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Shrapnel Records

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Shrapnel Records
Parent companySony Music Entertainment
Founded1980 (1980)
FounderMike Varney
Distributor(s)The Orchard
Country of originUnited States
LocationNovato, California
Official websiteshrapnelrecords.com

Shrapnel Records is an American record label group founded by record producer Mike Varney. The group principally uses the Shrapnel Records record label, a guitar-oriented label which features shred guitar, hard rock, metal and progressive metal. In the 1990s, he also started the Tone Center Records and Blues Bureau International sublabels to promote fusion and blues.

Blues Bureau artists include Rick Derringer, Eric Gales, Marc Ford, Chris Duarte, Leslie West and Pat Travers.

Tone Center Records grew out of Varney's admiration for the jazz fusion of the 1970s and groups such as The Tony Williams Lifetime, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Soft Machine. Tone Center's early releases included drummer Steve Smith and guitarists Larry Coryell, Frank Gambale, and Scott Henderson.[1]



Guitarist Marty Friedman (formerly of Megadeth and Cacophony), one of the label's most successful artists, first appeared on the album Unsung Guitar Heroes II in 1980 with the band Vixen. Vixen would later change their name to Hawaii and release the album One Nation Underground for Shrapnel. In 1981, a friend gave Mike Varney a tape featuring a 17-year-old Swedish guitarist named Yngwie Malmsteen. A year later, Malmsteen wrote to the label stating that he wanted to export his music to America. Varney, who started writing a column called "Spotlight" for Guitar Player magazine in 1982, featured Malmsteen in his February 1983 column. The record executive flew Yngwie to California and set him up with vocalist Ron Keel's new band called Steeler. Steeler's self-titled album became a best selling release for Shrapnel Records.

Blues Bureau was created as a subsidiary in 1992,[2] as an American guitar oriented, blues, and blues rock independent record label.

The label was acquired by The Orchard, subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment, in November 2015.[3]


In 1989, Mike Varney co-founded progressive rock/metal label Magna Carta Records.

Tone Center Records a jazz oriented label featuring fusion guitar as well as a number of jazz tributes.

Notable releases


Shrapnel Records

# Artist Title Year Note
SH-1001 Unsung Guitar Heroes (V.A.) U.S. Metal Vol. 1 1982
SH-1002 Unsung Guitar Heroes (V.A.) U.S. Metal Vol. 2 1982 feat. Michael Angelo Batio and Marty Friedman
SH-1003 Wild Dogs Wild Dogs 1983 feat. Deen Castronovo
SH-1004 Exciter Heavy Metal Maniac 1983
SH-1007 Steeler Steeler 1983 feat. Yngwie Malmsteen
SH-1008 Culprit Guilty as Charged 1983
SH-1009 Hawaii One Nation Underground 1983
SH-1013 Unsung Guitar Heroes (V.A.) U.S. Metal Vol. 4 1984 feat. Shawn Lane
SH-1014 Keel Lay Down the Law 1984
SH-1018 Chastain Mystery of Illusion 1985
SH-1019 London Non-Stop Rock 1985
SH-1020 Vicious Rumors Soldiers of the Night 1985
SH-1021 Tony MacAlpine Edge of Insanity 1986
SH-1022 Fifth Angel Fifth Angel 1986
SH-1023 Racer X Street Lethal 1986
SH-1024 Chastain Ruler of the Wasteland 1986
SH-1027 Vinnie Moore Mind's Eye 1986
SH-1028 MacAlpine, Aldridge, Rock, Sarzo Project: Driver 1986
SH-1030 Joey Tafolla Out of the Sun 1987
SH-1031 Cacophony Speed Metal Symphony 1987
SH-1032 Racer X Second Heat 1987
SH-1033 Vicious Rumors Digital Dictator 1988
SH-1035 Marty Friedman Dragon's Kiss 1988
SH-1036 Jason Becker Perpetual Burn 1988
SH-1037 Greg Howe Greg Howe 1988
SH-1038 Racer X Extreme Volume Live 1988
SH-1040 Cacophony Go Off! 1988
SH-1042 Richie Kotzen Richie Kotzen 1989
SH-1043 Phantom Blue Phantom Blue 1989
SH-1044 Howe II High Gear 1989
SH-1045 Michael Lee Firkins Michael Lee Firkins 1990

Blues Bureau

  • Eric Gales - Relentless (2010)
  • Marc Ford - Weary and Wired(2007)
  • Joe Louis Walker - New Direction (2004)
  • Leslie West - Got Blooze (2005)
  • Chris Duarte - Blue Velocity (2007)
  • Jimi Kidd/Paul Gilbert - Raw Blues Power (2001)
  • Glenn Hughes - Blues L.A. Authority Volume II (1992–93)
  • Rick Derringer - Back to the Blues (1993)
  • Pat Travers - Just A Touch (1993)
  • Outlaws - Hittin' The Road Live! (1993)
  • Outlaws - Diablo Canyon (1994)
  • Jon Butcher - Positively the Blues (1995)
  • Marc Ford & The Neptune Blues Club - Marc Ford & The Neptune Blues Club (2008)

See also



  1. ^ Woodard, Josef (January 1999). "Jazz Departments: Label Watch: Tone Center". Jazz Times. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  2. ^ Deborah Russell, "Grass Route". Billboard, June 20, 1992.
  3. ^ Christman, Ed (November 19, 2015). "The Orchard Acquires Shrapnel Records' Catalog". Billboard Biz. Billboard. Archived from the original on August 14, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2017.