When guitarist Geoff Thorpe first cranked up the amps on Vicious Rumors, Jimmy Carter was still in the White House, and disco owned popular radio. Now nearly 35 years later, he and the band are set to return with studio album number 11, “Electric Punishment“.
This month, Metalholic chatted with Thorpe about three decades of making Vicious Rumors metal, the group’s sense of renewed vigor and its growing fan base. After a tumultuous decade to start the millennium which saw the band release only two records, they exploded back on the scene with the critically acclaimed “Razorback Killers” in 2011. After two years of relentless touring, which included the 2012 live release, “Live You To Death“, the guys returned home for some well-earned down time. However, that was not to be. The creative fluids pumping through Thorpe’s veins pushed the band right back into the studio and thus “Electric Punishment” was birthed. The record will be released to North America on May 7, through Steamhammer/SPV Records and April 29 in Europe.
The band has often been labeled as American power metal, but in truth they were simply a heavy metal band that was edgier and more brutal than others of their era. They came up in a Bay Area music scene awash in the burgeoning thrash metal movement which puked up the likes of Exodus, Metallica, Testament, Forbidden Vio-lence, Death Angel, and Megadeth. Vicious Rumors was ballsy and heavy enough to share the same stage yet never took that speed-thrash turn, instead focusing on guitar heavy attacks packed with harmonies.
So impressed was producer Mike Varney he signed VR to his Shrapnel Records label which was geared toward guitar virtuosity. His acts included future guitar gods like Yngwie Malmsteen, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Richie Kotzen and many more, including a young Vinnie Moore. Thorpe was looking for a guitarist to compliment his style, and Varney recommended Moore who would appear on the band’s 1985 debut, “Soldiers of the Night“.
In 1988, Vicious Rumors would release its epic sophomore album, “Digital Dictator“. This would bring them to the attention of a major label, and they soon signed a seven album deal with Atlantic Records. Their self-titled 1990 debut for Atlantic would launch the classic hit, “Don’t Wait for Me”, which found significant airplay on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball.
Unlike so many other metal bands that drastically altered their sound or split up temporarily in the wake of the Seattle grunge movement,Vicious Rumors never split and never compromised their signature sound. “Electric Punishment” features songs that recall three decades of the band’s various stylistic eras. Thorpe even chose to close the record out with a cover of the Kiss classic, “Strange Ways”, a track he said he’s planned to record from as far back as the band’s second album.
You can listen to the full Vicious Rumors interview with Thorpe below, catch the new video for “I Am the Gun”, and get ready to receive your “Electric Punishment“.