Sound Barrier was a pioneering all-black heavy metal quartet from Los Angeles, California, whose members went on to record and tour with acts such as Masi, Total Eclipse, Mother's Finest and Fishbone.
Formed in 1980, Sound Barrier was most notable for the fact that, as a heavy metal band specializing in what was widely perceived to be a "white-dominated" genre, all four original members were African American, which gained them significant publicity but did not result in commercial success. They were signed by MCA Records but quickly dropped again when their debut album, Total Control, sold just 12,000 copies.
The band issued a self-released EP, Born to Rock (1984), which contained a cover of the Steppenwolf classic "Born to Be Wild". Bassist Stanley E. left the fold in 1986 and was replaced by Romanian-born Emil Lech who had previously played in Terriff with future Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Joe Holmes.
The band was signed to Metal Blade for their Speed of Light LP (1986), this time covering Thin Lizzy's "Hollywood (Down on Your Luck)", but split up the following year. Lead vocalist Bernie Kimbell (aka Bernie K.) and drummer Dave "Skavido" Brown again teamed up in Masi, another Metal Blade act, led by Italian guitarist Alex Masi, and recorded the Fire in the Rain album in 1987. Guitarist Spacey T. formed the band Gangland, recruiting Stanley E. on bass, and recorded a 3-song demo with noted producer Bill Metoyer in 1988.
Splitting from Masi, Kimbell and Brown joined forces with former The BusBoys members Vic Johnson and Andre "Dre" Berry in Total Eclipse whose only album was released in 1992 on the A&M Records distributed label Tabu Records. The band's MTV video single was for the song "Fire in the Rain", which Kimbell and Brown had previously cut with Masi.
Following the demise of Gangland, Spacey T joined the ranks of funk/hard rock pioneers Mother's Finest and helped co-write and record their 1992 album Black Radio Won't Play This Record and also toured with the group. In 1997, he joined L.A. alternative rock act Fishbone and toured and recorded with the band until 2003. Upon his departure, he formed Year Of The Dragon along with Fishbone founding member Walter Kibby II, aka Dirt Walt, recording the A Time To Love Is A Time To Bleed EP (2006) and Blunt Force Karma album (2009).
On August 16, 2013, Bernie K organized a cancer benefit show for Dave Brown that took place at Paladino's in Tarzana, CA with live appearances by Armored Saint, DC4, Roy Z & Friends and P.A.I.D. as well as an all-star jam featuring Bernie K, Andre Berry, Dave Brown's last performance and members of The BusBoys, Warrior, World War III, Hellion, Steeler, and Bitch, among others. Brown would pass away November 12, 2013.