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BULLETBOYS

Current Members

Past Members

Biography

An enthusiastic quartet from Los Angeles that came tantalisingly close to the big time. The nucleus of the group met in KING KOBRA, with whom Mick Sweda had recorded the 'Ready To Strike' and 'Thrill Of A Lifetime' albums. After the departure of singer MARK FREE, Marq Torien was recruited in the vocalist's spot. The singer had actually had a brief spell during the early eighties in the formative RATT as a guitarist, between June and October 1982. Indeed, his prowess on the guitar enabled him to be chosen for audition with the OZZY OSBOURNE band following the death of Randy Rhoads. Torien also featured on the 1983 album from Motown artists KAGNY & THE DIRTY RATS on the Motown label.

Bassist Lonnie Vencent (a.k.a. Loni Black) had taken over from Johnny Rod who had quit KING KOBRA to join W.A.S.P. The bassist's prior combo had featured HAWK guitarist Doug Marks and singer Charlie Wayne. Originally Torien, having superseded Marks in this outfit, was handling guitar duties until Wayne exited and Mick Sweda enrolled as guitarist, manoevering Torien to the vocal spot. This incarnation of KING KOBRA recorded album quality demos before the trio of Sweda, Torien and Vincent decided to quit in order to do their own thing. With drummer Jimmy D'Anda in the ranks BULLETBOYS was born.

The quartet's debut 1988 eponymous album was originally set to be overseen by KISS mainman GENE SIMMONS but was ultimately produced by Ted Templeman, noted for his previous work with VAN HALEN. Following the release of the album the band toured North America extensively supporting CINDERELLA, HUNTER-RONSON, CHEAP TRICK, BON JOVI, POISON and WINGER. BULLETBOYS performed their debut British dates in 1989 and by the end of their schedule had racked up a tally of nearly 400 shows pushing album sales past the million mark.

All was to go quiet prior to the arrival of second album 'Freakshow' in 1991, the delay encouraging many rumours of the band's demise. The band opened for SLAUGHTER in America the same year. Towards the close of 1993 both Sweda and D'Anda left the band to pursue other projects. Torien and Vencent were quick to pick up Tommy Pittam and Robby Karras as their respective replacements. Pittam had played with Vencent in a club band jam trio, the THREE NINJAS, with RATT's Bobby Blotzer. Karras was involved with PAIN INC., a band fronted by ex-ANTHRAX vocalist Joey Belladonna.

To the horror of many of their most ardent fans the band released the heavily Alternative 'Acid Monkey' album in 1995. The record was heavily berated by most Rock magazines as being completely useless. In 1996 Torien began work on a side project, THIS, whilst Vincent formed his own solo outfit, HAM SANDWICH, a union with RATT's Bobby Blotzer and Canadian singer RONNIE BORCHERT, of AMSTERDAM and TRIXIE. HAM SANDWICH released two albums, 'Ham Sandwich' and 'Work It Out'. BULLETBOYS announced a brand new line-up in June 1998 with the addition of guitarist D.J. Ashba and ex-GUNS N' ROSES drummer Steven Adler. Ex-guitarist Mick Sweda announced the formation of JAWS OF LIFE.

Ashba created BEAUTIFUL CREATURES with ex-SHAKE THE FAITH drummer Danny Parker, ex-L.A. GUNS bassist Chuck Garrick and former BANG TANGO and L.A. GUNS vocalist Joe Leste. This act would, with the addition of another ex-SHAKE THE FAITH man bassist Kenny Kweens and ex TOMMI GUNN drummer Anthony Focx switching instruments to guitar retitled itself HELLSTAR before re-adopting the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES moniker.

A compilation album arrived in 2000. The somewhat bizarre album title, 'Burning Cats And Amputees: People With Issues!', was apparently so named after a road manager's fetish for the disabled and a friend's barbecued pet cat. Somewhat strangely, the band re-recorded their greatest hits for this collection in a rather hasty fashion not widely appreciated by their fans. Torien and Vincent regrouped BULLETBOYS that year together with ex-VINCE NEIL, ENUFF Z' NUFF and WARRANT drummer Vikki Foxx and Canadian guitarist Jason 'Hook' Grinstead. Hook's history spanned through Canadian act NO LOVE LOST and a brief 1993 stint with KILLER DWARFS before relocating to Los Angeles to join another of Sweda's post BULLETBOYS outfits BRAIN STEM BABIES. Later outfits included NEW POP EDEN and RHINO PARTY. Hook also occupied himself outside of BULLETBOYS activities as guitarist for Pop star MANDY MOORE.

By September Foxx had been superseded by UNION's Brent Fitz. Jimmy D'Anda turned up in late 2000 as a member of LYNCH MOB. By the summer of 2001 Hook had announced the formation of a fresh side act titled MONKEYHEAD led by singer Simon Davies. The early 2002 line-up of the BULLETBOYS saw Vencent out of the picture with Torien and Hook joined by erstwhile DAN REED NETWORK bassist Melvin Brannon II and drummer Paul Newman.

D'Anda would be back in the news in July 2002 uniting with present day RATT rhythm guitarist and former MÖTLEY CRÜE frontman John Corabi and REVEL 8 bassist Stevo Bruno in a brand new band billed as ZEN LUNATIC. BULLETBOYS, albeit it minus JASON HOOK who had joined VINCE NEIL's band, announced a brand new studio album for October 2003 entitled 'Sophie' and issued through their own custom imprint Bulletboys Records. Produced by Andy Johns, the record saw guest contributions from SEBASTIAN BACH and a cover version of THE KINKS classic 'All Day And All Of The Night'.

A November US tour package seeing BULLETBOYS ranked alongside L.A. GUNS and BLACK N' BLUE was to see the RATT veteran Keri Kelli subbing for both BULLETBOYS and L.A. GUNS. However, these gigs were dramatically cut short in early November when an alercation resulted in BULLETBOYS tour manager Mark Rojas being stabbed by a bus driver en route to a Detroit gig. Although not a life threatening injury, the band duly pulled out of the remaining tour dates.

JASON HOOK would maintain his position in MÖTLEY CRÜE vocalist VINCE NEIL's solo band for US dates in 2004. However, he would bow out in May in order to join Popster Hilary Duff's backing band and cut a solo EP 'Safety Dunces'. His replacement in Neil's band would be none other than Keri Kelli. In September 2004 it was announced that Torien was to form up part of ex-RATT singer STEPHEN PEARCY's much vaunted 'Bastards of Metal' tour as announcement revealed plans to include a roster of Pearcy, Torien, former ANTHRAX frontman Joey Belladonna, the KEEL and IRONHORSE leader Ron Keel and Jason McMaster of DANGEROUS TOYS and WATCHTOWER. Also on the billing would be be DROP and STS.

The band announced they were to team up with STEPHEN PEARCY and BANG TANGO for the 'Metal In America Tour 2006' beginning in early February. However, the group dropped off this tour before commencement, being replaced by PRETTY BOY FLOYD. The future of BULLETBOYS looked uncertain as, despite statements from Marq Torien that claimed a reunion was underway, ex-band members issued subsequent press releases stating they were not involved.

Denny Johnson joined Kentucky Christian Rock act BRIDE in July 2006. That same month Torien took his new trio, TEN-CENT BILLIONAIRES, out on the road supporting NAKED BEGGARS. BULLETBOYS announced their first live album, 'Behind The Orange Curtain' recorded at the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana, California, for release through Crash Music Classics in April 2007.

That July the band appeared at a once in a lifetime gathering of 80s Rock acts dubbed 'Rocklahoma', a three-day outdoor festival held in Pryor, Oklahoma, sharing the billing with RATT, VINCE NEIL, WARRANT, SLAUGHTER, QUIET RIOT, WINGER, DOKKEN, JACKYL, FASTER PUSSYCAT, ENUFF Z'NUFF, STEELHEART, 36 INCHES, Y&T, FIREHOUSE, POISON, BANG TANGO and GREAT WHITE.

European concerts were held in September packaged with FATAL SMILE, BRITNY FOX and PRETTY BOY FLOYD. Rob Lane handled bass duties for this trek.

Ex-guitarist Jason Hook joined FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH in January 2009. Another erstwhile guitarist, DJ Ashba, joined the ranks of GUNS N' ROSES on 21st March 2009. The Taime Downe fronted FASTER PUSSYCAT, together with BULLETBOYS and BANG TANGO teamed up for the 'Summer Rock Fest' tour in July and August. These shows would be to promote the Brent Woods produced album released through Chavis Records, '10c Billionaire'. At the same time it was learned that erstwhile classic era BULLETBOYS musicians Lonnie Vencent, Jimmy D'Anda and Mick Sweda had formed a new band project.

Garry Sharpe-Young
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