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Between 1986 and 1989 the band toured all over the UK, playing many headline shows, as well as touring with Balaam And The Angel, Wolfsbane, Living Colour and Fields Of The Nephilim. Dawn After Dark were recognised as one of the UK’s best live bands, but internal combustion saw the group implode in 1991.
Fast forward to 2019, and out of the blue a promoter called. Balaam And The Angel were playing a Birmingham show. Would DAD be interested in appearing? On 27 September 2019 Dawn After Dark appeared live on stage for the first time in almost three decades.
“It was incredible,” says drummer Tony Henderson. “There were people all over Birmingham wearing Dawn After Dark T-shirts. Amazing.”
Dean Brown, owner of Chapter 22, the label that first signed Dawn After Dark all those years ago, immediately asked the band to re-sign and “come back home.” It wasn’t a hard decision…
So here we are in 2021, and Dawn After Dark have released their first new music in 32 long years. ‘Maximum Overdrive’, which the band is giving away as a free download at their website, is accompanied by a stunning video from director Oliver Fowler.
The original version of ‘Maximum Overdrive’ was produced by AC/DC guitarist Stevie Young back in ’89. This updated and powerful version of a firm fan favourite is the first track from Dawn After Dark’s debut album, which will be released on Chapter 22 Records in December.
Recorded in Birmingham and produced by Andy Taylor, ‘Maximum Overdrive’ is an unforgettable driving rock anthem that’s the perfect way to celebrate the return of live music, and the band will be playing UK shows in December.
Rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Drums, backing vocals
Howard ‘H’ Johnson was already an established and respected music journalist for Kerrang! magazine when he first joined together with guitarist Rich Bardsley and bassist Dave Askey to form Dawn After Dark back in 1986. With Tony Henderson installed on drums and George Craig on lead guitar, ‘H’ fronted Dawn After Dark through the recording of three much-loved ‘80s EPs and countless bouts of touring, before the inevitable ‘personal differences’ led to him being ousted from the band at the start of 1990. Almost 30 years later H and Tony put together a new Dawn After Dark line-up to perform with close friends Balaam And The Angel in the group’s old stomping ground of Birmingham, and the audience reaction was so overwhelming that H felt the band simply had to carry on. “Our fans hadn’t forgotten about us after 30 years, so we knew there was unfinished business,” he says. “There were so many awesome DAD songs that were never recorded, so making a debut album after more than three decades seemed like the natural thing to do!” He points to ‘Maximum Overdrive’ as proof positive that the band has never sounded better and can’t wait for December, when the debut Dawn After Dark album will be released and the band will also be on the road taking it to the people.
Ollie – yes, just Ollie – played guitar in a band called blew in the early to mid- ‘90s and came close to signing a major label deal that in the end proved to be sadly elusive. Having opted to concentrate on making music in his home studio, Ollie “eventually came to realise that I missed being part of a great band.” When the chance to play with Dawn After Dark came up Ollie knew that here was band that ticked all the boxes. “Big guitars, a solid groovy rhythm section and strong, catchy vocals.” Ollie grew up listening to an eclectic mix of rock, punk, reggae and Motown, but the first gig he attended was Monsters of Rock in 1988, at which point he immediately set his heart on becoming a musician. Ollie’s soulful lead work and ability to lock seamlessly into a groove makes him the perfect lead player for Dawn After Dark.
When Russ Frame reached the milestone year of 10 punk happened, swiftly followed by new wave, and it was then that he just knew he had to play guitar. But rock soon began to take a hold too, as Russ got turned on to the likes of Thin Lizzy and Bernie Tormé. After sharing rehearsal space with the original Dawn After Dark and playing some shows supporting them in another band back in the ‘80s, Russ and DAD drummer Tony Henderson started working together when the Dawners split in 1991. 28 years later there was talk of a DAD reformation – and Russ jumped at the chance to add his distinctive rhythm playing to the band’s unmistakable sound! He made his Dawn After Dark live debut at the reformation gig in Birmingham supporting Balaam And The Angel in September 2019 and simply describes it as “a fantastic experience.” As you can hear on the ‘Maximum Overdrive’ single, Russ’s rhythmic groove has added a whole new dimension to the DAD sound.
Drew has known H since the early ‘90s when he was playing bass in a Newcastle band called Forgodsake alongside guitarist Chris McCormack, brother of Wildhearts bassist Danny McCormack. Chris went on to play in 3 Colours Red. H always kept Drew in the back of his mind and was his first call when the position of bassist in Dawn After Dark became available. “When H asked me to join it seemed like it was meant to be,” says Drew. The bassist is an unreserved fan of punk, so DAD’s music “isn’t like anything I’ve played before, but the minute I heard them I really liked the tracks. There are songs with a push on the drums that take things away from straight fours and give the sound a real groove.” Drew says he’s “been wanting to get back up on stage for quite a while, and I hear the Dawn After Dark crowd is a great one to play for, so this is the perfect band for me.”
Tony’s love affair with the drums started when he was a kid after seeing The Who’s Keith Moon on TV. Against his better judgment Tony’s granddad bought the 14-year-old a John Grey Autocrat drum kit from a second-hand store in Birmingham. “I played all day and would have played all night if they’d let me,” laughs Tony. Loving AC/DC, Motörhead and “anything else that was dirty, noisy and required minimal grooming,” Tony joined Dawn After Dark in 1986 when he was just 19 years old. His time in the band was, he says, “an amazing experience.’ Tony recorded all three DAD EPs in the ‘80s before the band imploded in 1991. He’s since played in many other bands and has appeared on eight albums. Nothing has come close to his love for Dawn After Dark, though. Playing the band's 2019 reformation gig with his son Felix on bass, and then recording a debut album with him are the highlights of his musical career. “With a new band line-up now in place to take us forward, these are exciting and wonderful times,” says Tony. “And I intend to enjoy every minute.”
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