Child's Play (band)
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Promotional poster for their album Rat Race
L to R: Idzi, John Allen, Nicky Kay, and Brian Jack
|Genres||Hard rock, heavy metal, hair metal|
|Years active||1983-1995; (reunions: 2003-2005, 2011-2012, 2015)|
|Associated acts||Charm City Devils|
|Past members||John Allen|
Larry "L.H." Hinshaw
Child's Play (stylized as Child'ƨ Play) is a rock band from East Baltimore, Maryland. The group was formed in 1983 with Larry Hinshaw (lead vocals), Brian Jack (guitar), Phil Wiser (bass), Jimmy Shafer (guitar), and Steve Albinak (drums). The group later evolved with the addition of John Allen on drums and Nicky Kay on lead guitar. This lineup solidified and formed the basis of a surge in popularity through the Mid-Atlantic region. Constant region gigging lead to the release of their first EP, Ruff House, in 1986. The band was particularly popular in Baltimore rock venues such as Seagull Inn, Hammerjacks, and the Capricorn.
The band's lineup began to change when Phil Wiser left in 1987, resulting in the addition of Idzi on bass. Larry Hinshaw later left the band with Brian Jack stepping up to lead vocals. They recorded demos with Kim Fowley and Paul Lani before finalizing their deal with Chrysalis Records in 1989. Their major label debut album, Rat Race, produced by Howard Benson, was released the following year. Also in 1990, they toured the United States, co-headlining with Cold Sweat.
In 1991, Jack left the band for a solo career and was replaced by Tommy McRae. The band released their second album, Long Way, in 1993. Because Jack had been a fan favorite, there was much speculation as to how well the band would be received with McRae as the new singer. All concerns were quelled when the title track from Long Way was released to radio and quickly became the number one requested song in the Baltimore area. In addition to Long Way, three other singles from the album also received significant radio airplay: "Foolish Pride", "I Can't Believe", and a live version of "Wind" — a single from the band's first album. Each of these became a number one requested song as well. The band toured but despite enormous regional success, national success proved elusive.
John Allen went on to join the band SR-71 with fellow Baltimore area rocker Mitch Allan. Later, Allen and Nicky Kay regrouped in Charm City Devils, who were signed by Nikki Sixx to Eleven Seven Records. Their first release was Let's Rock-n-Roll. After leaving Eleven Seven, Charm City Devils signed to eOne Music and recorded their second release Sins in 2012, featuring Man of Constant Sorrow, Unstoppable, and Devil is a Woman. Charm City Devils is one of the core bands receiving airplay on Sirius XM Radio's Octane channel. Brian Jack used to perform as a solo act and with a band in the Baltimore area. Phil Wiser became a become a successful digital media entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. Larry Hinshaw is the finance director for one of the largest auto dealers in Maryland. Idzi, after being on tour with Atlantic recording artist Dirty Looks, and working with Creed/Downstem, started his own band, Slurp, where he dropped the bass and took over as lead guitarist and lead vocals, and released a CD.
Many reunions were played in the later years with the Rat Race- era members to packed venues around Baltimore, Maryland. However, on April 17, 2012 Jack died. The cause of death is unknown. A memorial page on Facebook was started to honor him and the Charm City Devils album, Sins, was dedicated to him.
- Larry Hinshaw – lead vocals (1983-1988)
- Brian Jack – lead and rhythm guitar (1983–1991; 2003-2005; 2011-2012) lead vocals (1988-1991; 2003-2005; 2011-2012) [died April 17, 2012]
- Tommy McRae - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1991-1995)
- Jimmy Shafer – lead guitar (1983)
- Nicky Kay - lead guitar (1984-1995; 2003-2005; 2011-2012; 2015)
- Phil Wiser – bass guitar (1983-1987)
- Idzi – bass guitar (1987–1995; 2003-2005; 2011-2012; 2015)
- Steve Albinak – drums (1983)
- John Allen – drums, vocals (1984-1995; 2003-2005; 2011-2012; 2015)