- Trouble (band)
Infobox musical artist 2
Name = Trouble
Background = group_or_band
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Years_active = 1979–1996
Label = Metal Blade (1983–1989)
Def American(1989–1994) Century Media(1994–present)
Current_members = Kory Clarke
Mark Lira|Past_members =
Barry Stern Ted Kirkpatrick
Trouble is an American
doom metalband noted as one of the pioneers of their genre, alongside bands such as Candlemassand Saint Vitus. [ [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:11956 Doom Metal] Allmusic] The band created a distinct style taking influences of the British heavy metal bands Black Sabbathand Judas Priest,Leif Edling, Trouble interviw, "Trouble Live In Stockholm" DVD.] and psychedelic rockof the 1970s. A critically acclaimed group, their first two albums, "Psalm 9" and "The Skull" are cited as landmarks of doom metal, and their early 1990s releases on Def Americanwould take a more stoner metaloriented direction. After six studio albums and tours throughout the U.S. and Europe, Trouble disbanded in 1996, but reformed six years later to release its seventh studio album on Escapi Music.
The nucleus of the band have been vocalist
Eric Wagner(replaced as of late by Kory Clarke), guitarists Rick Wartelland Bruce Franklin, and drummer Jeff Olson. The band is also noted for the spiritual nature of their early lyrics; their first record label, Metal Blade Records, marketed the band as " White Metal" (in contrast to the rising black metalmovement) in the 1980s.cite web |url= http://metal-rules.com/interviews/trouble-jan2004.htm |title= Interview with Trouble|accessdate=2007-09-06 |format= |author= Lahtonen, Luxi|work= Metal-rules.com]
Formation and Metal Blade years (1979-1988)
Trouble was formed in 1979 by vocalist
Eric Wagner, guitarists Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell, bassist Ian Brown (not to be confused with lead singer of English band The Stone Roses; replaced by Sean McAllister in 1983), and drummer Jeff Olson. Drawing from Black Sabbath for inspiration (with occasional nods to the psychedelic sounds of the late 1960s), the band used gloomy down-tuned riffs and spiritual, often openly religious lyrics, which quickly earned them the dubious "white metal" tag.
The band toured throughout the Midwest during the early 1980s before signing with Metal Blade Records and releasing their eponymous debut (later referred to as "
Psalm 9") in 1984. "The Skull" followed in 1985 and reflected singer Wagner's struggles with substance abuse as well as growing turmoil within the group. This led to the replacement of bassist McAllister with Ron Holzner. Drummer Jeff Olson also departed. Reports suggested that Olson had left the band to become a preachercite web |url= http://www.battlehelm.com/interviews/Supershine.html |title= Supershine |accessdate= 2007-11-29 |author= Siva, Shan |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] , but he had actually decided to pursue studies at the Berklee School of Music in Boston [ [http://www.battlehelm.com/interviews/retrograve.htm Retro Grave Interview ] ] . Dennis Lesh was drafted as his replacement for 1987's " Run to the Light". In comparison to earlier recordings, the critiques thought "Run to the Light" was "disappointing". Ted Kirkpatrickplayed drums during the "Run to the Light" tour before he went to form his own band, Tourniquet in 1989.
Rise to popularity and hiatus (1989-2001)
A three year hiatus occurred before the band was snapped up by
Rick Rubin's Def American Records for whom they recorded a second self-titled album ("Trouble") in 1990 with Rubin producing. More experimental than previous efforts, the album (featuring new drummer Barry Stern, formerly of Zoetrope) expanded upon the group's tentative psychedelic notions within its traditional use of power chords.
The group embarked on a year-long tour before returning to the studio. In 1992 "
Manic Frustration" was released, delving into Beatlesque psychedelia and featuring some of Trouble's most aggressive, energetic performances ever. But after the album failed to connect with a wider audience (due perhaps to the grunge revolution that made metal a bad word in 1992), the band was ultimately dropped by their record company, which was experiencing financial problems of their own.
The band issued "
Plastic Green Head" through the Music for Nations label in 1995. But despite the return of founding drummer Olson, the album's impact was noticeably dulled by what the band would later admit to be "weariness." Vocalist Eric Wagner quit the band soon after, going on to form Lid.
Reunion and "Simple Mind Condition" (2002-2007)
Even though Trouble had gone on an extended hiatus after Wagner's departure, rumors of an eventual re-formation persisted. On January 26, 2002, Wagner, Franklin, Wartell, Holzner and Olson reunited on stage to perform a short set in Chicago. Since that time, the band has played individual gigs throughout the Chicago area and headlined metal festivals in Europe and the U.S. while working on a new album. A concert in Stockholm, Sweden in 2005 produced the live DVD "Trouble - Live in Stockholm".
In February 2004,
Dave Grohlof Nirvana and the Foo Fightersreleased a tribute album that paid homage to his metal roots. Entitled Probot, the disc featured various vocalists, including Eric Wagner, who sang on the track "My Tortured Soul". In the album's liner notes, Grohl wrote that buying " Psalm 9" was like buying " Sgt. Peppers".
Holzner left the band soon after, to be replaced by Chuck Robinson, who played on the band's newest studio album, "
Simple Mind Condition", which was released on April 3, 2007 by Escapi Music. The band toured internationally in support of that album [cite web |url= http://www.newtrouble.com/ |title= Trouble.com |accessdate= 2007-11-29 |author= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] , but were unable to secure a release for the U.S. An unplugged album was later released through the band's website and, more recently, Amazon.
New singer and next album (2008-present)
In May, 2008, it was announced that
Eric Wagnerhas left the band and had been replaced by Kory Clarke of Warrior Soul. [cite web |url= http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=96173 |title= Warrior Soul's Kory Clarke is the new Trouble singer |accessdate= 2008-05-02 |author= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= 2007 |year= |month= |format= |work= Blabbermouth |publisher= Roadrunner Records |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] . Olson also announced his departure from the band in July of 2008, [http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=101999] to be replaced by Wet Animal's Mark Lira for the band's upcoming U.S. East Coast tour [http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=102354] .
In a September 2008 interview with Rock N Roll Experience, guitarist
Rick Wartellmentioned that Trouble has written "eight or nine songs" for their next album, and would begin recording it after touring. [http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.Net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=105026] When asked which direction is the new music going in, Wartell replied, "I know people have said this a million times and I know you've heard this a million times, but it's pretty fucking heavy, let's put it that way! The music end of it that Bruce [Franklin, guitar] and I are writing is getting heavier and heavier...it's getting heavier and then we want Kory to incorporate his style to what we are doing, that's basically all that we really want out of this."
Trouble's music lies with a traditional doom metal style, although their later albums showcase a more stoner-metal oriented style. Band members have cited influences by the early heavy rock bands of the 1970s such as
Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Budgie, and Black Sabbath, Trouble have also incorporated elements of psychedelic rock to their style. Their music has been some of the slowest tempos being written at a time when NWOBHMand thrash metalbands were playing at increasingly faster speedscite web |url= http://wc04.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:gifpxqr5ldde |title= Trouble |accessdate= 2007-11-29 |author= Rivadavia, Eduardo |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Allmusic|publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] ; Trouble songs generally move as fast as one of the slower Black Sabbath songs, like "Iron Man," "Lord of this World," or "Into the Void." While most slow songs by Iron Maidenor Saxon border into the area of ballads, all of the tracks on "The Skull" are as heavy as they are slow, with a distinctive fuzzy distortion and melodic, integral (rather than superfluous or ostentatious) guitar solos. The band could best be described as combining the riffs and tempos of Black Sabbath with the twin guitar attack of Judas Priest.
Eric Wagner's lyrics deal with different themes, but the early Trouble albums are known for biblical references, especially because such themes were relatively uncommon in mainstream metal music of the 1980s. Some songs contain Bible quotes that were expressed in an oppressive way, such as "Psalm 9" from the 1984 album, causing the metal historian
Ian Christeto describe Trouble's music as "majestic doom preaching" Christe, Ian (2003). Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal. HarperCollins. Chapter 20. ISBN 0-380-81127-8] . Other songs deal with social issues; "Bastards Will Pay," for instance, criticises politicians as hypocritical ("You tell us not to steal/ You tell us not to kill/ Then you tell us to fight for your country/ That's tell us to die"). Wagner's lyrics sometimes include a tinge of the hippiemovement's melancholy and ideologies, with the term "peace and love" appearing on occasion. From "Manic Frustration" onwards, more references have been made to psychedelia, drugs, and hallucinations; "Hello Strawberry Skies" and "Mr. White" stand out as two examples.
Unlike other metal acts of the 1980s, Trouble's members dressed in ripped jeans, tight t-shirts, and wore round sunglasses and had fringes and outfits more characteristic of the hippie movement. [Edling, Leif. Trouble Interview on Live in Stockholm DVD. 2006.] The band's live performances aren't overly concerned with visual interest; effects such as flash bulbs or pyrotechnics are absent, and movement on stage is kept to a minimum. [cite web |url= http://www.imperiumi.net/alb_2.php?id=4807 |title= Trouble |accessdate= 2007-11-29 |author= Majalahti, Michael |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Imperiumi |publisher= |pages= |language= Finnish |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]
Problems with both the Metal Blade and Def American labels made it impossible for Trouble to achieve large commercial success. Even though their music videos were aired on MTV in both the U.S. and Europe, "Manic Frustration" was the only album that sold close to 100,000 copies,.cite web |url= http://metal-rules.com/interviews/trouble-jan2004.htm |title= Trouble |accessdate= 2007-11-29 |author= Lahtonen, Luxi |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= 2002 |year= |month= |format= |work= Metal-Rules |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] However, Eduardo Rivadavia of
Allmusicwrote that "their preservation efforts nevertheless rescued metal's original blueprint from disuse, and carved it in granite for subsequent exploration by each new generation of doom bands that followed." It was said that Trouble took up where Black Sabbath had left off after their split with vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. "Psalm 9" and "The Skull" are often cited as the cornerstones of doom metal. [Christe 2002, chapter 20] as well influencing other bands of the uprising metal movement during the mid-1980s. A famous story states that James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett from Metallica entered Trouble's stage after a concert, trying to figure out how their amplifiers were set to produce their unique sound. cite web |url= http://www.trouble.de/ |title= Trouble |accessdate= 2007-11-29 |author= Schilmm, Patrick |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= 2002 |year= |month= |format= |work= Trouble.de |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]
Trouble's first two albums were critically acclaimed and are respected in the metal scene.cite web |url= http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/showreview.aspx?reviewID=928 |title= Trouble - Psalm 9 |accessdate= 2007-11-29 |author= Bergman, Keith |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= 2007 |year= |month= |format= |work= Blabbermouth |publisher= Roadrunner Records |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] The following album "Run to the Light", however, was said to be "disappointing," but a different direction was taken during the Def American era, when Rick Rubin helped the band to develop a new, unique style. The self-titled album gained "magnificent reviews in all the major heavy metal rags" and the psychedelic "Manic Frustration" was "critically lauded, cult-raved heavy metal masterpiece" The 1995's "Plastic Green Head" received good reviews, and "the album's songs also exuded a palpable sense of wary acceptance." However, Trouble was never thought of as a completely unique group; some critiques dismissed the band as a "cheap copy of Black Sabbath". [cite web |url= http://www.noise.fi/levyarvostelut/index.php?id=5698 |title= Trouble - Psalm 9 |accessdate= 2007-11-29 |author= Gao |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= 2006-05-18 |year= |month= |format= |work= Noise.fi |publisher= |pages= |language= Finnish |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] Nevertheless, Trouble's influence on the metal movement is unquestioned.
Trouble has had numerous lineup changes, and Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell have been the only constant members.
Compilation and live releases
Trouble Live" (1983, a live cassette sold by the band before being signed to Metal Blade Records, available on CDR through the band's website)
Trouble Live Dallas Bootleg" (1990, a live concert originally broadcasted by radio during the band's tour for the self-titled album on Def American, available on CDR through the band's website)
Live in Stockholm" (2006)
* [http://www.newtrouble.com Official Trouble website]
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