Left to right: Roche, Biuso, Grisham, and Emory in 2011
|Origin||Long Beach, California|
|Genres||Punk rock, gothic rock, hard rock, hardcore punk, glam metal|
|Labels||Posh Boy, Frontier, Alternative Tentacles, Enigma, Rhino, Restless, Nitro, DC-Jam Records|
|Associated acts||Vicious Circle|
|Past members||Todd Barnes
Anthony "Tiny" Biuso
T.S.O.L. (True Sounds of Liberty) is a punk rock band formed in 1978 in Long Beach, California. Although most commonly associated with hardcore punk, T.S.O.L.'s music has varied on each release. They have also released music in the styles of deathrock, art punk, horror punk, and other varieties of punk music.
Formed in 1978 in Long Beach, T.S.O.L. originated as a hardcore punk band, developing from earlier bands SS Cult and Johnny Koathanger and the Abortions. Later on Vicious Circle would form and T.S.O.L. would take a brief hiatus.
Their debut five-song T.S.O.L. EP was released in spring 1981 by Posh Boy Records, featuring the lineup of vocalist Jack Grisham (who has been credited as Jack Greggors, Alex Morgan, Jack Ladoga, Jim Woo and James DeLauge), guitarist Ron Emory, bassist Mike Roche and drummer Todd Barnes. This first release was harshly political, featuring tracks such as "Superficial Love," "World War III" and "Abolish Government."
Their first full-length album, Dance with Me, was released later in 1981 on Frontier, and showcased a more gothic/deathrock sound. They then signed to independent label Alternative Tentacles, releasing the Weathered Statues EP and the melodic Beneath the Shadows album in 1982; the latter featured, for the first time, keyboardist Greg Kuehn.
Amid personal turmoil, Grisham, Barnes and Kuehn all left the band in 1983, with Joe Wood and Mitch Dean joining on vocals and drums, respectively. This new lineup released three albums on Enigma Records: Change Today? (1984), Revenge (1986) and Hit and Run (1987). All three albums featured a more polished production, and the band toured globally to support them.
Emory left the band in 1988, during the recording of demos for Strange Love, leaving Roche as the sole remaining original member; Emory has a writing credit on the track "Blow by Blow". T.S.O.L. were joined briefly by guitarist Scotty Phillips, who quit before the band started recording the follow-up to Hit and Run. They eventually hired former Dino's Revenge guitarist and actor Marshall Rohner. They released a blues-metal album titled Strange Love in 1990. Roche quit shortly before the album release, leaving the band with no original members. A compilation album titled Hell and Back Together 1984–1990 was issued in 1992 with an emphasis on their metal era. Murphy Karges, later of Sugar Ray, briefly replaced Roche on bass, and was subsequently replaced by Josh Also.
This late-'80s lineup was popular enough to invite bookings in Brazil and Argentina, where the Grisham-led band held no legal rights to prevent Wood from gigging as T.S.O.L. Since 1996, Wood and Dean were joined by guitarists Mike Martt and Drac Conley and bassist Dave Mello, with Dean subsequently replaced by Steve "Sully" O’Sullivan. Additionally, Wood has performed with Joe Wood and the Lonely Ones and Cisco Poison.
Meanwhile, the original members began playing shows under the name T.S.O.L, featuring the band's early material. They often played the same cities, on the same nights, as the other T.S.O.L. Since Wood and Dean now owned the rights to the name T.S.O.L., they threatened to sue the original members, who released a live album of their early material under the name "Grisham, Roche, Emory and Barnes" but stopped playing together soon after its release. They also did some gigs during this time as "LOST" (T.S.O.L. backwards).
In 1999, the original members fought with Wood for rights to the name and won. They joined the Vans Warped Tour, playing for the first time in years under the name T.S.O.L.
Barnes died of a brain aneurysm on December 6, 1999, at the age of 34. The remaining members recruited drummer Jay O'Brien and released the "Anticop" single and the albums Disappear and Divided We Stand on Nitro Records, the latter of which featured Greg Kuehn back on keyboards. Anthony "Tiny" Biuso joined the band on drums in December 2003 and remained until 2014, serving as the longest standing drummer in the band's 30-plus year history. He first recorded with the band on 2005's Who's Screwing Who?, a revamping and rerecording of 18 of T.S.O.L.'s greatest hits. The original T.S.O.L. went on to record two more full-length albums. In September 2007, Cider City Records released the posthumous live album Live From Long Beach, recorded in November 2006 on the weekend of the band's two "farewell" performances.
Their departure was short-lived, however, as they returned to perform local shows in late 2007. They also headlined the "Fuck the Whales, Save a Chckn" benefit in February 2008, held to help with cancer treatment bills for guitarist Craig "Chckn" Jewett of D.I.
In December 2008, the band entered the studio to record Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Free Downloads, which was made available as a free download through Hurley International's website on January 8, 2009.
In 2013, the band traveled to Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland; they also completed a US tour owith Flag.
In 1981, director Paul Young made Urban Struggle: The Battle of The Cuckoo's Nest, a film which featured live performances by T.S.O.L. as well as several Orange County punk and hardcore bands. Dave Markey's 1982 film The Slog Movie also featured live T.S.O.L. performances. Their music is also featured in the 1984 movie Suburbia, the popular 1985 horror movie The Return of the Living Dead, and Dangerously Close in 1986. They were also mentioned in the documentary Punk's Not Dead.
T.S.O.L. songs "Just Like Me" and "Flowers by the Door" were featured in the 1985 CBS Schoolbreak Special Hear Me Cry, a program about teen suicide.
- Current members
- Jack Grisham - vocals (1978-1983, 1991, 1999-present)
- Ron Emory - guitar (1978-1988, 1991, 1999-present)
- Mike Roche - bass (1978-1990, 1991, 1999-present)
- Greg Kuehn - piano, synthesizers (1982-1983, 2005-present)
- Matt Rainwater - drums (2014-present)
- Former members
- Todd Barnes - drums (1978-1983, 1991, 1999)
- Jay Bentley - bass
- Joe Wood - vocals, guitar (1983-1999)
- Mitch Dean - drums (1983-1998)
- Scotty Phillips - guitar (1988)
- Marshall Rohner - guitar (1988-1996)
- Murphy Karges - bass (1990-1996)
- Josh Also - bass (1996)
- Mike Martt - guitar (1996-1999)
- Drac Conley - guitar (1996-1999)
- Zill C. DeVill - bass (2002)
- Dave Mello - bass (1996-1999)
- Steve O'Sullivan - drums (1998-1999)
- Jay O'Brien - drums (1999-2003)
- Billy Blaze - drums (2003)
- Anthony "Tiny" Biuso - drums (2003-2014)
- Sean Antillon - drums (2014)
- Studio albums
- Dance with Me (1981)
- Beneath the Shadows (1982)
- Change Today? (1984)
- Revenge (1986)
- Hit and Run (1987)
- Strange Love (1990)
- Disappear (2001)
- Divided We Stand (2003)
- Who's Screwin' Who? (2005)
- Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Free Downloads (2009)
- Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography, Canongate Books, page 663. ISBN 0-86241-913-1.
- Strange Love (CD liner notes). T.S.O.L. Culver City, California: Enigma Records. 1990. 7 73541-2.
- Torreano, Bradley. "Biography: T.S.O.L.". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
- Dean, Mich (1992). Hell and Back Together: 1984–1990 (CD liner notes). T.S.O.L. Hollywood: Restless Records. 72581-2.
- "Dino's Revenge - Hollywood Fats & Marshall Rohner". Steven Ameche. 2011-04-15. Retrieved 2011-04-15.
- "Hurley". Hurley. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
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