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Wolfsbane Biography

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Wolfsbane In-depth Biography

As heavy metal} was enjoying its late-'80s commercial heyday in America, England (which had kicked off metal}'s gradual march towards mainstream acceptance at the onset of the decade with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal}) was actually spawning a number of young commercial metal} bands (the Almighty}, the Wildhearts}, etc.) to compete with their neighbors across the pond. Among the most promising of these was Tamworth's Wolfsbane}, who, with their explosive mix of Iron Maiden}'s heaviness and Van Halen}'s party attitude, became the first English band to sign with Rick Rubin}'s highly respected Def American} label. But their albums never managed to capture the power of their stage set, and the band ground to a halt after only a few turbulent years. In fact, they are now probably best remembered for providing metal} legends Iron Maiden} with vocalist Blaze Bailey}.

Wolfsbane} were formed in Tamworth, England, by singer Blaze Bailey}, guitarist Jase Edwards}, bassist Jeff Hateley} and drummer Steve 'Danger' Ellet} around 1986. After a few years of cutting their teeth as a glammed-up hard rock} band, they had developed into a fierce live unit, toughened up their sound, and replaced the hairspray and makeup for a rougher denim and leather image. This was enough to attract the attention of maverick producer Rick Rubin}, who signed them to his Def American} label in 1988. With Rubin} at the helm, the group was soon recording their raucous 1989 debut, Live Fast, Die Fast}, which made it into the U.K. Top 50 despite a strangely weak mix which didn't do the band's amazing concert energy any justice. Produced by Brendan O'Brien} (later of Pearl Jam} and Rage Against the Machine} fame), 1990's All Hell's Breaking Loose Down at Little Kathy Wilson's Place} E.P. set the record state and was the closest they ever came to remedying this problem. But while it too would chart in the U.K., Def American} refused to even release it in the U.S. Things couldn't be better at home, however, as the band was chosen to open for Iron Maiden} on their 1991 European tour. A solid second effort in 1991's aptly named Down Fall the Good Guys} (again produced by O'Brien}) followed, but no amount of media enthusiasm seemed capable of igniting Wolfsbane}'s sluggish record sales, and Def American} eventually dropped the band in late 1992.

Trying to keep their collective chin up, the group quickly signed with Bronze Records} and booked a one-night stand at London's Marquee Club} to be recorded for a future live release. The resulting Massive Noise Injection} appeared in June 1993 and was followed six months later by another studio album, simply entitled Wolfsbane}. But even before its release, there were rumblings that singer Blaze Bailey} had been tapped to join Iron Maiden} as Bruce Dickinson}'s replacement. The rumors were soon confirmed as fact, and by the time of its release in February, the album was a moot point. Wolfsbane} broke up immediately. ~ Ed Rivadavia, All Music Guide
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