Krokus is a hard rock/heavy metal band from Switzerland. They enjoyed moderate success in North America during the 1980s.
Krokus was founded in Solothurn in 1975 by bassist (and original lead vocalist) Chris von Rohr and guitarist Tommy Kiefer. Former Eazy Money vocalist Marc Storace joined the band as frontman in time for their Metal Rendez-vous album in 1980.
Early career (1975–1982)
Krokus was formed in 1975 as a primarily prog rock act. Chris von Rohr, originally the drummer, switched to lead vocals in the late 1970s and with that formation Krokus was successful in Switzerland, touring throughout the country. After seeing AC/DC in concert in the late 70s, they decided to change their musical direction and adopted a new sound which was heavily influenced by the 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, Marc Storace, formerly of TEA and Eazy Money, was hired. With the new lineup in place, the band recorded and released a new album entitled Metal Rendez-vous in 1980, the album was Krokus's first hit and brought much wider 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 quit the band over musical differences early into the "Hardware" touring cycle and was replaced by then 19-year old newcomer Mandy Meyer (ex-BM Smith). Kiefer died on December 24, 1986.
Rise to popularity (1982–1988)
In 1982, with new American management, Krokus recorded One Vice at a Time, which featured the hits, "Long Stick Goes Boom," and the Guess Who cover, "American Woman". 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 began to regard Krokus merely as AC/DC imitators. Nevertheless, Krokus became increasingly popular in Europe and began to receive attention in the United States.
1983's Headhunter was awarded Platinum album status in the United States and hit number 25 in the 1983 album charts. 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 Chris von Rohr was fired in late 1983, 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, from the Swiss band Crown taking over rhythm guitar duties for the remainder of the Headhunter touring cycle.
1984 saw the band move in a more commercial direction with The Blitz, which featured a cover of Sweet's 1973 hit song The Ballroom Blitz. Though a commercial success, the album was panned critically. 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 was a commercial and critical failure. Krokus then released a live album entitled Alive and Screamin' as the band transitioned from Arista Records to MCA for the release of their Heart Attack album in 1988 in a desperate attempt to keep the band together which saw the return of bassist Chris von Rohr. After an intense period of recording and touring for much of the 1980s the band went on hiatus at the end of 1988.
Later years (1989–2006)
Guitarist Fernando von Arb would remain the sole original member throughout most of the 1990s as Krokus carried on with ever changing line-ups. 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. It was not until 2003's Rock the Block when vocalist Marc Storace once again returned to the fold.
In 2005, longtime lead guitarist Fernando von Arb left the band after continuing wrist problems required surgery. Mandy Meyer, who had played with the band in the mid-1980s, replaced von Arb in the lineup. The new formation 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".
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. 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, their latest album, Hoodoo, including a cover version of Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild" and ten other songs, was released. It came in a regular and limited edition, the latter containing a DVD featuring concert footage.
In May 2011, drummer Fready Steady announced he was leaving the band.
Reunion with Mandy Meyer and beyond (2012–present)
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. Krokus released their seventeenth studio album Dirty Dynamite on February 22, 2013.
On April 21, 2013, it was reported that former drummer Dani Crivelli, who played on the band's 1988 Heart Attack, had died. According to the German language Swiss daily Blick, Crivelli fell off a bridge in Trimbach, Canton of Solothurn, and did not survive the fall.
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.
- Alive and Screamin' (1986) US No. 97
- Fire and Gasoline (2004)
- Early Days '75–'78 (1980)
- Stayed Awake All Night – The Best (1989)
- The Dirty Dozen (1993)
- Definitive Collection (2000)
- The Collection (2000)
- Best Of (2000)
- Headhunter Blitz (2002)
- Long Stick Goes Boom: The Anthology (2003)
Singles and EPs
- "Tokyo Nights" (1980)
- "Heatstrokes" (1980)
- "Bedside Radio" (1980)
- "Winning Man" (1981) No. 26 US Rock
- "Burning Bones" (1981) No. 46 US Rock
- "Rock City" (1981)
- "Long Stick Goes Boom" (1982) No. 22 US Rock
- "American Woman" (1982) No. 53 US Rock
- "Save Me" (1982)
- "Bad Boys Rag Dolls" (1982)
- "Stayed Awake All Night" (1983) No. 31 US Rock
- "Screaming in the Night" (1983) No. 21 US Rock
- "Eat The Rich" (1983) No. 33 US Rock
- "Midnite Maniac" (1984) No. 71 Hot 100, No. 10 US Rock
- "Ballroom Blitz" (1984)
- "Our Love" (1984) No. 22 US Rock
- "School's Out" (1986) No. 67 Hot 100
- "Screaming in the Night (Live)" (1987)
- "Let the Love Begin" (1987)
- "Let It Go" (1988)
- "Wild Love" (1988)
- "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" (1994)
- "I Want It All" (2003)
- "Angel of My Dreams" (2006)
Videos & DVDs
- The Video Blitz (1985, VHS & LaserDisc)
- Fire And Gasoline (2004, Bonus DVD)
- As Long As We Live (2004, DVD)
- Official website
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