Back in the ‘Wack Vol. 9: Thunderhead are “heavy metal all the way”

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE CHILLIWACK PROGRESS, JUNE 17, 1981

By Steve Newton

(In the final story of a series on local bands that has profiled Joker, The Lakers, The Vacationers, Loose ChangeCitizen’s Band, The Postcards, Midnight Smoke and Homegrown, The Progress presents a look at Thunderhead.)

Heavily metallic rock music has come a long way since the distortion-filled days of Jimi Hendrix and Cream, but the idea of sending gutsy power chords and searing leads through a Marshall stack is still well entrenched in the minds of five young rockers who make up the group Thunderhead.

Guitarists Ken Stone and Lancy Polny, vocalist Colin Turner, drummer Shawn Prokopetz and bassist Steve Ellis are “heavy metal all the way”, says English-born Turner. Stone, an active and aggressive performer onstage, has been playing guitar for only two years, yet he copies the solos of such speedsters as Michael Schenker and Ronnie Montrose with a devoted feel for power and melody.

A drummer for six years, Stone began playing with Polny and Prokopetz in 1979, and the three joined up with Turner about nine months ago. Ellis was added on bass just recently when the other bassist quit.

Thunderhead does not compromise when it comes to their earth-shaking kind of music: “If I can’t make it playing the stuff I like, I won’t play,” says Stone, who feels that the local audience is “awful faddish” in that it only responds to what is considered “in” at the time.

The band is not too concerned with local acceptance though, as the aspiring and determined players are already steeling themselves for their metallic assault on the B.C. nightclub circuit. This week the band will make waves at the Surf Cabaret in Richmond, and then carry on to Port Moody for a two week stand.

Vocalist Turner believes there is a “misconception” that relates drug-taking and alcohol to the heavy metal crowd. “Nobody in the band takes drugs,” he states, because “to project the energy (of heavy metal) you have to keep yourself in shape.” Turner cites “more high class rock acts like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest” as the band’s musical influences, though he adds that Thunderhead will throw in older, better known songs revamped, of course to please a crowd.

With a demo promotional tape, recorded at Yarrow’s Beaver Mountain Studio, and a lot of original material in hand, Thunderhead will seek its place in the competitive market of rock and roll. Considering the energy and enthusiasm the band projects both onstage and off, one would have to admit that the local rockers do have what it takes to be a success– determination and pride in what they do. 

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