|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2013)|
|Origin||Alameda, California, USA|
|Genres||Power metal, heavy metal|
|Labels||Shrapnel, Roadrunner, Atlantic, SPV, Massacre|
|Associated acts||7th Order, Alameda All Stars, Testament, Vinnie Moore, Death Angel, Spiralarms, Heathen|
|Past members||See: Timeline|
Vicious Rumors is an American power metal band founded in 1979 in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. The brainchild of Geoff Thorpe, the band has been active on the metal scene since its inception in 1979. Vicious Rumors is recognized for their guitar works and harmonies, as well as the variety of their music.
Band leader Thorpe is also known for recording with the American rock & roll band 7th Order, alongside veteran British session guitarist Martin Pugh (of Steamhammer, the 1st Rod Stewart solo album and Armageddon) and drummer Tim Kelliher (of Randy Hansen's Machine Gun) on their debut CD, The Lake of Memory - released in 2007.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Band members
- 3 Official releases
- 4 Videography
- 5 External links
- 6 References
Pioneeristic years and the debut Soldiers of the Night (1979-1986)
The only constant member in every Vicious Rumors line-up is founder, leader and main composer Geoff Thorpe, who formed the band in 1979. The group was born in the San Francisco Bay Area, during the years when the metal scene was becoming popular and stronger in that part of the States. Bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Testament, Exodus, Death Angel and Forbidden were all seeing the light in the same years. Even though Vicious Rumors shared the same stages, venues and were even close friends to many of those young musicians, they focused on another music direction, only marginally influenced by the Bay Area thrash metal that in a few years would become very popular worldwide.
Without a definite line-up, Vicious Rumors played between 1982 and 1985 everyhere in the US and appeared on KMEL's New Oasis compilation and on the compilations U.S. Metal vol. III and IV, gaining finally an important record deal with Shrapnel Records.
The first album Soldiers of the Night, published in 1985, is considered a milestone in US power metal and features Geoff Thorpe, Larry Howe (drums), Dave Starr (bass), Gary St.Pierre (vocals) and future guitar hero Vinnie Moore. Moore's participation was suggested by Shrapnel's mastermind Mike Varney.
The classic era: from Digital Dictator to Word of Mouth (1987-1994)
The second album Digital Dictator, released in 1988, fixed Vicious Rumors' classic sound and most famous line-up, with versatile singer Carl Albert (Villain, Ruffians) and guitarist Mark McGee (Overdrive, Starcastle) along with Thorpe, Starr and Howe, after St. Pierre and Moore had left. The success and recognition from the first two albums on Shrapnel generated interest in the band from the major labels and in 1989 Vicious Rumors signed a deal with Atlantic Records. They released their self-titled album Vicious Rumors in 1990. In support of this album the band toured the US and Europe with Death Angel and Forbidden.
The band was featured on the main stage at the Dynamo Open Air Festival, in Holland in front of 25,000 fans and the band's first video for the song, "Don't Wait for Me" was put on rotation on MTV's, Headbangers Ball. After returning from Europe, the bands set out on their first full US tour for 2 months.
In 1992, Vicious Rumors released their best seller Welcome to the Ball. This album received a Bay Area Music Awards nomination for "Outstanding Metal Album" alongside the ranks of Metallica and Tesla. The band went on a one month European tour with Savatage. Their 2nd MTV video, "Children" went beyond the exposure normally limited to metal bands on Headbangers Ball and got regular daytime air play. And to top all of this off, Vicious Rumors was nominated for a Bammie Award (from Bam magazine) for best new metal album. Vicious Rumors toured the US for 4 months, building and strengthening their fan base in the States.
After the tour with label-mates Savatage, and the live album Plug In and Hang On: Live in Tokyo, guitarist Geoff Thorpe became ill with carpal tunnel syndrome. The band wasn't sure to continue and at that time they also split with bassist Dave Starr.
In 1994, with new bass-player Tommy Sisco (ex-Villain with Carl Albert), they released the album Word of Mouth for the label Rising Sun. This record includes the song "Thunder and Rain" (part 1 & part 2) dedicated to the memory of Criss Oliva of Savatage.
This album generated immediate attention and put the band back on the road. In Europe, Vicious Rumors were back at the Dynamo Open Air Festival in Holland, then joined with Accept for more festival dates. After the completion of that tour, they were called back for a second European tour, this time with Metal Church, Killers, and Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction.
Death of Carl Albert and a new style (1995-2005)
At the end of the Word of Mouth tour, Mark McGee decided to leave and went on to play with Gregg Allman & Friends. Steve Smyth (later of Nevermore, Testament and Forbidden fame) was the choice as new guitarist.
The band decided to go on in memory of their talented singer. The CD A Tribute to Carl Albert (including bootleg recordings taken from the Word of Mouth European tour) and the home-video The First Ten Years were released first. Mark McGee, for one of his solo projects (actually unpublished), composed and recorded the song "Find Your Way Home" dedicated to the memory of his lost friend.
After the death of Carl Albert, the band became more unstable. Tommy Sisco and Larry Howe stayed for two more albums: Something Burning in 1996 (this album is sung by Geoff Thorpe because "no one could take Carl's place") and Cyberchrist in 1998, with Brian O'Connor as vocalist. The song "Perpetual", included on the Something Burning album, was the last track written by Albert. In 2001 the band released Sadistic Symphony with new singer Morgan Thorn, who would suddenly be replaced for the return of O'Connor. These three albums are different for their more groovy, experimental and modern approach but also for the vocal style.
The band in those years was totally renewed by VR mainman Geoff Thorpe: Cornbread was the new bass player replacing Sisco, Ira Black (ex Heathen, later with Lizzy Borden) filled the spot left by guitarist Smyth, while world famous sessionmen Atma Anur, Dan Lawson and Will Carroll (later with Death Angel) took the place of Larry Howe until his return. In 2005 those musicians (and the classic ones) appeared on the Crushing the World DVD that sums up various eras of Vicious Rumors and offers audio-video footage of three unreleased tracks: "Poveglia", "Broken Wings", "Fight", present also in the demo Immortal (2004) which never became an album. Crushing the World marks the end of the "groove metal" era of the band.
Return to a classic sound (2006-2013)
In 2006, the album Warball, produced by Juan Urteaga, was released with the surprise of an "all star" line-up: Geoff Thorpe announced the return of classic members Larry Howe and Dave Starr together with two big names of the scene as vocalist James Rivera (Helstar) and guitarist Brad Gillis (Night Ranger, Ozzy Osbourne). Also guitarist Thaen Rasmussen (Heathen, Anvil Chorus) took part to the recordings of Warball and later would be the second guitar in the live shows. Warball is a return to a more classic sound. But the stability of the line-up was not destined to last. Dave Starr, unable to tour and not happy with the direction of things, was replaced at this point by Stephen Goodwin as live bassist. At the end of the world tour also Rivera and Rasmussen parted ways with Vicious Rumors.
Ronnie Stixx (Divine Ruins, Blood Redskies, Shadowkeep) was chosen for the live singing, but never made it to an album. Rasmussen was replaced by Kiyoshi Morgan as second guitarist. The line-up finally found a new frontman when Stixx was replaced with old style screamer Brian Allen (Last Empire, Malice).
Classic members Thorpe and Howe rebuilt Vicious Rumors with Allen, Goodwin and Morgan. This will become the longer lasting VR line-up in recent years. To celebrate the new blood of the band they paid tribute also to his prestigious hystory. In the occasion of Vicious Rumors's 30th anniversary some songs of the first album Soldiers of the Night were played together with the original singer Gary St.Pierre at the Headbanger's Open Air festival 2009 in Germany. And in 2011, at the Keep It True Festival (always in Germany) a special event sees the temporary return after 15 and more years of historical members Mark McGee and Tommy Sisco. On the vocals the meaningful presence of Kevin Albert, Carl's son, for a unique night of tribute to the golden-era.
Meanwhile the new line-up worked hard also in the studio. The band's tenth album, Razorback Killers, was produced again by Juan Urteaga and released on March 28, 2011, with guest appearances by several musicians including former guitarist Mark McGee, Testament guitarist Eric Peterson, Night Ranger guitarist Brad Gillis, and the first Vicious Rumors studio appearances of Stephen Goodwin, Kiyoshi Morgan and Brian Allen. The band did an extensive European tour supporting Hammerfall with Thaen Rasmussen occasionally stepping in again in Vicious Rumors in place of Morgan (who leaves the band in February 2012). The band takes part to the metal cruise "70,000 Tones of Metal".
In late 2012, after some summer gigs in Europe (with Bob Capka as second guitarist), Vicious Rumors mainman Geoff Thorpe announced two new releases for the upcoming months: a live album Live You to Death, out in November 2012, and a new studio chapter Electric Punishment, again produced by Juan Urteaga, due to be released in 2013 with appearances - alongside mastermind Thorpe - of a first class team of guitarists: Rasmussen, McGee, Gillis and Capka. According to Thorpe, the band is still "hungry" so they will play more than 70 shows, including several metal festivals in 2013. One of them, the warm-up show of Bang Your Head!!! in Germany, will again feature special guest appearance of Kevin Albert, Carl's son.
European blood in the band (present)
After a period of relative stability, in 2013 the band still faced more line-up changes around classic members Thorpe and Howe: in the first leg of Electric Punishment European tour Brian Allen was temporary replaced by old known James Rivera due to serious family matters. In the second leg of European gigs and in the US tour, Slovenian musician Tilen Hudrap (Thraw, Keller, Wartune) stepped in for Stephen Goodwin on bass. Also Thaen Rasmussen left his spot later in the year, with Bob Capka rejoining VR ranks on guitar. During the American tour, surprisingly, young Dutch singer Nick Holleman (Powerized, Methusalem) took care of vocal duties, with Allen stating he and VR parted ways. Entering in the line-up alongside Thorpe, Howe and Capka, Hudrap (and later Holleman) became the first European official members in Vicious Rumors history, bringing fresh blood to the band before a very intense 2014 which carries VR in no less than three continents: first, the new participation to the "70,000 Tones of Metal" cruise - where they will play for the first time the classic "Digital Dictator" album in its entirety - then not only many European gigs but also the long awaited South American and Australia/New Zealand/Japan tours. The band releases later in the year "Live You To Death 2: The American Punishment" live album, achieving the goal of four album in four years.
- Geoff Thorpe - Guitars, Backing Vocals (1979–Present), Vocals (1995–1997)
- Larry Howe - Drums (1985–2000), (2005–Present)
- Bob Capka - Guitars (2012), (2013–Present)
- Tilen Hudrap - Bass (2013–present)
- Nick Holleman - Vocals (2013–present)
Previous members, session and live musicians
- Walt Perkins - Drums (1980-1982)
- Mark Tate - Vocals (1982–1983)
- Jim Cassero - Guitars (1982–1983)
- Jeff Barnacle - Bass (1982–1984)
- Jamie Scott - Guitars (1983)
- Jim Lang - Drums (1983)
- Chuck Moomey - Guitars (1983–1985)
- Don Selzer - Drums (1984–85)
- Gary St.Pierre - Vocals (1983–1986, guest 2009)
- Dave Starr - Bass (1984–1993, 2005–2006)
- Vinnie Moore - Guitars (1985–1986)
- Terry Montana - Guitars (1986)
- Mark McGee - Guitars (1986–1995, guest 2011-2013)
- Carl Albert - Vocals (1988–1995; deceased in 1995)
- Tommy Sisco - Bass (1994–1999; occasionally live in 2005, guest 2011)
- Steve Smyth - Guitars (1996–1999)
- Brian O'Connor - Vocals (1997–1999, 2001–2005)
- Morgan Thorn - Vocals (2000–2001)
- Atma Anur - Drums (2000–2001)
- Ira Black - Guitars (2000–2005)
- Cornbread - Bass (2000–2005)
- Dan Lawson - Drums (2001)
- Will Carroll - Drums (2001–2004)
- James Rivera - Vocals (2005–2007, live 2009 and 2013)
- Brad Gillis - Guitars (2005, guest 2011-2013)
- Ronnie Stixx - Vocals (2008–2009)
- Thaen Rasmussen - Guitars (2006–2007, 2011-2013)
- Kevin Albert (Carl Albert' son) - Vocals (guest 2011, 2013)
- Kiyoshi Morgan - Guitars (2007–2012)
- Stephen Goodwin - Bass (2006–2013)
- Brian Allen - Vocals (2009–2013)
- 1985 - Soldiers of the Night
- 1988 - Digital Dictator
- 1990 - Vicious Rumors
- 1992 - Welcome to the Ball
- 1994 - Word of Mouth
- 1996 - Something Burning
- 1998 - Cyberchrist
- 2001 - Sadistic Symphony
- 2006 - Warball
- 2011 - Razorback Killers
- 2013 - Electric Punishment
- 1992 - Plug In and Hang On
- 1995 - A Tribute to Carl Albert
- 2012 - Live You to Death
- 2014 - Live You To Death 2: The American Punishment
- 1994 - The Voice
- 1982 - "I Can Live Forever" - KMEL compilation "New Oasis"
- 1983 - "Ultimate Death" - US Metal vol. III
- 1984 - "One Way Ticket" - US Metal vol. IV
- On the Edge - Official band site
- Official Facebook page
- Rock Detector's Vicious Rumors Biography
- The Rockit Scientists Vicious Rumors' Geoff Thorpe & Armageddon/Steamhammer's Martin Pugh sit in on 7th Order sessions
- "Playlist". 17). Steamhammer - Ridin' On The L & N. The Rockit Scientist. 21 December 2005. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- "7th Order - the history". 7th Order Official Website. Archived from the original on 24 May 2006. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- "The Dean Artists: Geoff Thorpe of Vicious Rumors". Dean Guitars. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- Moore, Vinnie. "Soldiers of the Night". Vinnie Moore Official Website. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- "The Alameda All Stars Mark McGhee". Alameda All Stars Official Website. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- Sharpe-Young, Garry (2009). "Vicious Rumors". MusicMight. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Schowe, Andreas (25 October 1991). "Savatage - Vicious Rumors". Real Savatage.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- http://www.therocktemple.nl/en/component/content/article/37-nieuwe-concerten/221-vicious-rumors-a-support[dead link]
- "Vicious Rumors Remembers Criss Oliva". Real Savatage.com. September 1999. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "Died On This Date (April 22, 1995) Carl Albert / Vicious Rumors". The Music's Over.com. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "Carl Albert". Encyclopaedia Metallum. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "Solo Project". Mark McGee Official Website. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "Stephen Goodwin - Bassist". Movement in Threes.com. 2007. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "VICIOUS RUMORS Announces New Singer". Blabbermouth.net. 12 February 2008. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "VICIOUS RUMORS Announces New Guitarist". Blabbermouth.net. 9 March 2008. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "VICIOUS RUMORS Taps LAST EMPIRE/WILD DOGS Singer". Blabbermouth.net. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "Headbanger's Open Air 2009". Headbanger's Open Air Official Website. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "VICIOUS RUMORS To Release 'Live You To Death' Live Albumt". Blabbermouth.net. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Rowhel, Dennis (17 April 2013). "Vicious Rumors - Surfing Metal and Electric Punishment". Entertain.net. Retrieved 2013-08-15.