Pretty Maids is a Danish hard rock/heavy metal band from Horsens, Denmark. Formed in 1981 by Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer, their sound and music can be described as classic guitar-laden heavy rock with a strong emphasis on melodic elements like vocals and keyboards.
Over the years, Pretty Maids have sold hundreds of thousands of records, but have never broken through in a major way, except in Japan during the 1990s. They have supported well known bands such as Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, and Saxon, and were also featured at the 1987 German version of Monsters of Rock, where Metallica headlined along with Deep Purple.
After a prolonged international touring hiatus before the release of the 2006 Wake Up to the Real World album, the band have every year since been touring their primary markets of Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Spain.
Pretty Maids were formed in 1981 by friends Ken Hammer and Ronnie Atkins in Horsens, Denmark. They were initially a cover band first named Pretty Pretty Panick, but soon started writing their own material and a self-financed demo resulted in a deal with the English record label Bullet Records.
In 1983, the band released their debut self-titled EP under the name Pretty Maids, recognition was fuelled by great reaction to their UK tour the same year. The band outgrew their label, and in 1984 signed to CBS Records, who remixed and re-released their self-titled EP with a different cover.
In 1984, the band released their debut studio album, Red, Hot and Heavy, which was a success. More acclaim[according to whom?] followed with their second studio album, Future World, released in 1987. It was recorded in New York City with renowned producer Eddie Kramer. The album is considered to define the band’s sound, with typically aggressive rockers alongside more commercial, melodic moments.
The 1990 follow up Jump the Gun, produced by Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, offered more of the same catchy riffs. The record label had put in all efforts to break the charts worldwide with this record, but it never took off, except in Japan. The band more or less broke up after the lack of success with this record, leaving only founding members Ron Atkins and Ken Hammer.
They would not quit so recruited drummer Michael Fast and bass player Kenn Jackson, and went on to record Sin-Decade in 1992 with Metallica‘s producer Flemming Rasmussen. The album produced the hit single “Please Don’t Leave Me” – a John Sykes/Phil Lynott cover which opened the band up to an even wider audience.
In 1995 however, the band surprised the fans and critics by releasing the storming Scream. This was an altogether heavier and guitar-lead approach which gained numerous plaudits and saw the band release their first live album, Screamin’ Live.
The follow-up Spooked, released in 1997, was regarded by many as an instant classic, maintaining the energy and heaviness of Scream whilst still capturing the quintessential melody that is Pretty Maids.
1999’s Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Overdoing produced the commercial, hard driving rock song Hell on High Heels.
In 2000 the band released the album Carpe Diem, which was more melodic than their previous offerings, disappointing certain factions of their fan-base.
In 2002 Pretty Maids released the album Planet Panic which was a trip back to the heavier sides of their catalogue.
In 2003 their management company Rock On went bankrupt due to some unwise business moves in September 2002. This left Pretty Maids in a bad financial situation and also left them with a lot of legal problems as well as lot of business and copyright mess.
Lead guitarist Ken Hammer had a heart attack on December 6, 2003. He has since recovered completely and has been on stage numerous times since the incident.
As of July 2005 the drummer since 1991, Michael Fast, decided to leave before the recording of Wake Up to the Real World – an album that was originally intended to be released in 2005, but the initial recordings was postponed to the summer of 2006. In April 2006, new drummer Allan Tschicaja (Royal Hunt, Kingdom Come) was announced as Michael Fast’s replacement. In 2006, Morten Sandager (ex-Mercenary) joined Pretty Maids, playing the keyboards.
On May 14, 2010, Pretty Maids released their twelfth studio album, Pandemonium, through Frontiers Records, which was named one of their best albums. In April 2010, Pretty Maids announced that they have parted ways with bass player Kenn Jackson. In May 2010, it was announced that American bass player Hal Patino (formerly of King Diamond) had replaced Jackson. Patino announced in April 2011 that he had left Pretty Maids.
Celebrating their 30th anniversary, Pretty Maids played a concert at Tivoli, Copenhagen, which featured Rene Shades [Mike Tramp] on bass. Rene Shades has replaced Hal Patino.
On September 15, 2012, Pretty Maids played in the US for the first time in the ProgPower festival.
Pretty Maids released their thirteenth studio album Motherland on March 22 in Europe and on March 26 in North America through Frontiers Records. Ronnie Atkins has called it the band’s “best album song by song”.
In December 2015, Pretty Maids announced that their fifteenth studio album is set to be released in 2016.
In February 2016, Pretty Maids announced that keyboard player Morten Sandager had left the band. In September 2016, Pretty Maids announced that Chris Laney has joined the band, playing keyboards and guitars.
On May 1, 2017 it was announced that drummer Allan Tschicaja had left the band. In a statement he said: “It’s been a difficult decision for me, but I want to focus more on family, friends and other projects.” He was replaced by Allan Sørensen on May 9, 2017, where he played for the first time with Pretty Maids on their opening slot for Kiss in Horsens, Denmark.
On July 9, 2019 it was announced that Pretty Maids were forced to cancel their September 2019 ProgPower appearance due to personnel changes.
|See also: ex-Jackal, ex-Encore, ex-Artillery, ex-Evil, ex-Mercyful Fate, ex-Devil’s Symphony, ex-Harlot, ex-Trash|
|John Darrow||Bass (1981-1984)|
|See also: ex-Attica, ex-Shylock, CoverTrain, ex-Back to Black, ex-Lost Connection, ex-Toronto|
|Phil Moorheed||Drums (1981-1991)|
|Pete Collins||Guitars (1982-1984, 1985-1989)|
|Alan “Stevie” Owen||Keyboards (1982-1990, 2000-2002)|
|See also: ex-Fear Itself|
|Allan Delong||Bass (1984-1991)|
|See also: DeLong, ex-Shylock|
|Rick Hanson||Guitars (1984)|
|See also: ex-Shylock, ex-Pentagon, ex-Shotz|
|Ricky Marx||Guitars (1989-1991)|
|See also: Now or Never|
|Dominic Gale||Keyboards (1990-1996)|
|Kenn Jackson||Bass (1991-2010)|
|See also: ex-Now or Never|
|Michael Fast Petersen||Drums (1991-2005)|
|See also: Den Danske Mafia, Glam Gang, Queen of Denmark, ex-Cold Pizza, ex-Dudes in Limos, ex-Fanny Hill, ex-Find Lizzy, ex-Hero|
|Morten Sandager||Keyboards (2006-2016)|
|See also: ex-Behind the Curtain, At the Movies, Firesoul, ex-Mercenary, ex-Melodic Meltdown, ex-Elopa|
|Allan Sørensen||Drums (2017-2019)|
|See also: ex-Narita, ex-Stonehenge, ex-Cornerstone, At the Movies, Scarlet, Statement, ex-Royal Hunt, ex-Prime Time, ex-Highway Jam|