Alcatrazz

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Alcatrazz
OriginLos Angeles, California, United States
GenresHeavy metal
Years active
  • 1983–1987
  • 2006–2014
  • 2017
  • 2019–present
Labels
Associated acts
MembersGraham Bonnet
Jimmy Waldo
Joe Stump
Mark Benquechea
Beth-Ami Heavenstone
Past membersGary Shea
Yngwie Malmsteen
Clive Burr
Jan Uvena
Steve Vai
Danny Johnson
Glen Sobel
Dave Dzialak
Jeff Bowders

Alcatrazz is an English-American heavy metal band formed in 1983 by Graham Bonnet, Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea.[1] They are best known for their songs "Island in the Sun" and "God Blessed Video", and have gone through a number of line-up changes, leaving Bonnet as the only constant member. The band is also notable for featuring a previously-unknown Yngwie Malmsteen, who was the guitarist of Alcatrazz during 1983–1984, and was subsequently replaced by Steve Vai and then by Danny Johnson.

After breaking up in 1987, and reuniting for occasional live performances between 2006 and 2017, Alcatrazz reformed once more in 2019 under Bonnet and Waldo. To date, the band has released three studio albums: No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll (1983), Disturbing the Peace (1985) and Dangerous Games (1986).

History[edit]

The band's initial line-up consisted of former Rainbow singer frontman Graham Bonnet, young Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, who had recently left the American band Steeler, Gary Shea and Jimmy Waldo from New England and Clive Burr of Iron Maiden fame. Burr was reportedly only in the band for a week, and left upon discovering the band was going to be based in the United States, as opposed to his native England. Burr was soon replaced by former Iron Butterfly drummer Jan Uvena, who had just left Alice Cooper's backing band. Shea dubbed the group "Alcatrazz". For the first album, the bulk of the material was written by Bonnet and Malmsteen, with Waldo contributing to several tracks.

The band's debut album, No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll was released in late 1983 on Rocshire Records.[1] Decent support was given by MTV to the lead single, "Island in the Sun", which showed a heavy Rainbow influence. Despite the commercial nature of the song, it received little radio play. The album nonetheless spent 18 weeks on the Billboard charts and peaked at No. 128. A second video released in 1984 for "Hiroshima Mon Amour" became popular in Japan.

Rochsire then released Live Sentence (1984), a concert recording from with songs from both concerts of the recent tour of Japan at the Nakano Sun Plaza in Tokyo on January 28, 1984. Being discontent with the sonic qualities of the recording, Malmsteen tried to prevent the release of the album but failed. Some Rainbow covers were included, including "Since You Been Gone". The album peaked at No. 133 in the US. A live video concert was also produced. During this period, internal turmoil began surfacing within the band, between Malmsteen and Bonnet. According to Malmsteen, Bonnet had become fed up with the attention drawn to his guitar playing from fans over Bonnet's vocals.[2] According to Malmsteen, their professional relationship ended with the two having an altercation on stage after Bonnet allegedly tampered with Malmsteen's amplifiers during a guitar solo and "Since You've Been Gone" at a show in Oklahoma. This resulted in Malmsteen yelling at and arguing with Bonnet, Bonnet poking Malmsteen in the stomach with his microphone stand, and finally with Malmsteen punching Bonnet, all taking place on stage.[3] Following this, Malmsteen left Alcatrazz and created his own band called Rising Force, who signed with Polydor Records and released a successful self-titled debut album.

Waldo replaced Malmsteen with former Frank Zappa guitarist Steve Vai,[1] despite resistance from Bonnet, and the band signed with Capitol Records after Rocshire was shut down following the owners being arrested for the embezzlement of millions of dollars.[4] With Steve Vai, the group worked on new material and then headlined another tour of Japan, which introduced Vai to the fans and allowed them to play new material from the upcoming album. A concert video was filmed from these dates.

The band released Disturbing the Peace in the spring of 1985.[1] The album was produced by Eddie Kramer who had worked with Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Triumph, among others. "God Blessed Video" was the first single and video, yet MTV barely played it. The album peaked at No. 145 and charted for 16 weeks. Alcatrazz, however, could never break out of their small following, and had to cut a tour short due to financial problems.

Steve Vai left to join David Lee Roth's solo band in 1986.[1] The split was on good terms, as it was an offer Vai could not refuse. He was replaced by guitarist Danny Johnson, who recorded what became Alcatrazz's final studio album, Dangerous Games, released in the fall of 1986.[1] The album had covers of the Animals' song "It's My Life" (one of the only rock-oriented tunes) and Marbles' song "Only One Woman". Bonnet had been a member of Marbles in the late 1960s when they had this hit in the UK. The Dangerous Games album failed to chart and shortly afterward, Johnson also quit to join the band Private Life. Disheartened by an ever-revolving door of guitarists, and dwindling album sales, they split up in 1987.[1]

In 1998, the Renaissance Records label issued The Best of Alcatrazz, a look back at the band's brief career. God Blessed Video appeared in the 2002 videogame soundtrack Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, playing on fictional rock station V-Rock.

Bonnet reformed his version of the band as Alcatrazz featuring Graham Bonnet with guitarist Howie Simon (Jeff Scott Soto Band, Talisman), drummer Glen Sobel (Impellitteri, Beautiful Creatures, Tony MacAlpine), and bassist Tim Luce and toured Japan in May and June 2007—sharing the headline with another ex-Rainbow vocalist, Joe Lynn Turner. Howie Simon revealed in a recent interview that it was his suggestion to bring back the Alcatrazz name.[5] They also headlined the BerkRock festival in Berkovitsa, Bulgaria in July 2008 and have played various West Coast US dates including support slots for Y&T. Alcatrazz continued to perform live occasionally until 2014.

In March 2017, three-fifths of the original lineup (Bonnet, Waldo and Shea) reunited for three shows in Japan, which also included Conrado Pesinato and Mark Benquechea on guitar and drums respectively. The performances were recorded for the live album/DVD Parole Denied - Tokyo 2017, which was released on December 7, 2018.[6] In February 2019, Bonnet confirmed that he had once again resurrected Alcatrazz, with a new lineup featuring himself, Waldo and Benquechea, as well as guitarist Joe Stump and bassist Beth-Ami Heavenstone.[7][8] This lineup plans to record a new album together, which will also include contributions from Chris Impellitteri, Bob Kulick, Dario Mollo and former Alcatrazz guitarist Steve Vai.[9][10]

Personnel[edit]

Current members

  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals (1983–1987, 2006–2014, 2017, 2019-present)
  • Jimmy Waldo – keyboards, synthesizers, keytar, backing vocals (1983–1987, 2017, 2019-present)
  • Mark Benquechea – drums (2017, 2019-present)
  • Beth-Ami Heavenstone – bass (2019-present)
  • Joe Stump – guitars (2019-present)

Former members

  • Clive Burr – drums, percussion (1983)
  • Yngwie Malmsteen – guitars (1983–1984)
  • Jan Uvena – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1983–1987)
  • Gary Shea – bass, backing vocals (1983–1987, 2017)
  • Steve Vai – guitars, backing vocals (1984–1986)
  • Danny Johnson - guitars, backing vocals (1986-1987)
  • Glen Sobel - drums, percussion, backing vocals (2006-2009)
  • Tim Luce - bass, backing vocals (2006-2014)
  • Howie Simon - guitars, backing vocals (2006-2014)
  • Dave Dzialak - drums, percussion (2009-2010)
  • Jeff Bowders - drums, percussion (2010-2011)
  • Bobby Rock - drums, percussion, backing vocals (2011-2014)
  • Conrado Pesinato - guitar (2017)

Timeline[edit]

Lineups[edit]

Period Members Releases
1983 none
1983-1984
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Yngwie Malmsteen – guitars,
  • Gary Shea – bass, backing vocals
  • Jimmy Waldo – keyboards, synthesizers, keytar, backing vocals
  • Jan Uvena – drums, percussion, backing vocals
1984-1985
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Gary Shea – bass, backing vocals
  • Jimmy Waldo – keyboards, synthesizers, keytar, backing vocals
  • Jan Uvena – drums, percussion, backing vocals
  • Steve Vai – guitars, backing vocals
  • Power Live (VHS) (1985)
    • Disturbing the Peace Tour - Live in Japan 1984.10.10 (DVD Reissue) (2010)
  • Disturbing the Peace (1985)
1985-1987
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Gary Shea – bass, backing vocals
  • Jimmy Waldo – keyboards, synthesizers, keytar, backing vocals
  • Jan Uvena – drums, percussion, backing vocals
  • Danny Johnson – guitars, backing vocals
1987-2006 (Disbanded)
2006-2009
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Glen Sobel – drums, percussion, backing vocals
  • Tim Luce – bass, backing vocals
  • Howie Simon – guitars, backing vocals
none
2009-2010
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Tim Luce – bass, backing vocals
  • Howie Simon – guitars, backing vocals
  • Dave Dzialak – drums, percussion
2010-2011
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Tim Luce – bass, backing vocals
  • Howie Simon – guitars, backing vocals
  • Jeff Bowders – drums, percussion
2011-2014
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Tim Luce – bass, backing vocals
  • Howie Simon – guitars, backing vocals
  • Bobby Rock – drums, percussion, backing vocals
2014-2016 (Disbanded)
2017 (One off show)
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Gary Shea – bass, backing vocals
  • Jimmy Waldo – keyboards, synthesizers, keytar, backing vocals

With

  • Mark Benquechea – Drums
  • Conrado Pesinato - Guitars
  • Parole Denied - Tokyo 2017
2017-2019 (Disbanded)
2019-Present
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Jimmy Waldo – keyboards, synthesizers, keytar, backing vocals
  • Mark Benquechea – drums
  • Beth-Ami Heavenstone – bass
  • Joe Stump – Guitars

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Date Title Label Chart positions
1983 No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll Rocshire Weeks on Chart: 18, Peak: No. 128
1985 Disturbing the Peace Capitol Weeks on Chart: 16, Peak: No. 145
1986 Dangerous Games Capitol

Live albums[edit]

Date Title Label Chart positions
1984 Live Sentence Rocshire Weeks on Chart: 10, Peak: No. 133
2010 Live '83 Deadline
2010 No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll Tour Live in Japan 1984.1.28 Audio Tracks Ward Records
2010 Disturbing the Peace Tour Live in Japan 1984.10.10 Audio Tracks
2018 Live in Japan 1984 - Complete Edition Ear Music
2018 Parole Denied - Tokyo 2017 Frontiers Records

Compilation[edit]

Date Title Label Chart positions
1998 The Best of Alcatrazz Renaissance Records
2016 The Ultimate Fortress Rock Set (box) Store For Music
2017 Breaking the Heart of the City: The Best of Alcatrazz (3CD-Boxset) Cherry Red
2018 The Official Bootleg Boxset 1983-1986: Live, Demo, Rehearsals (6CD-Boxset)

Singles[edit]

Date Title Label Album
1984 Island in the Sun Rocshire No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll
1985 Will You Be Home Tonight Capitol Disturbing the Peace
God Blessed Video
1986 Dangerous Games Dangerous Games
It's My Life
Undercover

Videos[edit]

  • Metallic Live (VHS) (1984)
    • No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll Tour - Live in Japan 1984.1.28 (DVD Reissue) (2010)
  • Power Live (VHS) (1985)
    • Disturbing the Peace Tour - Live in Japan 1984.10.10 (DVD Reissue) (2010)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1995). The Guinness Who’s Who of Heavy Metal (Second ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 0-85112-656-1.
  2. ^ Malmsteen, Yngwie J. Relentless. Wiley. p. 98.
  3. ^ Malmsteen, Yngwie J. Relentless. Wiley. p. 99.
  4. ^ Miller, Chuck. "The Rise and Fall of Rocshire Records and the loss of Stacy Davis". Times Union. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Interview on". Rockpages.gr. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  6. ^ "ALCATRAZZ To Release 'Parole Denied - Tokyo 2017' In December". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  7. ^ "GRAHAM BONNET Relaunches ALCATRAZZ With Guitarist JOE STUMP; New Studio Album In The Works". Bravewords.com. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  8. ^ "Graham Bonnet Relaunches Alcatrazz With Guitarist Joe Stump; New Studio Album In The Works". allthatshreds.com. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  9. ^ "GRAHAM BONNET Says STEVE VAI Contributed Material To In-Progress ALCATRAZZ Album". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  10. ^ "GRAHAM BONNET On Using ALCATRAZZ Moniker Again: 'People Know The Name Of The Band, But They Don't Know Who The Hell I Am'". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved June 30, 2019.

External links[edit]