Alcatrazz is a heavy metal band oroiginally formed in Los Angeles in 1983 by Jimmy Waldo, Gary Shea (both formerly of melodic rock band New England) and Graham Bonnet (formerly of Rainbow and Michael Schenker Group). The initial line-up was completed by the addition of young Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, who had recently left American metal band Steeler, and former Iron Butterfly drummer Jan Uvena, who had just recently departed Alice Cooper's backing band. It was Shea that named the band "Alcatrazz"; the misspelling of the famous prison's name deliberate.
The band's debut album, 'No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll' was released in late 1983 on Rocshire Records, after which Malmsteen moved on to form his own band, replaced with former Frank Zappa guitarist Steve Vai, despite resistance from Bonnet. The band then signed with Capitol Records and the band released its second album 'Disturbing the Peace' in the spring of 1985, produced by Eddie Kramer who had worked with Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Triumph, among others. However, another line-up change was in the wind as Steve Vai left to join David Lee Roth's solo band in 1986. His departure was on excellent terms, as it was an offer that Vai could not refuse. He was replaced by guitarist Danny Johnson, who recorded what became Alcatrazz's final studio album of the 1980s, 'Dangerous Games', released in September 1986. The band then went on an extended hiatus
In February 2019 Alcatrazz was finally fully resurrected with Mark Benquechea on drums and guitar virtuoso Joe Stump (formerly of Holy Hell and Reign of Terror) joining to record a new album, which also included contributions from Chris Impellitteri, Bob Kulick, Dario Mollo and Steve Vai. Alcatrazz's first studio album in 34 years, 'Born Innocent', was released on 31 July, 2020, through Silver Lining Music.
Not made public at the time in June 2020 a month before "Born Innocent" was released, Graham Bonnet quit Alcatrazz after privately declaring his dissatisfaction with playing heavy metal; ironically a type of music he feels no genuine affinity for. In his place, the band recruited ex-Rainbow vocalist Doogie White (also previously of Tank and Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock). On 4 June, 2021, the first single from this new incarnation, 'Turn of the Wheel', was released. A second, 'Sword of Deliverance', followed on 23 July before the album 'V' was released on 15 October, 2021, again by Silver Lining Music. A harder-edged sound, the album also features guest contributions from drummer Nigel Glockler (Saxon), bassist Donnie Van Stavern (Riot), and a bass track from Cliff Evans (Tank). Around this time, personal issues forced Mark Benquechea to depart and drummer Larry Paterson (formerly of Chokehold and Blaze Bayley) joined the band as they made their first UK tour in support of the album at the beginning of 2022.
Following a successful European tour, the quintet recorded the band's sixth album 'Take No Prisoners' which was released on 19 May 2023 again through Silver Lining. Accompanied by three video singles, the album has received outstanding reviews.
"One of the best albums of the year."
"Take No Prisoners is a top notch metal album that once again proves that a band can still convince after 40 years."
Metal Hammer Germany
"Now they are firmly in heavy metal land and I love it...There are no dips, no fillers."
"Alcatrazz is tighter, heavier, and more laser-focused than they have ever been with their latest release Take No Prisoners."
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