Icon: Night Of The Crime-80’s-1985.

Icon is an American heavy metal band that formed in 1979, disbanding in 1990. Icon has fully reformed as of 2008, currently consisting of three-fifths of the classic lineup: Dan Wexler (guitar), Stephen Clifford (lead vocals), and John Aquilino (guitar), along with Dave Henzerling (bass) and Gary Bruzzese (drums).

Formation

Originally known as The Schoolboys in 1979 (maybe earlier), Icon was formed in 1981, in Phoenix, Arizona, United States, by high school friends Dan Wexler (guitar), Stephen Clifford (lead vocals) and Tracy Wallach (bass).[1] They were joined by Dave Henzerling (guitar) and John Covington (drums).[1] Schoolboys released an EP Singin’ Shoutin’ and had a few songs on compilation albums. In 1984, Icon was signed to Capitol Records.[1] By this point, Henzerling and Covington had left the band and were replaced by John Aquilino (guitar) and Pat Dixon (drums) (former drummer for Loosely Tight).[2]

Background

In 1984, Icon released their self-titled debut, Icon,[1] and toured to support it. The tour set list featured quite a few new songs intended for the next album as well as a few Deep Purple (“Highway Star”) and Judas Priest covers. In 1985, Night of the Crime was released, produced by Eddie Kramer,[1] mixed by Ron Nevison and featuring the songwriting talent of Bob Halligan Jr. During the mixing of the album, vocalist Stephen Clifford decided to leave the band for personal reasons.[2] Regrouping, the band tried out a few different vocalists, lost their record deal[3] and released a local-only cassette; More Perfect Union,[1] featuring a polished pop-rock sound, a new singer (Jerry Harrison) and a keyboardist (Kevin Stoller). Although it was only released locally, it garnered enough attention to renew major-label interest in the group.[1]

In 1989, Right Between the Eyes was released on Atlantic/Megaforce, with Jerry Harrison on vocals and Drew Bollmann on second guitar.[1] A video for “Taking My Breath Away” was played on MTV‘s Headbangers’ Ball. Following the release of Right Between the Eyes and a supporting tour in the US opening for Ace Frehley and in the UK for King’s X, the later included David Lauser on drums (currently Sammy Hagar‘s drummer) replacing Dixon, Icon disbanded.[1] Singer Harrison recorded with a new project called Harlequin. The other band members continued to be involved in music projects; guitarist Dan Wexler in particular wrote and recorded with Alice Cooper (who had performed backing vocals on “Holy Man’s War” from Right Between the Eyes). In 1994, (An Even) More Perfect Union—an expanded version of A More Perfect Union, including tracks recorded for potential release on Right Between the Eyes—was released on CD.

2008 reunion

In August 2008, Icon celebrated their reunion with a re-issue of a 1984 Bootleg Concert on DVD. Original members Wexler, Aquilino and Dixon, along with former member Dave Henzerling and new singer Scott Hammons had plans to record new material potentially for a new album.

On November 29, 2008, Icon opened up for Tesla at the Dodge Theatre in their home town of Phoenix, Arizona. They received a very warm reception. Copies of their 1984 DVD were signed and sold and the band promised that new material was on the way. 93.3 KDKB, the local rock station, plugged Icon as a band they love yet rarely play.

In May 2009, singer Scott Hammons decided to pursue a solo career so he decided to leave the band and was replaced with former Adler’s Appetite vocalist Sheldon Tarsha, with whom the band played at Rocklahoma and opened for Queensrÿche in 2010. Previous plans to record new songs—possibly for a new album—still exist. However, Tarsha has left the band and original singer Stephen Clifford has been with the band since 2011.

Both the original self-titled album Icon and Night of the Crime were remastered and re-released in 2000 by French hard rock label AxeKiller. “Night of the Crime” was remastered again in 2009 by UK label Rock Candy Records.

Side projects

Wexler participated in other musical projects after Icon’s disbandment, most notably co-writing several tracks with Alice Cooper and releasing an album with the band Thieves in the Temple. Henzerling was one of the guitarists for Carmine Appice‘s band King Kobra; played on the Lizzy Borden album Master of Disguise; and later joined forces with Wexler and Dixon in the band Tomcats. Several Icon members and Surgical Steel drummer Bob Milan backed Arizona vocalist Lydian on her 1990 album “With a Vengeance”.

Icon also did a project together with lead singer Randy Baker, founder of the original Strange Daze a Tribute to the Doors[4] band which included a 4-song demo and performing live.[5] According to Baker, “I was never a member of Icon we did a project together as suggested by mutual management.”[6]

Discography:

(Rock On) Through the NightSingle1984 
On Your FeetSingle1984 
IconFull-length1984
Shot At My Heart / Out For BloodSingle1985 
Night of the CrimeFull-length1985
A More Perfect UnionFull-length1987 
Demo 1988Demo1988 
Forever YoungSingle1989 
Taking My Breath AwaySingle1989 
Right Between the EyesFull-length1989
1984: Live BootlegLive album1999 
John Aquillino
Guitars (1981-1985, 2008-present)
David Michael Philips
Guitars (1981), Bass (2008-present)
See also: ex-Tempest, Big Cock, King Kobra, Liquid Black, Schoolboys, Steelshine, Tomcats, Tunnel, ex-Alex Masi, ex-Keel, ex-Lizzy Borden
Dan Wexler
Guitars (1981-1990, 2008-present)
See also: ex-Lydian, ex-Thieves in the Temple
Stephen Clifford
Vocals (1981-1986, 2019-present)
Pat Dixon
Drums (1984-1990, 2008-present)
See also: ex-Loosely Tight

Past Members:

Tracy WallachBass (1981-1990)
See also: ex-Lydian
John CovingtonDrums (1981-1984)
See also: Steelshine
Kevin StrollerKeyboards (1986-1987)
See also: ex-Lydian
Jerry HarrisonVocals (1986-1990)
See also: ex-Harlequin, ex-Lydian, ex-Neurotic Outsiders
Drew BollmannGuitars (1988-1990)
David LauserDrums (1990)
See also: Alliance, Sammy Hagar, ex-Justice Brothers
Bruce StoddardDrums (2008)
Scott HammonsVocals (2008-2009)
See also: Tunnel
Sheldon TarshaVocals (2009-?)
See also: Delete After Death, Future Colors, Steelshine, Westfield Massacre, ex-Quiet Riot, ex-Adler’s Appetite, ex-Bobby Blotzer’s Ratt
Songs
Side A
1.Naked Eyes04:04  Show lyrics
2.Missing04:30  Show lyrics
3.Danger Calling03:39  Show lyrics
4.(Take Another) Shot at My Heart03:21  Show lyrics
5.Out for Blood05:40  Show lyrics
Side B
6.Raise the Hammer03:31  Show lyrics
7.Frozen Tears03:57  Show lyrics
8.Whites of Their Eyes03:45  Show lyrics
9.Hungry for Love04:17  Show lyrics
10.Rock My Radio04:14  Show lyrics
 40:58 

One thought on “Icon: Night Of The Crime-80’s-1985.

  1. DeathRiderDoom, November 17th, 2009

    Icon

    *Written for the 9th MA reviews challenge

    Icon is a pretty obscure melodic heavy metal/hard rock act. This album conjures up comparisons with Giuffria, Night Ranger, Europe, Fate, Bonfire, Coney Hatch and Y & T; plenty of bombastic, keyboard infused, catchy choruses, with big vocal harmonies in that true 80’s hard rock style. The sound evident here benefits from some pretty nifty melodic riffage, and great vocals. Awesome choruses are a high point, and these songs will get stuck in your head if you’re anything like me. As I always mention in reviews of this type of stuff, this isn’t for those afraid of a bit of melody in their metal. Having said that though – it’s awesome, and if you aren’t a fan of this style, go get the first 4 Dokken albums, and come back to bands like this and Kuni, and the aforementioned others, and see if you can get into it then.

    Anyway, for me tracks like the amazing ‘Danger Calling’ exemplify this style to the hilt. Great production helps the tracks convey their awesome blend of crunchiness with powerful melodies in a perfect mix. This is an example of an exceptional vocal hook in the chorus, sure to win over the pop-rock crowd, and the metalhead alike. Great melodic riffage, though not really ‘tough’ per se, has melodic prowess, and will still get you nodding your head along. A killer track; great songwriting, and amazingly melodic and 80’s. ‘Out for Blood’ is another high point, this time a bit more heavy and furious (the title being a dead giveaway there). Riffage here is great, but of course given the conventions of this style, is mixed down, in favour of a concentration on the superb vocal melodies, and awesome George Lynch-esque guitar solos. You do get a strong whiff of Dokken throughout tracks like this. Killer stuff.

    Basically, Icon embodies the perfect blending of 80’s AOR with just the right amount of heaviness. Like Dokken, there’s plenty of guitar mastery, mixed in with some pounding drums, and catchy, extremely melodic, yet powerful vocals. Bonfire is another band who does this blend incredibly well – it’s al about well thought out, massive choruses and powerful hooks – with riffs that have the balls to drive it along. Everything on here is incredibly catchy metal, from the straight forward ‘Raise the Hammer’, with slow paced pounding beat and guitar wizardry solos, to the keyboard infused Toto-esque ballad ‘Frozen Tears’. This album has definitely grown on me, as I didn’t appreciate it as much when I first got it. The caliber of material on here tops many of the straight AOR bands like Autograph and Giuffria, and equals greats like Night Ranger.

    A genuinely enjoyable album here, this one will please fans of the aforementioned bands, especially those of you who like Bonfire. The guitars are very strong; well thought out leads that are original enough, and riffs which have some bite. That said though, guitars are sort of taking a back seat it feels, but if you concentrate on em, you can tell they’re badass. In tracks like ‘The Whites of Their Eyes’ you could draw Leatherwolf comparisons, and riffage is tough. Subject matter is definitely metal here. Superbly well thought out metal here making this a very strong effort. Seems like a lot of time went in to prepare these arrangements, and great hooks abound. This is an advisable release for sure, but be prepared for it to grow on you. Check out the track ‘Danger Calling’ online somewhere, and see what you think. If it’s you, then what are you waiting for. Raise your fists! As for the merits of this particular sub-genre of 80’s metal – I think it’s great. I know there’s a lot of people out there who wouldn’t consider it ‘true’ enough or something, but hey – fuck you – this shit’s awesome and it’s totally still metal.

    -DeathRiderDoom

    Like

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