David White - Vocals
Lee Altus - Guitar
Ira Black - Guitar
Jon Torres - Bass
Darren Minter - Drums
The San Francisco Bay Area has produced what is undoubtedly the greatest lineage of Heavy Metal during the 30-odd years of the genre's existence. During the period from 1982-1992, many bands have come and gone and few having survived. However, recent times called for the reformation of some of the Bay Area's finest Thrash bands looking to rise up once more and reclaim the throne of heavy music. Such is Heathen's story.
One of the most unique bands to rise from the second wave of the Bay Area Thrash explosion, Heathen's style was characterized as high-speed precision metal with harmonic sections and melodic singing. Heathen was inspired by '70s rock acts, such as Rainbow, the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) and the first wave of Thrash Metal (Metallica and Exodus). Heathen formed in late 1984 by Russian-born Lee Altus (guitars) and Carl Sacco (drums). Vocalist Sam Kress and guitarist Jim Sanguinetti joined the duo and this primordial version of Heathen played one gig in April 1985. Within the year Sanguinetti (who moved on to Mordred) were replaced with Dave White of Blind Illusion and Doug Piercy of Anvil Chorus/Control; and Eric Wong (Specter) was enlisted as Heathen's first bass player. This revamped lineup of Heathen debuted at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco on February 9, 1986.
In April of 1986 the classic self-produced demo Pray For Death was recorded. This demo paved the way for the band's contract with Combat Records, which released Heathen's debut record Breaking The Silence in 1987 and produced by Ronnie Montrose. Before the recording Eric Wong was replaced by Mike "Yaz" Jastremski of Griffin. A cover of Sweet's Set Me Free was released as a single and was well-received by radio receiving heavy rotation on MTV's Headbangers' Ball.
Breaking The Silence went on to sell close to 100,000 copies worldwide. Carl Sacco was then replaced by Darren Minter from Dissident Aggressor and a headlining tour across America followed. In late 1988 Dave White was briefly replaced with Exodus's Paul Baloff and Mike Jastremski left the band soon after to form Pigs. The following year White returned to the band and Heathen gigged with a rotating bass slot, including Vern McElroy and Manny Bravo.
In 1991 Heathen recorded Victims Of Deception and was issued on Roadracer Records. With four years between albums, the band had crafted some of the best material to come out of the Bay Area. The musical progress was evident in the complex double harmony sections backed with frantic solos and complex rhythms created the trappings of an epic album. Marc Biedermann from Blind Illusion played bass on the record as a guest and Thaen Rasmussen from Anvil Chorus did some lead work on Prisoners of Fate and Guitarmony, which he co-wrote with Doug Piercy. In the summer of 1991 Heathen embarked on their first Europeon tour, in support of Victims Of Deception, opening for Sepultura. The band had finally broken out of America and was well received by the fans throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. Soon after returning home, Heathen was to begin rehearsing for their West Coast tour. Randy Laire and his girlfriend Mya were involved in a fatal car accident. After grieving their deaths, Heathen began a search to fill the vacant bass spot. Ohio native Jason Viebrooks was recruited to replace Laire. Doug Piercy was then replaced by Ira Black. The band started recording what was to be an EP including covers from the likes of Queen, Thin Lizzy, Sweet Savage, Tygers of Pan Tang and an original tune as a tribute to their departed bandmate and David's brother Jeffrey, who also passed away while the band was in Europe. Thaen Rasmussen was again included in this project. Unfortunately, these recordings were not finished at the time.
During the years that followed the members joined other projects and Heathen seemed a distant memory until, the summer of 2001 when Heathen regrouped with most of the 1992 line-up and took part in Thrash Of The Titans to raise funds for Testament singer Chuck Billy's cancer treatment. Soon after, Heathen was invited to play in Germany at the 2002 Wacken festival. Ending the year of 2003, Heathen went back in to the studio with co-producer Rob Beaton to finish the unfinished material as well as adding their four-song Opiate of the Masses demo, which includes tracks from the Victims of Deception album. Recovered was release in 2004 by Heathen and Relentless Records. At the same time Heathen recruits Jon Torres who has appeared in such bands as Warning SF, Laaz Rockit, Angel Witch, and Ulysses Siren to name but a few, to play bass.
A new Heathen album, now in the works.
SAN FRANCISCO BASED METAL BAND SINCE 1982
Jon Torres - Guitar
Brian Poole - Bass/Keys
Torre Carstensen- Vocals
Aaron Jellum -Lead Guitar
Will Carroll - Drums
In the time when the slayers of the heavy metal dragon fought hard with the fury and fire of their instruments, there lived WARNING. This 80's Metal band WARNING formed in San Francisco in the year 1982. WARNING, now known as WARNING S.F., has made this resurgence after Jon Torres an original member decided to re-record 7 of the old songs, and along with another original member, Brian Poole reformed the band in 2000 recruiting Bay Area musicians Aaron Jellum, Will Carroll, and Torre Carstensen to re-record the old songs that are in the true style of the early 80's metal movement with that Bay Area signature. After almost 3 years of working diligently, it all came together. After the recording of the old tracks the band realized that it had become more than just a re-release of some old songs they had written (between 1979 - 1985). When the recordings where finished in 2002 and people began to hear the material a buzz was created around the world that eventually reached the labels. Several labels came forward with offers that were placed on the table and the band ultimately made a deal with Mausoleum Records out of Belgium for European distribution and Relentless Records for North and South America and Asia distribution. The album includes the 7 tracks that were re-recorded and also includes 3 bonus tracks recorded in 1985 with that old analog sound and the raw energy of WARNING as they were back in time. WARNING S.F. of the new millennium includes veteran player Jon Torres, who has played in such bands as Thunderhead, Ulysses Siren, Laaz Rockit, Angel Witch, I4NI, Repulsa, and The Lord Weird Slough Feg and brought together other veterans to the new recording such as Aaron Jellum, guitar player for Laaz Rockit, who brought his signature lead guitar style to the recording. Will Carroll, drummer of Old Grandad, and The Cutthroats 9, who brought his thunderous precision drum style to the re-recording. Torre Carstensen, Lead Vocalist for My Victim, who brought his melodic and harmonic singing style and cryptic lyrical style to the recording. As well as Brian Poole, the original guitar player and keyboardist for WARNING who has moved over to the bass and keys and brought his strong song writing abilities along with his twisted harmonic interludes to the recording which includes the haunting and twisted piano piece to the song Aftermath. The album entitled "AFTERMATH", named after one of the tracks seemed right in the light of the history, the lyrics and the track titles of WARNING then and the WARNING S.F. now along with the events of the world today. Tracks include an intro that was an intro to an old song called "Time To Die" which the band found to be too lame to re-record, "Road Death" which is one of the first songs Jon Torres ever wrote, "Aftermath" which is an epic doom tune written in the classic N.W.O.B.H.M style, "Thunderhead" another song written by Jon Torres in his early days of writing and started as with "Road Death" as an instrumental, "Sounds of Armageddon" which Brian Poole wrote as an epic tune about the possible end of the world, "Happy Dooms Day" yet another mega death metal tune which says welcome to the end hope you've enjoyed your stay my friend, "The Noose" more of a speed metal tune and last Warning song ever written before Jon disbanded the band in 1986, "Fall Apon Your Knees" a head bangin song written by Brian with the message of what goes around comes around (a prayer for the dying this prayers for you), "Not A Chance In Hell" a classic thrash tune that says you'll never live to tell, "Metal Maniac" about the metal maniacs that tear things up in front of the stage and death to posers. The WARNING of the 80's recordings include again veterans Jon Torres and Brian Poole, along with vocalist Rob "The Hammer" Halverson famous in the 80's for tossing his microphone stand into the audience, bassist Terry Hamilton, and drummer Tany Fillari. WARNING has shared the stage with bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Exodus, Blind Illusion, Anvil Chorus, Heathen, Mordred, Vicious Rumors, and more. Playing in such famous clubs as The Old Waldorf, Mabuhay Gardens (better known as "The Mab"), The Stone, and the Rock On Broadway, in San Francisco.
KEVEN ALBERT – VOCALS
GREG NOLL – GUITAR
LEON SMITH – GUITAR
TOMMY SISCO – BASS
ROB QUILLEN - DRUMS
Although VILLAIN is known as a San Francisco Bay Area 80's metal band, they actually got their start in 1984 out of Modesto, CA. as the brainchild of guitarist Leon B. Smith. The original VILLAIN line-up was Leon B. Smith: guitar, Greg E. Noll: guitar, Rob Quillen drums, Craig Pepe: bass, Kenny Lea: vocals. Before long they found they needed a new bassist and brought in Tommy Sisco and a new singer and Greg & Rob thought of Carl Albert whom they grew up with in Sonora, CA. At that time Carl was with Oakland based band RUFFIANS. VILLAIN went to see Carl live in San Francisco at a club called Wolfgang's.
It was obvious that Carl was what VILLAIN needed to reach that next level.
The band had time booked at PYRAMID STUDIOS in Sacramento, CA so they invited Carl to lay down the vocals. History was made as they lay down the first three tracks that became Side White of ONLY TIME WILL TELL: Kids Of Crime, Just Close Your Eyes & Thrills In The Night. Those tracks convinced Carl to join the band. VILLAIN soon went back into the studio to record the next four tracks, which became Side Black, and completed ONLY TIME WILL TELL. VILLAIN got together with Tambre Bryant who had a company called L&L Productions. During the 80's, L&L Productions was a part of creating the infamous Broadway Metal Scene in San Francisco. Carl came to know them through RUFFIANS shows and Tambre became VILLAIN's manager.
As 1986 rolled on, Tambre and the band decided to release OTWT on vinyl under a new label, Relentless Records instead of putting out a simple demo tape like everyone else. Unfortunately, the band parted ways. For some though, the fire still burned and VILLAIN re-emerged with a new line-up and a new album where guitarists Leon & Greg, vocalist, Gerry De Leon, bassist, Michael Gonzales & drummer Ernie Andrade put down the tracks on the release, which was titled "Chequered Past".
After the tragic death of Carl in 1995, OTWT went on to become a metal classic around the world. Due to its rarity and demand, the original OTWT vinyl's sell for hundreds of dollars. Now, almost 20 years later and through a series of odd circumstances, the surviving members of the OTWT line-up re-unite with manager & Relentless Records owner Tambre Bryant to offer metal fans a ride into metal history with the release of "Time Machine".
Manuel Lopez - vocals
Steve Pickering - guitar
Jon Torres - guitar/bass
J.R. Clegg - guitar/bass
Joe Jimenez - bass
Steve Heuser - drums
Ulysses Siren formed in 1983 in South San Francisco when Steve Pickering and Manny Lopez got together in their senior year in high school and decided to form a band. They recruited J.R. Clegg on guitars and J.R.’s brother Danny Clegg on drums, later to be replaced by Steve Heuser and Joe Jimenez on Bass, later replaced by Jon Torres who played Bass and guitars. Steve wanted to call the band Siren and J.R. came up with Ulysses, thus Ulysses Siren was born, from the devil’s seed, Ulysses Siren lived to get drunk, get high, play music, and fight. Ulysses Siren pushed their way into the metal scene and stepped on toes to get what they wanted. Their “fuck you” attitude paid off when Ulysses Siren’s demo “Terrorist Attack” in 1985 became the #1 selling underground demo at the Record Vault and radio play on KUSF.
Ulysses Siren then recorded another demo in 1987, played such clubs as the Mab, The Stone, Omni and played with bands Nuclear Assault, Death Angel, Death, Black Death, Potential Threat, Fang, and more...
Kevin Heybourne – vox/guitar
Jon Torres – guitar/bass
Tom Hunting – drums
Myk Taylor – keys/production
The band Angel Witch was first formed in England in 1978 by Kevin Heybourne. Angel Witch was one of the original NWOBHM bands. The original AngelWitch line up was Kevin Heybourne on vocals and guitar, Kevin Riddles on Bass and Dave Hogg on drums.
AngelWitch influenced bands such as Metallica and Megadeth just to mention a few. AngelWitch often shared the bill with Iron Maiden during the early days of the NWOBHM and EMI signed both bands. AngelWitch released the "Sweet Danger" single on 7" and 12" in 1980. The band then shared the Bronze Record label with Motorhead and released a once in a decade classic "Angel Witch" in 1980 and then the EP "Loser" in 1981.
Kevin Heybourne put together a new line up Kevin Heybourne on guitar and vocals, Pete Gordelier on bass, and Spencer Hollman on drums, and recorded two more albums "Screamin' 'n' Bleedin'" in 1986 and "Frontal Assault" in 1987 on Killerwatt
In 1990 Metal Blade released a live Angel Witch album. At the same time AngelWitch while re-located in San Francisco went into Prairie Sun Studio's and recorded a 3 song demo with a new line up, Kevin Heybourne on vocals and guitar, Jon Torres on bass, and Tom Hunting on drums. Before the demo could be released, Kevin Heybourne was deported back to England the demo still sits in the vaults of Prairie Sun.
Ever since, Kevin Heybourne and Jon Torres sent tapes back and forth never giving up the love of AngelWitch as a project and continued to write music together.
In 1997 Jon Torres went to England, after many efforts to get Kevin back in to the States to record. Kevin and Jon went into a small studio in England and recorded a 3 song demo called they called "Resurrection". Later the band decided to add some long lost recordings never before released on the “Resurrection” CD and released it all on their own web site. After an over whelming amount of e-mails of support from fans all over the world and all the interest in the Resurrection CD in 1999, Angel Witch decided to reform to do shows and a new album.
In 1999 Castle Communications re- released all of Angel Witch’s classics which is on the market today. Angel Witch also signed a deal with another company to soon release a re-mixed version of the Angel Witch classics. Resurrection was released in 1999 by Angel Witch Productions associated with Relentless Records, then put out by Crook'd Records.
The AngelWitch of the 90's, was a combined effort of Kevin Heybourne, founder, and Jon Torres, working with producer Myk Taylor and contributing song writer and manager Tambre Bryant. In 2003, Angel Witch regrouped with the line-up Kevin Heybourne, Jon Torres, Lee Altus, and Darren Minter and played Bang Your Head Festival, as well as a few other shows in Europe.