Thundermug (band)

Last updated
Origin London, Ontario, Canada
Years active1970-1976, 1991-2001
Labels Axe Records
Raven Records
Big Tree Records
Epic Records
Mercury Records
Past membersJoe de Angelis
Bill Durst
James Corbett
Ed Pranskus
Corey Thompson
Justin Burgess

Thundermug was a Canadian band that was active from 1970 to 1976 and from 1991 to 2001. They released two top 40 Canadian singles and five albums. [1]

In the music industry, the top 40 is the current, 40 most-popular songs in a particular genre. It is the best-selling or most frequently broadcast popular music. Record charts have traditionally consisted of a total of 40 songs. "Top 40" or "contemporary hit radio" is also a radio format. Frequent variants of the Top 40 are the Top 10, Top 20, Top 30, Top 50, Top 75, Top 100 and Top 200.




Thundermug was formed in London, Ontario, Canada, [1] and existed from 1970 to 1976. They regrouped in 1991 and officially disbanded in 2001. [2] As a result of a signing facilitated by their manager, Wyn Anderson, their principal recordings were released by Axe Records, an independent Canadian label that was distributed by London Records in Canada and various labels in the US and elsewhere. [3] [4] Their music was initially distributed in the United States by the Big Tree and the Epic labels. In 1975, Ta-Daa!! was distributed in the United States by Mercury Records. [4]

London, Ontario City in Ontario, Canada

London is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada along the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor. The city had a population of 383,822 according to the 2016 Canadian census. London is at the confluence of the Thames River, approximately 200 km (120 mi) from both Toronto, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan; and about 230 km (140 mi) from Buffalo, New York. The city of London is a separated municipality, politically separate from Middlesex County, though it remains the county seat.

Axe Records is a Canadian record label founded by Greg Hambleton in 1972. After a number of years of inactivity, the label was revived in 2013. It is particularly notable as the original recording label of Canadian duo Gary and Dave.

London Records record label headquartered in the United Kingdom

London Records is a British record label that marketed records in the United States, Canada, and Latin America from 1947 to 1979 before becoming semi-independent.

The band was initially composed of Joe de Angelis (guitar and vocals), Bill Durst (keyboards and guitar), James Corbett (bass) and Ed Pranskus (drums). [1] Their first album, Thundermug Strikes, recorded at Toronto Sound studios in the spring of 1972, was produced by Greg Hambleton, owner of Axe Records, and engineered by Terry Brown. [5] The album resulted in a Canadian Top 30 hit, "Africa", based on radio interest in what was originally a non-single album song. The first single from the album had been a version of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me". [1] The album is described by reviewer Richie Unterberger as "...above average, early '70s hard rock... It's a minor entry in the style, but a decent minor entry, moving along with real guts and convincing riffs, but not at the expense of fair melodies, well-done vocal harmonies, and unusual progressions." [6]

Bill Durst is an award-winning Canadian blues artist, who is also one of the founding members of the band Thundermug.

The Toronto Sound is a characteristic R&B sound from the 1960s which was heavily influenced by American R&B of the times. Its components are the Fender Telecaster guitar, Fender Precision Bass, New Orleans-style drumming, a dominant Hammond organ, and soul singing. Bands typically presented full shows complete with choreography a la James Brown & the Famous Flames, and a matching wardrobe. Popular tunes were arranged by Toronto musicians, devotees of the Stax and Motown labels, and customized according to the will of the given bandleader. This sound came to influence many performers.

Terry Brown is a British record producer involved in a variety of work. He has been noted for his involvement with the Canadian rock band Rush. Brown produced every album by the band from Fly by Night (1975) up to Signals (1982). He is also noted for his involvement with the English pop rock band Cutting Crew.

In 1973, the band recorded its second album, Orbit, at Toronto's Manta Sound. The title track was a Top 40 Canadian single. [1] The album is described by reviewer Richie Unterberger as "probably the best reflection of their straight-ahead, respectable-but-not-brilliant brand of early-'70s hard rock, muscular but reasonably melodic, with inventive interplay between lead and background vocals, ending with a rather impressive facsimile of Jimi Hendrix's noisiest guitar wiggles." [7]

Jimi Hendrix American guitarist, singer and songwriter

James Marshall Hendrix was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most influential musicians of all time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music".

Selections from the first two albums were released in 1973 in the United States by Epic Records, using the title from the first album, Thundermug Strikes. [1] Review Richie Unterberger regarded the release as "confusing...(but) it did a reasonable job of representing the sound of this Canadian hard rock band, including some of its better-known tracks with 'Africa', 'Orbit', 'Garden Green', 'Jane J James', and a cover of the Kinks' "You Really Got Me." [8]

Epic Records American record label

Epic Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, Inc., the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. The label was founded predominantly as a jazz and classical music label in 1953, but later expanded its scope to include a more diverse range of genres, including pop, R&B, rock, and hip hop. Epic has released music by artists including Glenn Miller, Tammy Wynette, George Michael, The Yardbirds, Donovan, Shakin Stevens, Europe, Cheap Trick, Meat Loaf, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ted Nugent, Shakira, Sly & the Family Stone, The Hollies, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, ABBA, Anastacia, Boston, Dave Clark Five, Gloria Estefan, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, and Michael Jackson. Along with Arista, Columbia and RCA Records, Epic is one of Sony Music Entertainment's four flagship record labels.

In 1974, the band returned to Toronto Sound and recorded their third album, Ta-Daa, releasing a cover of The Beatles' "Drive My Car" as the first single. [1] The album was released in the United States on Mercury Records. [9]

The Beatles English rock band

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became regarded as the foremost and most influential music band in history. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, the group were integral to pop music's evolution into an art form and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960s. They often incorporated classical elements, older pop forms and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways, and later experimented with several musical styles ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock. As the members continued to draw influences from a variety of cultural sources, their musical and lyrical sophistication grew, and they were seen as an embodiment of the era's sociocultural movements.

Drive My Car original song written and composed by Lennon-McCartney

"Drive My Car" is a song by the Beatles, written primarily by Paul McCartney, with lyrical contributions from John Lennon. It was first released on the British version of the band's 1965 album Rubber Soul; it also appeared in North America on the Yesterday and Today collection. The upbeat, lighthearted "Drive My Car" was used as the opening track for both albums. Over the years the song has been covered by many artists such as former Spice Girls member Melanie C and Lulu, and the US band Breakfast Club, the latter which was featured in the 1988 film License to Drive, that was played over the opening credits.

Mercury Records record label

Mercury Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group. In the United States, it operates through Island Records; in the UK, it is distributed by Virgin EMI Records.

Ta-Daa was not as successful as the band's two previous releases. Joe de Angelis quit the band following the release of Ta-Daa, and the band continued through 1975 as a trio. [5] The band released one final single in 1975, "Clap Your Hands and Stomp Your Feet", which was a Top 50 single in Canada. [5] The band did not formally break up, but became inactive, as of 1976. Band members then commenced various solo projects. Bill Durst joined a ZZ Top tribute band called Tres Hombres, and later was a member of The Brains, a band that released one album in 1980, on Falcon Records. [1] Joe de Angelis became involved in production work, acting as assistant engineer on Meat Loaf's 1981 album, Dead Ringer . [1] In 1983, Durst released a solo album, Call Billy, on Passport Records. Joe de Angelis contributed background vocals. [1] In 1989, Durst released a cassette-only second solo album, Father Earth, on the independent Cottage Records. [10]


At the initiative of former manager Wyn Anderson, the band gave various reunion performances in the 1980s. The band formally reunited in 1991, with original members Durst and Corbett, plus new drummer Cory Thompson. [1]

The band's later releases were on Raven Records, a label owned by Wyn Anderson and run from a farmhouse outside London, Ontario. [11] Anderson had personally financed the band's return to recording, resulting in the 1995 release of Who's Running My World and the 1997 release of Bang The Love Drum. Who's Running My World had forty-two weeks of continuous airplay in Canada and resulted in three charting singles. [12] Thompson was replaced on drums by Justin Burgess for the recording of Bang The Love Drum, though original drummer Ed Pranskus returned for subsequent live performances. [5] With the death of Anderson in 1999, the band's recording career ended. [1]

Corbett left the band in 2000, for health reasons. Burgess rejoined the band, to replace Corbett on bass. During the 2000-2001 period, the band had a succession of drummers. The Thundermug name was formally retired in 2000, and the band continued as Big On Venus, [5] a group with Durst and Pranskus, plus Justin Burgess and his then wife Sarah Burgess. [1] [13] The band formally disbanded in 2001. [2]


In 2006, Thundermug was inducted into the London Music Hall of Fame. [5] [14]

Following the breakup of the band, Bill Durst developed a solo career as an award-winning blues artist. [12] In 2009, Durst released The Great Willy Mammoth, which featured a number of reunion performances with former bandmate Joe de Angelis. [12] Ed Pranskus continued his drumming career as Izzy Bartok. [15] Justin Burgess developed a solo career as multi-instrumentalist "Just B". [16]


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  4. 1 2 Uncredited, Axe sharpens sights in 3-pronged goal. Billboard, June 14, 1975, p. 47. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
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  13. Now performing as Sarah Smith. See Cheryl Mazak, Lesbian rocker Sarah Smith is all business. Curve, June, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
  14. Jack Richardson Music Awards - 2006 Hall of Fame Inductee Archived 2013-11-04 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  15. Uncredited, Profile of Izzy Bartok; Retrieved 2013-07-05.
  16. Just B. Discography Archived 2013-09-23 at the Wayback Machine ; Retrieved 2013-07-07.