’80s rockers Kix and Autograph are back at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on June 19
From a press release:
Tickets, which are $27 in advance or $32 the day of the show, go on sale next Friday, Dec. 20 at 10 a.m. at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Penn’s Peak box office (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe), and Roadies Restaurant and Bar (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe). Penn’s Peak box office and Roadies Restaurant ticket sales are walk-up only; no phone orders.
Platinum-selling ’80s rock icons Kix heed the audience’s call. At every live show, and with every new release, they raise the bar higher – not only for themselves, but also for their rock band peers. Steve Whiteman (vocals), Brian “Damage” Forsythe (guitar), Ronnie “10/10” Younkins (guitar), Jimmy “Chocolate” Chalfant (drums), and Mark Schenker (bass) continue to deliver their signature brand of raucous, roaring, and real rock ‘n’ roll.
Kix was founded in 1978 in Hagerstown, Maryland, and after slugging it out as a local band, they were signed to Atlantic Records in 1981. Their self-titled debut album was released the same year and featured concert favorites like “The Itch,” “Heartache,” and traditional Kix show-closer “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah,” which is now incomplete without an originally unique ad-lib performance by Whiteman. Their second album, “Cool Kids,” yielded “Body Talk” and the ballad “For Shame.” Kix then partnered with producer Beau Hill (Ratt, Warrant) to create the powerhouse album “Midnite Dynamite,” released in 1985, which yielded another concert favorite, “Cold Shower.”
When the members of Kix traveled to Los Angeles in early 1988 to begin recording “Blow My Fuse,” they knew that the album could make or break the band. And, sure enough, upon its release in September of 1988, “Blow My Fuse” outperformed its predecessors. A video for the song “Cold Blood” dominated MTV’s popular “Dial MTV” program for so long that the network was forced to change the show’s rules to knock Kix out of the top slot.
“We had diehard fans who felt that our success was long overdue,” Whiteman said. “They all felt compelled to call in and vote every damn day.”
“Blow My Fuse” was certified gold. Then “Don’t Close Your Eyes” was released, and it peaked at No. 11 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, propelling the album to platinum status. “Blow My Fuse” cemented Kix as one of the preeminent hard rock acts of the ’80s.
“That album gave us a legacy. And something to stand on,” Whiteman noted. “It’s the reason we were able to come back and still do this. I’m convinced of that.”
In 1991, “Hot Wire” was released, featuring the single, “Girl Money.” As a touring act, Kix had graduated to arenas and opened for Aerosmith, KISS, Whitesnake, Ratt, and Tesla. Then came the arrival of the Seattle grunge scene and, as Whiteman lamented, “They were having a party, and Kix was no longer welcome.” In 1995, the band released what they thought would be their final album, “Show Business,” for CMC International Records, which marked the end of an era.
Kix gracefully eased back into the public consciousness in 2008. After reuniting for sold-out hometown gigs, the quintet hit the stage at Rocklahoma in front of over 20,000 people, venturing out of the Mid-Atlantic for the first time in 13 years. Delivering a triumphant set alongside the likes of Sammy Hagar and Alice Cooper, they left their mark on both old and new fans. After capturing their fiery reunion on 2012’s “Live in Baltimore” CD and DVD, the members agreed to enter the studio once again for 2014’s “Rock Your Face Off,” produced by Taylor Rhodes (Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne), the band’s first studio album in almost 20 years.
“Rock Your Face Off” debuted at No. 48 on the Billboard Top 200, No. 5 on the Independent Albums chart, No. 11 on the Top Internet chart, No. 17 on the Top Rock Albums chart, No. 27 on the Indie/Small Chain Core Stores chart, and No. 33 on the Physical chart. It also debuted at No. 1 on Amazon’s Hard Rock and Metal chart.
Following the revitalizing success of the new album, Kix released “Can’t Stop the Show: The Return of Kix” in 2016. The DVD/CD set includes a 71-minute film that explores the band’s decision to record their first new album since reuniting, interviews from notable rock artists and music industry characters, and never-before-released live tracks. “Can’t Stop the Show” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Music Video Sales chart, which was the band’s first-ever No. 1 in their 35-year history.
On the 30th anniversary of their platinum album, “Blow My Fuse,” Kix released “Fuse 30 Reblown,” a special edition two-disc set, on Sept. 21, 2018, 30 years after “Blow My Fuse’s” original Sept. 19, 1988 release date. Disc one is an impactful remix of the album by Beau Hill, and disc two includes original demos recorded in the ’80s of all 10 songs.
The remix of “Blow My Fuse’s” original master tapes brings forth characteristics of the album that the band feels had been missing, including the approach to the unique guitar sounds of Brian “Damage” Forsythe and Ronnie “10/10” Younkins.
“The performances come out so much better in this remix,” Chalfant said. “All the crap’s taken off of it, and you can really hear the band playing, rather than the reverb playing.”
“It’s like getting cataracts removed,” Whiteman quipped. “The remix clears it right up.”
A new Kix album is in the works while the band continues to blow away audiences with their live shows across the U.S. and beyond.
“I just want everyone to end up on their feet,” Whiteman concluded. “It’s a party.”
Autograph left an everlasting imprint on rock and roll. The platinum-selling Southern California hard rock juggernauts gave the world the ubiquitous hit “Turn Up the Radio,” seminal albums such as “Sign in Please” (1984), “That’s the Stuff” (1985), and “Loud and Clear” (1987), as well as unforgettable sold-out shows alongside everybody from Mötley Crüe and Ronnie James Dio to Van Halen and Aerosmith. Given those accolades, when they disbanded in 1989, they never left the hearts and minds of millions of fans around the globe. Simply put, a reunion was both inevitable and essential.
In 2011, founding guitarist Steve Lynch and bassist Randy Rand decided to meet up at the NAMM show in Anaheim. They rekindled their friendship first, opening up the lines of communication and bonding more than ever before. With the relationship rebuilt, they made a collective decision to jam again.
“We approached our original singer Steve Plunkett about a reunion,” Lynch recalled. “He didn’t have the time to join the band again due to how busy his business is. He did give us his blessing to move forward though, and that was important. We missed our fans. This is for them.”
Fully embracing the future, the remaining members caught some videos of singer/guitarist Simon Daniels of Jailhouse on YouTube. Instantly, they sensed a connection and knew that he was meant for the open spot in the center stage.
“He has big shoes to fill,” Rand smiled. “Nevertheless, he was born to front Autograph. His hard-edged, bluesy voice and massive riffing sharpen our edge. He’s given us a new energy, and he impressed us immediately.”
“We all had a euphoric feeling after the first rehearsal,” Lynch added. “These songs hadn’t been played in 25 years, and it was indescribable. It was great to be making music with my friends again.”
With the lineup solidified, Autograph is shaking rock ‘n’ roll up yet again. It’s as if every element has been enhanced, from the guitars to the bass and vocals as well as drums with the addition of drummer Marc Wieland. Lynch put it best.
“We’re much heavier than before. We’re not using keyboards, and we’re tuning down for a much fatter sound. That strengthens everything. At the same time, the melodic vocals and catchy hooks are still an integral part of our sound.”
Successfully touring again since the beginning of 2014, Autograph has strived and shined at theaters, casinos, various venues, and major festivals like M3, the Monsters of Rock Cruise, the Moondance Jam, Firefest, and the Halfway Jam, among others, reaching the four corners of the U.S., along with Canada and the U.K. They released two new anthem singles, with one of them, “I Lost My Mind in America,” making the Top 10 iTunes charts, and a crowd favorite, “You Are Us, We Are You,” receiving great reviews and airplay as well. The band delivers undeniably bombastic live performances.
Autograph released a new album, “Get Off Your Ass,” in 2017 via EMP Label Group, and the timeless classic rock anthem and Top 40 hit single “Turn Up the Radio” continues to receive constant and permanent radio airplay on all major rock radio stations around the world.