Cellarful of Noise, apart from being the title of Beatles manager Brian Epstein's autobiography, was the recording pseudonym of Donnie Iris' right-hand man, songwriter, and keyboardist Mark Avsec. As the longtime leader of Iris' group, the Cruisers (not to be confused with Eddie and the....), Avsec's imaginative vocal arrangements and expert production were as important to the Iris sound as Iris' voice was. When the band signed to the CBS Associated label after parting ways with MCA, Avsec was free to dabble in his home studio and make demos for Iris. After Iris' No Muss No Fuss album was released and the band took a break, Avsec released the first Cellarful of Noise album in 1985. This keyboard-based album featured many of Avsec's production trademarks and great vocals, though the sound was a bit muddy and thin. With a little help from Cruisers' Marty Lee and Kevin Valentine, this was more or less a one-man affair and an album filled with great melodies and plenty of heart, sweat, and tears. Unfortunately, the album didn't set the charts on fire, Iris and the Cruisers were on hold, and Avsec quietly disappeared into the musical wilderness. Three years later, the long-delayed sophomore release, Magnificent Obsession, finally appeared with a bigger, beefier sound and with Iris on board, singing lead on about half the album, including the fabulous opener "Samantha (What You Gonna Do?)." Though the album was made for the times, the general public never got a chance to hear it. Avsec quietly backed away again and has continued to perform and record with Iris as well as pursue his full-time business as an entertainment lawyer.
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