Only a true metal head will get the pun in the band name "Kick Axe." Kick Axe was a Saskatchewan, Canadian band, formed in 1976 by guitarist Larry Gillstrom and brothers Victor (bass) and Gary Langen (drums). By 1979, and after some band line up changes, Kick Axe moved to Vancouver to be closer to the action and hired vocalist Charles McNary. The band began to get noticed and was included on a Playboy compilation album.
By 1981, McNary was gone from Kick Axe, and vocalist George Criston was given the job. Criston was the vocalist on Kick Axe's most popular releases, including the band's first record label release (Vices - 1984). You may remember the Humble Pie cover song "30 Days in the Hole" from this album. "Alive and Kickin'" and "Vices" were also popular songs from this release. In support of Vices, Kick Axe toured with Judas Priest, Quiet Riot, and Whitesnake.
Kick Axe's second release in 1985, Welcome to the Club, had a bit of a softer sound that some die hard Kick Axe fans didn't care for, but the album still charted on the Billboard Top 200. Some people may remember that Kick Axe appeared on the original 1980's Transformers movie under the band name "Spectre General" (due to legal issues in the USA). Their third release, Rock the World (1986), was back to the earlier hard metal roots, but was not as widely received. By 1988, Kick Axe had broken up.
In 2004, the band reunited to release a new album, Kick Axe IV, with Gary Langen on vocals. As the years progressed, Kick Axe continued touring in Candian rock festivals. At the time of this writing, the Kick Axe Discography was as follows:
- 1984: Vices
- 1985: Welcome to the Club
- 1987: Rock the World
- 2004: Kick Axe IV