Mars Bonfire

Last updated

Mars Bonfire
Birth nameDennis Eugene McCrohan
Also known asDennis Edmonton
Born (1943-04-21) 21 April 1943 (age 77)
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Genres Rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Instruments guitar
Associated acts Steppenwolf, The Sparrows

Dennis Edmonton (born Dennis Eugene McCrohan, 21 April 1943), also known by the stage name Mars Bonfire, is a Canadian rock musician and songwriter, best known for writing the hit song "Born to Be Wild" for Steppenwolf. [1]



Born Dennis Eugene McCrohan, he and his brother Jerry changed their surnames to Edmonton in the early 1960s. The brothers were part of a band called The Sparrows which later evolved into Steppenwolf. Another member of The Sparrows was Bruce Palmer, who later became a member of Buffalo Springfield.

Bonfire embarked on a solo career while his brother Jerry became the drummer for Steppenwolf. After leaving the band, he often collaborated with Kim Fowley, co-writing and recording on the recordings of Fowley and artists associated with Fowley.

On 22 June 2015, Bonfire was awarded the Cultural Impact Award by SOCAN at the 2015 SOCAN Awards in Toronto for the song "Born to be Wild". [2]

Personal life

Bonfire was a prolific hiker in Southern California for many years. He has completed the Hundred Peaks Section list 25 times. [3] He was noted by the Los Angeles Times for his "affability and flexibility" as a hike leader. [4]

He currently resides in western Nevada with his wife.


Songs by Mars Bonfire recorded by Steppenwolf include:


Related Research Articles

Steppenwolf (band) Canadian-American rock group

Steppenwolf was a Canadian-American rock band, prominent from 1968 to 1972. The group was formed in late 1967 in Los Angeles by lead singer John Kay, keyboardist Goldy McJohn, and drummer Jerry Edmonton, all formerly of the Canadian band the Sparrows. Guitarist Michael Monarch and bass guitarist Rushton Moreve were recruited via notices placed in Los Angeles-area record and musical instrument stores.

Born to Be Wild 1968 song written by Mars Bonfire

"Born to Be Wild" is a song written by Mars Bonfire and first performed by the band Steppenwolf. The song is often invoked in both popular and counter culture to denote a biker appearance or attitude. It is most notably featured in the 1969 film Easy Rider. It is sometimes described as the first heavy metal song, and the second verse lyric "heavy metal thunder" marks the first use of this term in rock music.

Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf song) 1968 single by Steppenwolf

"Magic Carpet Ride" is a rock song written by John Kay and Rushton Moreve from the Canadian-American hard rock band Steppenwolf. The song was initially released in 1968 on the album The Second. It was the lead single from that album, peaking at number three in the US, and staying in the charts for 16 weeks, longer than any other Steppenwolf song.

Jerry Edmonton

Gerald Michael Edmonton was the drummer for the rock band Steppenwolf.

Nick St. Nicholas

Nick St. Nicholas is a bandleader, bass guitarist, singer and songwriter; best known for his partnership in Steppenwolf.

Venus and the Razorblades were a short-lived punk rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed and managed by Kim Fowley after he severed professional relations with The Runaways. They are believed to be one of the first mixed-gender American punk band. The band included guitarist/singer Roni Lee, who had co-written the song "I Wanna Be Where the Boys Are" for the Runaways; guitarist/singer Steven T.; bassist Danielle Faye ; drummer Nickey Beat ; and singers Dyan Diamond and Vicki Razorblade. When the band formed, Diamond and Razorblade were only 14 and 17 years old respectively. Session musicians were used in some of the band's recordings.

<i>Steppenwolf</i> (Steppenwolf album) 1968 studio album by Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf is the debut album by Canadian-American rock band Steppenwolf, released in January 1968 on ABC Dunhill Records.

<i>Early Steppenwolf</i> 1969 live album by Steppenwolf

Early Steppenwolf is a collection of live recordings by Steppenwolf when they were still known as "The Sparrow" [nee: "The Sparrows"]. It was released in July 1969 on the ABC Dunhill Records label.

<i>Steppenwolf Live</i> 1970 live album by Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf Live is primarily a collection of recordings from a single concert early in 1970 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium by Steppenwolf staged in support of their 1969 album Monster. Released in April 1970 by Dunhill Records, it contains Steppenwolf's well-known hits: "Born to Be Wild", "Magic Carpet Ride" and "The Pusher", as well as most of the songs from Monster, including three previous top 40 hits, as well as the top 40 hit "Hey Lawdy Mama" from this album.

The Sparrows was a Canadian blues rock band that existed in the 1960s. Notable for being the first group to break out musician John Kay into the mainstream, The Sparrows later morphed into the popular heavy rock group Steppenwolf.

The Pusher

"The Pusher" is a rock song written by Hoyt Axton, made popular by the 1969 movie Easy Rider which used Steppenwolf's version to accompany the opening scenes showing drug trafficking.

George Biondo American musician

George Michael Biondo was the bass guitarist of the Canadian rock band, Steppenwolf, from April 1970 to October 1976. Though born in New York, he has been based in Southern California throughout his ongoing career as a session musician and songwriter.

<i>Gold: Their Great Hits</i> 1971 greatest hits album by Steppenwolf

Gold: Their Great Hits is a greatest hits album released by the Canadian-American hard rock band Steppenwolf. The album, released in 1971, charted at #24 on the Billboard Pop Albums charts and was certified "gold" by the RIAA on April 12, 1971. Initial pressings of the album came in a gatefold sleeve, with a detachable poster of the band.

Steppenwolf discography

The discography of Steppenwolf, an American Hard rock band, consists of Thirteen studio albums, Nine compilation albums, Twenty-one singles, Three music videos. The band was formed in 1967 after some members of The Sparrows split. Group members included John Kay, Michael Monarch, Goldy McJohn, Rushton Moreve and Jerry Edmonton. Their first album, Steppenwolf, was released in 1968, which sold well and reached 6 on the Billboard. That same year, Steppenwolf re-read "The Pusher". The song was later used in Easy Rider. The album's most successful single was "Born to Be Wild", which reached No. 2 on the Billboard. At the time of the release of second album, The Second the band's bassist Rushton Moreve had a dispute with band leader John Kay and eventually replaced him with Nick St. Nicholas arrived. The album's single was "Magic Carpet Ride" which reached number 3 on the Billboard.

Gabriel Mekler was an American songwriter, musician, and record producer who attained fame in the 1960s, helming albums for Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, and Janis Joplin. He also collaborated with R&B singer Etta James for two critically acclaimed albums in the early 1970s, mixing blues, soul, land then topped it off with Genya Ravan production jazz and rock.

Live at 25 is a live album released by the American hard rock band Steppenwolf in 1995.

Live in Louisville is a live album from John Kay & Steppenwolf which was released in 2004 on Rainman Records. It was recorded in October, 2000 in Louisville, Kentucky at an outdoor riverfront concert. It contains Steppenwolf's well-known hits, such as "Born To be Wild," "Magic Carpet Ride," and "The Pusher" as well as material from John Kay's 2001 release, Heretics & Privateers.

Edmonton is the capital city of the Canadian province Alberta.

The Fire Escape was an American psychedelic rock band formed in San Francisco, California, in 1967. Existing mainly as a studio group composed of unknown session musicians, the band was masterminded by record producer Kim Fowley and Michael Lloyd. The project produced one album called Psychotic Reaction, which contained mainly cover versions of popular songs from the era. It is reported that Sky Saxon of the garage rock band, the Seeds and Mars Bonfire of Steppenwolf, played on some of the tracks.


  1. "Mars Bonfire Biography". Allmusic . Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 August 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Twenty-Fifth List Completion - Hundred Peaks Section
  4. Reynolds, Christopher (28 September 2004). "Been There. Done That. Once Again". Los Angeles Times.
  5. Bonfire, Mars (1968). "Mars Bonfire". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  6. Bonfire, Mars (1969). "Faster Than the Speed of Life". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 January 2013.