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BLUE CHEER

Current Members

Past Members

Biography

Cited by many as the band which paved the way for the Heavy Metal sound in America BLUE CHEER, named after a hallucinagenic drug, came to the fore with their high octane version of the EDDIE COCHRAN staple 'Summertime Blues' in early 1968. The band achieved such heights that one one stage in their career they headlined over PINK FLOYD and shared stages with JIMI HENDRIX. BLUE CHEER's career was steeped in tales of excess the band pushing the limits of onstage volume as well as claiming to be managed by a Hells Angels chapter. In more recent years the band has taken special pride of place in the hearts of the Stoner community, generations of new acts finding inspiration from BLUE CHEER's distorted Fuzz Rock style.

The band were created from the sextet SAN FRANCISCO BLUES BAND. Vocalist / bassist Dickie Peterson, guitarist Leigh Stephens and drummer Paul Whaley (also an ex-member of OXFORD CIRCLE) founded BLUE CHEER being turned onto the proto-Rock sound as being purveyed at the time.

The band's 1968 debut album 'Vincebus Eruptum' remains a classic and high sales very nearly propelled this outing into the American top ten. With heavy touring ensuing the band added MINT TATTOO keyboard player Ralph Burns Kellog (a.k.a. 'Ethan James') for live work.

With their follow up 'Outsideinside', according to press sources so called because the album was partially recorded outside when the band blew up all the studio monitors, it was revealed that Stephens was forced to bow out owing to deafness. His replacement in BLUE CHEER was former SONS OF ADAM and OTHER HALF man Randy Holden. Strangely, despite his disability Leigh forged a solo career for himself issuing the LEIGH STEPHENS AND A CAST OF THOUSANDS project album in 1971. Stephens also teamed up with the bands PILOT and SILVER METRE.

BLUE CHEER meanwhile underwent a period of flux with Holden being supplanted in 1969 by ex-OXFORD CIRCLE and KAK guitarist Gary Yoder and Whaley losing out to former SOPWITH CAMEL man Norman Mayell on the drum kit. Within the year the band's guitarist casualty rate grew as ex-MINT TATTOO man Bruce Stephens manouvered in at Yoder's expense.

Although the act excelled itself with 1970's 'The Original Human Beings' album the record made little commercial impact and the writing was on the wall. BLUE CHEER found itself finally exhausted in 1971 following the 'Oh Pleasant Hope' album, which failed, to chart. The band regrouped sporadically during the 70's. Mayell reformed SOPWITH CAMEL in 1973.

BLUE CHEER struggled to maintain their standing despite a loyal cult following and were ultimately swamped by the British Hard Rock invasion. BLUE CHEER attempted a reformation in 1975 by pulling in guitarist Rueben De Fuentes, former STEPPENWOLF man Nick St. Nicholas, ex-FLAMIN GROOVIES drummer Terry Rae and Peterson. It was short lived. Fuentes and Rae founded HOLLYWOOD STARS for a 1977 album.

In 1978 Peterson, Whaley and Stephens refounded BLUE CHEER with the addition of new men Gut and Abe 'Voco' Kesh.

BLUE CHEER reformed with Peterson, Whaley and guitarist Tony Rainer in the mid 80's signing to ex-METALLICA manager Johnny Zazula's Megaforce label for the 'Beast Is Back' album. For touring purposes Peterson assembled a fresh outfit of ex-SHAKIN' STREET guitarist Andrew 'Duck' McDonald and drummer David Salce. In 1985 McDonald would join SIMMONDS, the band assembled by SAVOY BROWN man Kim Simmonds. The 1987 version of BLUE CHEER comprised of Peterson on bass, drummer Eric Davies and guitarist Rueben De Fuentes. De Fuentes created RENEGADE in 1989 with SUSAN LYNCH, ex-SABU bassist Rick Bozzo and former SURVIVOR drummer Marc Droubay.

BLUE CHEER's 1990 album 'Highlights And Lowlives' was produced by Jack Endino. The 1991 effort 'Dining With The Sharks' saw Peterson and Whaley joined by Dieter Saller. The album featured guests MICK JONES of FOREIGNER, GROUNDHOGS man Tony McPhee and BLODWYN PIG's Dave Anderson.

The band would still be performing, most notably in Germany, during the late nineties and had included in its ranks former DOKKEN and GREAT WHITE drummer GARY HOLLAND. As a trio of Dickie Peterson, Andrew McDonald and Paul Whaley the group toured Japan during February 1999. These shows would be captured on the Captain Trip live album 'Hello Tokyo, Bye Bye Osaka'. DICKIE PETERSON also had a solo album 'Tramp' issued in Japan the same month after which the guitarist hooked up with HANK DAVISON BAND members for German acoustic gigs billed as DOS HOMBRES.

During the 90s BLUE CHEER were increasingly recognised as pioneers in the current Rock scene and in particular by the Stoner Rock generation. Acts to cover BLUE CHEER tracks include SMASHING PUMPKINS who would regularly perform 'Out Of Focus' and MUDHONEY whose recorded 'Magnolia Caboose Babyfinger' although retitled 'Magnolia Caboose Babyshit'! The Italian Black Widow label also weighed in with a tribute album 'Blue Explosion' featuring a global collective of Stoner acts such as PENTAGRAM, NATAS, INTERNAL VOID, FIREBALL MINISTRY, DRAG PACK and SPACE PROBE TAURUS among others.

RANDY HOLDEN issued his latest solo album 'Guitar God' in 2001. That same year Dickie Peterson was still performing live with the HANK DAVISON BAND and MOTHER OCEAN.

Ethan James, having been suffering from liver cancer, passed away on 19th June 2003. He was 56 years old.

BLUE CHEER engaged in extensive North American touring throughout the summer of 2006.

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