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Krokus in 2008
|Genres||Hard rock, heavy metal|
|Labels||AFM, Arista, MCA|
|Members||Chris von Rohr|
Fernando von Arb (in-studio only)
Mark Kohler (in-studio only)
|Past members||See Member history section|
Krokus were founded in Solothurn in 1975 by bassist/keyboardist/percussionist (and original drummer, and then lead vocalist) Chris von Rohr and guitarist Tommy Kiefer, both former members of Kaktus. Former TEA vocalist Marc Storace joined the band as frontman in time for their Metal Rendez-vous album in 1980.
Early career (1975–1982)
Krokus was formed in 1975 as a primarily progressive rock act. The group's original lead singer, Peter Richard, left before the first album was recorded, leaving lead guitarist Tommy Kiefer to handle lead vocal duties for the band's self-titled debut album. However, Chris von Rohr, originally the drummer, would switch to lead vocals for the follow-up record, To You All, remaining in this capacity into the late 1970s (along with playing keyboards and percussion). Rounding out the radically different new line-up were guitarist Fernando von Arb, bassist Jürg Naegeli, and drummer Freddy Steady who had released the "Rock Is Here" 7" as a trio under the name Montezuma in 1976. With this incarnation, Krokus became successful in Switzerland, touring throughout the country and releasing a third album, Painkiller, in 1978. After seeing AC/DC in concert in the late 1970s, they decided to change their musical direction and adopted a new sound which was heavily influenced by that band. Since von Rohr possessed limited vocal abilities and was not capable of hitting the third octave, the band decided to hire a new lead vocalist. Eventually, after trying out several other frontmen, Marc Storace, formerly of TEA and Eazy Money, was hired in 1979. With the new line-up in place, the band recorded and released the album Metal Rendez-vous in 1980, which was Krokus' first hit and brought the band international recognition.
The 1981 follow-up album, Hardware, was recorded at the Roundhouse Studios in London and featured such songs as "Easy Rocker" and "Rock City", which are still a part of the band's live repertoire today. Lead guitarist Tommy Kiefer was forced to leave the band due to a heroin addiction early into the tour supporting Hardware and was replaced by newcomer Mandy Meyer (ex-BM Smith). Kiefer died on December 24, 1986. Meyer soon left, replaced by Mark Kohler, and teamed up with bassist Tommy Keiser (not to be confused with Tommy Kiefer) of fellow Swiss rockers Roxane to start his own band. Setting up headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee under the guidance of Krokus manager Butch Stone, the duo would recruit former Target vocalist Jimi Jamison, ex-Black Oak Arkansas guitarist/keyboardist Jack Holder, and drummer Jeff Klaven and issued their sole album, First Strike, under the name Cobra in 1983. Klaven and Keiser would both subsequently join Krokus. Meyer went on to join Asia and formed the short-lived Katmandu although he would return to the Krokus line-up some years later. Jamison would take the place of Dave Bickler and go on to massive success with the band Survivor.
Rise to popularity and success years (1982–1988)
In 1982, with new American management, Krokus recorded One Vice at a Time, which features the hits, "Long Stick Goes Boom," and the Guess Who cover, "American Woman". Chris von Rohr described the album at the time as "the album AC/DC never made", as the influence of the Australian band is difficult to ignore. The comparisons actually cast doubt on the creativity of the band, as many listeners now, in spite of the Swiss band's much wider musical-spectrum, began to regard Krokus merely as AC/DC imitators. Nevertheless, Krokus became increasingly popular in Europe and began to receive attention and success in the United States.
1983's Headhunter was awarded Platinum album status in the United States and hit number 25 in the 1983 Billboard 200 album chart. The album was Krokus' most successful album to date, both commercially and critically. It boasted the hit power ballad "Screaming in the Night", which saw heavy rotation on MTV and would become one of the band's most recognizable songs. Judas Priest's Rob Halford contributed backing vocals on the song "Ready to Burn". Bassist/keyboardist/percussionist Chris von Rohr was fired in late 1983 due to his writing an article published in a main Swiss newspaper exposing the band's rock'n`roll habits, prior to the band's appearance at the RockPop Festival in Dortmund, Germany, with rhythm guitarist Mark Kohler switching over to bass and Patrick Mason, aka Patrick Mahassen, who had also played in the Swiss band Crown, taking over rhythm guitar duties for the remainder of the Headhunter tour; however, Mahassen exited the band prior to the recording of the next album, The Blitz. The tour for this album featured Mark Kohler returning to his main instrument, with Andy Tanas, formerly of Black Oak Arkansas, joining on the bass. These shows also featured Loverboy's Doug Johnson on keyboards. Meanwhile, von Rohr would go on to produce the band Headhunter's eponymous 1985 album, featuring future Krokus members Peter Tanner and Many Maurer, and release a solo album in 1987, entitled Hammer & Tongue (re-issued in 1993 as The Good, The Bad and The Dog after the release of von Rohr's autobiography, "Hunde wollt ihr ewig rocken"), which featured contributions from his former Krokus bandmates, Marc Storace and Fernando von Arb.
Pushed into a corner by their own management and record company, 1984 saw the band move in a Glam rock direction with The Blitz, which featured a cover of Sweet's 1973 hit "The Ballroom Blitz". Though a commercial success, the album was panned critically. The band hit the Billboard Hot 100 with "Midnite Maniac" from that album, becoming the first Swiss act to do so. Capitalizing on the wave of success enjoyed by heavy metal in the mid-1980s, the band then released Change of Address in 1986, which featured a cover of the Alice Cooper standard "School's Out". The album production was way too clean and polished for Krokus and it became a commercial failure. To counterbalance this, Krokus soon released a live album entitled Alive and Screamin' while the band transitioned from Arista Records to MCA for the release of their Heart Attack album in 1988. Heart Attack was a last desperate attempt to keep the band together. It saw the return of bassist/keyboardist/percussionist Chris von Rohr with Dani Crivelli (who had played on von Rohr's solo album the previous year) on drums and was similarly written and produced in the band's early 80's style. However the Swiss flagship of international heavy rock needed time out. Fernando and Marc had endured 8 years of constant writing, recording and touring with hardly any time off. Coming dangerously close to a burn-out they went on hiatus at the end of 1988.
Later years (1989–2006)
Guitarist Fernando von Arb would remain the sole original member throughout most of the 1990s as Krokus carried on with ever-changing line-ups. 1990's Stampede featured von Arb, former Headhunter members Peter Tanner (ex-Bloody Six, Witchcraft) and Many Maurer (ex-Killer), drummer Peter Haas (ex-Calhoun Conquer), and bassist Tony Castell. 1995 saw a brief reunion of the classic One Vice at a Time line-up, minus von Rohr, on the To Rock or Not to Be album. Welsh vocalist Carl Sentance (ex-Persian Risk, Geezer Butler Band) joined the band for Round 13, with Haas returning on drums. In 2003, the band released Rock the Block with the new line-up of Marc Storace on vocals, Fernando von Arb on lead guitar, bass and keyboards, Dominique Favez on rhythm and lead guitar, Tony Castell on bass and rhythm guitar, and Patrick Aeby on drums and percussion. In 2004 the same line-up released the live CD Fire and Gasoline.
In 2005, longtime guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Fernando von Arb left the band because of continuing wrist problems which required surgery. Mandy Meyer, who had played with the band in the early 1980s, replaced von Arb in the then current line-up. The new formation (Storace, Meyer, Favez, Castell, Stefan Schwarzmann and Dennis Ward) recorded the studio album Hellraiser in 2006, which went to gold in Switzerland on the first day of sales. It generally received very good reviews. In an interview in 2008, Marc Storace stated that Krokus was becoming more and more "metal". Prior to the album's release date, the band already released the ballad "Angel of My Dreams" as a downloadable MP3.
Reunion with "classic lineup" (2007–2011)
On November 18, 2007, the line up featuring Chris von Rohr, Fernando von Arb, Freddy Steady and Marc Storace reunited to play a medley ("Tokyo Nights", "Bedside Radio" and "Heatstrokes") during the TV show, Die grössten Schweizer Hits, on Swiss television. This led to their reunion concert on August 2, 2008 (with the addition of Mark Kohler). Krokus's cover of Sweet's "The Ballroom Blitz" also appeared in the 2007 game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.
It was announced on April 20, 2008, that the classic lineup of Chris von Rohr, Fernando von Arb, Freddy Steady, Mark Kohler and Marc Storace had reunited, and would be releasing a new studio record in 2010 with a supporting world tour. On August 2, 2008, the band performed live in the Stade de Suisse in Bern. Krokus performed the official anthem of the 2009 Ice Hockey World Championships, hosted by Switzerland. The song was entitled "Live for the Action".
On March 3, 2010, the album Hoodoo including a cover version of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" and ten other songs, was released. It came in a regular and limited edition, the latter containing a DVD featuring concert footage.
In May 2011, drummer/percussionist Fready Steady announced he was leaving the band.
Reunion with Mandy Meyer and retirement (2012–present)
In December 2012, it was announced guitarist Mandy Meyer was once again rejoining the band after having filled in for an ailing Fernando von Arb at the Loud Park Festival in Japan in October 2011. Krokus released their seventeenth studio album Dirty Dynamite on February 22, 2013.
On April 21, 2013, it was reported that former drummer/percussionist Dani Crivelli, who played on the band's 1988 Heart Attack, had died. According to the German language Swiss daily Blick, Crivelli fell off a bridge to his death in Trimbach, Canton of Solothurn.
Swiss drummer/percussionist Flavio Mezzodi joined Krokus in May 2013 and played on their "Dirty Dynamite Tour". The band sold out an unprecedented 4 shows at the Kofmehl (House of Rust) in their hometown of Solothurn. The concerts were recorded for an upcoming live album and the fourth concert was released as Long Stick Goes Boom - Live From Da House of Rust in 2014.
In April/May 2015 the band returned for some dates in the United States, where they had not performed since 2005. Fernando von Arb was not be part of that tour, as he cannot travel for long distances and Krokus performed as a 5-piece band. This was another reason why Mandy Meyer was brought back into the fold in 2013 as second lead guitarist. Mark Kohler also needs to take longer leaves of absence from the band and in his place Dominique Favez will play once more rhythm guitar. Dominique recorded on the 2003 Rock the Block album, 2004's Fire and Gasoline and 2006's Hellraiser and is no stranger to Krokus fans.
The band's 18th studio release, a covers album entitled Big Rocks, was issued in January 2017.
In September 2018, Krokus announced their retirement and would embark on their farewell tour in 2019.
Origin of band name
The band name Krokus is German for crocus, a flower common throughout Europe. Early in the spring of 1975, band founder Chris von Rohr observed a field of these flowers while traveling by train. He was returning from L'Ecole des Chefs located in France after an aborted career in the culinary arts, and it was around this time the idea for the band was formed. The band members stated that it was the perfect name, since it featured "rok" in the middle.
|Year||Album details||Certifications||Peak chart positions|
|1977||To You All|
|1978||Pain Killer / Pay It in Metal|
|1980||Metal Rendez-vous||Switzerland: 4×Platinum||US No. 201|
|1981||Hardware||Switzerland: Gold||US No. 103, UK No. 44|
|1982||One Vice at a Time||US No. 53, UK No. 28|
|1983||Headhunter||US: Gold||US No. 25 UK No. 74|
|1984||The Blitz||US: Gold||US No. 31|
|1986||Change of Address||US No. 45|
|1988||Heart Attack||Switzerland No. 5, US No. 87|
|1990||Stampede||Switzerland No. 18|
|1995||To Rock or Not to Be||Switzerland No. 5|
|2003||Rock the Block||Switzerland: Gold||Switzerland No. 1|
|2006||Hellraiser||Switzerland: Gold||Switzerland No.2, US No. 200|
|2010||Hoodoo||Switzerland: Platinum||Switzerland No. 1|
|2013||Dirty Dynamite||Switzerland No. 1, Germany No. 17, Greece No. 29, Sweden No. 41, Austria No. 46, France No. 139|
|2017||Big Rocks||Switzerland No. 1, Germany No. 31, Austria No. 36|
- Early Days '75–'78 (1980)
- Stayed Awake All Night – The Best (1989)
- The Dirty Dozen (1993)
- Definitive Collection (2000)
- The Collection (2000)
- Best Of (2000)
- Headhunter Blitz (2002)
- Long Stick Goes Boom: The Anthology (2003)
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US Main. Rock|
|1980||"Tokyo Nights"||—||—||Metal Rendez-vous|
|"Heatstrokes" / "Shy Kid"||—||—|
|"Bedside Radio" / "Back-Seat Rock 'n' Roll"||—||—|
|1981||"Winning Man" / "Mad Rocket"||—||26||Hardware|
|"Smelly Nelly" / "Burning Bones"||—||46|
|"Rock City" / "Mr. 69"||—||—|
|1982||"Long Stick Goes Boom" / "Save Me"||—||22||One Vice at a Time|
|"Bad Boys Rag Dolls"||—||—|
|1983||"Stayed Awake All Night"||—||31||Headhunter|
|"Screaming in the Night"||—||21|
|"Eat the Rich"||—||33|
|1984||"Midnite Maniac" / "Ready to Rock"||71||10||The Blitz|
|1986||"School's Out"||67||—||Change of Address|
|"Screaming in the Night (Live)"||—||—||Alive and Screamin'|
|1987||"Let This Love Begin"||—||—||Change of Address|
|1988||"Let It Go"||—||—||Heart Attack|
|1994||"You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet"||—||—||Non-album single|
|2003||"I Want It All"||—||—||Rock the Block|
|2006||"Angel of My Dreams"||—||—||Hellraiser|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
Videos and DVDs
- The Video Blitz (1985, VHS & LaserDisc)
- Screaming In The Night (1986, VHS)
- Fire And Gasoline (2004, Bonus DVD)
- As Long As We Live (2004, DVD)
- Live At Rocksound Festival, Huttwil 2006 (2006, DVD)
- Hoodoo (2010, DVD)
- Krokus Live At Baloise Session (2014, Blu-Ray Disc)
- Brooklyn Zoo Club 1982 (2015, DVD)
- Krokus - The Early Years 1977 - 1981 (2017, DVD)
- Chris von Rohr – bass (1975–1983, 1987–1989, 2008–present), keyboards, piano, percussion (1975–1983, 1987–1989, 2008–present), drums (1975–1983, 2008–present, on hiatus since 2012), lead vocals (1976–1979)
- Marc Storace – lead vocals (1979–1988, 1994–1999, 2002–present)
- Mandy Meyer – lead guitar (1981, 2004–2008, 2012–present)
- Dominique Favez – rhythm guitar (2003–2008, 2014–present, substitute for Fernando von Arb and Mark Kohler)
- Flavio Mezzodi – drums, percussion (2013–present)
- Peter Richard – lead vocals (1975–1976)
- Remo Spadino – bass (1975–1976; died 2010)
- Tommy Kiefer – lead and rhythm guitar (1975–1981), lead vocals (1976–1979; died 1986)
- Hansi Droz – rhythm guitar (1976; died 1999)
- Fernando von Arb – lead and rhythm guitar (1976–2004, 2008–present, on hiatus since 2012), bass, keyboards, piano (1976–1986, 1989–2004, 2008–present, on hiatus since 2012)
- Jurg Naegeli – bass, keyboards, piano (1976–1983, 1989–1998)
- Freddy Steady – drums, percussion (1977–1983, 1994–1996, 2008–2011)
- Henry Friez – lead vocals (1979)
- Mark Kohler – rhythm and lead guitar (1981–1989, 1994–1999, 2008–present, on hiatus since 2014)
- Steve Pace – drums (1983)
- Andy Tanas – bass (1983–1985)
- Doug Johnson – keyboards, piano (1983–1985)
- Jeff Klaven – drums, percussion (1983–1986)
- Paul Fox – keyboards, piano (1985–1986)
- Tommy Keiser – bass (1985–1987)
- Jai Winding – keyboards, piano (1986–1987)
- Dani Crivelli – drums (1986–1989; died 2013)
- Björn Lodin – lead vocals (1988–1989)
- Peter McTanner – lead vocals (1989–1994)
- Peter Haas – drums, percussion (1989–1994, 1999–2001)
- Tony Castell – bass (1989–1994, 2000–2008), rhythm guitar (1989–1994, 2000–2004)
- Many Maurer – lead guitar, bass (1989–2000)
- Cliff Rodgers – drums, percussion (1997–1999)
- Carl Sentance – lead vocals (1999–2002)
- Chris Lauper – rhythm guitar (1999–2000)
- Dave Stettler – rhythm guitar (2000–2003)
- Patrick Aeby – drums, percussion (2001–2004)
- Stefan Schwarzmann – drums, percussion (2004–2008)
- Dennis Ward – keyboards, piano (2004–2008)
- Kosta Zafiriou – drums, percussion (2011–2013)
- "Tommy Kiefer Krokus official Homepage". Krokusonline.seven49.net. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- Simmonds, Jeremy (2008). The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches. ISBN 9781556527548.
- Chris von Rohr - Hammer and Tongue @Discogs.com Retrieved 7-1-2016.
- "KROKUS - New Mp3 Available". Bravewords.com. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- "Hoodoo" at exlibris.ch-online store
- "hoodoo-ltd-edt-inkl-dvd - exlibris.ch - finden Sie Ihre liebsten Bücher, Filme, Musik, Games, Softwares, Electronics". Exlibris.ch. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- "Krokus official Homepage – News – DRUMMER FREDDY STEADY DECIDES TO LEAVE KROKUS". krokusonline.seven49.net. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- "Mandy Meyer returns to Krokus". Archived from the original on March 17, 2013.
- "Krokus official Homepage – News – MANDY MEYER REJOINS KROKUS". Krokusonline.seven49.net. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- "Krokus: New Album Track Listing, Artwork Unveiled". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- "Former KROKUS Drummer DANI CRIVELLI Dies". Blabbermouth.net. April 21, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- Hug, Von Dominik (April 22, 2013). "Drama um Krokus: Schlagzeuger tot!". Blick.ch. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- "Krokus Introduces New Drummer" on Blabbermouth May 6, 2013
- "Audio Premiere: KROKUS' 'Screaming In The Night' From 'Long Stick Goes Boom: Live From Da House Of Rust'". Blabbermouth.net. March 18, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- "DOMINIQUE FAVEZ Krokus official Homepage". Krokusonline.seven49.net. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- "KROKUS To Embark On 'Farewell' Tour: 'We Will Keep Our Word And Pull The Plug At The End Of 2019'". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
- Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
- "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards ('Krokus')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 308. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "American album certifications – Krokus". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.
- "Krokus Album & Song Chart History | Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
- "Krokus Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Krokus Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
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