Circus of Power

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Circus of Power
OriginNew York, New York, United States
GenresHard rock,[1] sleaze rock,[2] heavy metal,[3] pop metal[4]
Years active1986–1995, 2014–present
LabelsRCA, Columbia
Associated acts
  • NY Loose
  • Uncle Max's Cosmic Band
  • Fat Nancy
  • Second Ring of Power
Past members
  • Anthony Portillo
  • Ricky Mahler
  • Ryan Maher
  • Joey Wrecked (Maya)
  • Gary Sunshine
  • Marc Frappier
  • Craymore Stevens
  • Victor Indrizzo
  • Zowie

Circus of Power is a rock band formed in New York City in 1986.


Circus of Power is a hard rock/heavy metal band, formed in 1986 in New York City. They have released four studio albums and two live EP’s/albums. With a sound similar to AC/DC, the Cult and Guns n' Roses, but with enough of their own distinctive and original style, CoP received significant critical fame, especially in the UK’s Kerrang! music magazine; which featured them on the front cover multiple times and awarded their first two albums five ‘K’s (the top rating for an album), each.

1986–1995: first incarnation[edit]

The group played in New York for several years until they signed a contract with RCA Records. In July 1987, prior to the release of their debut album, Joey Wrecked quit the band and was replaced by Ryan Maher. The band released their debut album in 1988, to much critical acclaim (within the 'metal' scene) and followed it up, with another well received album in 1990. It was around this time that Gary Sunshine switched to guitar, and Zowie joined as bass guitarist.

On the back of these two albums and strong media support, Circus of Power was as the lone opening band for a complete tour of Black Sabbath in support of their 1990 album Tyr.[5] By 1991, like many hard rock/heavy metal bands of this period, CoP became casualties (popularity wise), of the burgeoning grunge movement; however the band persevered, recording and releasing their third album “Magic and Madness” in 1993; two years later, the band disbanded, ironically, just as grunge phenomenon was starting to die.

Lyrically and visually Circus of Power are heavily influenced by the biker scene and to this day, play at biker events and festivals.

Members have included vocalist Alex Mitchell, guitar players Ricky Mahler and Gary Sunshine, bass guitarist Craymore Stevens, and drummer Joey Wrecked. Of these, Mitchell is the only remaining founding member.


In 2006, Circus of Power played two 20th-anniversary shows. The first was in Austin, Texas at Elysium on June 3, during the Republic of Texas Biker Rally, and the second in New York City at Don Hill's on September 27. The NYC performance included Queen Vixen and Honey 1Percenter from Cycle Sluts from Hell on backing vocals, with Daniel Rey (Ramones) and Phil Caivano (Monster Magnet) as guest performers. It was their first New York performance in 12 years.

A 2007 interview indicated that singer Alex Mitchell planned to resurrect the band with a new album.[6]

In 2008 Circus of Power was offered the opportunity to play two events, neither of which they could attend due to scheduling conflicts. The first was the Republic of Texas Biker Rally in June, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August.[citation needed][relevant? ]

On December 1, 2008, Mitchell informed that Rock Candy Records would issue a remastered release of Circus of Power's eponymous debut album.[7] A reunion show was held on June 27, 2009 at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles to promote the reissue and celebrate Club Vodka's seventh anniversary.[citation needed]

After some solo efforts and a few one-off "reunion" gigs, Mitchell added Fat Nancy and Captain Zapped to the line-up. In late 2014, they entered the studio to record fresh material. The new line-up shot a video for the song "Hard Drivin' Sister".[citation needed]

In 2016 the band recorded a new single and video, "American Monster", that featured Jyrki 69 of the 69 Eyes. Circus of Power then began work on their first full-length album in over 25 years, for a planned release in late 2017.[citation needed]


The current line up consists of:

  • Alex Mitchell – vocals
  • Billy Tsounis – guitar
  • Joe Truck – guitar
  • John Sharkey – bass guitar
  • Brant Bjork – drums

Former members:

  • Joey Wrecked (Maya) – drums (1986-1987)
  • Craymore Stevens – bass guitar (1986–1990)
  • Ricky Mahler – lead guitar (1986–1995)
  • Gary Sunshine – rhythm guitar (1986–1995)
  • Ryan Maher – drums (1987–1991)
  • Zowie Ackermann – bass guitar (1990–1991)
  • Marc Frappier – bass guitar (1991–1995)
  • Victor Indrizzo – drums (1991–1995)
  • Tony Portillo – drums (2014–2015)
  • JK Fortyseven – drums (2015–2016)
  • Scotty Slam – drums (2016)
  • Joe E – guitar (2016)


Studio Albums[edit]

Title Details Chart positions Notes
Circus of Power 185
  • Released: 1990
  • Label: RCA Records
Magic & Madness
  • Released: December 8, 2017
  • Label: Noize in the Attic

EPs/Live Albums[edit]

Title Details Chart positions Notes
Still Alive
Live at the Ritz
  • Released: 1991
  • Label: RCA

Tracks in film and television[edit]

  • "Machine", from the band's 1988 eponymous debut album, was featured in the comedy movie The 'Burbs the following year. Corey Feldman's character, Ricky Butler, played air guitar during the song's intro.
  • They performed "Call of the Wild" and "Letter Home" - which featured Ace Frehley of KISS fame on lead guitar - at the end of a 1989 episode of The Morton Downey Jr. Show concerning heavy metal.
  • In the Beavis and Butt-Head episode "Eating Contest", the two watch the music video for "Heaven or Hell". Beavis mistakes the band for Alice in Chains, to which Butt-head responds that they are not that band yet they sound like them.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Phillips, William; Cogan, Brian (2009). Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal Music. Greenwood Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-313-34800-6.
  2. ^ Jeffries, Vincent. "Circus of Power – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  3. ^ Wurtzel, Elizabeth (May 28, 1990). "Metal Urges". New York. Vol. 23 no. 21. p. 71. ISSN 0028-7369.
  4. ^ Henderson, Alex. "Circus of Power – Vices". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  5. ^ Black Sabbath Tour Date Archives Archived 2010-09-22 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Alex Mitchell interview Jan. 24, 2007
  7. ^ Page December 1, 2008