The Babys are back, and in a rare occurrence in rock 'n' roll reunions, former members who declined to be part of the new edition of the band are giving a hearty thumbs-up to founding members Wally Stocker and Tony Brock. The reunited Babys have a new album "I'll Have Some of That!" due June 24, and Billboard now exclusively debuts the track, "All I Wanna Do."
"I'm glad they're playing together. I think it's great. I wish them the best," original frontman John Waite tells Billboard. "When I left the Babys I left the Babys -- for good. But I think Wally and Tony were meant to be playing together, and there's no reason why they shouldn't. I'm not even on the same page as them anymore with what I'm doing, so there's no conflict of interest, to me, at all."
More Exclusive Music Premieres
And Jonathan Cain, who was with the Babys from 1979-91 before joining Journey, adds that, "I think it's awesome. They certainly deserve a shot at it, and there's some great music there and they are certainly a big part of the sound." Cain adds that Stocker and Brock had asked him to guest on "I'll Have Some of That!" -- the first Babys album in 30 years -- but he was unavailable due to Journey commitments. "But I would like to get to a concert and see what it's about, 'cause I really love those guys," he says.
Stocker says he and Brock have been "kicking this around for a few years" and decided to soldier on after ascertaining that Waite had no desire to return. "Tony called me about two years ago and he said, 'What do you think if we try and give it another shot? John's really not interested, so we're going to have to look for another singer,' " the guitarist recalls. "So we decided if we could find the right singer who could pull it off, maybe it's worth giving a go. Without that it's not worth pursuing."
The group found new singer-bassist John Bisaha, who bears both physical and vocal resemblance to Waite, after auditioning "quite a few people, all with great voices but jsut not suitable for Babys. We brought John back two or three times just to make sure he was into it and we liked what he was doing and we sort of set off from there."
Stocker adds that Bisaha "has been a Babys fan all along. He's a big fan of John Waite's and he kind of grew up listening to our music, so it all kind of fit into place. It really was just what we needed as far as boosting our spirits and our enthusiasm."
The new Babys, which also include New York-born guitarist Joey Sykes, dropped a first single, "Not Ready to Say Goodbye," last year, which he acknowledges "is consciously sort of trying to recapture that sound from the old days, like 'Every Time I Think of You,' 'Back on My Feet Again.' We needed something that was kind of punch and represented what we were doing now but still keep enough so fans would realize we hadn't changed course and gone off in a completely different direction."
"I'll Have Some of That!," which comes out June 24, certainly sounds like a Babys album, and Stocker says he and Brock feel like the Babys left some unfinished business when the group broke up in 1981.
"I think we had another album or two in us," Stocker says. "I think we were kind of cut short a little bit. We had really sort of jelled as a band when it came to songwriting, and personally I think the best was yet to come. But unfortunately we didn't get to that point."
"I'll Have Some of That!" coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Babys formation in London, but Stocker says he's happier releasing something new than rehashing the past. "I really hadn't given that a lot of thought," he says. "Right now we're just so involved with re-forming and making everything fit and getting the band tight. Hopefully we'll let the music do the taking for us."
The Babys currently have one show booked for the summer, Aug. 10 at the Rockin' the Rivers festival in Three Forks, Montana, but more dates are being lined up.