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Bang is an American hard rock/heavy metal band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, active briefly in the early 1970s and again since 2014. The group was formed by drummer Tony Diorio, bassist/singer Frank Ferrara, and guitarist Frank Gilcken and released three albums on Capitol Records, scoring one minor hit single with "Questions", which reached #90 on the Billboard Hot 100. They were strongly influenced by Black Sabbath, and are considered forerunners to the doom metal genre.
The group briefly reformed in the early 2000s and recorded 2 more CDs worth of music. In 2004 the concept album "Death Of A Country" was released on CD and LP. This album was recorded in 1971 and was intended to be released as the band's first record, but was shelved by Capitol Records because they did not feel that putting out a "heavy concept album" as the band's debut would be commercially viable. Later that year, their self-titled sophomore record was released and became their official debut instead.
On January 6, 2014 Bang announced their reunion. Original drummer and lyricist Tony Diorio continues to contribute lyrics, while Matt Calvarese performed drums live.
On August 15, 2017, Bang released their autobiography entitled "The BANG Story: From the Basement to the Bright Lights," written with Lawrence Knorr. The book was published by Sunbury Press.
As the saying goes, many are called but only a few are chosen, and that certainly applies to Bang's disappointing career in the big picture of early-'70s hard rock and heavy metal. Briefly hyped as top contenders fighting for scene supremacy, and once praised as America's answer to Black Sabbath, the power trio quickly saw its promise squandered, instead, due to their own inexperience and overbearing managerial intervention that diluted Bang's original musical vision and derailed their bid for success within a few short years.
Bang's story began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with high school friends Frank Ferrara (vocals/bass) and Frankie Glicken (guitar, vocals). Aged just 16 and soon-to-be dropouts, the pair linked up with experienced drummer and lyricist Tony Diorio (their senior by nearly a decade) in the fall of 1969, and set about rehearsing covers and original material inspired by rising heavy rock groups like Black Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad, and Led Zeppelin. Early shows by what was then called the Magic Band also featured a proper lead singer and several different keyboard players, but only the core trio was willing and able to endure the ensuing 18 months of basement woodshedding, while composing an ambitious conceptual suite entitled Death of a Country.
When the newly renamed Bang finally emerged from this subterranean apprenticeship in early 1971, their naïve self-assurance knew no bounds; so a friendly tip was all it took to send them off to Florida, where they talked themselves into an opening slot for the Faces and Deep Purple in Orlando, and impressed the concert booker enough for him to take a chance on managing them. Thanks to his connections, Bang spent the entire summer performing all over the eastern seaboard and then repaired to Miami's Criteria Studios in August to record the aforementioned Death of a Country album, confident it would land them the major-label contract they so coveted.
They were right about that first part, at least, since Capitol Records indeed agreed to sign Bang to a four-album deal, but then refused to release their independent recording, which, in fairness, revealed a band still honing its heavy rock chops with a lot of cynical flower child nonsense (Death of a Country would only see the light of day some 40 years later, as part of Rise Above's career-spanning Bang box set).
Luckily, Bang's next trip into the studio did in fact result in their eponymous Capitol debut, which was unveiled to the buying public in February 1972. Filled with virtually all-new material and boasting a much more direct and modern hard rock style (bye-bye psychedelia), its songs were clearly indebted to primary heroes Black Sabbath, but also stood up in their own right. The LP's first single, "Questions," steadily climbed into the Billboard Hot 100, but stalled at number 90, around the same time that Capitol was coincidentally undergoing an internal overhaul, leaving Bang no other option than to get to work on their sophomore album.
Sadly, the recording of the Mother/Bow to the King LP saw drummer Tony Diorio, first sidelined by session musicians, then ejected from Bang due to external pressures that also forced the group to take some of their songs in more commercial directions.
Adding insult to injury, the album's chosen single was a sonically uncharacteristic cover of the Guess Who B-side, "No Sugar Tonight," which alienated existing fans and went nowhere on the radio, losing whatever interest Capitol's new regime still had in Bang's future.
In a show of good faith (to each other, anyway), the band's two Franks decided to bring back ousted drummer Diorio as their new manager and secured more studio time in 1973 to record a new album to be named simply Music.
Sadly, though their label had clearly already turned its back on them, Bang proceeded to disfigure their initial musical vision of their own volition, with a series of concise power pop tunes, hardly touching on hard rock at all, and ultimately sounding more like Big Star than Black Sabbath.
As such, the end results weren't necessarily bad -- just unexpected -- and the gambit simply didn't work, in any case; Bang's touring options dried up and Capitol's patience ran out following a final single recording that was never actually released. Bang's career went out, not with a, well, bang, but with a barely audible sigh.
♦ Frank Ferrara - vocals, bass
♦ Frank Gilcken - guitar, harmony vocals
♦ Tony Diorio - drums, lyrics
01. Death of A Country 10:06 [Unreleased US 1971]
02. No Trespassing 05:10 [Unreleased US 1971]
03. My Window 04:47 [Unreleased US 1971]
04. Lions . . .Christians 03:58 [US 1971]
05. The Queen 05:24 [US 1971]
06. Our Home 03:26 [US 1971]
07. Questions 03:46 [US 1971]
08. Redman 04:52 [US 1971]
09. Mother 04:23 [US 1972]
10. Humble 04:43 [US 1972]
11. Keep On 03:38 [US 1972]
12. Idealist Realist 04:30 [US 1972]
13. Feel the Hurt 05:18 [US 1972]
14. Windfair 03:07 [US 1973]
15. Don't Need Nobody 03:03 [US 1973]
16. Exactly Who I Am 03:39 [US 1973]
17. Slow Down 02:38 [Single US 1974]
18. Feels Nice 02:57 [Single US 1974]