No band deserves as much credit for keeping the gospel of classic Black Sabbath-derived heavy metal (not to mention bell-bottoms) alive during the '80s as Chicago's Trouble. And while the group's legend never exceeded cult status, their work would serve as inspiration for an entire generation of '90s bands in the thriving underground doom/stoner metal scene.
Trouble was formed in 1979 by vocalist Eric Wagner, guitarists Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell, bassist Sean McAllister, and drummer Jeff Olson. Drawing deeply from Black Sabbath for inspiration (with occasional nods to the psychedelic sounds of the late '60s thrown in for good measure), the band forged an uncompromising brand of classic metal all their own, made more unique by their gloomy down-tuned riffs and spiritual, often openly religious lyrics, which quickly earned them the dubious "white metal" tag. The band toured throughout the Midwest during the early '80s before signing with Metal Blade Records and releasing their amazingly mature eponymous debut (later referred to as PSALM 9) in 1984. The equally impressive (and even more depressing) THE SKULL followed in 1985 and reflected singer Wagner's struggles with substance abuse as well as the growing turmoil within the group. This led to the replacement of bassist McAllister with Ron Holzner and the departure of drummer Olson, who, as legend has it, had decided to become a preacher. Dennis Lesch was drafted as his replacement for 1987's RUN TO THE LIGHT.
A three year hiatus followed. Luckily, just when it seemed that Trouble's fortunes had run out, the band was snapped up by Rick Rubin's visionary Def American Records for whom they recorded another self-titled album (TROUBLE) in 1990 with Rubin in the producer's chair. More experimental than previous efforts, the album (featuring new drummer Barry Stern) expanded upon the group's tentative psychedelic notions of the past while abandoning none of their thunderous power chords. Encouraged by a euphoric response from the media, the revitalized group embarked on a year-long tour, expanded their fan base considerably, and returned to the studio with every intention of making their next album the one that would push them over the edge. Sure enough, 1992's stunning MANIC FRUSTRATION realized all their creative ambitions, delving even deeper into Beatlesque psychedelia and featuring some of Trouble's most aggressive, energetic performances ever. But when the album still failed to connect with a wider audience (due perhaps to the grunge revolution that made metal a bad word in 1992), it seemed that Trouble had apparently missed their last window of opportunity. Ultimately dropped by their record company (that by now was experiencing financial problems of their own), the band issued 1995's PLASTIC GREEN HEAD through the Music for Nations label. But despite offering consistently strong songwriting that harkened back to their doom roots, and the return of founding drummer Olson, the album's impact was noticeably dulled by a badly concealed weariness. Vocalist Eric Wagner would quit the band soon after (going on to form Lid) and though Trouble has been on hiatus ever since, rumors of an eventual re-formation persist. from www.allmusic.com / On January 26th of 2002 the event that all Trouble fans worldwide had waited for finally happened. The band took the stage in Chicago to once again pound the planet with their particular brand of doom. Eric, Bruce, Rick, Ron and original Drummer Jeff Olsen took to the stage to perform a short blistering set that announced to the world that they were back!
Since then the band has been out and about in the greater Chicagoland area playing local one off gigs and headlining various metal festivals while working on their upcoming album. In Febuary of 2004 Dave Grohl of NIRVANA and FOO FIGHTER fame put together a tribute to his metal roots by assembling a who's who of metal with his PROBOT project. The disc featured various vocalists from Dave's fav metal bands singing on tunes that he recoded the music for. Eric sang on the track My Tortured Soul. Bass player Ron left the band and was replaced by Chuck Robinson. Tragedy befell the Trouble camp in 2005 (April 1st) when former drummer BARRY STERN passed away. Simple Mind Condition, which is scheduled to be released by Escapi Music on February 20th, 2007, will be the first studio album Trouble has released since 1995's Plastic Green Head. While recently commenting on the cover, guitar player and founding member Rick Wartell added, 'It's fucking eerie, true to life and death. There are many subtle clues regarding the content of the CD.' Perhaps the years of going through bureaucratic bullshit and labels that have no idea of how to work the band properly have driven them to do what they are doing. And that is, listen to nobody ele's opinion, write and play the music they love, and do this for nobody else except themselves.
A new energy has come to the band that is evident in the recordings, and this will serve them well as they move forward into a new era of Trouble. ....