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American Head Charge (often referred to as Head Charge or abbreviated AHC) was an industrial metal band from Minneapolismarker, Minnesotamarker, USAmarker, earning nominations at the Kerrang! Awards on two occasions.

History

Formation

The genesis of the band name

Early incarnations of the band sported the monikers Flux, Gestapo Pussy Ranch, and Warsaw Ghetto Pussy, although these were short-lived. The name Flux was already adopted by another band and so was dropped due to fear from copyright infringement and libel, while the latter names were abandoned within a period of six months so as not to alienate prospective label interest. "I'm a fan of 3-word names", Hanks reflected in a December 2001 Livewire interview. In reference to the current band moniker, he confessed; "It means nothing. No meaning by it. Pretty much that purpose right there." Although sometimes speculated that their name was taken from Adrian Sherwood's famous dub label On-U Sound act African Head Charge, which was formed in the early 1980s, it is in fact a coincidence. Chad Hanks remarked in an interview before they were signed that "It turns out that there is actually a band called African Head Charge; its so hard to be original these days."

The release of Trepanation

After settling on the name American Head Charge, the band made their debut on the underground fringes of the industrial metal scene with their 1999 independent self-released album Trepanation. The personnel on this album saw Heacock and Hanks (now respectively re-christened Martin Cock and Banks) joined by guitarist David Rogers, Peter Harmon on drums, and Christopher Emery on keyboards/samplers.

Further exposure came through two track offerings to Dwell Records tribute albums, namely in homage to industrial bands Ministry and Marilyn Manson.

Second guitarist Wayne Kile and keyboard player Aaron Zilch joined the quintets ranks during mid/late 1999.

After supporting System of a Down in Des Moines, Iowamarker in August 1999, System of a Down's Shavo Odadjian was impressed enough that when label head Rick Rubin asked Shavo if there were any bands he should check out, he told Rick about American Head Charge. Six months later the band was offered a record deal with Rick's American Recordings, then under the Columbia Records umbrella.

The War of Art

Recording information

After the local success of Trepanation and the band's signing to American Recordings in 2000, the band moved to Los Angeles to begin work on their first major label album with producer Rick Rubin at the helm, living and recording at the infamous Rubin-owned Houdini Mansion. The War of Art, released August 28, 2001, sold over 12,000 copies in the United States in its first week. However, like many "heavy" bands at the time, sales of the album suffered immediately after the 9/11 attacks.

Tour

American Head Charge, commencing a live schedule in support of their major label debut, began their professional touring experience on Ozzy Osbourne's 2001 Ozzfest, playing 3rd on the "Second Stage" for the entire tour. They then snagged a slot upon the "Pledge of Allegiance" festival tour, headlined by bands like Slipknot, Mudvayne, Rammstein and System of a Down. Guitarist Dave Rogers marked their concluding show of this tour in New Jersey by wholly playing the concert performance naked; this led to his subsequent arrest after the performance. In December 2001, the band co-supported Slayer alongside Ohiomarker metalcore band Chimaira for the first two months of the American "God Hates Us All" tour. Following shows were headlined by Kittie, hardcore punk band Biohazard, and Texan stoner rockers Speedealer, preceding a 4 month Scandinavian/European/UK/Japanese tour headlined by Slipknot. Additional bands they've toured with include Coal Chamber, Ministry, Gravity Kills, Hatebreed, Static-X, Mudvayne, and Otep.

Guitarist Wayne Kile departed from the industrial outfit in early April 2002, paving the way for the induction of former Black Flood Diesel guitarist Bryan Ottoson to undertake the open position. Just 24 hours after getting the offer to join the band, Ottoson flew to Los Angeles and duly marked his inclusion to the band participating in the filming of the music video "Just So You Know".

The Feeding

After a two year hiatus, drugs had taken control of much of the band. According to AHC's MySpace article, three members of the band had become chemically dependent, with two of them going back into rehab. Guitarist Bryan Ottoson even stated that the band looked so doomed that he was almost checked into a mental institution for fear of suicide.

The hollow shell of the band, with a couple new faces, pulled together and started writing and recording. During the demo process, "The War of Art" producer and American Recordings label owner Rick Rubin became increasingly elusive, and the band subsequently asked to be let out of their recording contract. Rubin respected their request without any legal squabbles. The band's producer on The Feeding was The War of Art's engineer Greg Fidelman. AHC recorded for four months, feeling this was by far their most disciplined record to date. The Feeding was released on February 15, 2005. The Feeding only spawned one radio single 'Loyalty'. They also recorded a video for the song cowards featuring Chuck Lidell of the UFC which did not feature the band.

Death of guitarist Bryan Ottoson

Guitarist Bryan Ottoson : 1978-2005
Guitarist Bryan Ottoson died at the age of 27 in the middle of an early 2005 tour conducted with the bands Mudvayne, Life of Agony, and Bloodsimple in tow. The musician's body was found lying on a sleeping bunk on the band's tour bus in North Charleston, South Carolinamarker, where the group was scheduled to perform at the Plex club.

According to North Charleston police documents, scene investigators concluded the guitarist's death was the result of an accidental prescription drug overdose [122750] Police discovered a pill bottle of "numerous amounts of prescription medicine" in Ottoson's bunk. Ottoson had been battling severe strep throat with prescribed penicillin, and he was also given an unnamed pain medication.

Band members informed police they last saw Ottoson alive around 4 a.m. on April 18, 2005, as they went to sleep before leaving Jessup, Marylandmarker. Ottoson had consumed "a large amount of alcohol at a bar" in Jessup that evening, according to police documents. This statement is reported as inaccurate by bassist/co-founder Chad Hanks: "Bryan, myself, and our tech D-Rock walked to the bar just before last call, and we were stone cold sober. We all had two shots of vodka and one beer each. No more. No less. If 3 drinks is a 'large amount of alcohol', then apparently my mother is a raging alcoholic."

Police were called to the scene around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday; Ottoson was deceased by this time. Hanks and Cheema remarked to police that "Ottoson was a heavy sleeper, and it was not uncommon for him to sleep late before a concert."

The Delicious Rox Incident

On September 30, 2006, AHC appeared at the Delicious Rox music festival in Sedalia, Missouri. Early on during the festival, AHC took the stage to perform. During their set, an over-zealous fan tossed a glass bottle on stage, hitting Chad Hanks. Hanks proceeded to pick up the bottle and toss it back into the crowd, hitting a young teenage girl in the process. The girl sustained a severe laceration on her head. While being tended to by the on-site paramedics, the girl was visited by Chris Jericho, the lead singer of the band Fozzy(who was also performing at the event), whom she had traveled quite a distance to see perform. The girl was then taken to a local hospital to be checked out by a physician. After the girl was taken away, Jericho confronted Hanks about the incident. The two musicians exchanged words and Jericho reportedly had to be held back by his fellow band members to prevent an altercation from taking place. Later on in the festival, Fozzy took the stage to perform. After the third song in their set, the director of the festival took the stage and informed the crowd (and the band) that the festival was being shut down by the authorities.

Can't Stop The Machine

On April 3, 2007, American Head Charge released their first DVD, Can't Stop the Machine, through Nitrus Records. Along with it came a 10 track CD with live and unreleased songs, including a remix of The War of Art single "Just So You Know". They supported the release with a 2 month U.S. tour that began on May 5 with their ninth sold-out First Avenuemarker show. The played an "encore performance" of the tour's final sold-out show at The Rock in Maplewood, Minnesota on September 14, 2007. This would be their last live show together.

"When the music's over..."

On August 11, 2009, the band issued the following press release:


American Head Charge Calls It Quits


(August 11, 2009) – MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - International recording and touring act American Head Charge is hanging up their hat and disbanding. Citing singer Cameron Heacock’s “inability to continue on a musical career path.”

AHC, who have worked with greats like Rick Rubin and toured the globe extensively with such bands as Slipknot, Slayer, Mudvayne, and System Of A Down, see this as an opportunity to finally get the ball rolling.

“This is not the kind of news I enjoy being the bearer of, but we’ve been ready and waiting for input from Cameron for almost two years; we’ve written and recorded two albums worth of material in that time.” says co-founder and bassist Chad Hanks. “At this point, he no longer gives being in this band any sort of top priority, which is so sad seeing as how he has such an amazing and unique voice; I couldn’t wait to hear it on these songs.

“However, we’re looking forward to some new blood; a young, hungry soul that doesn’t sound like anyone else and is ready to work his ass off. We’re more than eager to get back to the mines. This is what we do.”

Vocalists can submit EPKs/demos to NewVocalist2009@gmail.com

Band members

Final Incarnation

  • Cameron Heacock - Vocals (1996 - 2009)
  • Chad Hanks (Banks) - Bass (1996 - 2009)
  • Justin Fowler - Keyboards, Backing Vocals (2000 - 2009)
  • Karma Singh Cheema - Guitar (2004 - 2005, 2007 - 2009)
  • Benji Helberg - Guitar (2005 - 2009)
  • Dane Tuders - Drums (February 2006 - 2009)


Former

  • Dave Rogers - Guitar (1996 - 2003)
  • Jamie White - Keyboards, back-up vocals (1996; never recorded with AHC, but played live)
  • Peter Harmon - Drums (1997 - 2000)
  • Chris Emery - Keyboards (1996 - 2000), Drums (2000 - February 2006)
  • Wayne Kile - Guitar (mid/late 1999 - April 2002)
  • Aaron Zilch - Electronics (mid/late 1999 - January 2003)
  • Bryan Ottoson - Guitar (April 2002 - April 19, 2005) (Deceased)
  • Nicolas Quijano - Guitar (2006 European Occupation Tour)
  • Falon Robichaux - Maracas and Cow Bell(American Obesity Epidemic 2009)
  • Anthony Burke - Guitar (fill-in 2006)


Discography

Albums



Singles

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
UK

2002 "Just So You Know" 52 The War of Art
"All Wrapped Up"
2005 "Loyalty" The Feeding
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.


Music videos

Song Director Album Label Additional Information
"Just So You Know" Kevin Kerslake The War of Art American Recordings American Head Charge's first official music video.
"All Wrapped Up" Tomas Migone The War of Art American Recordings Banned due to visceral images within video.
"Loyalty" Mike Sloat The Feeding DRT Entertainment/Nitrus First official music video release taken from The Feeding.
"Cowards" Mike Sloat The Feeding DRT Entertainment/Nitrus First UNOFFICIAL music video release taken from The Feeding. Features UFC fighter Chuck Liddell.


Compilation appearances

Date of Release Title Album Label Additional Information
January 25, 2000 "Filth Pig" Devilswork: A Tribute to Ministry Dwell Ministry cover
June 6, 2000 "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" Anthems of Rust and Decay: A Tribute to Marilyn Manson Dwell Marilyn Manson cover
March 26, 2002 "Seamless" (Live) Pledge of Allegiance Tour: Live Concert Recording Columbia Records
August 25, 2002 "Reach and Touch" (Live) Ozzfest 2001: Second Millennium Columbia Records
August 24, 2004 "Cowards" UFC: Ultimate Beat downs, Vol. 1 DRT Entertainment First taste of The Feeding


References

  1. Released through Nitrus Records, reported by [1]; last accessed January 20, 2007.
  2. British chart


External links




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