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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, US
Years active1978–2006, 2007–present
LabelsPosh Boy, Frontier, Alternative Tentacles, Enigma, Restless, Nitro, Anarchy Music, Cleopatra Records, Hurley International, DC-Jam Records, TKO Records, Rise Records
Associated actsSS Cult, Johnny Koathanger and the Abortions, Vicious Circle, Cathedral of Tears, Tender Fury, the Joykiller, Jack Grisham and the Manic Low, Jack Grisham's LOST Soul, Bad Religion, Der Stab, Joe Wood & the Lonely Ones, Orange Wedge, Cisco Poison, Dino's Revenge, Uniform Choice, All Day, American Jihad, Rude Awakening, Bad Xample, Full Metal Racket, the Dickies, Hed PE, Doyle, Corrupted Ideals, the Gears, Stains, the Skulls, the Weirdos, the Duane Peters Gunfight
MembersJack Grisham
Ron Emory
Mike Roche
Greg Kuehn
Antonio Val Hernandez
Past membersTodd Barnes
Joe Wood
Mitch Dean
Marshall Rohner
Mike Martt
Drac Conley
Dave Mello
Steve "Sully" O’Sullivan
Jay O'Brien
Billy Blaze
Anthony "Tiny" Biuso
Matt Rainwater
Chip Hanna

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 and other varieties of punk music.


Formed in 1978 in Long Beach, T.S.O.L. originated as a punk band, developing from earlier bands SS Cult and Johnny Koathanger and the Abortions. 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.

Later in 1978, Grisham and Barnes formed Vicious Circle, and T.S.O.L. took a brief hiatus (in 2013, TKO Records released an eponymous Vicious Circle EP, composed of circa-1979 rehearsal tapes[2]).

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, Id Be James Brown (1991).

T.S.O.L., however, chose to reconfigure. Bad Religion bassist Jay Bentley briefly joined in 1983 before Roche returned. Joe Wood (formerly of Der Stab,[3] and Grisham's then-brother-in-law) and Mitch Dean joined on vocals and drums, respectively. This new lineup released three albums on Enigma: Change Today? (1984), Revenge (1986) and Hit and Run (1987). All three albums featured a more polished production style, with Hit and Run reaching No. 184 on the Billboard 200 charts, and the band toured 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".[4][5][6] 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.[7] They released a blues-metal album, Strange Love, in 1990. Roche quit shortly before the album release, 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. Murphy Karges (later of Sugar Ray) replaced Roche on bass; he was then replaced by touring bassist Josh Also.

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).[8] Wood recorded as Orange Wedge in 1993 (with Dean Chamberlain of the Motels and Christopher Scott "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 and professional skateboarder Ray "Bones" Rodriguez).

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. Since Wood and Dean now owned the rights to the name T.S.O.L., they threatened to sue the original members, who released the Live '91 (Triple X Records) live album of their early material, under the name "Grisham, Roche, Emory and Barnes" but stopped playing together soon after its release. 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. 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. Anthony "Tiny" Biuso (formerly of Rude Awakening, Bad Xample, Full Metal Racket and the Dickies; also later of Hed (pe) and Doyle) joined the band on drums in December 2003 and remained until 2014, serving as the longest standing drummer in the band's three-decade history. He first recorded with the band on 2005's Who's Screwin' Who? (Anarchy Music), a revamping and rerecording of 18 of T.S.O.L.'s greatest hits (it was later reissued under the titles F#*k You Tough Guy: The Collection, by Cleopatra Records, and Code Blue, by Anarchy).

In November 2006, the band announced they were breaking up, with final performances having taken place earlier in the month.[9] 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.[10] It was also released on vinyl by DC-Jam Records on November 1, 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" 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.[11] That same year, the band toured Europe and South America; they also completed a US tour with Flag.

In 2014, Biuso left the band. He was replaced first by touring member Sean Antillon (a member of numerous bands including Corrupted Ideals, the Gears, Stains, the Skulls, the Weirdos and the Duane Peters Gunfight),[12] then officially by Matt Rainwater (of the Joykiller).,[13] and in 2016 by Chip Hanna.

On January 27, 2017, the band released The Trigger Complex album on Rise Records.[14] In August 2017, Antonio Val Hernandez joined the band as drummer, replacing Hanna.

T.S.O.L. performing in May 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 the 1989 movie The Runnin' Kind.[15] Their music was also featured in the 1984 movie Suburbia, 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.

T.S.O.L. songs "Just Like Me" and "Flowers by the Door" were featured in the 1985 CBS Schoolbreak Special: Hear Me Cry, a program about teen suicide.


Current members

  • 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

  • Todd Barnes – drums (1978–1983, 1991, 1999; died 1999)
  • Joe Wood – vocals, guitar (1983–1999)
  • Mitch Dean – drums (1983–1998)
  • Marshall Rohner – guitar (1988–1996; died 2005)
  • Mike Martt – guitar (1996–1999)
  • Drac Conley – guitar (1996–1999)
  • Dave Mello – bass (1996–1999)
  • 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)

Touring musicians

  • Jay Bentley – bass (1983)
  • Scotty Phillips – guitar (1988)
  • Josh Also – bass (1996)
  • Zill C. DeVill – bass (2002)
  • Sean Antillon – drums (2014)



Studio albums


  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography, Canongate Books, page 663. ISBN 0-86241-913-1.
  2. ^ "Vicious Circle (17)". Discogs.
  3. ^ "Transition Desert". Transitiondesert.blogspot.com.
  4. ^ Strange Love (CD liner notes). T.S.O.L. Culver City, California: Enigma Records. 1990. 7 73541-2.CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ Torreano, Bradley. "Biography: T.S.O.L." AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
  6. ^ Dean, Mich (1992). Hell and Back Together: 1984–1990 (CD liner notes). T.S.O.L. Hollywood: Restless Records. 72581-2.
  7. ^ "Dino's Revenge - Hollywood Fats & Marshall Rohner". Steven Ameche. 2011-04-15. Retrieved 2011-04-15.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "T.S.O.L. break up". Alternative Press. November 27, 2006. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  10. ^ "Hurley". Hurley. Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  11. ^ "T.S.O.L. - You Don't Have To Die E.P." Discogs.
  12. ^ "Sean Antillon". Discogs.
  13. ^ "The Big Takeover: The Damned with T.S.O.L. – The Stone Pony (Asbury Park, NJ) – Saturday, November 1, 2014". The Big Takeover.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ [2][dead link]

External links[edit]