Steelheart started off as a rock band called Red Alert whose members included James Ward (bass), Chris Risola (guitars), Jack Wilkenson (drums) and after auditioning, Michael Matijevic on vocals. Frank DiCostanzo joined as a second guitarist and John Fowler replaced Jack Wilkenson on drums, after leaving the band Rage of Angels. Recording a four-track demo tape, Matijevic managed to meet artist manager Stan Poses. However, Poses wasn't interested, despite this Matijevic persevered and eventually was given a scribbled address. The next day, Stan Poses had the demo tape, within an hour of hearing it, Matijevic received a phone call confirming that "Red Alert" had just been given a contract with MCA records. Realizing that the Red Alert name was already taken, the band settled on Steelheart allegedly because of their attitude after trying to get a record deal for so long.
The early years (1990-1992)
Steelheart released their self-titled debut album in 1990. It sold 33,000 albums on its first day in Japan alone, and quickly hit platinum status. The ballad "She's Gone" which showcased Matijevic's wide vocal range hit #1 on the International Charts, staying there for 17 weeks. The second single "I'll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)" reached #14 on the billboard charts, and was MTV's 2nd most requested video. The album reached #40 on the billboard charts. "Everybody Loves Eileen" and its accompanying video also garnered much success. The song "Can't Stop Me Lovin' You" further showcased Matijevic's vocal range, but this time, lead guitarist Risola's guitar skills were also noticed. The accompanying video was another of the band's hits.
Steelheart's next effort, "Tangled In Reins" was a much more mixed combination than the debut, with sleaze glam songs like "Sticky Side Up" to smooth ballads such as "Mama Don't You Cry". Also, the song, "Steelheart", featured Matijevic hitting his highest note of the three albums. The album wasn't as much a commercial success, reaching only #144 on the billboard charts, a sign that the grunge invasion was taking force. Steelheart was later asked by the heavy metal band, Slaughter, to go on tour with them. Nearing the end of the tour, Slaughter asked Steelheart to perform one last show which would occur in Denver, Colorado. The show took place on Halloween night. While performing, "Dancing in the Fire", a hit from the "Tangled in Reins" album, Matijevic decided to climb a lighting truss, which was inproperly secured. Matijevic tried to dodge the massive rig, but without success. The 1000 pound truss hit Matijevic on the back of the head, face first into the stage breaking his nose, cheekbone, jaw and twisting his spine. Matijevic managed to walk off the stage and he was immediately taken to a hospital. "Steelheart" ended that night.
Four years later, Matijevic formed a new version of Steelheart with Kenny Kanowski (guitars), Vincent Mele (bass) and Alex Makarovich (drums) to record and release the album "Wait". The album was very different from the previous two albums. The single "Wait" went #1 in many Asian countries, however that was the main area of the album's success, the grunge invasion causing the American European markets to be near closed to classic rock. Original member James Ward joined Steelheart on the tour supporting the album. Also on the "Wait" album, "We All Die Young", the first track, was in the motion picture, "Rock Star," starring Mark Wahlberg. Matijevic stated that "Wait" was the choice of the title because it took a long time to gain freedom from the record company and his greedy manager, who was taking more than what was his.
Rock Star (2001)
In 2001, Matijevic provided the voice for Mark Wahlberg's character in the movie, Rock Star, a story about a music fan who gets to become the singer for his favorite band. Jeff Scott Soto (of Talisman & Yngwie Malmsteen) provided the voice of the fictional band's original singer. The band itself was made up of Zakk Wylde,(Ozzy Osbourne's Guitarist and Frontman of Black Label Society); Jeff Pilson (Dokken) and Jason Bonham. (Son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham) The film also featured a re-recording of the song "We All Die Young", from the Wait album.
Just A Taste & Good 2b Alive (2006-Present)
According to the Steelheart website, a new album Good 2b Alive will be due out november 11. 2008. Currently, the Just A Taste is available to order from the website as well as being available live on their most recent tour of the same name. It features three tracks from the upcoming Good 2b Alive, "LOL (Laughing Out Loud)", "Twisted Future", and "Buried Unkind", as well as the previously released track "We All Die Young", from Steelheart's album Wait. Steelheart's new sound is modern and edgy while still retaining overtones of Miijenko Matijevic's roots. The live Steelheart DVD is also available online. Meanwhile, former drummer for Steelheart, John Fowler, was working on two new projects- the Voodoo Jets and Smoke before his death. He passed away on 3/21/08 after falling into a coma from suffering a brain anuerysm on 3/17/08. Chris Risola has a guitar studio and rejoined Steelheart for the Just A Taste tour and next album. Instrumental guitarist Bill Lonero has joined SteelHeart. His first performance with the band was at the Rocklahoma festival on July 13th, 2008.
Message Boards for this Fan Group
This group does not have any discussions yet.