The rocky road to Trade's third album Unify
The story of Billy Sherwood's cult prog band Trade, whose rise to fame wouldn’t have been possible without Toto, Gentle Giant or Yes
Dateline: 1984, and the four members of Lodgic are rehearsing in Los Angeles, unaware that their lives are about to change forever. “Toto were in the room next door and suddenly Jeff Porcaro [drums] came running in, so everyone froze because, well, it was Jeff Porcaro,” laughs Billy Sherwood at the memory. “We feared the worst when Jeff ran straight back out again but he returned with [fellow Toto members] David Paich and Steve Porcaro, who said that they loved us.”
At a time when Toto were still among the world’s biggest bands, Paich and Steve Porcaro took Lodgic under their wings, hooking them up with A&M Records and producing an album called Nomadic Sands. But for bassist/lead vocalist Sherwood and keyboardist Guy Allison, reinvention as World Trade would be necessary for genuine fireworks to fly, and even then, genuine recognition was limited.
As we all know, Sherwood later figured in three different eras of Yes’ history, where he currently remains after being hand-picked by Chris Squire to be the late bassist’s own successor, while years afterwards, Patrick Moraz selected Allison as the second keyboardist in The Moody Blues.
But until Sherwood broke the news two years ago via Prog that World Trade were working on an “incredible” reunion album, the band’s name appeared doomed to forever remain lost as some tragic pub trivia question. This, then, is their story.
The first and definitive line-up – the one that’s back together again – was completed in 1988 by guitarist Bruce Gowdy and drummer Mark T Williams. The former had been with Stone Fury, the band that gave the world Lenny Wolf of Kingdom Come fame. Meanwhile, Williams had multi-instrumental abilities and, as the son of legendary movie composer John and brother of Toto singer Joseph, he brought his own particular pedigree.