Watchtower (band)

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Watchtower
Origin Austin, Texas, United States
Genres Progressive metal, thrash metal
Years active 1982–1991, 1999–present
Labels Rockadrome
Noise International
Associated acts Blotted Science, Spastic Ink, Gordian Knot, S.A.Slayer, Hades, Dangerous Toys, Broken Teeth, Retarded Elf, Militia, Don Dokken
Members Ron Jarzombek
Doug Keyser
Rick Colaluca
Past members Alan Tecchio
Jason McMaster
Mike Soliz
Billy White

WatchTower is an American progressive metal band based in Austin, Texas. The band was influenced by late 1970s progressive rock and acts such as Rush and UK, as well as the burgeoning New Wave of British Heavy Metal. While Watchtower never reached mainstream access, they have been cited as an influence by many other progressive metal bands such as: Dream Theater, Death, Atheist, Sieges Even and Spiral Architect.[1]

History[edit]

WatchTower was formed in May 1982[2] in Austin, Texas. The quartet made its recording debut in 1983 with an early version of the song "Meltdown", which was included on the Cottage Cheese from the Lips of Death - A Texas Hardcore Compilation LP. It was followed by the debut album, Energetic Disassembly, issued in 1985 on the band's own DIY label, Zombo Records. An earlier version of the album was scrapped after the group's label, Rainforest Records, closed its doors. Energetic Disassembly is notable for its heavy use of time changes and is considered to be a landmark in progressive metal.[3]

In the fall of 1986, guitarist and founding member, Billy White, quit the band in order to pursue different styles of music. He formed the short-lived Khymera with Juggernaut drummer Bobby Jarzombek and former Karion bassist Pete Perez before joining vocalist Don Dokken for the Up from the Ashes album in 1990. With WatchTower's future briefly in doubt, Doug Keyser auditioned for Metallica following the death of bassist Cliff Burton. Similarly, Jason McMaster was approached by fellow Texans Pantera in search of a new vocalist. McMaster eventually exited in 1988 after getting signed to a major label deal with his side project Onyxx, later renamed Dangerous Toys, whose self-titled CBS debut scored the MTV hits "Teas N' Pleas N" and "Scared" and reached near gold status.

White's replacement was Ron Jarzombek, formerly with S.A.Slayer, while fellow Austinite Mike Soliz (ex-Militia, Assalant) was recruited in place of McMaster, but eventually replaced by former Hades vocalist Alan Tecchio. Newly signed to Noise Records, WatchTower flew to Berlin, Germany in the summer of 1989 where the band recorded their second album, Control and Resistance, at Sky Trak Studios.

In the spring of 1990, WatchTower undertook their first and only European tour with Noise Records label mates, Coroner. Back in the States, the band played a few East Coast shows but lost vocalist Alan Tecchio soon thereafter. The search for a suitable replacement proved difficult although several candidates, including Scott Jeffries (Confessor), were at least considered. Adding to the band's woes, guitarist Ron Jarzombek developed severe hand problems which required multiple surgeries, effectively putting WatchTower on ice indefinitely and with it a proposed third album, which was to be titled Mathematics.

Bassist Doug Keyser and drummer Rick Colaluca joined colorful local rock/funk/rap outfit Retarded Elf who released the album Trick Quigger on Pony Canyon in Japan. Guitarist Ron Jarzombek returned with Spastic Ink, akin to an all-instrumental version of WatchTower, who issued their debut album, Ink Complete in 1997, while original frontman Jason McMaster's kept going with Dangerous Toys before making Broken Teeth his main band in the late '90s.

In 1999, original WatchTower members McMaster, Keyser and Colaluca reunited, along with Jarzombek, to record a cover of Accept's "Run If You Can" for A Tribute to Accept - Vol. 1 on Nuclear Blast Records. In 2000, WatchTower played the prestigious Bang Your Head!!! festival in Germany and later that summer supported Dream Theater in Houston and Dallas. The band also began work on the long dormant Mathematics album, but progress stalled once again.

In 2002, Monster Records issued Demonstrations in Chaos, an archives release consisting of early recordings, demos, and unreleased tracks, including almost the complete original Energetic Disassembly recordings and the 1987 demos with Ron Jarzombek that got the band signed to Noise Records.

WatchTower returned to Europe once more in 2004 to headline the Headway Festival in Amstelveen, Holland. That same year Ron Jarzombek released the second Spastic Ink album, Ink Compatible, with guest contributions by WatchTower band mates Doug Keyser and Jason McMaster who contributed lead vocals on five songs. In the fall of 2004, Monster Records, now Monster Underground, re-issued Energetic Disassembly on CD for the first time ever in the United States. The original CD re-issue came 1993, courtesy of Germany's Institute of Art label.

In the spring of 2009, WatchTower were confirmed as co-headliners of the 13th edition of Germany's Keep It True Festival, set to take place in April 2010. The band also re-commenced work on Mathematics with a view toward a 2010 release.

Decibel Magazine featured WatchTower's Control and Resistance as part of their 'Hall Of Fame' series in their January 2010 issue.[4]

On April 9, 2010, WatchTower released a preliminary mix of "The Size of Matter" from their forthcoming album Mathematics as a digital-only single.[5] It marks the band's first new piece of music since their seminal 1989 album, Control and Resistance, and features core members Ron Jarzombek, Doug Keyser, and Rick Colaluca along with a returning Alan Tecchio on vocals. Tecchio replaces original frontman Jason McMaster for the second time in the band's history. In May 2010, Alan Tecchio left WatchTower once again.

Members[edit]

Current line-up[edit]

  • Ron Jarzombek - guitar (1986–1991, 1999–present)
  • Doug Keyser - bass (1982–1991, 1999–present)
  • Rick Colaluca - drums (1982–1991, 1999–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Jason McMaster - vocals (1982–1988, 1999–2009)
  • Mike Soliz - vocals (1988–1989)
  • Alan Tecchio - vocals (1989–1990, 2010)
  • Billy White - guitars (1982–1986)


Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "The Size of Matter" (digital single, 2010)

Compilations[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]