Alcatrazz

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Alcatrazz
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Heavy metal
Years active 1983–1987, 2006–2014
Labels Rocshire/MCA, Capitol
Associated acts Rainbow, New England, Steeler, Blackthorne, Savage Paradise, Vinnie Vincent Invasion, Impellitteri, Graham Bonnet Band
Members Graham Bonnet
Tim Luce
Howie Simon
Bobby Rock
Past members Gary Shea
Jimmy Waldo
Yngwie Malmsteen
Clive Burr
Jan Uvena
Steve Vai
Danny Johnson
Glen Sobel
Dave Dzialak
Jeff Bowders

Alcatrazz was an American heavy metal band formed in 1983 by Graham Bonnet, Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea. They are best known for their songs "Island in the Sun" and "God Blessed Video".

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 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 surfaced in late 1983 on Rocshire Records. 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 the classic Since You Been Gone. The album would reach 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.[1] 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.[2] 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, 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.[3] 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. 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 (ex-Van Halen) solo band in 1986. The split was on good terms, as it was an offer Vai could not refuse. He was replaced by guitarist Danny Johnson (ex-Axis, Rod Stewart, and Alice Cooper), who recorded what became Alcatrazz's final studio album, Dangerous Games, released in the fall of 1986. The album had covers of the Animals' classic 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.

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.[4] 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.

Personnel[edit]

Former members
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals (1983–1987, 2006–2014)
  • Yngwie Malmsteen – guitars, ukulele (1983–1984)
  • Steve Vai – guitars, folk instruments, backing vocals (1984–1986)
  • Jimmy Waldo – keyboards, synthesizers, keytar, piano, backing vocals (1983–1987)
  • Gary Shea – bass, double bass, backing vocals (1983–1987)
  • Clive Burr – drums, percussion (1983)
  • Jan Uvena – drums, percussion, congas, gong, backing vocals (1983–1987)
  • Danny Johnson - guitars, backing vocals (1986-1987)
  • Howie Simon - guitars, backing vocals (2006-2014)
  • Tim Luce - bass, backing vocals (2006-2014)
  • Glen Sobel - drums, percussion, backing vocals (2006-2009)
  • Dave Dzialak - drums, percussion (2009-2010)
  • Jeff Bowders - drums, percussion (2010-2011)
  • Bobby Rock - drums, percussion, backing vocals (2011-2014)

Timeline[edit]

Lineups[edit]

1983 1983-1984 1984-1986 1986-1987
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Yngwie Malmsteen – guitars, ukulele
  • Jimmy Waldo – keyboards, synthesizers, keytar, piano, backing vocals
  • Gary Shea – bass, double bass, backing vocals
  • Clive Burr – drums, percussion
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Yngwie Malmsteen – guitars, ukulele
  • Jimmy Waldo – keyboards, synthesizers, keytar, piano, backing vocals
  • Gary Shea – bass, double bass, backing vocals
  • Jan Uvena – drums, percussion, congas, gong, backing vocals
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Steve Vai – guitars, folk instruments, backing vocals
  • Jimmy Waldo – keyboards, synthesizers, keytar, piano, backing vocals
  • Gary Shea – bass, double bass, backing vocals
  • Jan Uvena – drums, percussion, congas, gong, backing vocals
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Danny Johnson – guitars, backing vocals
  • Jimmy Waldo – keyboards, synthesizers, keytar, piano, backing vocals
  • Gary Shea – bass, double bass, backing vocals
  • Jan Uvena – drums, percussion, congas, gong, backing vocals
1987-2006 2006-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011

Disbanded

  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Howie Simon – guitars, backing vocals
  • Tim Luce – bass, backing vocals
  • Glen Sobel – drums, percussion, backing vocals
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Howie Simon – guitars, backing vocals
  • Tim Luce – bass, backing vocals
  • Dave Dzialak – drums, percussion
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Howie Simon – guitars, backing vocals
  • Tim Luce – bass, backing vocals
  • Jeff Bowders – drums, percussion
2011-2014
  • Graham Bonnet – lead vocals
  • Howie Simon – guitars, backing vocals
  • Tim Luce – bass, backing vocals
  • Bobby Rock – drums, percussion, backing vocals

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 Ward 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 Cherry Red

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. ^ Malmsteen, Yngwie J. Relentless. Wiley. p. 98. 
  2. ^ Malmsteen, Yngwie J. Relentless. Wiley. p. 99. 
  3. ^ Miller, Chuck. "The Rise and Fall of Rocshire Records and the loss of Stacy Davis". Times Union. Retrieved 25 March 2018. 
  4. ^ "Interview on". Rockpages.gr. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-11-13. 

External links[edit]