Blind Illusion

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Blind Illusion
Origin Richmond, California, United States
Genres Thrash metal, progressive metal, progressive rock (early)
Years active 1979–1989
2009–present
Labels Combat
Associated acts Primus, Exodus, Heathen, Possessed, Metal Church, Blizzard, Laughing Dead, Blue Öyster Cult
Members Marc Biedermann
Danny Harcourt
Robert Nystrom
Past members Mark Strausberg
Vern McElroy
Wes Anderson
Keith Lewis
David Godfrey
Tim Agnello
Hans Larson
Pat Woods
John Marshall
Larry LaLonde
Evan McCaskey
Alvin Petty
Les Claypool
Chris Olsen
Geno Side
Brian Kehoe
Bret Hern
Victor Griffith
Bill Ticson
Mike Miner
Ben Hevoroh

Blind Illusion is an American progressive thrash metal band from Richmond, California. Formed in 1979 by lead guitarist and main songwriter Marc Biedermann, the band had an extremely unstable lineup (Biedermann being the only constant member) and went through several stylistic changes during their time. After a 20 year hiatus, Biedermann reformed Blind Illusion in 2009 and released the band's 2nd album, Demon Master.

History[edit]

Blind Illusion was formed by-then-high-school student Marc Biedermann, along with many other members including keyboardist Ben Hevoroh and drummer Bret Hern. The band's earliest sound had been musically rooted as progressive rock, with Biedermann citing as his main inspirations Rush, King Crimson and Jethro Tull. However, external input from later musicians - many with ties to the Bay Area thrash scene - would add a heavy metal direction to the band, a style Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson described as being "in the veins of old Judas Priest, Angel Witch and early Fates Warning".[1]

By late 1984, the line-up consisted of Marc Biedermann on lead guitar, Pat Woods on rhythm guitar, Dave Godfrey on vocals, Les Claypool on bass and former Blizzard drummer Mike Miner. Before Godfrey left in 1985 to form Heathen, Blind Illusion had already released 2 demos. Bryan Kehoe was hired to fill in guitars in the studio after Woods' departure from the band. During this period, Blind Illusion worked extensively with bands such as Exodus and Aftermath, playing shows throughout the area.

After Cliff Burton's death in 1986, Claypool briefly left the band to audition as bassist in Metallica. Upon receiving the news he had not been chosen, he went on to form Primate (a precursor to Primus) but continued to write music with Blind Illusion. Mark Biedermann took over vocal duties in place of Godfrey and released a third demo that was produced by Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett. The band also added second guitarist John Marshall (later of Metal Church) who, in 1987, would be replaced by guitarist Larry LaLonde, formerly of pioneering death metal band Possessed; LaLonde had left Possessed after the band dissolved amid infighting. LaLonde heard about the open guitar slot via ex-Blizzard bandmate Mike Miner.

In the same year, Blind Illusion reached a record deal with Combat Records, with whom the band recorded their debut, The Sane Asylum, in 1988, also produced by Metallica's Kirk Hammett. The album was considered a thrash classic, featuring tracks such as "Kamakazi" and "Smash The Crystal". The band went on a successful tour for the album but began to fall apart by 1989. Claypool left in the middle of the tour (and was replaced by friend Adam Gates) to continue Primate (soon Primus). LaLonde subsequently joined Primus as guitar, and drummer Miner left at an unspecified time. After Blind Illusion broke up, Mark Biedermann briefly played bass for Heathen on their Victims of Deception album and contributed guitar leads for Blue Öyster Cult on their Imaginos album. Claypool and LaLonde continued success with Primus throughout the 1990s.

Biedermann reformed Blind Illusion in 2009 with a new-lineup, and released Demon Master on July 7, 2010. In September of the same year, the group promoted the album at the Sobrante Stroll, a street fair held every year in El Sobrante since 1991. Before reuniting Blind Illusion, Biedermann had performed earlier shows at the Sobrante Stroll as well as at the older and much larger Solano Stroll fair in Berkeley. The material Biedermann covered included a mix of Blind Illusion originals and blues rock collaborations with other local musicians.

Prior to Demon Master, Biedermann had recorded an earlier arrangement of songs under the album title The Medicine Show (with a line-up consisting of guitarist Mark Strausberg, bassist Vern McElroy, and drummer Wes Anderson), but as of 2011, the songs remain unreleased. Metal Mind Productions re-distributed a limited edition pressing of The Sane Asylum in 2007; the 1988 Combat Records-released versions of the album had been long out of print.

In December 2013 Biedermann bumped into DRI Bassist Harald Oimoen in Berkeley and Oimoen convinced Biedermann to go way heavier again after the lukewarm reception to their Demon Master album (which Biedermann jokingly refers to as the Demo Master album !!!!) After one practice/jam session with Oimoen on bass & Drummist Erik Cruze.....Biedermann formed yet another line-up as a three piece & vowed to write much heavier material as well as playing a bunch of classic Blind L tunes from The Sane Asylum in their live shows......This lineup made their live debut at Chris's Club in Vallejo on July 12th to great acclaim from the public.....They debuted a bunch of new tunes including The Ice Sage...Niocturne Today & Naomi..the Intensity Recptor which marked a welcome return to the heavier sound of earlier stuff...They also played Blood Shower..Death Noise..Smash the Crystal to satisfy the many fans of the Sane Asylum material....They are currently working on a new demo and plan on releasing a bunch of the much loved demos from their past on CD.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Demos[edit]

Contributed the song "Smash the Crystal" to a live compilation album Eastern Front (1986)

  • Psychedelic Symphony (1989)

Members[edit]

Current lineup[edit]

  • Marc Biedermann - Lead/rhythm guitars, lead vocals (1979–present)
  • Danny Harcourt - Bass (2009–present)
  • Robert Nystrom - Drums (2009–present)

Sideman:

  • Eric Lagosh - Slide/rhythm guitar (1979–present. Currently, Eric plays primarily

when Blind Illusion double bills with Marc Biedermann's other band, the Ghost Kings.)

Current Lineup Mark Biedermann - Guitars & Vocals Harald Oimoen - Bass( ( Dec 2013-present) Erik Cruze - Drums (Dec 2013- present)

Other former members[edit]

Vocals

  • Keith Stewart (1979)
  • David Godfrey (1980–1985)
  • Tim Agnello (unspecified time)

Guitars

  • Bryan Kehoe (1981–1983)(also vocals)
  • Hans Larson (1983)
  • Pat Woods (1983–1986) (also vocals)
  • John Marshall (1987)
  • Larry LaLonde (1987–1988)
  • Evan McCaskey (unspecified time)
  • Mark Strausberg (1988–1989)
  • Eric Meyer (2007)

Bass

  • Alvin Petty (1979)
  • Les Claypool (1979–1981), (1986–1988)
  • Chris Olsen (1982–1983)
  • Geno Side Gene Gilson(1983–1986)
  • Larry LaLonde (1988)
  • Adam Gates (1987)
  • Vern McElroy (1988–1989)

Drums

  • Bret Hern (1979–1983)
  • Bill Ticson (1983)
  • Mike Miner (1983–1988)
  • Wes Anderson (1988–1989)

Keyboards

  • Ben Heveroh (1979-198?)

(There were several other members unknown)

References[edit]

Mean Deviation (excerpt)