Trouble in the 1980s.
Background information
Origin Chicago, Illinois, USA
Genres Doom Metal, Psychedelic Rock
Years active 1979 - present
Labels Metal Blade, Def American, Escapi, FRW, Hammerheart Music
Associated acts The Skull, Blackfinger, Lid, Debris Inc., Earthen Grave, Retro Grave, Wet Animal, Warrior Soul, Exhorder
Website Website
Current members Kyle Thomas
Rick Wartell
Bruce Franklin
Rob Hultz
Mark Lira

Trouble are a doom metal band from Chicago, Illinois, USA. Active since 1979, they are cited as a pioneering band in the classic doom metal scene, even labelled as "White Metal" in contrast to the rising Black Metal movement of the 1980s in reference to their spiritually driven music. A critically acclaimed group, their first two albums, Psalm 9 and The Skull are cited as landmarks of doom metal. To date, Trouble has released eight studio albums.

The band was also distinctive for having two lead guitarists in Rick Wartell and Bruce Franklin along with original vocalist Eric Wagner's distinctive, soulful voice.

History[edit | edit source]

Formation and Metal Blade (1979 - 1988)[edit | edit source]

Trouble was formed in 1979 by Rick Wartell and was joined by guitarist Bruce Franklin, vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Tim Ian Brown (not to be confused with lead singer of English band The Stone Roses), and drummer Jeff "Oly" Olson. Ian Brown was replaced by Sean McAllister in 1983. Drawing from Black Sabbath for inspiration (with occasional nods to the psychedelic sounds of the late 1960s), the band used gloomy down-tuned riffs and spiritual, often openly Bible-inspired lyrics. According to the band, Metal Blade coined the term "White Metal" based on their sound to the band's disapproval.

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. This led to the replacement of bassist McAllister with Ron Holzner. Olson also departed to pursue studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Dennis Lesh was drafted as his replacement for 1987's Run to the Light. However, during the band's tour in support of the album Ted Kirkpatrick would join as their drummer before forming Tourniquet in 1989. The band would go on hiatus for a time soon after along with recruiting Barry Stern as their drummer in 1989.

Def American and Plastic Green Head (1989-1996)[edit | edit source]

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 issued Plastic Green Head through the Music for Nations label in 1995 with the return of founding drummer Jeff Olson. 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 to form Lid. 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.

Reunion and Simple Mind Condition (1997-2007)[edit | edit source]

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.

Holzner left the band soon after to be replaced by Chuck Robinson. The band's seventh album Simple Mind Condition was finally released in Europe on April 3, 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, more recently, Escapi Music.

Kory Clarke and Live in L.A. (2008 - 2012)[edit | edit source]

In May 2008, it was announced that Eric Wagner has left the band and had been replaced by Kory Clarke of Warrior Soul, a contrast in vocal sound to Eric Wagner's melodic delivery that was criticized by some fans.[2] Wagner's departure was said to be from a lack of interest in touring. Jeff Olson also announced his departure from the band in July 2008 to continue with his own band, Retro Grave. Olson's last show with Trouble was, coincidentally, at a rock club called, "The End" in Nashville, Tennessee. Olson was replaced by Wet Animal's Mark Lira for the band's upcoming U.S. East Coast tour as the band toured in 2008. The band's performances also primarily featured songs from the Def Jam/Plastic Green Head era.

In a September 2008 interview with Rock N Roll Experience, guitarist Rick Wartell mentioned that Trouble has written "eight or nine songs" for their next album, and would begin recording it after touring. When asked which direction is the new music going in, Wartell replied, "I know people have said this a million times and I know you've heard this a million times, but it's pretty fucking heavy, let's put it that way! The music end of it that Bruce [Franklin, guitar] and I are writing is getting heavier and's getting heavier and then we want Kory to incorporate his style to what we are doing, that's basically all that we really want out of this.".

On November 18, 2008, Trouble announced, via their website, that they were in the process of writing songs for an album that would likely be released in the summer of 2009. A month later the band would self-release the live album Live in L.A. with Clarke on vocals (Turning out to be the only release featuring the singer). The band would tour Europe in 2009. On March 4, 2009, Trouble revealed on their website that the new album would tentatively be called The Dark Riff. On September 9, 2010, the band announced that they are "getting ready for the studio now. [We] have been making preliminary recordings and working out things in order to bring the best possible Trouble release." Bruce Franklin later said in a 2009 interview that The Dark Riff would not be the title of the forthcoming album.

In February 2012, Kory Clarke was out of the band, later trashing them in an interview with Blabbermouth over the band's spiritual beliefs.[3]. Also of note around 2011 and primarily in 2012, The Skull was formed by former Trouble members Eric Wagner, Ron Holzner and Jeff Olson, performing original and classic Trouble songs.

The Return of Kyle Thomas and The Distortion Field (2012 - Present)[edit | edit source]

Kyle Thomas, who was with the band from 1997 to 2000, became the current singer for Trouble.[4] Not long after the band would begin doing shows in the Chicago area while continuing work on studio recordings.

On February 16, 2013, Jeff Olson announced that he would be playing some keyboard intros on the new album as a guest. In May 2013, it was announced that the band's eighth album, The Distortion Field, was scheduled to be released July 16 in North America and July 26 in Europe. This is the first release to feature Kyle Thomas, and was produced by Bill Metoyer. Shortly after its release, Rob Hultz of Solace and Godspeed joined the band as bassist. The band would follow with tours of Europe in 2013 and 2014 in support of the record. The band also made an appearance at the 70,000 Tons of Metal Festival (A festival on a cruise ship) in 2015.

Trouble is currently writing new material for their next studio album and toured Europe in 2016, including a 30th anniversary show at DesertFest London. Following sporadic tours, on 18 February 2020 it would be announced that Trouble had signed to Hammerheart Music for not just the publication of a new album set for the end of 2020 but a reissue campaign of all of the band's prior studio albums, starting with a re-issue of Psalm 9 that May.[5]

Members[edit | edit source]

Current Lineup[edit | edit source]

Past Members[edit | edit source]

  • Dave Snyder - Drums (1979)
  • Ian Brown - Bass, Vocals (1979 - 1983)
  • Jeff Olson - Drums (1979 - 1986, 1993 - 2008)
  • Eric Wagner - Vocals (1979 - 1997, 2000 - 2008)
  • Sean McAllister - Bass (1983 - 1986)
  • Ron Holzner - Bass (1986 - 2002)
  • Dennis Lesh - Drums (1986 - 1987)
  • Ted Kirkpatrick - Drums (1987 - 1989)
  • Barry Stern - Drums (1989 - 1993) (Died 2005)
  • Chuck Robinson - Bass (2002 - 2009)
  • Kory Clarke - Vocals (2008 - 2012)
  • Shane Pasquila - Bass (2009 - 2013)

Discography[edit | edit source]

Albums[edit | edit source]

Demos[edit | edit source]

  • 1980 Demo (1980, Self-Released)
  • 1982 Demo (1982, Self-Released)
  • 1983 Demo (1983, Self-Released)
  • 1985 Demo (1985, Self-Released)
  • One For The Road (1994, J.W.M.)

Live Albums[edit | edit source]

Compilations & Other Selected Releases[edit | edit source]

List of Known Tours[edit | edit source]

  • 1984 West Coast Shows (With Abbotoir, Megadeth, Slayer) (1984)
  • October 1984 West Coast Tour (With Slayer) (1984)
  • The Skull North American Tour (1985)
  • December 1985 Shows (Select dates with Motörhead) (1985)
  • Abigail North American Tour (With King Diamond) (1987)
  • 1990 North American Tour (May) (With T.S.O.L., The Big F) (1990)
  • Lock Up The Wolves European Tour (With Dio) (1990)
  • 1990 North American Tour (June) (With T.S.O.L., The Big F) (1990)
  • 1990 North American Tour (Summer) (With Savatage) (1990)
  • Lucifuge North American Tour (With Danzig) (1990)
  • 1992 North American Tour (August/September) (With Pantera, White Zombie) (1992)
  • 1992 North American Tour (November) (With Pantera) (1992)
  • Tolling The Bells Of Morosemas (With The Obsessed, Crowbar, Cathedral, Napalm Death) (1992)
  • 1993 European Tour (1993)
  • Plastic Green Head North American Tour (With Cathedral) (1995)
  • Plastic Green Head European Tour (1995)[6]
  • Scream of The Dark (With Anathema, Massacra) (1996)[7][8]
  • Supernatural Birth Machine European Tour (With Cathedral) (1996)
  • 2003 European Tour (2003)[9]
  • 2005 North American Tour (2005)[10]
  • Simple Mind Condition North American Tour (2007)[11]
  • Simple Mind Condition European Tour (2007)[12]
  • April 2008 North American Tour (With Icarus) (2008)[13]
  • April 2008 European Tour (With Gorilla Monsoon, Sahg) (2008)[14]
  • Seal Your Doom (2008)[15]
  • September 2008 North American Tour (2008)[16]
  • Doom Over Europe (Sweden Shows) (With Candlemass, Angel Witch) (2009)[17]
  • Doom Over Europe (With Pentagram) (2009)[18]
  • 70,000 Tons of Metal Tour (2011)[19]
  • 2013 European Tour (2013)[20]
  • Resurrection Tour 2014 (2014)[21]
  • 2016 European Tour (With Crowbar) (2016)[22]
  • 2020 North American/UK Tour (Canceled) (2020)

Links[edit | edit source]

Official Links[edit | edit source]

Archival Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.