Kingdom Come (band)
|Origin||Hamburg, West Germany|
|Years active||1987–1989, 1990–2016, 2018–present|
|Labels||Polygram, Frontiers, CD-Maximum|
|Associated acts||Stone Fury, Ayreon|
|Members||Keith St John|
Johnny "JB" Frank
|Past members||Lenny Wolf|
Bam Bam Shiblei
Kingdom Come is an German/American heavy metal band formed in 1987. The band was originally fronted by Lenny Wolf (born in Hamburg, Germany as Frank Wöllschlager), until their hiatus in 2016. While there have been no constant Kingdom Come members throughout the band's history, their most recent lineup features four original members who left the band in 1989 and returned in 2018. Wolf was replaced by Keith St John in 2018. The group's 1988 debut album, Kingdom Come, is to date their most internationally popular and biggest selling recording, and features their most notable hit "Get It On".
The group was formed in 1987 after the breakup of Wolf's moderately successful rock project Stone Fury. Wolf recruited Pittsburgh-based lead guitarist Danny Stag, Louisvillians Rick Steier (guitar) and James Kottak (drums) and Johnny B. Frank on bass and keyboards. Stag and Frank had previously been members of the bands Industrials (CBS Int'l), produced by Kim Fowley; WWIII; and Population 5, which included bassist Prescott Niles (The Knack) and The Cult, Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum. Frank was also at one point the keyboard player for Josie Cotton. Kingdom Come marked the first band where Wolf sang without playing guitar. The frontman later admitted that, for a while, it was a very awkward adjustment.
In 1988, the band released its debut LP, Kingdom Come. The band's first single, "Get It On," was a big enough hit on AOR stations (most requested song for 6 weeks), that the band's eponymous debut went gold the day it was shipped (610,000 units sold). Their second single/video for the power ballad "What Love Can Be" received much airplay on US radio and MTV. By the time the single/video "Loving You" was released, the album had sold to platinum status in the United States, Germany and Canada, among other music markets. The band was chosen to open for the North American Monsters of Rock Tour 1988, supporting Dokken, Scorpions, Metallica and Van Halen. Following that, they were tapped to support Scorpions on their North American "Savage Amusement" tour. In 1989, Kingdom Come released their next LP, called In Your Face. It had sold a hardly modest 486,000 units, only 14,000 short of achieving their second Gold LP, when the band abruptly broke up for personal reasons in August 1989.
Around 1990, Wolf reformed Kingdom Come with a new lineup, which made one more international release on PolyGram, an album entitled Hands of Time (released in 1991), co-writing with harpist/songwriter Carol Tatum (Angels of Venice), which was recorded with several session guitarists and drummers, including future Poison guitarist Blues Saraceno, and former Dancer drummer Bam Bamm Shibley, with Lenny Wolf himself playing the bass. By 1993, Wolf had returned to Germany to regroup. With a new, mostly German lineup, Kingdom Come remained active with several subsequent releases and tours in Europe under their collective belt. The band had kept recording albums and touring since then. In early 2013 Kingdom Come released studio album no. 13 "Outlier", which was produced by Lenny Wolf in his home recording studio. He also planned to tour again in 2013.
In 1992, Stag joined forces with onetime Foreigner vocalist Johnny Edwards, former Krokus drummer Jeff Klaven, and bassist David Seaton to form Royal Jelly, which got the attention of legendary A&R man Denny Cordell at Island Records in 1993. Cordell signed Stag and Royal Jelly to a recording contract. The band's first single, "Ceiling" reached #22 with a bullet on the FM airplay charts before the band was lost in the shuffle of Cordell's death from lymphoma and the purchase and restructuring of Island by PolyGram. In 1995, after the demise of the band, a disillusioned Stag went back to Pittsburgh and immersed himself in the blues, to get back in touch with the source of his inspiration. Steier and Kottak went back to Kentucky and assembled the short-lived Wild Horses, who released an album on Atlantic Records. Both would later resurface in Warrant. James Kottak did not go unnoticed by Scorpions and eventually earned a place as their permanent drummer.
In 2014 the band has reunited once again with guitarist Danny Stag, bassist Johnny "JB" Frank and drummer Hendrik Thiesbrummel for a series of concerts worldwide.
On August 11, 2016, Lenny Wolf stated that Kingdom Come was over. However, in June 2018, the original lineup of the band (minus Wolf) announced plans to tour that year and in 2019 by celebrating the 30th anniversaries of their self-titled debut album and its follow-up In Your Face; filling in for Wolf is Keith St John, leaving no constant members throughout the band's existence. When asked in July 2018 on the "Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon" podcast about Wolf's absence, drummer James Kottak stated, "He's just kind of done. He wants to retire. He's got his life." In the same interview, Kottak expressed his desire to work on new material with Kingdom Come, and added, "maybe Lenny will contribute some music towards it." Kottak later stated that Kingdom Come was not expected to release new music before 2021. In an April 2021 interview with MetalAsylum.net, vocalist Keith St. John stated that the group might consider releasing new material under a different name, due to yet-to-be solved issues with Wolf.
Comparisons with Led Zeppelin
The musical style on Kingdom Come's debut album was very close to the early blues-rock style of English rock band Led Zeppelin, to the point that some listeners initially thought that Kingdom Come was actually a Led Zeppelin reunion. With a sound that was thought by many to be highly derivative of Led Zeppelin's, there was a backlash from critics, with the band being dubbed "Kingdom Clone" in the press.
"Obviously it can get to the point where it gets past being a compliment and it can be rather annoying, when you've got things like Kingdom Come, actually ripping riffs right off, that's a different thing altogether."
Irish rock guitarist Gary Moore went one step further, with the track "Led Clones" from his After the War album. Moore, with Ozzy Osbourne on lead vocals, pokes fun at bands such as Kingdom Come on the track, criticizing their blatant use of Led Zeppelin's sound and image.
Vocalist Lenny Wolf further inflamed the situation in an interview with Kerrang magazine where he alleged to have never heard of Led Zeppelin. Wolf has been adamant that his and Kingdom Come's greatest influences were The Beatles and AC/DC, particularly the Bon Scott era. Danny Stag is on record as having said that his biggest influence was Jimi Hendrix. These claims are backed up by the cover of the Beatles classic "Across the Universe" from Ain't Crying for the Moon and the hard rocking tribute "Bon Scott" (in honor of the former AC/DC front-man) from the same album.
Years later, Wolf would say that the comparisons were "unjustified," yet "we took it as a compliment and were excited."
- Keith St John — vocals (2018–present)
- Danny Stag — lead guitar
- Rick Steier — rhythm guitar, keyboards (1987–1989, 2018–present)
- Johnny "JB" Frank — bass guitar
- James Kottak — drums, percussion (1987–1989, 2018–present)
- Lenny Wolf — lead vocals, guitar (1987–2016)
- Dion Murdock — drums, percussion (1997)
- Billy Liesgang — guitar
- Heiko Radke-Sieb — guitar
- Bam Bam Shiblei — drums, percussion
- Mirko Schaffer — bass
- Mark Cross — drums
- Blues Saraceno — guitar
- Nils Finkeisen — guitar
- Hendrik Thiesbrummel — drums
- Kingdom Come (1988)
- In Your Face (1989)
- Hands of Time (1991)
- Bad Image (1993)
- Twilight Cruiser (1995)
- Master Seven (1997)
- Too (2000)
- Independent (2002)
- Perpetual (2004)
- Ain't Crying for the Moon (2006)
- Magnified (2009)
- Rendered Waters (2011)
- Outlier (2013)
- Live & Unplugged (1996)
- Classic Album Collection (2019)
|Title||Release||Peak chart positions|
|"Get It On"||1988||69||4||75|
|"What Love Can Be"||—||26||78|
|"Living Out of Touch"||—||27||—|
|"Who Do You Love"||1989||—||37||—|
|"Do You Like It"||—||21||73|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
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