Damn Yankees was an American hard rock supergroup.
The band was formed in 1989, consisting of Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, Ted Nugent of The Amboy Dukes and a successful solo career, and Michael Cartellone (then an unknown drummer, but one who would later join Lynyrd Skynyrd).
Produced by rock producer Ron Nevison, the new band’s self-titled debut album went double-platinum in 1990. Jack Blades’s leading single "Coming of Age" hit No. 60 on the U.S. Hot 100, and No. 1 on the AOR charts, while Tommy Shaw’s "Come Again" received extensive AOR airplay.
1990's rock ballad "High Enough" rose to No. 3 on U.S. Hot 100, and No. 2 on AOR charts. Despite Ted Nugent's career being built on his "Motor City Madman" image, "High Enough" was his first mainstream top ten single. The band's songs appeared on several Hollywood film soundtracks, such as Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Nothing But Trouble and The Taking of Beverly Hills.
After the release of their debut, the Damn Yankees went on a year-and-a-half world tour with the likes of a revamped Bad Company, Poison and Jackyl. Their U.S. tour coincided with the Persian Gulf War, in which the band unfurled American flags and made patriotic statements.
In 1992, Damn Yankees went gold with their follow-up album Don’t Tread. The title song, sung by Blades, enjoyed extensive coverage at the Barcelona Olympic Games. Ted Nugent also appeared on Rock the Vote, voicing support for the GOP against Bill Clinton. Although the second release was not as successful as the first album, it contained a few minor hits, such as "Mister Please," "Where You Goin' Now," and "The Silence Is Broken," a power ballad featured in the 1993 Jean-Claude Van Damme film Nowhere to Run.
In 1994 Ted Nugent revived his solo career leaving Tommy Shaw & Jack Blades to record their own album as the duo Shaw Blades. Released in 1995, Hallucination received very little support from its label as a personnel change brought industry executives more sympathetic to alternative and grunge bands. Ultimately, the Shaw Blades album came out to some critical praise, but it vanished without major single support or a national tour (which had been cancelled by Warner Bros.). "I’ll Always Be With You" did garner some AOR airplay, and the title track was heard in the hit movie Tommy Boy, but after a brief West Coast tour, both Shaw and Blades went back to their respective original bands, Styx & Night Ranger.
In 2007, Shaw Blades released their new album Influence, which consisted solely of cover songs that influenced them, mostly from the 1960s and 1970s. The pair also recorded a cover of the classic Christmas song "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" on the "A Classic Rock Christmas" album by various Classic Rock artists in 2002. Both members still principally record and perform with their respective original bands.
During a hiatus in both Night Ranger and Styx, Shaw and Blades met with Ted Nugent to record a new Damn Yankees album in 1999. However, the album, provisionally titled Bravo, failed to please either the band members or the prospective record labels. Some of this unused material may have surfaced on Shaw’s 7 Deadly Zens solo album, which featured sessions from both Jack Blades and Ted Nugent, as well as Michael Cartellone. Other songs originally prepared for a 3rd Damn Yankees album were included on Nugent’s 2002 release Craveman and Blades’ 2004 self-titled solo effort.
While on the VH1 Classic show about Power Ballads of 88, Jack Blades commented about recent rumors regarding Damn Yankees. Jack said he, Ted, and Tommy had been talking and hanging out. Jack then said there would be new music and a tour from Damn Yankees in the future.
On January 15, 2010 at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA, the original members of Damn Yankees made a surprise appearance at the Taylor Guitars exhibit. Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw, Ted Nugent, and Michael Cartellone performed an acoustic set on the Taylor Stage including hits such as "Coming of Age", "High Enough", and the Ted Nugent anthem "Cat Scratch Fever". It was their first performance together since 2002.
- Tommy Shaw – rhythm & lead guitars, lead & backing vocals (1989–1996, 1998–2001, 2010)
- Jack Blades – bass guitar, lead & backing vocals (1989–1996, 1998–2001, 2010)
- Ted Nugent – lead & rhythm guitars, backing & lead vocals (1989–1996, 1998–2001, 2010)
- Michael Cartellone – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1989–1996, 1998–2001, 2010)
- Robbie Buchanan – keyboards on Don't Tread (1992 — multiple tracks)
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Image from Discogs