Krokus (band)

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Krokus
Krokus - Band 2008.jpg
Krokus in 2008
Background information
Origin Solothurn, Switzerland
Genres
Years active1975–present
Labels AFM, Arista, MCA
Website krokusonline.com
Members
Past members
 

Krokus is a hard rock/heavy metal band from Switzerland. They enjoyed success in North America during the 1980s.

Contents

Krokus was founded in Solothurn in 1975 by bassist/keyboardist/percussionist (and original drummer, and then lead vocalist) Chris von Rohr and guitarist Tommy Kiefer, both former members of Kaktus. Former TEA vocalist Marc Storace joined the band as frontman in time for their Metal Rendez-vous album in 1980.

History

Early career (1975–1982)

Krokus was formed in 1975 as a primarily progressive rock act. The group's original lead singer, Peter Richard, left before the first album was recorded, leaving lead guitarist Tommy Kiefer to handle lead vocal duties for the band's self-titled debut album. However, Chris von Rohr, originally the drummer, would switch to lead vocals for the follow-up record, To You All , remaining in this capacity into the late 1970s (along with playing keyboards and percussion). Rounding out the radically different new line-up were guitarist Fernando von Arb, bassist Jürg Naegeli, and drummer Freddy Steady who had released the "Rock Is Here" 7" as a trio under the name Montezuma in 1976. With this incarnation, Krokus became successful in Switzerland, touring throughout the country and releasing a third album, Painkiller , in 1978. After seeing AC/DC in concert in the late 1970s, they decided to change their musical direction and adopted a new sound which was heavily influenced by that band. Since von Rohr possessed limited vocal abilities and was not capable of hitting the third octave, the band decided to hire a new lead vocalist. Eventually, after trying out several other frontmen, Marc Storace, formerly of TEA and Eazy Money, was hired in 1979. With the new line-up in place, the band recorded and released the album Metal Rendez-vous in 1980, which was Krokus' first hit and brought the band international recognition.

The 1981 follow-up album, Hardware , was recorded at the Roundhouse Studios in London and featured such songs as "Easy Rocker" and "Rock City", which are still a part of the band's live repertoire today. Lead guitarist Tommy Kiefer was forced to leave the band due to a heroin addiction early into the tour supporting Hardware and was replaced by newcomer Mandy Meyer (ex-BM Smith). Kiefer died on December 24, 1986. [2] [3] Meyer soon left, replaced by Mark Kohler, and teamed up with bassist Tommy Keiser (not to be confused with Tommy Kiefer) of fellow Swiss rockers Roxane to start his own band. Setting up headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee under the guidance of Krokus manager Butch Stone, the duo would recruit former Target vocalist Jimi Jamison, ex-Black Oak Arkansas guitarist/keyboardist Jack Holder, and drummer Jeff Klaven and issued their sole album, First Strike , under the name Cobra in 1983. Klaven and Keiser would both subsequently join Krokus. Meyer went on to join Asia and formed the short-lived Katmandu, although he would return to the Krokus line-up himself some years later. Jamison went on to perform backing vocals on Krokus recordings, in addition to replacing Dave Bickler in the band Survivor and achieving massive success with that group.

Rise to popularity and success years (1982–1988)

In 1982, with new American management, Krokus recorded One Vice at a Time , which features the hits, "Long Stick Goes Boom," and the Guess Who cover, "American Woman". By the time this album was recorded, the band had parted ways with Naegeli, at which point multi-instrumentalist von Rohr assumed the additional role of primary bassist. This album was also the first to feature Mark Kohler on guitar. Chris von Rohr described the album at the time as "the album AC/DC never made", as the influence of the Australian band is difficult to ignore. The comparisons actually cast doubt on the creativity of the band, as many listeners now, in spite of the Swiss band's much wider musical-spectrum, began to regard Krokus merely as AC/DC imitators. Nevertheless, Krokus became increasingly popular in Europe and began to receive attention and success in the United States.

1983's Headhunter was awarded Platinum album status in the United States and hit number 25 in the 1983 Billboard 200 album chart. The album was Krokus' most successful album to date, both commercially and critically. It boasted the hit power ballad "Screaming in the Night", which saw heavy rotation on MTV and would become one of the band's most recognizable songs. Judas Priest's Rob Halford contributed backing vocals on the song "Ready to Burn". Bassist/keyboardist/percussionist Chris von Rohr was fired in late 1983 due to his writing an article published in a main Swiss newspaper exposing the band's rock'n`roll habits, prior to the band's appearance at the RockPop Festival in Dortmund, Germany, with rhythm guitarist Mark Kohler switching over to bass and Patrick Mason, aka Patrick Mahassen, who had also played in the Swiss band Crown, taking over rhythm guitar duties for the remainder of the Headhunter tour; however, Mahassen exited the band prior to the recording of the next album, The Blitz , which the band completed as a four-piece. The tour for this album featured Mark Kohler returning to his main instrument, with Andy Tanas, formerly of Black Oak Arkansas, joining on the bass. These shows also featured Loverboy's Doug Johnson on keyboards. Meanwhile, von Rohr would go on to produce the band Headhunter's eponymous 1985 album, featuring future Krokus members Peter Tanner and Many Maurer, and release a solo album in 1987, entitled Hammer & Tongue (re-issued in 1993 as The Good, The Bad and The Dog after the release of von Rohr's autobiography, "Hunde wollt ihr ewig rocken"), which featured contributions from his former Krokus bandmates, Marc Storace and Fernando von Arb. [4]

Pushed into a corner by their own management and record company, 1984 saw the band move in a Glam rock direction with The Blitz, which featured a cover of Sweet's 1973 hit "The Ballroom Blitz". Though a commercial success, the album was panned critically. The band hit the Billboard Hot 100 with "Midnite Maniac" from that album, becoming the first Swiss act to do so. Capitalizing on the wave of success enjoyed by heavy metal in the mid-1980s, the band then released Change of Address in 1986, which featured a cover of the Alice Cooper standard "School's Out". The album production was way too clean and polished for Krokus and it became a commercial failure. As a counterbalance, Krokus soon released a live album entitled Alive and Screamin' while the band transitioned from Arista Records to MCA for the release of their Heart Attack album in 1988. Heart Attack was a last desperate attempt to keep the band together. It saw the return of bassist/keyboardist/percussionist Chris von Rohr with Dani Crivelli (who had played on von Rohr's solo album the previous year) [4] on drums and was similarly written and produced in the band's early 80's style. However the Swiss flagship of international heavy rock needed time out. Fernando and Marc had endured 8 years of constant writing, recording and touring with hardly any time off. Coming dangerously close to a burn-out they went on hiatus at the end of 1988.

Later years (1989–2006)

Guitarist Fernando von Arb would remain the sole constant member throughout most of the 1990s as Krokus carried on with ever-changing line-ups. 1990's Stampede featured von Arb, former Headhunter members Peter Tanner (ex-Bloody Six, Witchcraft) and Many Maurer (ex-Killer), drummer Peter Haas (ex-Calhoun Conquer), and bassist Tony Castell. 1995 saw a brief reunion of the classic One Vice at a Time line-up, minus von Rohr, on the To Rock or Not to Be album. Welsh vocalist Carl Sentance (ex-Persian Risk, Geezer Butler Band) joined the band for Round 13 , with Haas returning on drums. In 2003, the band released Rock the Block with the new line-up of Marc Storace on vocals, Fernando von Arb on lead guitar, bass and keyboards, Dominique Favez on rhythm and lead guitar, Tony Castell on bass and rhythm guitar, and Patrick Aeby on drums and percussion. In 2004 the same line-up released the live CD Fire and Gasoline.

In 2005, longtime guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Fernando von Arb left the band because of continuing wrist problems which required surgery. Mandy Meyer, who had played with the band in the early 1980s, replaced von Arb in the then current line-up. The new formation (Storace, Meyer, Favez, Castell, Stefan Schwarzmann and Dennis Ward) recorded the studio album Hellraiser in 2006, which went to gold in Switzerland on the first day of sales. It generally received very good reviews. In an interview in 2008, Marc Storace stated that Krokus was becoming more and more "metal". Prior to the album's release date, the band already released the ballad "Angel of My Dreams" as a downloadable MP3. [5]

Reunion with "classic lineup" (2007–2011)

On November 18, 2007, the line up featuring Chris von Rohr, Fernando von Arb, Freddy Steady and Marc Storace reunited to play a medley ("Tokyo Nights", "Bedside Radio" and "Heatstrokes") during the TV show, Die grössten Schweizer Hits, on Swiss television. This led to their reunion concert on August 2, 2008 (with the addition of Mark Kohler). Krokus's cover of Sweet's "The Ballroom Blitz" also appeared in the 2007 game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.

It was announced on April 20, 2008, that the classic lineup of Chris von Rohr, Fernando von Arb, Freddy Steady, Mark Kohler and Marc Storace had reunited, and would be releasing a new studio record in 2010 with a supporting world tour. On August 2, 2008, the band performed live in the Stade de Suisse in Bern. Krokus performed the official anthem of the 2009 Ice Hockey World Championships, hosted by Switzerland. The song was entitled "Live for the Action".

On March 3, 2010, the album Hoodoo including a cover version of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" and ten other songs, was released. [6] It came in a regular and limited edition, the latter containing a DVD featuring concert footage. [7]

In May 2011, drummer/percussionist Fready Steady announced he was leaving the band. [8]

Reunion with Mandy Meyer and retirement (2012–present)

Krokus performing at Hellfest 2013 W0873-Hellfest2013 Krokus 69080.JPG
Krokus performing at Hellfest 2013

In December 2012, it was announced guitarist Mandy Meyer was once again rejoining the band after having filled in for an ailing Fernando von Arb at the Loud Park Festival in Japan in October 2011. [9] [10] Krokus released their seventeenth studio album Dirty Dynamite on February 22, 2013. [11]

On April 21, 2013, it was reported that former drummer/percussionist Dani Crivelli, who played on the band's 1988 Heart Attack , had died. [12] According to the German language Swiss daily Blick , Crivelli fell off a bridge to his death in Trimbach, Canton of Solothurn. [13]

Swiss drummer/percussionist Flavio Mezzodi joined Krokus in May 2013 and played on their "Dirty Dynamite Tour". [14] The band sold out an unprecedented 4 shows at the Kofmehl (House of Rust) in their hometown of Solothurn. The concerts were recorded for an upcoming live album and the fourth concert was released as Long Stick Goes Boom: Live from da House of Rust in 2014. [15]

In April/May 2015 the band returned for some dates in the United States, where they had not performed since 2005. Fernando von Arb was not be part of that tour, as he cannot travel for long distances and Krokus performed as a 5-piece band. This was another reason why Mandy Meyer was brought back into the fold in 2013 as second lead guitarist. Mark Kohler also needs to take longer leaves of absence from the band and in his place Dominique Favez will play once more rhythm guitar. [16] Dominique recorded on the 2003 Rock the Block album, 2004's Fire and Gasoline and 2006's Hellraiser and is no stranger to Krokus fans.

The band's 18th studio release, a covers album entitled Big Rocks, was issued in January 2017.

In September 2018, Krokus announced their retirement and would embark on their farewell tour in 2019. [17]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Krokus among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. [18]

In June 2019, the band announced a final tour to take place in North America starting in September, [19] [20] but the dates were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [21] In April 2020, the band announced, via their Instagram account, plans to restart their final tour in 2021:

"krokusband: thanx for your patience- we gonna continue the adios amigos tour in 2021 - long stick will go boom again! ☠️🎸☠️🔥". [22]

Origin of band name

The band name Krokus is German for crocus, a flower common throughout Europe. Early in the spring of 1975, band founder Chris von Rohr observed a field of these flowers while traveling by train. He was returning from L'Ecole des Chefs located in France after an aborted career in the culinary arts, and it was around this time the idea for the band was formed. The band members stated that it was the perfect name, since it featured "rok" in the middle.

Discography

Studio albums

YearAlbum detailsCertificationsPeak chart positions
1976 Krokus
1977 To You All
1978 Pain Killer / Pay It in Metal
1980 Metal Rendez-vous Switzerland: 4×Platinum [23] US No. 201
1981 Hardware Switzerland: Gold [23] US No. 103, UK No. 44 [24]
1982 One Vice at a Time US No. 53, UK No. 28 [24]
1983 Headhunter US: Gold [25] US No. 25 UK No. 74, [24] AUS No. 71 [26]
1984 The Blitz US: Gold [25] US No. 31
1986 Change of Address US No. 45 [27]
1988 Heart Attack Switzerland No. 5, US No. 87 [27]
1990 Stampede Switzerland No. 18
1995 To Rock or Not to Be Switzerland No. 5
1999 Round 13
2003 Rock the Block Switzerland: Gold [23] Switzerland No. 1
2006 Hellraiser Switzerland: Gold [23] Switzerland No.2, US No. 200
2010 Hoodoo Switzerland: Platinum [23] Switzerland No. 1
2013 Dirty Dynamite Switzerland No. 1, Germany No. 17, Greece No. 29, Sweden No. 41, Austria No. 46, France No. 139
2017Big RocksSwitzerland No. 1, Germany No. 31, Austria No. 36

Compilation albums

Live albums

Singles

YearSinglePeak chart positionsAlbum
US
[28]
US Main. Rock
[29]
1977"Highway Song"To You All
1978"Susie"Pain Killer
1980"Bedside Radio"Metal Rendez-vous
"Heatstrokes"
"Tokyo Nights"
1981"Rock City"Hardware
"Burning Bones" [airplay]46
"Winning Man"26
"Smelly Nelly"
1982"Bad Boys Rag Dolls"One Vice at a Time
"Long Stick Goes Boom"22
"American Woman"53
1983"Screaming in the Night"21Headhunter
"Eat the Rich"33
"Stayed Awake All Night"31
1984"Ballroom Blitz"The Blitz
"Midnite Maniac"7110
"Our Love" [airplay]22
1986"School's Out"67Change of Address
"Say Goodbye"
1987"Let This Love Begin"
1988"Wild Love"Heart Attack
1994"You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet"Non-album single
2003"I Want It All"Rock the Block
2006"Angel of My Dreams"Hellraiser
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Videos and DVDs

Members

Current members

See also

Related Research Articles

Marc Storace (Sto-rah-che) is a Maltese born rock vocalist. His career in music started in the 1960s. He is most noted for his position as frontman, lead singer and songwriter of Swiss hard rock band Krokus from 1980. Before joining Krokus he sang with the Swiss Prog Rockers TEA. He has since also undertaken a solo project, duets, an acoustical project, and many guest slots. He also had some close encounters with the classical meets rock world and has worked with a few other rock acts as writer and a singer.

<i>Headhunter</i> (album) 1983 studio album by Krokus

Headhunter is the seventh studio album by the Swiss hard rock band Krokus, released in 1983. It achieved Gold status in the United States. The track "Screaming in the Night" was the band's biggest hit to date, and is still played on classic rock radio stations. Headhunter is the only Krokus album to feature Steve Pace on drums, and includes the Bachman–Turner Overdrive cover "Stayed Awake All Night".

<i>One Vice at a Time</i> 1982 studio album by Krokus

One Vice at a Time is the sixth studio album by the Swiss hard rock band Krokus, released in 1982 on Arista Records. It is notable for the strong influence of Australian hard rock band AC/DC on the songs and production, and was the first album to feature Mark Kohler on rhythm guitar. It includes a cover of the Guess Who's song "American Woman". The song "Long Stick Goes Boom" is used in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories on the fictional in-game radio station "V-Rock".

<i>Hardware</i> (album) 1981 studio album by Krokus

Hardware is the fifth album by the Swiss hard rock band Krokus. It did not match the success of their previous album, Metal Rendez-vous, going only Gold in Switzerland. However, the album entered the charts in the US, UK and other European countries.

<i>Metal Rendez-vous</i> 1980 studio album by Krokus

Metal Rendez-vous is the fourth studio album by the Swiss hard rock band Krokus, released in June 1980. It is the first Krokus release to feature vocalist Marc Storace; Chris von Rohr had formerly served as the band's lead vocalist but appears on Metal Rendez-vous as the band's bassist. The track "Heatstrokes" charted number one in the British Heavy Metal Charts, and arguably opened up markets for Krokus in Britain and the United States, along with "Bedside Radio" and "Tokyo Nights". Strangely, the song "Tokyo Nights" features a reggae beat halfway through. The album sold more than 150,000 copies in Switzerland and was certified Triple Platinum.

<i>Pain Killer</i> (Krokus album) 1978 studio album by Krokus

Pain Killer is the third studio album by the Swiss hard rock band Krokus, released in 1978. It was recorded at The Manor Studio, Oxford, England, and took just six days to produce.

<i>Hellraiser</i> (album) 2006 studio album by Krokus

Hellraiser is the fifteenth studio album by the Swiss hard rock band Krokus. It marks 30 years since the release of their first album, Krokus of 1976. It is also their first album on the German record label AFM Records. Armand "Mandy" Meyer featured as lead guitarist, replacing Fernando von Arb. The album was also released in a DigiPack format with a bonus track, "Walking in the Spirit".

<i>Change of Address</i> (Krokus album) 1986 studio album by Krokus

Change of Address is the ninth studio album by the Swiss hard rock band Krokus, and is largely seen to be their least successful. It has been described as "plainly one of the worst efforts" from Krokus, and the band's website claims that they and their musical style were put under too much pressure from their record company. Unsurprisingly, Krokus changed their record label for their next studio album, Heart Attack.

<i>Heart Attack</i> (Krokus album) 1988 studio album by Krokus

Heart Attack is the tenth studio album by the Swiss hard rock band Krokus, and is described by the band as "the last attempt to keep the band together in a deep crisis". As well as being the band's first album on MCA Records, it saw the return of original Krokus founding member Chris von Rohr.

<i>Stampede</i> (Krokus album) 1990 studio album by Krokus

Stampede is the eleventh studio album by Swiss hard rock band Krokus. It features an almost completely different line-up to that of their last album, and was recorded near the band's home town of Solothurn by Jürg Naegeli, a former member of the band.

<i>To Rock or Not to Be</i> 1995 studio album by Krokus

To Rock or Not to Be is the twelfth studio album by the Swiss hard rock band Krokus, released in 1995. The album stayed seven weeks in the top ten of the Swiss charts, peaking at number 5.

<i>Rock the Block</i> 2003 studio album by Krokus

Rock the Block is the fourteenth studio album by the Swiss hard rock band Krokus, released in 2003. The album peaked at No. 1 in the Swiss Album Chart and was certified Gold in Switzerland.

Mandy Meyer Swiss-Canadian guitarist (born 1960)

Armand "Mandy" Meyer is a Swiss-Canadian guitarist best known for being a member of the hard rock band Gotthard, the progressive rock band Asia, and the heavy metal band Krokus. Meyer has also worked with Cobra, Stealin' Horses and Katmandu.

Screaming in the Night 1983 single by Krokus

"Screaming in the Night" is a power ballad by Swiss hard rock band Krokus. The song was released as the second single from the band's seventh studio album Headhunter. The single was originally released in 1983 in 7" and 12" formats with a special edition 12" single being released in 1986 to promote the live album Alive and Screamin'. The song peaked at #21 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart in July 1983 and remained on the chart for 12 weeks. At the time of its release, "Screaming in the Night" was the band's biggest hit to date. The song remains one of the band's most popular and still receives airplay on American classic rock radio stations.

<i>Hoodoo</i> (Krokus album) 2010 studio album by Krokus

Hoodoo is the sixteenth studio album by the Swiss hard rock/heavy metal band Krokus. It includes a cover of the Steppenwolf song "Born to be Wild". The album failed to reach the Billboard Top 200 in the U.S., unlike their last album (Hellraiser), but the release was successful overseas. The song "Hoodoo Woman" is featured on the soundtrack of the movie Saw 3D.

Fernando von Arb Swiss guitarist, songwriter and producer (born 1953)

Fernando von Arb or simply FVA, is a Swiss guitarist, songwriter and producer. He is best known for being the lead guitarist of the Swiss hard rock band, Krokus.

<i>Dirty Dynamite</i> 2013 studio album by Krokus

Dirty Dynamite is the seventeenth studio album from Swiss melodic hard rock band Krokus, released through The End Records in North America. It includes a cover of the Beatles song "Help!".

Chris von Rohr

Christoph "Chris" von Rohr is a Swiss rock musician, record producer, author, columnist, radio and television presenter. He is best known for being a member and founder of the hard rock band, Krokus.

Long Stick Goes Boom: Live From Da House of Rust is a live album by melodic hard rock band Krokus. Released on 24 March 2014 in Europe and 22 April 2014 in North America by the label Columbia, it was recorded on August 30, 2013 at the "House of Rust" venue in Solothurn, Switzerland. The album has received praise from publications such as Allmusic and Blabbermouth.net, and it peaked at the #3 position on the official Swiss album chart.

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