Krokus in 2008
|Genres||Hard rock, heavy metal|
|Labels||AFM, Arista, MCA|
|Members||Chris von Rohr
Fernando von Arb (in-studio only)
Mark Kohler (in-studio only)
|See Member history section|
Krokus were founded in Solothurn in 1975 by bassist/keyboardist/percussionist (and original drummer, and then lead vocalist) Chris von Rohr and guitarist Tommy Kiefer. Former TEA vocalist Marc Storace joined the band as frontman in time for their Metal Rendez-vous album in 1979.
Krokus was formed in 1975 as a primarily progressive rock act. The group's original lead singer, Peter Richard left before the first album was recorded, leaving lead guitarist Tommy Kiefer to handle lead vocal duties for the band's self-titled debut album. However, Chris von Rohr, originally the drummer, switched to lead vocals for the follow-up record, remaining in this capacity into the late 1970s (along with playing keyboards and percussion), with several new members, originally from the band Montezuma, also joining the lineup. With this incarnation, Krokus became successful in Switzerland, touring throughout the country. After seeing AC/DC in concert in the late 1970s, they decided to change their musical direction and adopted a new sound which was heavily influenced by that band. Since von Rohr possessed limited vocal abilities and was not capable of hitting the third octave, the band decided to hire a new lead vocalist. Eventually, after trying out several other frontmen, Marc Storace, formerly of TEA and Eazy Money, was hired in 1979. With the new line-up in place, the band recorded and released the album Metal Rendez-vous in 1980, which was Krokus' first hit and brought the band international recognition.
The 1981 follow-up album, Hardware, was recorded at the Roundhouse Studios in London and featured such songs as "Easy Rocker" and "Rock City", which are still a part of the band's live repertoire today. Lead guitarist Tommy Kiefer was forced to leave the band due to a heroin addiction early into the tour supporting Hardware and was replaced by newcomer Mandy Meyer (ex-BM Smith). Kiefer died on December 24, 1986. Meyer soon left, replaced by Mark Kohler, and teamed up with bassist Tommy Keiser (not to be confused with Tommy Kiefer) of fellow Swiss rockers Roxane to start his own band. Setting up headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee under the guidance of Krokus manager Butch Stone, the duo would recruit former Target vocalist Jimi Jamison, guitarist/keyboardist Jack Holder, and drummer Jeff Klaven and issued their sole album, First Strike, under the name Cobra in 1983. Klaven and Keiser would both subsequently join Krokus. Meyer went on to join Asia, although he would return to the Krokus lineup some years later. Jamison would also provide backing vocals on several Krokus albums before going on to join the massively successful band, Survivor.
In 1982, with new American management, Krokus recorded One Vice at a Time, which features the hits, "Long Stick Goes Boom," and the Guess Who cover, "American Woman". Chris von Rohr described the album at the time as "the album AC/DC never made", as the influence of the Australian band is difficult to ignore. The comparisons actually cast doubt on the creativity of the band, as many listeners now, in spite of the Swiss band's much wider musical-spectrum, began to regard Krokus merely as AC/DC imitators. Nevertheless, Krokus became increasingly popular in Europe and began to receive attention and success in the United States.
1983's Headhunter was awarded Gold album status in the United States and hit number 28 in the 1983 Billboard 200 album chart. The album was Krokus' most successful album to date, both commercially and critically. It boasted the hit power ballad "Screaming in the Night", which saw heavy rotation on MTV and would become one of the band's most recognizable songs. Judas Priest's Rob Halford contributed backing vocals on the song "Ready to Burn". Bassist/keyboardist/percussionist Chris von Rohr was fired in late 1983 due to his extroverted article published in a main Swiss Newspaper exposing the band's rock'n`roll habits, prior to the band's appearance at the RockPop Festival in Dortmund, Germany, with rhythm guitarist Mark Kohler switching over to bass and Patrick Mason, aka Patrick Mahassen, who had also played in the Swiss band Crown, taking over rhythm guitar duties for the remainder of the Headhunter tour; however, Mahassen exited the band prior to the recording of the next album, The Blitz. The tour for this album featured Mark Kohler returning to his main instrument, with Andy Tanas joining on the bass. These shows also featured Loverboy's Doug Johnson on keyboards. Meanwhile, von Rohr would go on to release a solo album in 1987 entitled Hammer and Tongue, which featured contributions from his former Krokus bandmates.
Pushed into a corner by their own management and record company, 1984 saw the band move in a Glam-Rock direction with The Blitz, which featured a cover of Sweet's 1973 hit "The Ballroom Blitz". Though a commercial success, the album was panned critically. The band hit the Billboard Hot 100 with "Midnite Maniac" from that album, becoming the first Swiss act to do so. Capitalizing on the wave of success enjoyed by heavy metal in the mid-1980s, the band then released Change of Address in 1986, which featured a cover of the Alice Cooper standard "School's Out". The album production was way too clean and polished for Krokus and it became a commercial failure. To counterbalance this, Krokus soon released a live album entitled Alive and Screamin' while the band transitioned from Arista Records to MCA for the release of their Heart Attack album in 1988. Heart Attack was a last desperate attempt to keep the band together. It saw the return of bassist/keyboardist/percussionist Chris von Rohr with Dani Crivelli on drums and was similarly written and produced in the band's early 80's style. However the Swiss flagship of international-heavy-rock needed time out. Fernando and Marc had endured 8 years of constant writing, recording and touring with hardly any time off. Coming dangerously close to a burn-out they went on hiatus at the end of 1988.
Guitarist Fernando von Arb would remain the sole original member throughout most of the 1990s as Krokus carried on with ever-changing line-ups. 1995 saw a brief reunion of the classic One Vice at a Time line-up, minus von Rohr, on the To Rock or Not to Be album. In 2003, the band released Rock the Block with the new line-up of Marc Storace on vocals, Fernando von Arb on lead guitar, bass and keyboards, Dominique Favez on rhythm and lead guitar, Tony Castell on bass and rhythm guitar, and Patrick Aeby on drums and percussion. In 2004 the same line-up released the live CD Fire and Gasoline.
In 2005, longtime guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Fernando von Arb left the band because of continuing wrist problems which required surgery. Mandy Meyer, who had played with the band in the mid-1980s, replaced von Arb in the then current line-up. The new formation (Storace, Meyer, Favez, Castell, Stefan Schwarzmann and Dennis Ward) recorded the studio album Hellraiser in 2006, which went to gold in Switzerland on the first day of sales. It generally received very good reviews. In an interview in 2008, Marc Storace stated that Krokus was becoming more and more "metal". Prior to the album's release date, the band already released the ballad "Angel of My Dreams" as a downloadable MP3.
On November 18, 2007, the line up featuring Chris von Rohr, Fernando von Arb, Freddy Steady and Marc Storace reunited to play a medley ("Tokyo Nights", "Bedside Radio" and "Heatstrokes") during the TV show, Die grssten Schweizer Hits, on Swiss television. This led to their reunion concert on August 2, 2008 (with the addition of Mark Kohler). Krokus's cover of Sweet's "The Ballroom Blitz" also appeared in the 2007 game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.
It was announced on April 20, 2008, that the classic lineup of Chris von Rohr, Fernando von Arb, Freddy Steady, Mark Kohler and Marc Storace had reunited, and would be releasing a new studio record in 2010 with a supporting world tour. On August 2, 2008, the band performed live in the Stade de Suisse in Bern. Krokus performed the official anthem of the 2009 Ice Hockey World Championships, hosted by Switzerland. The song was entitled "Live for the Action".
On March 3, 2010, the album Hoodoo including a cover version of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" and ten other songs, was released. It came in a regular and limited edition, the latter containing a DVD featuring concert footage.
In May 2011, drummer/percussionist Fready Steady announced he was leaving the band.
In December 2012, it was announced guitarist Mandy Meyer was once again rejoining the band after having filled in for an ailing Fernando von Arb at the Loud Park Festival in Japan in October 2011. Krokus released their seventeenth studio album Dirty Dynamite on February 22, 2013.
On April 21, 2013, it was reported that former drummer/percussionist Dani Crivelli, who played on the band's 1988 Heart Attack, had died. According to the German language Swiss daily Blick, Crivelli fell off a bridge in Trimbach, Canton of Solothurn, and did not survive the fall.
Swiss drummer/percussionist Flavio Mezzodi joined Krokus in May 2013 and played on their "Dirty Dynamite Tour". The band sold out an unprecedented 4 shows at the Kofmehl (House of Rust) in their hometown of Solothurn. The concerts were recorded for an upcoming "live" album and the 4th concert was released as "Long Stick Goes Boom - Live From Da House of Rust" in 2014.
In April/May 2015 the band returned for some dates in the United States, where they had not performed since 2005. Fernando von Arb was not be part of that tour, as he cannot travel for long distances and Krokus performed as a 5-piece band. This was another reason why Mandy Meyer was brought back into the fold in 2013 as 2nd lead guitarist. Mark Kohler also needs to take longer leaves of absence from the band and in his place Dominique Favez will play once more rhythm guitar. Dominique recorded on the 2003 Rock the Block album, 2004's Fire and Gasoline and 2006's Hellraiser and is no stranger to Krokus fans.
The band's 18th studio release, a covers album entitled Big Rocks, was issued in January 2017.
The band name Krokus is German for crocus, a flower common throughout Europe. Early in the spring of 1975, band founder Chris von Rohr observed a field of these flowers while traveling by train. He was returning from L'Ecole des Chefs located in France after an aborted career in the culinary arts, and it was around this time the idea for the band was formed. The band members stated that it was the perfect name, since it featured "rok" in the middle.
|Year||Album details||Certifications||Peak chart positions|
|1977||To You All|
|1978||Pain Killer / Pay It in Metal|
|1980||Metal Rendez-vous||Switzerland: 4Platinum||US No. 201|
|1981||Hardware||Switzerland: Gold||US No. 103, UK No. 44|
|1982||One Vice at a Time||US No. 53, UK No. 28|
|1983||Headhunter||US: Gold||US No. 25 UK No. 74|
|1984||The Blitz||US: Gold||US No. 31|
|1986||Change of Address||US No. 45|
|1988||Heart Attack||Switzerland No. 5, US No. 87|
|1990||Stampede||Switzerland No. 18|
|1995||To Rock or Not to Be||Switzerland No. 5|
|2003||Rock the Block||Switzerland: Gold||Switzerland No. 1|
|2006||Hellraiser||Switzerland: Gold||Switzerland No.2, US No. 200|
|2010||Hoodoo||Switzerland: Platinum||Switzerland No. 1|
|2013||Dirty Dynamite||Switzerland No. 1, Germany No. 17, Greece No. 29, Sweden No. 41, Austria No. 46, France No. 139|
|2017||Big Rocks||Switzerland No. 1, Germany No. 31, Austria No. 36|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US Main. Rock
|1980||"Tokyo Nights"||--||--||Metal Rendez-vous|
|"Heatstrokes" / "Shy Kid"||--||--|
|"Bedside Radio" / "Back-Seat Rock 'n' Roll"||--||--|
|1981||"Winning Man" / "Mad Rocket"||--||26||Hardware|
|"Smelly Nelly" / "Burning Bones"||--||46|
|"Rock City" / "Mr. 69"||--||--|
|1982||"Long Stick Goes Boom" / "Save Me"||--||22||One Vice at a Time|
|"Bad Boys Rag Dolls"||--||--|
|1983||"Stayed Awake All Night"||--||31||Headhunter|
|"Screaming in the Night"||--||21|
|"Eat the Rich"||--||33|
|1984||"Midnite Maniac" / "Ready to Rock"||71||10||The Blitz|
|1986||"School's Out"||67||--||Change of Address|
|"Screaming in the Night (Live)"||--||--||Alive and Screamin'|
|1987||"Let This Love Begin"||--||--||Change of Address|
|1988||"Let It Go"||--||--||Heart Attack|
|1994||"You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet"||--||--||Non-album single|
|2003||"I Want It All"||--||--||Rock the Block|
|2006||"Angel of My Dreams"||--||--||Hellraiser|
|"--" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|