United Dictators of Mars: The Music of Tom Mody & Jeffrey Harris







Mody Harris Band history


Mody Harris Band History


Contact Tom & Jeff







Cover art for Torrod Album

released 1988
Never Fade
Sweet Revenge
Fighting for Life
Terra Incognita


Jeffrey Harris - vocals Tom Mody - guitar/bass
Andy James - drums  

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This was my first project with Jeff. I'll speak more about this infamous pairing in the TIME TRAVEL Torrod Era History Section but for here I'll just focus on this music.

I had recorded 8 songs on a Fostex cassette 4 track while living in Sun Valley outside of Los Angeles. Most of the music were the culmination of riffs and pieces I had accumulated since about 1983. A few songs were written in my Sun Valley apartment. Before I decided to relocate back to upstate New York I sent Jeff my recordings and over Thanksgiving of 1987 met with him in his cabin basement to flesh out vocals for the songs. I was pleased enough to relocate back and form Torrod. Actually it was the 2nd Torrod. Andy and I kept the name from our previous band a few years earlier.

We rehearsed most of the songs from my demo and in February of 1988 my dad gave me $2000 for a 3 day recording session in a studio. Today (2007) I bought a mac and software for the same price and did it myself but 20 years ago it was a one time shot to get it right for the money. We went to UCA Recording in Utica New York and blew our wad of money. It was a great atmosphere and owner/engineer Bob Yauger was pleasant to work with. At night we slept in the apartment above the studio. A couple kids from the Norwich High School A/V class came each day and video taped the sessions for a school project. Jeff and Andy had recorded in a studio before. This was my first time but the process was fairly comfortable as I'd worked with my multitrack for about 4 years and knew how to turn a knob on a mixing board. I knew all the effects I wanted and how to explain them so it wasn't a nervous experience at all. Torrod was suppose to be a 5 piece band but we didn't recruit all the players yet (nor would we ever) so I played bass as well which wasn't an issue because I wrote and played the bass lines on my demos.

For the money it's not very good- It was operatic and dated even in 1988 but Jeff and my influenes were Priest, Maiden & Queensryche so it was a poorly recorded 2nd rate replica of that style. The best song on the album was Terra Incognita of which I only wrote the chorus. It was written by Todd Hensley, Andy's brother and future band mate of mine in Harbinger and Archivon. Probably what kills this album the most is my guitar sound. My dad had put so much money into my endeavours over the years for music gear but I never really bought a killer amp. It was always more important to buy lights or PA gear. I used my Gibson Flying V which I have on every album to date. The amp was a Marshall head of some condensed size. I think it was some type of anniversary model, the name "Jubilee" comes to mind but it was smaller in size and grey colored. Jeff would say my guitar was the constant in all this but I just didn't know enough about getting a good sound and hoped the studio EQ would help. Sad to say- it did!

I remember playing this for my dad after he had layed out the two grand and he looked and Jeff and Andy and said "now is this good". He really didn't know but I guess that says it all. In the EOR liner notes for Still I'm Rendered Numb I mentioned my friend who's favorite song was that 50's country outro. I'd always give him a new CD from my bands and he'd always say "I had some friends over last night and played them your tape". I'd say "which one". He'd say "That Torrod tape". I'd scream at him that it was like a billion years old and to stop playing it. But now, here it is on-line. Andy is probably burning computers as we speak since he's reputable these days. Another funny story was Andy and his girlfriend years later looking through a used tape bin somewhere in Florida and there's Torrod. He called her over and had her look at the back credits. I guess it made him look pretty famous for about 5 seconds. Maybe 100 tapes at most were ever distributed- what are the odds... Mr. Data?

I really just want to excuse this album to youth but bands like Def Leppard and Queensryche were at this same age, writting and playing better than we could ever achieve so I can't do that. But it's been 20 years now and I have enough backlog I'm happy with to say that "it was what it was"- just some kids learning the ropes and the beginning of a life long partnership with Jeff.

Tom Mody

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