ALCATRAZZ

Hard Rock / Heavy Metal • United States
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Alcatrazz was a heavy metal band formed in 1983 in Los Angeles by Graham Bonnet.

The band's initial line-up consited of Graham Bonnet (vocals - ex-Rainbow / Michael Schenker Group), Yngwie J. Malmsteen (guitar - ex-Steeler), Gary Shea (bass - ex-New England), Jimmy Waldo (keyboards - also ex-New England) and Jan Uvena (drums - ex-Alice Cooper / Pointer Sisters).

After recording the first two albums musical differences surfaced, and Malmsteen quit in 1985. Against the wishes of the band's management, he was replaced by Steve Vai who also left after recording the album Disturbing The Peace. The band brought in Danny Johnson to replace him, and recorded the album Dangerous Games before finally breaking up in 1987.

Graham Bonnett described their sound as "The thinking man's heavy metal".

Their most famous song is God Blessed Video, a somewhat comic song which makes fun of MTV. It can be heard on
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ALCATRAZZ Discography

ALCATRAZZ albums / top albums

ALCATRAZZ No Parole From Rock'n'Roll album cover 4.19 | 8 ratings
No Parole From Rock'n'Roll
Heavy Metal 1983
ALCATRAZZ Disturbing the Peace album cover 4.06 | 8 ratings
Disturbing the Peace
Hard Rock 1985
ALCATRAZZ Dangerous Games album cover 3.12 | 4 ratings
Dangerous Games
Hard Rock 1986

ALCATRAZZ EPs & splits

ALCATRAZZ live albums

ALCATRAZZ Live Sentence album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Live Sentence
Heavy Metal 1984
ALCATRAZZ Live '83 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live '83
Heavy Metal 2010

ALCATRAZZ demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

ALCATRAZZ re-issues & compilations

ALCATRAZZ The Best of Alcatrazz album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
The Best of Alcatrazz
Heavy Metal 1996

ALCATRAZZ singles (0)

ALCATRAZZ movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Power Live '85
Heavy Metal 1985

ALCATRAZZ Reviews

ALCATRAZZ The Best of Alcatrazz

Boxset / Compilation · 1996 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
1967/ 1976
Often in my life I found myself in front of dilemmas: How to classify a band like Alcatrazz? Graham Bonnet is not a metal singer, but not pop, blues or jazz... Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Steve Vai are two excellent neo-classical guitarists (especially Malmsteen) and guitarist Danny Johnson is a great AOR axeman. Gary Shea (bass) Jimmy Waldo (keyboards) and Jan Uvena (drums) are good musicians, good for any occasion. So how categorize this band?

Malsteen is present (in this compilation) in "Island In The Sun", "General Hospital" and "Hiroshima Mon Amour", all from their debut album "No Parole From R'n'R" and "All Night Long" "Since You've Been Gone" and "Night Games", all to "Live Sentence". Well, the studio tracks are undoubtedly heavy rock. The Live tracks depart from a Heavy AOR (Blackmore and Glover) to go through a "Heavy POP" (Russ Ballard) (which were already in the repertoire of the legendary Rainbow [period Bonnett]) and end with a "Progressive AOR" ! Certainly the three live tracks are covers. But significant for understanding the style of the early Alcatrazz, those Malmsteen, those closest to the concept of Progressive Rock. With Steve Vai things change. The album "Disturbing The Peace", here represented by the Athletic Speed Heavy Prog Rock "Stripper" and Heavy AOR (to generalize) "Painted Lover", "Sons and Lovers," "God Bless Video" and "Mercy." If the music with Malmsteen is hot, technical, a tribute to Rainbow and similar bands, with Vai the music becomes colder, animal and, in my view, calculated. Yet you can not tell if we're talking about AOR, Heavy Rock or Prog or else! Obviously the answer we would never: Malmsteen and Vai in the same band we were, they composed the songs, have given their stylistic imprint and have contaminated too good Bonnet. Eventually, however, failed to take their style, because the third "Axeman" by the band, Danny Johnson, who played the band's latest album "Dangerous Games", brought a style of heavy POP AOR of the Journey, though "It's My Life is Rock" and Heavy Beat "Dangerous Games", "Undercover" and "No Immagination" are POP AOR.

Alcatrazz is an expression in each of Malmsteen, Vai and Johnson don't see it as a real band. This is his fault. Defect that is the best thing that this band could boast. And it is certainly why I really like Alcatrazz and I can't understand how they have lasted only the space of four albums.

Answer the question whether Alcatrazz are AOR, Heavy Rock or Prog is not easy. They may be called Class Metal. But, in hindsight, Class Metal does not exist except as an abstract idea. It is also true that they can not be defined simply Pomp Metal, AOR, Heavy Rock... But Prog? Yeah, good question. We could say that Alcatrazz produced music for Progsters. But it's not entirely true either. Their music was, is and will remain just fucking rock. Because in the end this music is a form of Prog Rock, Blues... I.e. Fucking Rock music. And nothing prevents you from claiming that Alcatrazz were (and are) real artists, and therefore not classifiable. While playing at ProgFest I would see them well (and with all three guitarists on stage!)

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