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Phantom Blue was an all-female heavy metal band formed in Hollywoodmarker, Californiamarker, United Statesmarker in 1987. The band was signed to Shrapnel Records by guitar guru, Mike Varney, only three months after forming.

Career

Phantom Blue was founded in Los Angeles, CA, in 1987 by guitarists Michelle Meldrum and Nicole Couch. Couch and Meldrum were both students of guitar wizards, Paul Gilbert and Bruce Bouilette. Along with drummer Linda McDonald, the band was completed with Gigi Hangach on vocals and Debra Armstrong on bass. Phantom Blue recorded a demo that won them a contract with Shrapnel Records in 1988, but before work on an album started, Armstrong left the band and was replaced by Kim Nielsen.

The band's self-titled debut album was released in the Summer of 1989, attracting transatlantic interest, and minor hit single "Why Call it Love?". Phantom Blue embarked on a three month European tour in support of their debut album and upon returning to the states, caught the attention of Don Dokken, who took the band under his wing and brought them to the attention of Geffen Records A&R man, Tom Zutaut. The band signed with Geffen and Couch and Meldrum immediately began writing material for the Geffen release. Shortly before recording began,, Nicole Couch left the band and was replaced by guitarist Karen Kreutzer. Michelle Meldrum successfully recorded all guitar parts for Built to Perform with the exception of a few guest solos by John Norum and Marty Friedman. Built to Perform saw the light of day in 1993.

A reasonably successful European tour to promote Built to Perform followed in 1994. Unfortunately, due to the emergence of Alternative/Grunge music and some destabilizing lineup changes, Geffen Records dropped Phantom Blue following the release of Built to Perform. Meldrum and Nielsen parted ways with the band. Kreutzer also left months after breaking her leg in a skiing accident, which forced the band to cancel the majority of their 1994 U.S. tour. By the end of the decade, Hangach had left, leaving McDonald the only surviving original member of the band. Nevertheless, McDonald carried on using the name Phantom Blue, recruiting some impressive players along the way, before finally calling it quits in 2001.

Both Phantom Blue's Shrapnel debut and Geffen release, Built to Perform are regarded by fans and critics alike to be the most techinically accomplished albums ever to be recorded by an all-female band.

Post-disbandment



Guitarist Michelle Meldrum went on to form an international band called Meldrum. The band have toured with Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society, Motörhead, Sepultura, Nashville Pussy and Danzigmarker. They have released a live DVD, Loaded Live, and two albums, Loaded Mental Cannon and Blowin' Up the Machine, the latter featuring her former Phantom Blue band mate, drummer Linda McDonald. Sadly, on May 21, 2008, Meldrum died as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage. She is survived by her husband John Norum (of Europe) and their son Jake.

Drummer Linda McDonald and guitarist Sara Marsh (who was part of the 2001 lineup) went on to play in two tribute bands. The first being The Iron Maidens (billed as "The world's only female tribute to Iron Maiden"), who have released a self-titled tribute album in the USA and Japan, the CD/DVD release Route 666 and the EP The Root of All Evil in Japan on Powerslave Records. The second being The Little Dolls ("All female all Ozzy all the time, covering all eras of Ozzy"). In addition, McDonald is involved in the cover bands Valley Dolls, Unholy Pink (also with Marsh) and Half-Cocked.

Guitarist Karen Kreutzer (from the 1993-1997 lineups) retired after moving to West River, MD. She is currently married with two daughters and is working as a data analyst for a content solutions company.

Bassist Kim Nielsen (who now goes by her married name Kim Nielsen-Parsons) has become a successful session musician, tour production and artist management assistant, working with many top bands in the music industry. Her most notable work outside of Phantom Blue is in Asia's 2004 album Silent Nation.

Lead vocalist Gigi Hangach currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevadamarker and is a fierce supporter of animal rights. Critics claimed her performance at the 2009 Phantom Blue reunion show was captivating and she is regarded to be one of the most underrated hard rock/metal vocalists in music history.

Guitarist Nicole Couch currently lives in New York City with her husband and two children and is in the process of recording an album due to be released next year.

Original Bassist Debra Armstrong currently lives in Sioux City, Iowamarker with her husband. After leaving the band in 1988, she went on to pursue a career in 3D modeling and engineering, working for clients such as Disney Imagineering, DARPA and others.

Reunion

On May 26, 2009, Linda McDonald, Gigi Hangach and Kim Nielsen-Parsons reunited as Phantom Blue for the Michelle Meldrum Memorial Concert at the Whisky a Go Gomarker in Hollywood, CAmarker. Meldrum's position was filled by Tina Wood (from the 1997 lineup), while Sara Marsh and Courtney Cox of The Iron Maidens filled in for Nicole Couch.

Discography



Members

Phantom Blue lineups
Pre-Shrapnel Era

(1987-1988)
Shrapnel/Roadrunner Era

(1988-1993)
  • Gigi Hangach – lead vocals
  • Michelle Meldrum – guitar
  • Nicole Couch – guitar
  • Kim Nielsen – bass
  • Linda McDonald – drums
Geffen Era

(1993-1994)
  • Gigi Hangach – lead vocals
  • Michelle Meldrum – guitar
  • Karen Kreutzer – guitar
  • Kim Nielsen – bass
  • Linda McDonald – drums
(1994-1996)
  • Gigi Hangach – lead vocals
  • Michelle Meldrum – guitar
  • Karen Kreutzer – guitar
  • Rana Ross – bass
  • Linda McDonald – drums


Reunion

(2009)
  • Gigi Hangach – lead vocals
  • Tina Wood - guitar
  • Sara Marsh – guitar
  • Courtney Cox - guitar
  • Kim Nielsen-Parsons – bass
  • Linda McDonald – drums


References

External links




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