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  • Artist: The Kill
  • Label: Eonian Records
  • UPC: 798576218898
  • Genre: Heavy Metal
  • Release Date: 2022

    In spring 1993, newly relocated guitarist Kip Elder posted an ad in the Orlando rock monthly, Jam Magazine, that stated “Guitarist available, long black hair and a Les Paul slung down to my knees.” Immediately, bassist Sammy Allen of the local rock outfit Kats Kill, declared, “You’re in! I don’t care if you can even play!” Sammy, singer/drummer Jason “Jette” Decker, and a changing roster of lead guitarists, had been slamming the region with their brand of cover tunes and now had more firepower, scorching the rock clubs in Florida and Georgia. But something was still missing.Around this time, Cherry Bomb was another Orlando act doing the same thing. Their guitarist Jason Jameson stood out to the Kats Kill boys as the guy they needed to permanently fill the guitar position on stage left. So, they made their pitch, and before too long, JJ was in the band. Decker was proving himself to be an outstanding lead vocalist and the guys decided it was time to free him from double duty and focus on being a frontman, but who could fill the drummer position? A regional act called ELI had a young powerhouse named Will Hunt who clearly had the goods to be a superstar, and that’s what this group declared was the only level acceptable. Another pitch was made and soon the lineup was solidified.The big question now was what to call this new supergroup? How about drop “Kats” and just call it THE KILL? Why? Because vampires were cool, and it was different from all the other names floating around at that time. The influence of Hollywood/NYC glam bands had a tight grip on the guys. The influence of Grunge was starting to creep in since it was totally unavoidable in the early nineties. What they ended up with was more of a biker gang vibe: more leather and chains than spandex and hairspray. Drop-tuned guitars, songs with multiple sections of heavy riffs, but still lyrics that evoke the heyday of 70s/80s glam. Heavy on innuendo rather than gloom and doom. It was the basis for THE KILL’s original music.This was way before the internet and social media so how to get the word out? You had to hit the road and pay your dues. THE KILL packed up two vans’ worth of equipment and staging and proceeded to tour Florida, Georgia, and Alabama regularly, mixing covers with their originals in a 3-4 set evening. This was still the “A Circuit” days when bands would set up at a venue for a week’s residency and play covers (for the bar owner) and originals (for the fans). Selling drinks was the order of the day, and the best way to get asked back was to make the club’s registers ring. The best of the best brought a week of raucous debauchery to each of these regional clubs, and it was a non-stop party... until it wasn’t.If you were in the scene in 1994, you could sense a change in the air. The circuit groups had started to shift to flannel shirts and combat boots. The leather jackets and cowboy boots had been turned in at the local Goodwill and the sound was shifting towards angst rather than good times. Bands like Tabitha’s Secret (later renamed Matchbox 20) were changing the flavor of the local music scene. THE KILL had decided it wasn’t going to give up without a fight and decided to record its best original songs, and Will, a Tallahassee native, had just the guy for the job.John Kurzweg, who in the late 80s signed with Atlantic Records as a solo artist was also local producer with a studio in his house. The guys holed up in John’s studio, The Kitchen, in the fall of 1994 to record their album, ‘Wake the Dead,’ released in early 1995. As an aside, Kurzweg would soon become a multi-platinum record producer and record local Tallahassee band Creed. Three of Creed's records, which Kurzweg produced & mixed were certified multi-platinum and helped Creed achieve worldwide popularity as well as producing other popular rock artists such as Puddle of Mudd, Godsmack, and Eagle Eye Cherry. The song list on ‘Wake the Dead’ featured eight songs crafted by the guys over months of rehearsals and shows they felt best captured their sound. Highlights included the title track, the sing-alongs, “Catch Your Fall,” “The Hell You Are,” and strip club favorite, “Nudie Bar.”The album was a limited pressing of 1,000 copies and was selling well to all the fans of THE KILL, but the climate in 1995 was becoming harder for rock bands holding on to the “old school,” and management types frequently told the guys, “We love the band, but we just don’t know what to do with you, right now.” So, the guys just kept going, trying to muster up grassroots following as best they could. There were more trips up and down the interstate. More demos. More “I dunnos.” THE KILL guys had even started to succumb to the changing nature of the scene by changing their look. Shiny pants and shirts had started making their way onto the stage. Plus, combat boots. It was more Marylin Manson than Motley Crue. There was more touring, more growing uncertainty.New Year’s Eve 1995 would be the last show the original lineup would play together. Kip left soon after with Will lasting another few months before leaving for new opportunities. Jason, Sammy, and Jette recruited a new drummer and continued with a new musical and visual direction until the early 2000s.Following his KILL years, Kip Elder went on to perform in bands in Orlando, namely Quick, Torpedo Sluts and Big Mother Thruster. He eventually decided his interest was more in the guitar itself and founded his company, Starr Guitars in 2005. Kip now enjoys making instruments because it allows him to keep one foot in the music business while allowing for a regular home life. He also has a home studio where he writes and records for his own amusement.Will Hunt went on to write, record, and tour with many high-profile bands, most notably Stuck Mojo, Dark New Day, Black Label Society, Device, Tommy Lee, George Lynch, Michael Sweet, Slaughter and currently, the multi-platinum selling, world-wide touring band, Evanescence. He also records and produces for numerous groups.Jason Jameson owns Taylor Made Signs, a very successful sign business in the Central Florida area. He still plays in town and records music in his spare time in his home studio.Sammy Allen owns a very successful home remodeling company and can be found playing in original and cover bands in the Central Florida area.Jette Decker also does home remodeling and runs & fronts a popular glam metal tribute act called Jette County Dragsters. While music is not the primary gig for most of the guys these days, it’s still a heavy passion. The beat goes on. What started all those days, all those clubs ago, in the early nineties still pulsates under all the everyday white noise. It’s the thumping soundtrack to their lives. Enjoy!

The Kill - Wake The Dead (CD) (2022 Eonian Records)

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