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Left to right: Roche, Biuso, Grisham and Emory in 2011
Left to right: Roche, Biuso, Grisham and Emory in 2011
Background information
OriginLong Beach, California, U.S.
Years active
  • 1978–2006
  • 2007–present
MembersJack Grisham
Ron Emory
Mike Roche
Greg Kuehn
Antonio Val Hernandez
Past membersPast members

T.S.O.L. (True Sounds of Liberty) is an American punk rock band formed in 1978 in Long Beach, California.[1] Although most commonly associated with hardcore punk, T.S.O.L.'s music has varied on each release, including such styles as deathrock, art punk, horror punk, other varieties of punk music, and hard rock.


Formed in 1978 in Long Beach, T.S.O.L. originated as a punk band.[2] While the band first used the name Vicious Circle, they eventually changed their name to T.S.O.L by September 1980.[3] The original lineup consisted of vocalist Jack Grisham (who has been credited as Jack Greggors, Alex Morgon, Jack Ladoga, Jack Delauge and Jack Loyd, among pseudonyms), guitarist Ron Emory, bassist Mike Roche and drummer Todd Barnes. According to legend, the band acquired their instruments by casing a local music shop, waiting until closing, and then performing a smash-and-grab robbery.

T.S.O.L.'s debut five-song EP, T.S.O.L., was released in spring 1981 by Posh Boy Records, featuring the reconvened original lineup. This first release was harshly political, featuring tracks such as "Superficial Love", "World War III" and "Abolish Government".

Their first full-length album, Dance with Me, was released later in 1981 on Frontier Records, and showcased a more gothic/deathrock sound. They then signed to independent label Alternative Tentacles, releasing the Weathered Statues EP early in 1982, and the melodic Beneath the Shadows album later that year; the latter featured a new member, keyboardist Greg Kuehn.

Amid personal turmoil, Grisham, Barnes and Kuehn all left the band in 1983.

After his exit, Grisham formed Cathedral of Tears, who released a 1984 EP on Enigma Records, followed by Tender Fury, who issued three albums: Tender Fury (1988), Garden of Evil (1989) and If Anger Were Soul, I'd Be James Brown (1991). Following the release of the Cathedral of Tears EP, T.S.O.L.'s replacement drummer, Mitch Dean, referred to Cathedral of Tears as a "synthesizer band" whose music he did not particularly like, adding, "not to make fun of it or anything," but that "[Grisham's] doing what he wants. No hard feelings, Jack-babe."[4]

T.S.O.L., however, chose to reconfigure. Bad Religion bassist Jay Bentley briefly joined in 1983 before Roche returned. Joe Wood and Mitch Dean joined on vocals and drums, after Ron Emory, who was at the time playing in Wood's band The Loners, asked him to start a new band with himself and Roche. This new lineup released four albums on Enigma: Change Today? (1984), Revenge (1986) Hit and Run (1987) and Strange Love (1990). All four albums featured a more polished production style, with Hit and Run reaching No. 184 on the Billboard 200 charts, and the band touring globally to support the releases. The band's first live album, Live, was issued by Enigma in 1988.

The band became friends with Guns N' Roses, and T.S.O.L. T-shirts were seen in the video for that band's "Sweet Child o' Mine", most notably on drummer Steven Adler.

Emory left the band in 1988, during the recording of demos for Strange Love, leaving Roche as the sole remaining original member—though Emory was given a writing credit on the track "Blow by Blow".[5][6][7] T.S.O.L. were joined briefly by guitarist Scotty Phillips, who quit before the band started recording the follow-up to Hit and Run. They eventually hired former Dino's Revenge guitarist and actor Marshall Rohner.[8] They released a blues-metal album, Strange Love, in 1990. Roche was fired shortly before the album's release and signed over rights to the name and trademark to Wood and Dean leaving the band with no original members. A compilation album titled Hell and Back Together 1984–1990 was issued in 1992 with an emphasis on their metal era.

This late-'80s lineup was popular enough to garner bookings in Brazil and Argentina, where the Grisham-led band held no legal rights to prevent Wood from gigging as T.S.O.L. In 1996, Wood and Dean were joined by guitarists Mike Martt and Drac Conley, and bassist Dave Mello (from Uniform Choice), with Dean subsequently replaced by Steve "Sully" O'Sullivan. Also in 1996, Wood formed ongoing blues band Joe Wood & the Lonely Ones (also including O'Sullivan). Wood recorded as Orange Wedge in 1993 (with Dean Chamberlain of the Motels and Christopher "Wag" Wagner of Mary's Danish) and Cisco Poison in 1995 (issuing the It's a Long Way to Heaven... album); he later fronted Joe Wood and the Killing Floor (also including O'Sullivan, longtime T.S.O.L. roadie Eric VonArab on Lead Guitar and professional skateboarder Ray "Bones" Rodriguez on Bass).

Meanwhile, the original members began playing shows under the name T.S.O.L, featuring the band's early material. They often played the same cities, on the same nights, as the other T.S.O.L. They also did some gigs during this time as "LOST" (T.S.O.L. backwards).

Grisham and Emory formed the Joykiller in 1995, releasing three albums prior to disbanding in 1998.

In 1999, the original members fought with Wood for rights to the name and won. They joined the Vans Warped Tour, playing for the first time in years under the name T.S.O.L.

Barnes died of a brain aneurysm on December 6, 1999, at the age of 34.[9] The remaining members recruited drummer Jay O'Brien (formerly of All Day, later of American Jihad) and released the "Anticop" single (2001) and the albums Disappear (2001) and Divided We Stand (2003), all on Nitro Records, the latter of which featured Kuehn back on keyboards as well as Billy Blaze replacing O'Brien.

In November 2006, the band announced they were breaking up, with final performances having taken place earlier in the month.[10] In September 2007, Cider City Records released the seemingly posthumous live album Live from Long Beach, recorded in November 2006 on the weekend of the band's two announced "farewell" performances. Their hiatus was short-lived, however, as they returned to perform local shows in late 2007. They also headlined the "Fuck the Whales, Save a Chckn" benefit in February 2008, held to help with cancer treatment bills for guitarist Craig "Chckn" Jewett of D.I.

In December 2008, the band entered the studio to record Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Free Downloads, which was made available as a free download through sponsor Hurley International's website on January 8, 2009.[11] It was also released on vinyl by DC-Jam Records in November 2009.

Grisham launched another project, Jack Grisham and the Manic Low, in 2011; a debut album, Songs for an Up Day, was released in June 2012. He also formed Jack Grisham's LOST Soul in 2012, a gigging ensemble featuring Kuehn and Biuso, with the intent of performing T.S.O.L. and the Joykiller material.

On April 20, 2013, T.S.O.L. released a 7-inch EP, You Don't Have to Die (TKO Records), for Record Store Day, composed of the title track (an unreleased 1980 demo) and two 1981 live tracks.[12] That same year, the band toured Europe and South America; they also completed a US tour with Flag.

On January 27, 2017, the band released The Trigger Complex album on Rise Records.[13] In August 2017, Antonio Val Hernandez joined the band as drummer, replacing Hanna.

In 2024, was released in February, 27, new studio album, A-Side Graffiti.

T.S.O.L. performing in 2018 at the Forge in Joliet, Illinois in support of Dead Kennedys

Film and television appearances[edit]

In 1981, director Paul Young made Urban Struggle: The Battle of The Cuckoo's Nest, a film which featured live performances by T.S.O.L. as well as several Orange County punk and hardcore bands. Dave Markey's 1982 film The Slog Movie also featured live T.S.O.L. performances, as did Penelope Spheeris' 1984 Suburbia with their performances of "Wash Away" & "Darker My Love". They also appeared in the 1989 movie The Runnin' Kind.[14] Their music was also featured in the popular 1985 horror movie The Return of the Living Dead and 1986 film Dangerously Close. They were also mentioned in the 2007 documentary Punk's Not Dead.


Current members[edit]

  • Jack Grisham – vocals (1978–1983, 1991, 1999–present)
  • Ron Emory – guitar (1978–1988, 1991, 1999–present)
  • Mike Roche – bass (1978–1990, 1991, 1999–present)
  • Greg Kuehn – piano, synthesizers (1982–1983, 2005–present)
  • Antonio Val Hernandez – drums (2017–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Todd Barnes – drums (1978–1983, 1991, 1999; died 1999)
  • Joe Wood – vocals, guitar (1983–1999)[15]
  • Mitch Dean – drums (1983–1998)
  • Marshall Rohner – guitar (1988–1996; died 2005)
  • Mike Martt – guitar (1996–1999)
  • Drac Conley – guitar (1996–1998)
  • Dave Mello – bass (1990[16]–1999)
  • Steve "Sully" O'Sullivan – drums (1998–1999)
  • Jay O'Brien – drums (1999–2003)
  • Billy Blaze – drums (2003)
  • Anthony "Tiny" Biuso – drums (2003–2014)
  • Matt Rainwater – drums (2014–2016)
  • Chip Hanna – drums (2016–2017)



Studio albums


  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography, Canongate Books, page 663. ISBN 0-86241-913-1.
  2. ^ "T.S.O.L. Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic.
  3. ^ "tsol.htm". metallipromo.
  4. ^ Blanchard, Jim (1984). "BLATCH magazine, Number 10, 1984, Interview with T.S.O.L." Internet Archive 'Zine Collection. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  5. ^ Strange Love (CD liner notes). T.S.O.L. Culver City, California: Enigma Records. 1990. 7 73541-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  6. ^ Torreano, Bradley. "Biography: T.S.O.L." AllMusic. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  7. ^ Dean, Mich (1992). Hell and Back Together: 1984–1990 (CD liner notes). T.S.O.L. Hollywood: Restless Records. 72581-2.
  8. ^ "Dino's Revenge – Hollywood Fats & Marshall Rohner". Steven Ameche. April 15, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  9. ^ Lewis, Randy (December 8, 1999). "TSOL Drummer Todd Barnes Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  10. ^ "T.S.O.L. break up". Alternative Press. November 27, 2006. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  11. ^ "Hurley". Hurley. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  12. ^ "T.S.O.L. - You Don't Have To Die E.P." Discogs. April 20, 2013.
  13. ^ Jackson, Nate (November 28, 2016). "T.S.O.L. Release Their New Album, The Trigger Complex, in January 2017". OC Weekly. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  14. ^ "The Runnin' Kind (1989) - IMDb". IMDb. Archived from the original on April 20, 2017. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  15. ^ "MUSIC: T.S.O.L. : Of Lost Labels : Inspired by The Germs, Joe Wood formed his own band, which has been through six record labels, 10 albums and some style changes". Los Angeles Times. November 29, 1990. Retrieved December 4, 2023.
  16. ^ "Despite Shaky Circumstances, T.S.O.L. Turns In Solid Performance : Rock: The O.C. band has long struggled with identity and personnel problems. But its show at Bogart's Thursday was surprisingly good". Los Angeles Times. February 3, 1990. Retrieved November 15, 2023.

External links[edit]