Krokus - Biography




Formed in Solothurn, Switzerland, Krokus appeared in 1974 playing symphonic rock similar to Yes, Genesis and Emerson, Lake And Palmer. After four years and two rather lacklustre albums, they switched to a hard rock style and dropped the frills in favour of a back-to-basics approach in the mode of AC/DC. The most stable early line-up of the band featured Chris Von Rohr (vocals), Fernando Von Arb (guitar), Jörg Nägeli (bass), Tommy Kiefer (guitar) and Freddy Steady (drums). The songs were formulaic numbers based on simple riffs and predictable choruses that were chanted repeatedly. With Von Rohr's voice lacking the necessary vocal range, he stepped down to become the bass player in favour of new arrival 'Maltezer' Marc Storace. Nägeli occasionally played keyboards and subsequently took over the technical side of the band. Metal Rendez-vous was the turning point in the band's career; released in 1980, it was heavier than anything they had done before and coincided with the resurgence of heavy metal in Britain.

They played the Reading Festival in 1980 and were well received, and their next two albums continued with an aggressive approach, though they streamlined their sound to make it more radio-friendly. Hardware and One Vice At A Time both reached the US and UK album charts. Before Headhunter materialized, a series of personnel changes took place, with the replacement of Kiefer with ex-roadie Mark Kohler and Steve Pace taking over drums from Freddy Steady. Produced by Tom Allom, Headhunter's high-speed, heavy-duty approach propelled it to number 25 in the Billboard album charts.

Kohler took over bass from the departed Von Rohr (he returned briefly in the late 80s) and Jeff Klaven replaced the temporarily absent Pace on The Blitz, an erratic album that reached number 31 on the US chart mainly on the strength of its predecessor. Tommy Keiser (ex-Cobra) was brought in on bass on the follow-up Change Of Address, with Kohler returning to his role as rhythm guitarist. Despite a switch of labels to MCA Records, there was a continuing downward trend in the band's fortunes during the late 80s, with their personnel in a constant state of flux. Von Arb and the other members subsequently put the band on hold to work on solo projects.

The band's music progressed little during the 90s, still relying heavily on the legacy of AC/DC and the Scorpions. Peter Tanner took over from Storace on lead vocals for their first album of the new decade, Stampede. The line-up at this point comprised sole remaining founder member Von Arb, Many Maurer (bass), Tony Castell (guitar), and Peter Haas (drums). Von Arb successfully fought a lymphoma scare to record 1995's To Rock Or Not To Be with Maurer and Krokus stalwarts Storace, Kohler and Freddy Steady. Yet another round of personnel changes preceded 1999's Round 13, with Von Arb and Maurer joined by Haas, Carl Sentance (vocals) and Chris Lauper (guitar). Dave Stettler replaced Lauper the following year. Storace returned to the line-up in 2002, but Von Arb was forced to retire in 2005 due to problems with his wrist.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin

Reluctant to block the band from pursuing their goals, Fernando heroically decided to call it a day in 2005. Fortunately for Krokus, well respected guitar slinger Mandy Meyer who toured with Marc and Krokus back in 1981 extensively and then moved on to showcase his talent worldwide with bands like Cobra, Katmandu, Asia and recently with well known Swiss band Gotthard, answered Marc's invitation to re-join Krokus. This was not just an opportunity for Mandy to perform again the classic hits of the eighties but also to contribute with new songs to the success of the band.

Following some European concerts, Krokus came back to the country where they sold the majority of their albums and CD's in the eighties. An American tour that started in New York brought them across the country to the West coast.

Internationally they positioned themselves for a huge 2006 comeback. September/October in the USA, followed by 2 concerts in Russia last November, and finished off their live appearances with a performance at the Swedenrock Festival 2006 Kick-Off Party in December.

Starting out strong in the new year, Krokus introduce German drummer Stefan Schwarzmann to the then current line-up. Recording for the follow-up album to Rock The Block starts under the watchful eye of American born producer Dennis Ward in southern Germany and their 15th studio album called Hellraiser is slated to be released worldwide by new record label AFM Records between middle of September and latter part of October.

Sweden became a stronghold for Krokus, inviting Krokus back to Swedenrock 2006 and fans witnessed first-hand why Krokus is a force to be reckoned with. Krokus mainly toured Europe and Marc's original homeland of Malta in the last quarter of 2006 in support of Hellraiser.

Continuing the long running Hellraiser Tour, Krokus played for the first time a couple of concerts in Greece in the middle of January. They then embarked supported the Swedish band Hammerfall on an extensive European tour from the second half of January through 31 cities in 16 different countries. For the first time in a long time they returned to the United Kingdom as well.

During the summer months Krokus played many big festivals in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, and touring in support of Hellraiser" continued until the end of the year. The 2006/2007 Hellraiser Tour proved to be the most extensive European tour Krokus ever played in the bands 30+ year history.

The Swiss TV show "Die Grössten Schweizer Hits" ("Greatest Swiss Hits Of All Times") ran a six-part series, each broadcasting on Sunday evenings with different topics. On November 18th Krokus performed for the first time in 23 years with the classic line-up (minus the late Tommy Kiefer), featuring Marc Storace on vocals, Chris Von Rohr on bass, Fernando Von Arb on guitar and Freddy Steady on drums. The medley consists of the songs "Tokyo Nights", "Bedside Radio" and "Heatstrokes", all originally released on Krokus's first album featuring Marc Storace.

In February 2008, Marc, Mandy, Dominique, Tony and Stefan play the last concert of the Hellraiser Tour[/b] at the City Square in Nadur on the island of Gozo, a neighboring island to Malta. On February 5th 2008, the band announced on their web site that they will take an artistic break.

In April, Krokus returned in its original lineup: Marc Storace, Chris Von Rohr, Fernando Von Arb, Mark Kohler and Freddy Steady. On August 2nd, the "originals" played the only concert planned for 2008 in their native Switzerland at the Stade De Suisse football stadium in Bern. Shortly thereafter the band starts working on their comeback album, slated to be released in spring of 2010.

In August 2009, the band headlined the Magic Night Festival in Zofingen, the only concert played planned for that year.

Hoodoo is released February 26th, 2010 with the original line-up.

The band spent two years working on the new album, Dirty Dynamite under the watchful eye of bassist and original founder Chris Von Rohr. The band booked into the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London.

In April-May 2015, the band returned for some dates in the United States, where they had not performed since 2005. Fernando von Arb was not part of that tour, as he could not travel for long distances. Mandy Meyer was brought back into the fold in 2013 as 2nd lead guitarist to cover Von Arb's absences. Likewise, Mark Kohler also needs to take longer leaves of absence from the band and in his place Dominique Favez performs for live shows. Dominique recorded on the 2003 Rock the Block album, 2004's Fire and Gasoline and 2006's Hellraiser.

The band's 18th studio release, a covers album entitled Big Rocks, was released in January 2017.

Source: (Krokus Official Website)

In September 2018, the band announced that 2019 would see the final shows of Krokus. Health issues have made it difficult for long-standing members Fernando Von Arb and Mark Kohler to perform with the band on tours. Members have mutually agreed that the time is right for the band to call it a day.

Source: (Blabbermouth Interview)