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Denver Rocky Mountain News (CO)
March 9, 1990

Section: ENTERTAINMENT/WEEKEND
 BOB WELCH FINDS HIMSELF ON NEW ROAD IN PHOENIX
JUSTIN MITCHELL ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS STAFF WRITER
It's an Arizona band with a Los Angeles name fronted by an American guy who used to play with an English band.

Bob Welch - whose vocals, guitar work and songwriting stamped Fleetwood Mac in the mid-1970s with songs such as Hypnotized and Sentimental Lady - has resurfaced with Avenue M (named for LA's Melrose Avenue). The band performs tonight at Buffalo Rose in Golden and tomorrow in Winter Park.

After leaving Fleetwood Mac, Welch had some solo hits with a re-recorded version of Sentimental Lady
(done with Mac-mate Christine McVie and Welch's replacement Lindsey Buckingham), Ebony Eyes, Hot Love, Cold World and Precious Love. He also formed a hard rock trio, Paris (with ex-Jethro Tull bassist Glenn Cornick and current Tin Machine drummer Hunt Sales) that released two albums before dissolving amid general critical and commercial indifference.

Welch went through some bad times in Los Angeles ("I was directionless with a capital D," he said. "Draw any conclusions you want to.") before finding a future wife and road manager and deciding to clean up his act. Hence Phoenix.

In between he'd formed a band called The Touch with Crosby, Stills and Nash drummer Dallas Taylor - but after a brief bit of elation when the band signed with Van Halen's former manager, Welch said he quickly lost The Touch.

"It was too good to be true," he said in a call from L.A. "And I should've known. We were a total democracy and no one could make a decision. So the band peaked in the first six months and then petered out. It was really demoralizing but also a real eye opener. So in '87, Wendy and I said 'We're at the end of the line. Let's get out of L.A.' It was getting really flaky there and frankly, we were worried about the big earthquake. It was kinda like throwing darts at a map but we wound up in Phoenix knowing nothing about it except that it has fabulous Mexican food."

Although Welch said it took him "about nine months to figure out which way was north" he and his wife found a vibrant, lively hard rock scene in the city that previously gave Alice Cooper and Dokken to the world.

And he began scouting clubs using his wife as a front.

"She's real cute so I'd tell her 'That bass player looks good.' She'd go up and ask for a phone number. It saved me having to explain that I was thinking about starting a band. . . . "

He found drummer Bob Milan, guitarists Glen DeJongh and Fred Robinson; bassist Blitz Yates and began rehearsing hard.

"The thing about the name was that I wanted mainly a name that we didn't have to live down or up to later - a real neutral name. The best name with bands is really their own names, like Van Halen or Dokken. But I didn't want to call it Welch. Let's face it: 'Ladies and gentlemen, Welch! . . . ' doesn't really cut it. "

While he's reworked a few of his old songs for Avenue M, Welch said the group concentrates on new material, describing it as a cross between his old band, Paris, and Van Halen.

"I was really pretty bored with music until I heard Eddie Van Halen," Welch admitted. "It was like he opened up a whole new can of peas, a whole cornucopia of musicality. It just knocked me out. It was like I was 18 again."

The recent dates that Avenue M have played have encouraged Welch, who said that the band has found fans in kids too young to remember him with Fleetwood Mac or as a solo act.

"We played some all-ages shows where there were a lot of underaged people, I'm talking about 18, 19, 20 who come up and say things like 'Hey dude, you smoke.' And the old fans with open minds seem to enjoy it. I hope I'll be able to keep some of them and grab some newcomers too, which would be the ideal thing."

Bob Welch and Avenue M perform at 9 tonight at Buffalo Rose, 1119 Washington in Golden (information: 279-5190) and at 10 p.m. tomorrow at The Slope in Winter Park (information: 726-5727).