Rebecca Cullen (Stereo Stickman)
Like a phoenix rising from the proverbial ashes, Los Angeles based arena-hard rock musicians, Shark Island, are no strangers to the music scene. Founded in 1979 by singer Richard Black and guitarist Spencer Sercombe, under the name ‘Sharks’, they independently released their album titled Alter-Ego in 1982, and it wasn’t long before the band branded the LA music scene with their own signature style through their blistering live performances.
In 1985 the band made the decision to rebrand themselves from Sharks to Shark Island, and soon followed up their first album Alter-Ego with a new album known as S’cool Buss.
During this period the group was minding a grueling 6 day a week performance schedule with 2-4 shows per night; taking ‘residency’ at several SoCal clubs. Among those venues was world-famous Gazarrii’s on the sunset strip, in Hollywood, the same club that launched the careers of such notables as Van Halen, and The Doors. Shark Island performed the sunset strip every Friday and Saturday for over two and a half years, but also managed to fill the Whisky, the Roxy theater, on dark days. They were indeed the kings of the Strip, and no one can deny it.
Categorizing and labeling the group was a common challenge for labels and management alike. A metal band; they were not, a glam band; they were not. During their club work, they were compared to Aerosmith, AC/DC, but soon they solidified their own brand of melodic rock with a heavy backbeat.
A development deal with A&M records focused around Richard Black forced hard decisions on the future of the group. Ultimately, he parted ways with A&M Records to stay true to a creative vision. shortly thereafter, Shark Island pens a deal with industry titan Epic Records, but not before producing a later to be released single titled Paris Calling and a movie soundtrack contribution on the cult classic Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure.
In 1989 Shark Island's Dangerous and Father Time were both chosen to be featured in the movie Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, along with their song My City that found its place on the 1991 highly acclaimed movie Point Break (later released on the movies soundtrack album).
Bassist Chris Heilmann and drummer Greg Ellis joined in 1989 to record and release the band's first major record, a live album titled Bastille Day alive at the Whisky. Considered to be too bold a statement; [that is] the idea that a debut band would release a live album first, Epic Records opted for a studio record instead; and that highly praised and dominant record would be known as Law of the Order.
Upon releasing Law of the Order, Shark Island headed out on a national tour, followed by a series of sold-out live shows in the US, Europe and Japan, where they were met with extremely loyal fans that continue to support the band today!
Epic began shifting focus towards the Grunge scene, to bands like Sound Garden and Pearl Jam, leaving Shark Island in the crossfire.
The group left Epic for EMI, followed by a management ‘Hail Mary’ in the form of a concocted ‘all-star Group’ named Contraband. It featured Micheal Schenker, Tracii Guns, Bobby Blotzer, Share Pederson, and Richard Black on vocals.
A BAND REBORN
In 2006, a long-time follower and witness to the phenomenon of Rick Black and Shark Island; Robert Marshall and his boutique record label Manifest Music, pursued the creation of Gathering of the Faithful. It was an album of duty and completion. An album to commit to record, songs dear to the cult of Shark Island. An act of love, that the title suggests. Gathering of the Faithful, a thirteen-song album that captured the hidden essence of what made Shark Island the band that sold-out shows on three continents, so many years before! This current lineup would see the return of Richard Black on vocals, Spencer Sercombe on guitars, Chris Heilmann on bass and new addition Glen Sobel on drums.
It was in 2018 that Richard Black and Manifest Music would team up once again, but this time there would be a true mission-statement and focused effort for the music that they would choose to release, this time they would create an album that would act as a call to action for the revolutionary-minded listeners all over the world! This new album would become a wakeup call to the masses, to let them know that their attention has been bought and paid for, that their ideals have been compromised, and that it is now or never to finally rise up and make the necessary changes that will see us taking the power back in our own lives!
Ask Richard Black himself what the album is about? and he will tell you to listen closely and find those answers for yourself. He both embraces and welcomes the thoughtful participation of the band's many listeners, which is a respect between artist and listener that is not always easy to find in today’s highly digitized and manufactured music scene.
This album. This alarm. This wake-up call. Would be known as BLOODLINE.
With three singles already released in 2019, a reimagining of Depeche Mode’s popular single Policy of Truth and two brand new singles Fire In The House and Crazy Eight’s, Shark Island has created a fast-growing and feverish audience dedicated to following and sharing the bands album progress, with many placing this album as a forerunner for their choice as rock-album of the year! For many, there is no doubt that this is Richard Black’s best work to date, as both his vocals and lyrics have taken on a new unheard angle and approach to the songwriting itself.
The recording process started for BLOODLINE in Croatia as the band was touring Europe, finishing off in Los Angeles, and then welcoming the legendary mixing skills of Sylvia Massy who has worked with everyone from to TOOL to SMASHING PUMPKINS to DANZIG to AEROSMITH to PRINCE and so many more incredible musicians that have made their undeniable mark on the music scene, which is why it is no surprise that the singles currently released from BLOODLINE are gaining so much attention for their impressive quality alone!
Now, in late 2019, the Shark Island family (although fluid) consists of Richard Black on vocals, Alex Kane and Damir Simic on guitars, Alen Frjlak on drums and returning Shark Island member Christian Heilmann on bass, with credit also being given to Mirko Karacic on bass, but the bloodline is intact.
BLOODLINE was recorded in a controversial tuning of 432hz to enhance the ability for deep listening. In fact, there is a recommended listening mode of headphones or earbuds.
Produced by Alex Kane (formally of Life Sex and Death) alongside Executive Producer Robert Marshall of Manifest Music, with design and artwork done by Paul Ferreira.
With a legion of loyal fans behind them, combined with the band's deep respect for the purity of this album's focused intention, and a grueling attention to detail on this album throughout the entire recording process, BLOODLINE has become one of 2019’s most talked-about albums!
Ryan Donnelly, Empire Music Promotions