Heavy Metal Horns
“This is not – I repeat – not heavy metal music. Heavy Metal Horns are, however, heavy on funk and soul. Incorporating elements of George Clinton’s P-Funk vision and the dead-on-grooves of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Heavy Metal Horns blow their way to the center of your funk-starved mind. In-your-face brass and hook-laden songs are what these guys are all about.” – Michael Henningsen, Nu City, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Heavy Metal Horns, a force on the Boston music scene throughout the 1990’s, recently reunited (2/26/16) to play a final weekend before the closing of legendary nightclub Johnny D’s in Somerville, MA. The original 11 member lineup performed all the songs from their self titled debut release, and most of their 2nd CD “Horns In The House”. The Horns celebrated their 25th anniversary in front of a packed sold-out room, while a line down the street had to listen from outside.
Based in Boston, Heavy Metal Horns first appeared in 1989 as the horn section on the Del Fuegos RCA release “Smoking In The Fields”. A series of shows with the Del Fuegos through 1990, (which included J.Geils Band members Seth Justman on keyboards, and Magic Dick on harmonica, ) culminated on Boston’s Earth Day Celebration that year at The Hatch Shell in front of over 200,000 people.
To record their own music, Heavy Metal Horns with the help of guitarist/songwriter Peter Calo, enlisted musicians from some of their favorite bands. The result was recognition from Boston’s major publications: Boston Magazine’s Best New Band, one of the year’s Best New Releases in the Boston Phoenix/WFNX Music Poll, and a performance opening the 1991 Boston Globe Jazz Festival. Heavy Metal Horns have received awards from the Boston Phoenix/WFNX for Best R&B/Soul/Blues Act, and two Boston Music Awards: Outstanding Club Band and Outstanding Funk Act. The Horns also received a sponsorship from Budweiser’s “In Concert ” program.
In the summer of 1991, Fran Sheehan and Barry Goudreau of the band Boston performed with the Horns, this lead to an introduction/audition with A&M recording artists and fellow Bostonians Extreme. The Horns were invited on Extreme’s 1992-93 Stop The World Tour, which took them throughout the United States and Canada, to Europe, Japan, and Australia. Tour highlights included multiple sold-out shows at London’s Wembley Arena and Tokyo’s Budokan. In London, the Horns got to hang out and perform with guitarist Brian May of Queen, and while in Japan, the Horns secured a recording deal with Polystar. The single “Pepper Pot” was released, and picked up as the theme song for the popular variety show “Waratte Litomo”.
In 2011 the Japanese label Agate released “Steppin’ on a Live Wire”, a 17 song compilation from the previously released “Dakini” (1996), and “4:20 in the Land of Plenty” (1999).
“This is the kind of band that thrives on live shows. Their brassy blend of rhythm & blues, reggae, jazz, soul, and funk, has a way of turning rooms into a romp.”- J. Barry Mothes, Portland Press Herald
“The best horn section since Tower of Power.”- Mark Parenteau, WBCN
“A funk soul band with honest jazz feelings.”- Bob Blumenthal, The Boston Globe
“They stress a taut, turn-on-a-dime sound that’s fast making them Boston’s answer to the Bay Area’s Tower of Power, though with an even wider multi-cultural scope.”- Steve Morse, The Boston Globe
Heavy Metal Horns are:
Henley Douglas- tenor & bari sax,
John Vanderpool- alto & tenor sax, vocals
Garret Savluk- trumpet, vocals
John Ferry- trombone, vocals
Peter Calo- guitar, vocals
Felix Rentschler- guitar, vocals
Ed Spargo- bass
Jim Sturdevant- drums
Bobby Hickman- percussion
John Matthews- keys, vocals
Thaddeus Hogarth- lead vocal