Eric Wagner
Wagner performing live with The Skull.
Background information
Birth Name Eric Wagner
Born 24 April 1959
Occupation Musician
Genres Doom Metal, Stoner Metal, Psychedelic Rock
Instrument(s) Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Years active 1979 - Present
Labels Tee Pee Records, Metal Blade, Def Jam American
Associated acts Trouble, The Skull, Blackfinger, Lid, Probot, Death Row, Retro Grave
Website Eric Wagner Official

Eric Wagner is a vocalist based out of Chicago, Illinois.

Active since 1979, he is known as the longtime vocalist for the pioneering doom metal band Trouble, notable for his high range and distinctive, soulful voice. With Trouble he performed on seven of the band's studio albums, including two signed with Rick Rubin's Def Jam American label.

Along with Trouble he is best known as the vocalist for The Skull alongside former Trouble bassist Ron Holzner. Along with original songs in the vein of the band's doom metal era, they perform classic Trouble songs. Wagner has also contributed to band's more in line with a psychedelic rock sound such as Lid and Blackfinger.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Trouble (1979 - 1997, 2000 - 2008)[edit | edit source]

  • For further details feel free to view the Riffipedia page on Trouble.

Wagner would join Trouble in 1979 as a founding member alongside guitarists Rick Wartell and Bruce Franklin, drummer Jeff Olson and bassist Tim Ian Brown. The band toured throughout the Midwest during the early 1980s before signing with Metal Blade Records and releasing their eponymous debut (later referred to as Psalm 9) in 1984. The Skull followed in 1985 and reflected singer Wagner's struggles with substance abuse as well as growing turmoil within the group. Despite inner turmoil the band would pull together for 1987's Run to the Light, followed by a hiatus in 1989.

Sometime during the band's hiatus Rick Rubin's Def American Records would sign the band for whom they recorded a second self-titled album (Trouble) in 1990 with Rubin producing. The band's sound shifted from their traditional doom roots and put a stronger emphasis on a psychedelic rock sound. The band toured extensively throughout that year in support of the album. Eventually Trouble returned to the studio for a follow-up. In 1992 Manic Frustration was released, delving into Beatlesque psychedelia and featuring some of Trouble's most aggressive, energetic performances ever with a tour in support throughout North America and Germany. The album however ultimately failed to connect with a wider audience and Trouble were dropped from Def Jam American soon after.

The band would sign with Music For Nations, releasing Plastic Green Head in 1995. The band would tour in support of the record albeit sporadically. Trouble had essentially disbanded in April 1996.[1] Eric Wagner would depart the band in 1997. Trouble didn't break up but rather took a hiatus with former Exhorder singer Kyle Thomas as the vocalist. The band had only played a handful of gigs with Thomas on vocals between 1997 and 2000.

Eric Wagner would eventually rejoin Trouble a few years later, citing his contribution to Dave Grohl's Probot as one of the inspirations to rejoin the band. Since that time, the band has played individual gigs throughout the Chicago area and metal festivals in Europe and the U.S. while working on a new album. A concert in Stockholm, Sweden (Alongside Candlemass and Force of Evil) in 2003 produced the live DVD Trouble - Live in Stockholm. The band's seventh album Simple Mind Condition was finally released in Europe on 3 April 2007 by Escapi Music. The band toured internationally in support of its release but were not able to secure a U.S. release date for the album until over two years later. An unplugged album was later released through the band's website and Escapi Music.

In May 2008, it was announced that Eric Wagner has left the band a second time, said to be due to a lack of interest in touring.[2]

The Skull (2011 - Present)[edit | edit source]

  • For more details, feel free to view the Riffipedia page on The Skull.

While The Skull officially began as a full band in 2012, the roots of the band's creation can be tied to a set at the 2011 Days of The Doomed festival on June 18 when Eric Wagner joined Jeff Olson and Sean McAllister to comprise a special set of classic Trouble songs.[3] The next year the band officially formed.[4]

The Skull headlined the Hell's Pleasure festival in Pößneck, Germany in July 2012 alongside NWOBHM band Angel Witch. In late August and early September 2012, The Skull completed a tour of the US East coast and finished that trek by headlining the Stoner Hands of Doom festival in New London, Connecticut. The Skull toured Europe in late 2012, including co-headlining the Hammer of Doom Festival with the band Pentagram. This European tour also included performances in Germany, Netherlands, Austria, and Sweden, among others.

In 2014 The Skull would sign to Tee Pee Records and release the single Sometime Yesterday Mourning which would feature a re-recording of the Trouble song "The Last Judgement" as the b-side.[5] The Skull released their debut album on Tee Pee Records entitled For Those Which Are Asleep in November that year.[6] A short tour of the United States would follow along with Jeff Olson's amicable departure from the band.[7]

In 2016 The Skull are set to share the stage with Sleep with a tour of Europe to follow, including three nights at Roadburn Festival. The first night was the Cul de Sac opening party alongside Jucifer, then two nights on the main stage. One night was mainly original songs while the other was a Trouble set featuring the band doing the entire Psalm 9 album.[8] In 2018 the band would embark on a North American tour performing the 1990 album Trouble in it's entirety. On 19 March 2018, along with announcements of touring Europe and the US, the band's second album The Endless Road Turns Dark has been announced for an Autumn release. A planned tour in the Spring was postponed due to a combination of VISA issues and personal problems before the band would reschedule the dates with Henry Vasquez (Saint Vitus) on drums. The Endless Road Turns Dark would see release on 21 September 2018 to positive reviews, a release party in Chicago the next day at Brauerhouse in Lombard, Illinois (With Macabre, Whut? and Gloryhole Guillotine as support).[9] The Skull would tour the next year, including as support for Orange Goblin and an appearance at Muddy Roots Music Festival.

Other Bands[edit | edit source]

Eric Wagner first met Danny Cavanagh when Trouble supported Anathema on Trouble's (then) last ever tour of Europe, later forming Lid in 1996. After Wagner left Trouble in April 1996, the band's infamous leader, Eric Wagner, decided that although tired of touring, he was not yet ready to put down his pen. Eric finished writing the majority of his new songs in Summer '96, and was ready to start recording. Enter Danny Cavanagh of Anathema, who Eric knew instinctively would want to record exactly the same record as he had just written. With Danny in place, Eric was then able to bring in brothers Tim and Tommy Reeves who had been introduced to him by a mutual friend. Recording a demo in 1996 the group would sign to Peaceville and The Music Cartel to release In The Mushroom in 1997.

While the band was happy with the end result and discussed touring at some point, ultimately Wagner chose to bow out of the music business completely until he was invited to do a track for Probot, which sparked his interest in working with bands again and thus rejoining Trouble. Wagner would sing on "My Tortured Soul" for the album and later perform it live on the first episode of MTV2's Headbangers Ball.

Wagner would also join Death Row for a live performance at the 2009 edition of Hammer of Doom Festival, filling in on vocals when guitarist Victor Griffin was having issues with singing. Wagner would also fill in for a handful of live performances in 2011 with Retro Grave, a solo project of former bandmate Jeff Olson.

Blackfinger formed sometime in the Spring of 2011, some years after Eric Wagner had departed from Trouble for the second time. Working with the likes of Piatz, Bianchi, Hakes and Smith this new five-piece band's earliest known knows were at the 2011 edition of Days of The Doomed (Notably also featuring a set of Eric Wagner doing Trouble songs, leading to the formation of The Skull) and a live performance on 27 August 2011 with Diamond Head.[10] The band also performed at Club 38 on 12 November with Bruce Franklin filling in on guitars.[11] Later that month the band released their first single in All The Leaves Are Brown.

Throughout 2012 the band would work on their debut album, with an announcement on 22 July 2013 that is was finished.[12] On 29 August 2013 it would be announced that Blackfinger had signed with The Church Within Records.[13] On 12 April 2014, Blackfinger's eponymous debut album would be released, with a release party at The Endzone Bar & Grill in Aurora, Illinois (With Amulance and Spyderbone)[14] The band would make a return appearance at Days of The Doomed andd tour the midwest USA in support of the album.

The band would go dormant for a time, eventually resurfacing with an entirely new lineup and a second album in the works. This lineup would be rounded out by guitarist Terry Weston (Dream Death, Penance) as announced on 20 February 2016.[15] The band followed with two live performances in 2016 with this new lineup (4 June at The Smiling Moose in Pittsburgh[16] and an appearance at The Maryland Doom Fest) before beginning work on a second album. The album would be finished by that winter as the band signed with M-Theory Music in April 2017. When Colors Fade Away would be released on 15 September, with a following release party (Alongside Dream Death) on 28 October at Howler's in Pittsburgh.[17]. A mini-tour was planned around this album but ultimately postponed barring the release show.

Bands[edit | edit source]

  • Trouble - Vocals (1979 - 1997, 2000 - 2008)
  • Lid - Vocals (1996 - 1997)
  • Probot - Vocals (2003 - 2004)
  • Death Row - Live Vocals (2009)
  • Retro Grave - Live Vocals (2011)
  • The Skull - Vocals (2011 - Present)
  • Blackfinger - Vocals (2012 - Present)
  • Eric Wagner - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar (2015 - Present)

Selected Discography[edit | edit source]

With Trouble[edit | edit source]

With The Skull[edit | edit source]

With Blackfinger[edit | edit source]

Other Releases[edit | edit source]

  • Lid - In The Mushroom (1997, Peaceville)
  • Eric Wagner - Highdeas Vol. 1 (2015, Self-Released)
  • Eric Wagner - Highdeas Vol. 2: Under The Covers (2016, Self-Released)
  • Eric Wagner - Highdeas Vol. 3: You Know I Once Wrote A Song For You (2016, Self-Released)
  • Eric Wagner - Highdeas Vol. 4: A Tribute To Trouble (2016, Self-Released)

Guest Appearances[edit | edit source]

  • Bastards Will Pay - Tribute To Trouble (Vocals on "The Tempter") (1999, Freedoom Records)
  • Probot - Probot (Vocals on "My Tortured Soul") (2004, Southern Lord Records)
  • Ted Kirkpatrick' ‎– Edgar Allan Poe: Spoken Tales Of A Tortured Genius (Narration on "The Raven") (2012, Pathogenic)
  • Ted Kirkpatrick - The Doom In Us All: A Tribute To Black Sabbath (Vocals on "Electric Funeral") (2016, Pathogenic)

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Template:Trouble Template:The Skull

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