Sunday, August 7

Ty Taylor: Rock Star Novelty?

A mini-controversy seems to have erupted among some fans of the CBS Show "Rock Star:INXS" over whether or not Ty Taylor, easily one of the best singers and performers in the competition, would be an appropriate fit as front person for a band such as INXS since Ty, is a black man. One would think that such an issue would have been long settled before 2005, but apparently it is not.

It's not as if Ty is anywhere near the first person who has been in this position, and delt with the question. Far beyond the Grammy Winning Rock band
Living Colour and their lead singer Corey Glover, whom Ty has already - unfairly - been compared to -- there has been a long history of Rock Bands front by black men and women.

Mother's Finest was originally formed in the 1976 featuring a multi-racial lineup. Originally mixing funk, R&b and rock the group gradually evolved into a hardrocking powerhouse in the early 90's that would give Ozzy Osborne and Black Sabbath a good run. The group is still together, still touring, has released 10 CD's so far and are considered huge superstars in England and Europe. The highest U.S chart position was #22 on the Black Music Charts in 1979.

Formed at about the same time as Living Colour in New York, the group 24/7 Spyz featured a predominantly black lineup fronted origially by P. Fluid, and later by Jeff Broadnax the group has released 8 studio albums, the latest being Heavy Metal Soul by the Pound.

King's X is a group from Houston Texas that has been together over 20 years, releasing 11 CD's on Megaforce, Atlantic and Metal Blade Records. They even appeared at Woodstock II, taking the stage just after Blues Traveller and right before Sheryl Crow. Their latest CD, a live disc, was released last november and is called "Live All Over Place". They tour the U.S. every year and occasionally Europe at venues about the size of the House of Blues and have developed a loyal and devoted following. Their biggest hits so far have been "It's Love" (#6 on the Mainstream Rock 1990), "Black Flag" (#17 Mainstream Rock 1992) and "Dogman" (#20 Mainstream Rock 1994).

Stuck Mojo formed in 1993 as part of the trend of Rap/Rock bands of the mid 90's, ultimately releasing 6 CD's peaking at number 48 on the Heatseakers chart with the song "Rising".

Follow For Now is an all black rock, soul and ska group that debuted in 1991, they never charted - but theri lead singer David Ryan Harris went on to work with former Arrested Development vocalist Dionne Farris and to found the group Brand New Immortals.

Ra is a relatively new group from East Rutherford NJ with two CD's out so far whose song "Rectifier" went to #30 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks in 2003.

Skindred is also a new group that has been making waves in the hardcore/metal scene with a unique blend of ska & reggae and hardcore - following in the footsteps of the seminal hardcore group - Badbrains. They had the #1 Reggae record of 2004, and hit #14 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks that same year.

Moke was a british group that has toured with King's X (see above), they released two albums. I've seen them live and they were a great group but establish no significant chart position in the U.S. before they broke up.

The self-titled debut CD by
Sevendust was released in 1997 and so far has four follow-ups. Their third album Animosity went to #1 on the Top independant Albums chart in 2001 and #28 on the Billboard 200. Their 2004 CD Seasons also went to #1 on the Independant Chart and they've had 11 songs in the Top 40 Mainstream Rock tracks, plus 5 in the Top 40 Modern Rock tracks - the highest position being the song "Denial" at #14.

Killswitch Engage is a group that has been touring with group such as Slipknot as has so far hit number #21 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart.

Body Count is a hardcore/rap/punk outfit fronted by Rapper/Actor Ice T that has released three CD's so far and toured the world several times. Their latest CD, "Violent Demise: Last Days", was released on 1997 and besides getting Charlton Heston to quote their lyrics on TV, they've also managed to hit #26 on the Billboard 200 with their self-titled debut.


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