If Black Sabbath are the grandfathers of doom, Trouble would be one of its uncles (along with Candlemass, Saint Vitus and Witchfinder General). But while grandpa’s mad ravings have been grabbing headlines lately, what with the whole Bill Ward fiasco, Uncle Trouble has been through quite the shakeup himself. In fact, it seems that there’s not one, but two Troubles nowadays. Say what?
Yuuup, turns out that Trouble frontman Eric Wagner, original drummer Jeff Olson and longtime bassist Ron Holzner have their own outfit called The Skull. Though they’re still on the lookout for a pair of guitar players, they already have a website, which mentions that they’ll soon be touring. Sorta like a Heaven and Hell scenario, ‘cept that those four guys were Black Sabbath in 1981, whereas there hasn’t ever been a Trouble recording without axemen Rick Wartell and Bruce Franklin. The seeds for The Skull were planted in Wisconsin last summer at Days of the Doomed fest, where all three of the trio’s current outfits (Retro Grave, Earthen Grave and Blackfinger) played the second day, as they ended up on stage together jamming “Come Touch the Sky,” “Plastic Green Head” and “At the End of My Daze.” Apparently Holzner announced “This is only the beginning” at the end of said set, though this is second-hand information, since I wasn’t there. (Maybe this year…)
Interestingly enough, I first found out about The Skull a couple days after I heard the news that Trouble fired Wagner’s inadequate replacement, Warrior Soul shouter Kory Clarke. (He says he quit, but I’ve heard otherwise…) So you’ve got The Skull looking for guitar players while Trouble just sacked their singer. Mind you, the latter have already welcomed back Kyle Thomas, who manned the mic for ’em in the late 90’s.
That said, it wasn’t so long ago that both Pentagram and Death Row (a band that subsequently changed its name to Pentagram when Bobby Liebling joined in the mid-80’s) were touring the States at the same time. Later, when the former lost its lead guitarist before a big tour, Victor Griffin, who had been playing their 80’s output already with Death Row, rejoined Bobby’s band. So, while a Trouble reunion might not happen this year, it could still potentially be headed down the pipe.
(Coincidentally, Russ Strahan, the axeslinger who left Pentagram high and dry, is working on a new project with none other than Kory Clarke. Maybe they could get Bill Ward to play drums?)
Alas, if it was about the music, not the money, the original four members of Black Sabbath would soon be announcing a North American tour with support from the semi-original lineup of Trouble (founding bassist Ian Brown didn’t play on any of their albums). Something tells me that’s not gonna happen, though. On that note, I think I’ve got an idea for next year’s Days of the Doomed fest. I just hafta win the lottery first… 😉