running the gamut from soft to hard rock) attracted no label interest -- just a pair of studio engineers named Corky Stasiak and Dennis Ferrante, who were then working at New York's famed Record Plant studios. Fresh off his experience assisting producer Bob Ezrin on Kiss' era-defining Destroyer album, Stasiak and his partner helped fine-tune and cut Trigger's demos before presenting them to several labels, including Casablanca Records, where the timely endorsement of Gene Simmons helped seal the deal for the band at last. The next step was recording Trigger's eponymous LP, which was released in early 1978 and favored a tougher, surprisingly gritty hard rock sound over the more melodic style and chorused vocals that personified the band's early days as students of the Beatles and Beach Boys. Unfortunately, this welcome sonic modernization couldn't overcome Trigger' s low standing on Casablanca's priority sheet (so little was known about them that some outsiders believed they were, in fact, Kiss, sans makeup!), so after being dropped midway through recording their next album, the band stumbled along for a few years with certain musicians coming and going before reuniting for a farewell gig in 1985. Jimmy Dugan passed away in 2001 after suffering a heart attack, and his former bandmates continue to reunite for one-off shows in his honor, while the Trigger album remains a popular cult item among enthusiasts for obscure ‘70s hard rock, having been reissued most recently by England's Rock Candy imprint. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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