Watchtower (band)

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OriginAustin, Texas, United States
Years active
  • 1982–1990
  • 1999–2010
  • 2015–present
Associated acts
MembersDoug Keyser
Rick Colaluca
Ron Jarzombek
Alan Tecchio
Past membersJason McMaster
Billy White
Mike Soliz

Watchtower is an American progressive metal band based in Austin, Texas. The band was influenced by a number of acts, such as Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, UFO, Rush and U.K., as well as the burgeoning new wave of British heavy metal scene. Although Watchtower never reached mainstream success, they have been cited as an influence by many other progressive metal bands, such as Dream Theater, Death, Atheist, Sieges Even and Spiral Architect.[1] The band is also notable for featuring vocalist Jason McMaster, who left after the release of their debut album to form Dangerous Toys. Watchtower has released two studio albums (of which the last was released in 1989), one compilation album, four digital singles, one EP and three demo cassettes, and has been featured on many compilation albums.


Initial career (1982–1989)[edit]

Watchtower was formed in May 1982[2] in Austin, Texas. The quartet made its recording debut in 1983 with an early version of the song "Meltdown", which was included on the Cottage Cheese from the Lips of Death - A Texas Hardcore Compilation LP. It was followed by the debut album, Energetic Disassembly, issued in 1985 on the band's own DIY label, Zombo Records. An earlier version of the album was scrapped after the group's label, Rainforest Records, closed its doors. Energetic Disassembly is notable for its heavy use of time changes and is considered to be a landmark in progressive metal.[3] The album saw Watchtower tour with bands like Slayer,[4] Anthrax,[5] Helstar,[5] Celtic Frost,[6] Voivod[6] and Armored Saint.[7]

In the fall of 1986, guitarist and founding member, Billy White, quit the band in order to pursue different styles of music. He formed the short-lived Khymera with Juggernaut drummer Bobby Jarzombek and former Karion bassist Pete Perez before joining vocalist Don Dokken for the Up from the Ashes album in 1990. With Watchtower's future briefly in doubt, Doug Keyser auditioned for Metallica following the death of bassist Cliff Burton. Similarly, Jason McMaster was approached by fellow Texans Pantera in search of a new vocalist. McMaster eventually exited in 1988 after getting signed to a major label deal with his side project Onyxx, later renamed Dangerous Toys, whose self-titled debut album on CBS scored the MTV hits "Teas'n, Pleas'n" and "Scared" and reached near gold status.

White's replacement was Ron Jarzombek, formerly with S.A.Slayer, while fellow Austinite Mike Soliz (ex-Militia, Assalant) was recruited in place of McMaster, but eventually replaced by former Hades vocalist Alan Tecchio. Newly signed to Noise Records, Watchtower flew to Berlin, Germany in the summer of 1989 where the band recorded their second album, Control and Resistance, at Sky Trak Studios. In support of the album, the band toured with the likes of Coroner,[8] Loudblast,[8] Tankard,[8] Prong,[9] Fates Warning[10] and Mordred.[10]

Split (1990–1998)[edit]

In the spring of 1990, Watchtower undertook their first and only European tour with Noise Records labelmates Coroner. Back in the States, the band played a few East Coast shows but lost Tecchio soon thereafter. The search for a suitable replacement proved difficult although several candidates, including Scott Jeffries (Confessor), were at least considered. Adding to the band's woes, Jarzombek developed severe hand problems which required multiple surgeries, effectively putting Watchtower on ice indefinitely and with it a proposed third album, which was to be titled Mathematics.

Bassist Doug Keyser and drummer Rick Colaluca joined colorful local rock/funk/rap outfit Retarted Elf who released the album Trick Quigger on Pony Canyon in Japan. Jarzombek returned with Spastic Ink, akin to an all-instrumental version of Watchtower, who issued their debut album, Ink Complete in 1997, while McMaster continued with Dangerous Toys before making Broken Teeth his main band in the late 1990s.

Reunion with Jason McMaster (1999–2010)[edit]

In 1999, original Watchtower members McMaster, Keyser and Colaluca reunited, along with Jarzombek, to record a cover of Accept's "Run If You Can" for A Tribute to Accept - Vol. 1 on Nuclear Blast Records. In 2000, Watchtower played the prestigious Bang Your Head!!! festival in Germany and later that summer supported Dream Theater in Houston and Dallas. The band also began work on the long dormant Mathematics album, but progress stalled once again.

In 2002, Monster Records issued Demonstrations in Chaos, an archives release consisting of early recordings, demos, and unreleased tracks, including almost the complete original Energetic Disassembly recordings and the 1987 demos with Ron Jarzombek that got the band signed to Noise Records.

Watchtower returned to Europe once more in 2004 to headline the Headway Festival in Amstelveen, Holland. That same year Ron Jarzombek released the second Spastic Ink album, Ink Compatible, with guest contributions by Watchtower band mates Doug Keyser and Jason McMaster who contributed lead vocals on five songs. In the fall of 2004, Monster Records, now Monster Underground, re-issued Energetic Disassembly on CD for the first time ever in the United States. The original CD re-issue came 1993, courtesy of Germany's Institute of Art label.

In the spring of 2009, Watchtower were confirmed as co-headliners of the 13th edition of Germany's Keep It True Festival, set to take place in April 2010. The band also re-commenced work on Mathematics with a view toward a 2010 release.

Decibel Magazine featured Watchtower's Control and Resistance as part of their "Hall of Fame" series in their January 2010 issue.[11]

Reunion with Alan Tecchio, hiatus and new songs (2010–present)[edit]

On April 9, 2010, Watchtower released a preliminary mix of "The Size of Matter" from their forthcoming album Mathematics as a digital-only single. It marked the band's first new music since the Control and Resistance album in 1989, and featured Jarzombek, Keyser, and Colaluca along with returning Alan Tecchio on vocals. Tecchio replaced original frontman Jason McMaster for the second time in the band's history. In May 2010, Tecchio left Watchtower once again. After the announcement of Tecchio's departure, Watchtower had not made any public appearances, and by 2015, had not announced a new singer.

On October 21, 2015, Watchtower released three new songs from Mathematics, "M-Theory Overture", "Arguments Against Design" and "Technology Inaction", individually on iTunes and CD Baby.[12][13] They reunited with Tecchio for the sessions of these tracks.[14]

Prosthetic Records released Watchtower's new EP Concepts of Math: Book One on October 7, 2016, which features the previously released tracks, including a new track "Mathematica Calculis".[15]

Speculation about a new Watchtower studio album was renewed in January 2018 when a Facebook fan page called The Legacy of Heavy Metal posted a meme of an aged Beavis and Butt-Head seated on a couch, reading, "Still waiting for the new Watchtower album to be released." The description of this post read, "It would be nice to know happened to the new Watchtower album Mathematics, which they worked on and was supposed to be released years ago." Cryptically referring to Concepts of Math: Book One, Tecchio commented, "Well half of it did anyway!"[16] Later that year, Music on Vinyl (who reissued Control and Resistance on that format in July) reported, "They only recorded two albums, but Watchtower played an important role in the upcoming power of the progressive metal at the end of the 80s. They made a comeback during the zero's and are planning on releasing a new album 30 years after the last one."[17] Whether Watchtower is still working on Mathematics or has completely abandoned the project is unknown.


Current members
  • Alan Tecchio - vocals (1989–1990, 2010, 2015–present)
  • Ron Jarzombek - guitar (1986–1990, 1999–2010, 2015–present)
  • Doug Keyser - bass (1982–1990, 1999–2010, 2015–present)
  • Rick Colaluca - drums (1982–1990, 1999–2010, 2015–present)
Former members
  • Jason McMaster - vocals (1982–1988, 1999–2009)
  • Mike Soliz - vocals (1988–1989)
  • Billy White - guitars (1982–1986)



Studio albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Demonstrations in Chaos (Monster Records, 2002 / Rockadrome, 2006)
  • Cottage Cheese From The Lips Of Death (Ward-9, 1983 / Atila, 2001)
  • Doomsday News 2 (Noise International, 1989)
  • Doomsday News - The Video Compilation Volume 2 (Noise International, 1990)
  • 12 Years in Noise: Metal & Beyond [2-CD] (Noise Records, 1996)
  • A Tribute to Accept Vol. 1 (Nuclear Blast, 1999)

EPs and singles[edit]

  • "The Size of Matter" (digital single, 2010)
  • "Arguments Against Design" (digital single, 2015)
  • "M-Theory Overture" (digital single, 2015)
  • "Technology Inaction" (digital single, 2015)
  • Concepts of Math: Book One (Prosthetic Records, 2016)


  • Meltdown (1984)
  • Demo 1987 (1987)
  • Instruments of Random Murder (1987)


  1. ^ "Jason McMaster, Bio-Interview, Dangerous Toys, Watchtower, Broken Teet". May 5, 2011.
  2. ^ "watchtower --- ---".
  3. ^ Watchtower at AllMusic
  4. ^ "Slayer". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Anthrax". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Celtic Frost". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  7. ^ "Armored Saint". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "Coroner". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  9. ^ "Prong". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Mordred". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  11. ^ "Decibel Magazine: Watchtower - Control and Resistance". September 21, 2010. Archived from the original on September 21, 2010.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  12. ^ "Watchtower - CD Baby Music Store".
  13. ^ "Watchtower on Apple Music".
  14. ^ "Legendary Progressive Metal Band Watchtower Digitally Releases Three New Songs". October 22, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  15. ^ "Watchtower: Video Trailer For 'Concepts Of Math: Book One'". September 9, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  16. ^ "Watchtower: When and Where Is the New Album". January 22, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  17. ^ "WATCHTOWER - CONTROL AND RESISTANCE - Catalog - Music On Vinyl". Retrieved September 30, 2018.

External links[edit]