Wrathchild was formed in 1980 in Evesham, England by Marc Angel (Bass) and Philip Vokins (Guitar). They recruited Rocky Shades for lead vocals, and Brian Parry on drums. However, both Vokins and Parry left in 1981, before the band released any EPs or singles, only performing a couple of live shows in the band’s early days. They were replaced by two members from the band Medusa; guitarist Lance Rocket and drummer Eddie Star. They became mainstays in the band and completed the much recognised over the top line-up for a decade of touring and recording.
After releasing a string of demos, such as Mascara Massacre in 1982, the band was offered a record deal by Bullet Records. On this label the group put out their first official release in 1983, an EP called Stackheel Strutt.
Heavy Metal Records
As the band’s unique sound and impressive stage shows became renowned around the UK, the band began to draw interest from several labels. One of those interested labels was Heavy Metal Records, who stayed with the band for their most successful period. Following this new partnership, in 1984, the band recorded and released their debut studio album, Stakk Attakk. The album was well received and began to really show the band’s talent. It also spawned two singles; a cover version of the Gary Glitter classic “Doing Alright with the Boys” and “Trash Queen”, which really put them on the map, earning their first top 40 hits.
The Biz Suxx
Unfortunately, just as Wrathchild became successful, they came embroiled in contractual problems with their label. RCA Records, a major label, unsuccessfully attempted to sign the band from Heavy Metal Records in an effort to free them from their contract. Meanwhile, the group released a video compilation called War Machine, in 1984.
After settling the dispute with Heavy Metal Records, nearly four years later, the band released their second album, The Biz Suxx, in 1988. This effort built upon their first album, launching the band into the limelight, alongside their impressive PR campaign. Unfortunately, the gap between their first two albums is considered to have consigned the band to lesser stardom. By 1988, KISS, GNR, and Motley Crue were performing similar music, after being influenced by Wrathchild’s first album, and had already received much of the acclaim as instigators of the glam rock genre. This unfortunately led to The Biz Suxx not receiving the recognition it deserved.
However, the band became big stars in the UK Metal scene, with Nukklear Rokket becoming a big hit. The promotional video was produced by Bruce Dickinson of NWOBHM giants, Iron Maiden. Bruce plays the protester in the video whilst the performance was filmed in the car park at his home in Chiswick. Ron Kennedy directed and edited the video as well as appearing as the mad professor. Meanwhile, Steve Prior was the cameraman.
Delirium and Break Up
Finally, the band released their third, Delirium, in 1989, wasting no time in returning to the studio. It featured Grim Reaper’s Steve Grimmet on backing vocals. Unfortunately, soon after the release, Rocky Shades left to join the punk band Discharge. Despite the large following they amassed, the band couldn’t compete with the onset popularity of grunge and Wrathchild broke up.