«Alcatrazz» - biography, albums, songs, video clips

Alcatrazz is an American heavy metal band formed in 1983 by Graham Bonnet, Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea. They are best known for their song "God Blessed Video".


The band's initial line-up consisted of former Rainbow frontman Graham Bonnet, young Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, who had recently left American band Steeler, Gary Shea and Jimmy Waldo from New England and Clive Burr of Iron Maiden fame. Burr was reportedly only in the band for a week, and left upon discovering that the band was going to be based in the United States, as opposed to his native England. Burr was soon replaced by former Iron Butterfly drummer Jan Uvena, who had just left Alice Cooper's backing band. Shea dubbed the group "Alcatrazz". For the first album, the bulk of the material was written by Bonnet and Malmsteen, with Waldo contributing to several of the tracks.

The band's debut album, No Parole From Rock 'N' Roll surfaced in late 1983 on Rocshire Records. Decent support was given by MTV to the lead single, "Island In The Sun", which showed a heavy Rainbow influence. Despite the commercial nature of the song, it barely received any radio play. The album still spent 18 weeks on the Billboard charts and peaked at No. 128. A second video was released in 1984 for "Hiroshima Mon Amour" which became very popular in Japan. Creative differences between Malmsteen and Bonnet surfaced while on tour. Due to this, and his admitted desire to begin a solo career, Malmsteen quit in 1984 and formed his own band, Rising Force, who signed with Polydor Records. Rochsire then put out Live Sentence, a concert recording from the recent tour of Japan. A live video concert was also produced. Malmsteen tried to prevent the release of the album but failed. A few Rainbow covers were included, including the classic "Since You Been Gone". The album would reach No. 133 in the US. Waldo replaced Malmsteen with Steve Vai, former Frank Zappa guitarist, despite resistance from Bonnet, and the band signed with Capitol Records. The group worked on new material and then headlined another tour of Japan which introduced Vai to the fans and allowed them to play new material from the upcoming album. A concert video was filmed from these dates.

Disturbing The Peace was released in the spring of 1985. The album was produced by Eddie Kramer who had worked with Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Triumph among others. "God Blessed Video" was the first single and video, yet MTV barely played it. The album peaked at No. 145 and charted for 16 weeks, but Alcatrazz could never break out of their small following. A tour had to be cut short due to financial problems. Steve Vai left in order to join David Lee Roth's solo band in 1986 and the split was on good terms as it was an offer Vai could not refuse. He was replaced by guitarist Danny Johnson (ex-Axis and Rod Stewart), who recorded what would become Alcatrazz's final studio album, Dangerous Games, which was released in the fall of 1986. There were covers of the Animals' classic "It's My Life" (one of the only Rock oriented tunes) and Marbles' "Only One Woman". Bonnet had been a member of Marbles in the late 60's when they had this hit in the UK. The album failed to chart. Shortly afterward, Johnson also quit to join the band Private Life. Disheartened by an ever revolving door of guitarists, and dwindling album sales, they split up in 1987. In 1998 the Renaissance label issued "The Best Of Alcatrazz" which was a solid look back at the band's all-too brief career.

"God Blessed Video" appeared in the 2002 videogame soundtrack Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, playing on fictional rock station "V-Rock".

Bonnet has reformed his version of the band as "Alcatrazz featuring Graham Bonnet" with guitarist Howie Simon (Jeff Scott Soto Band, Talisman), drummer Glen Sobel (Impellitteri, Beautiful Creatures, Tony MacAlpine), and bassist Tim Luce and did a tour of Japan in May and June 2007. This tour was co-headlined with another ex-Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner. As he revealed in a recent interview, it was Howie Simon's suggestion to bring back the Alcatrazz name. They also headlined the BerkRock festival in Berkovitsa, Bulgaria in July 2008 and have played various West Coast US dates including support slots for Y&T.

Band members

Current line-up - Alcatrazz (featuring Graham Bonnet)

  • Graham Bonnet - lead vocals (1983–87, 2006–present)
  • Howie Simon - guitars, backing vocals (2006–present)
  • Tim Luce - bass, backing vocals (2006–present)
  • Bobby Rock - drums, percussion, backing vocals (2011–present)

Former members

  • Jimmy Waldo - keyboards, backing vocals (1983–87)
  • Gary Shea - bass (1983–87)
  • Yngwie Malmsteen - guitars (1983–84)
  • Clive Burr - drums, percussion (1983)
  • Jan Uvena - drums, percussion, backing vocals (1983–87)
  • Steve Vai - guitars (1984–86)
  • Danny Johnson - guitars, backing vocals (1986–87)
  • Glen Sobel - drums, percussion, backing vocals (2006–09)
  • Dave Dzialak - drums, percussion (2009–10)
  • Jeff Bowders - drums, percussion (2010–11)


Studio albums

Date of release Title Label Chart positions
1983 No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll Rocshire Weeks on Chart: 18, Peak: No. 128
1985 Disturbing the Peace Capitol Weeks on Chart: 16, Peak: No. 133
1986 Dangerous Games Capitol

Live albums

Date of release Title Label Chart positions
1984 Live Sentence Rocshire Weeks on Chart: 10, Peak: No. 145
2010 Live '83
2010 No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll Tour Live in Japan 1984.1.28 Audio Tracks
2010 Disturbing the Peace Tour Live in Japan 1984.10.10 Audio Tracks


Date of release Title Label Chart positions
1998 The Best of Alcatrazz Renaissance


External links