American Head Charge
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American Head Charge
American Head Charge logo.jpg
Also known as Head Charge, AHC
Origin Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Genres Alternative metal, nu metal, rap metal, industrial metal, groove metal
Years active 1997–2009, 2011–present
Members Cameron Heacock
Karma Singh Cheema
Past members Bryan Ottoson
American Head Charge is an industrial metal band from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. The band has earned two nominations at the Kerrang! Awards.
1.3 The War of Art
1.4 The Feeding
1.5 Death of guitarist Bryan Ottoson
1.6 Can't Stop The Machine
2 Band members
2.1 Current members
3.5 Music videos
3.6 Compilation appearances
5 External links
Early incarnations of the band sported names such as Flux, Gestapo Pussy Ranch, and Warsaw Ghetto Pussy, although these were short-lived. The name Flux was already adopted by another band and so was dropped due to the chance of copyright infringement and libel, while the latter names were abandoned within a period of six months so as not to alienate prospective label interest. "I'm a fan of 3-word names", Hanks said in a December 2001 Livewire interview. In reference to the band name, he confessed; "It means nothing. No meaning by it. Pretty much that purpose right there."^ Although sometimes speculated that their name was taken from Adrian Sherwood's famous dub label On-U Sound act African Head Charge, which was formed in the early 1980s, it is in fact a coincidence. Chad Hanks remarked in an interview before they were signed that, "It turns out that there is actually a band called African Head Charge; it's so hard to be original these days."
After settling on the name American Head Charge, the band made their debut on the underground industrial metal scene with their 1999 independent self-released album Trepanation. The personnel on the album saw Heacock and Hanks (now respectively re-christened Martin Cock and Banks) joined by guitarist David Rogers, Peter Harmon on drums, and Christopher Emery on keyboards/samplers. Further exposure came through two track offerings to Dwell Records tribute albums, namely in homage to industrial bands Ministry and Marilyn Manson. Second guitarist Wayne Kile and keyboard players Justin Fowler and Aaron Zilch joined the ranks during mid/late 1999.
After supporting System of a Down in Des Moines, Iowa in August 1999, System of a Down's bassist Shavo Odadjian was impressed enough that when American Recordings label owner Rick Rubin asked Odadjian if there were any bands he should check out, he told Rubin about American Head Charge. Six months later the band was offered a record deal with Rick's American Recordings, then under the Columbia Records umbrella.
The War of Art
After the local success of Trepanation and the band's signing to American Recordings in 2000, the band moved to Los Angeles to begin work on their first major label album with producer Rick Rubin at the helm, living and recording at the infamous Rubin-owned Houdini Mansion. The War of Art, released August 28, 2001, sold over 12,000 copies in the United States in its first week and went on to sell over 250,000. However, like many "heavy" bands at the time, sales of the album suffered immediately after the 9/11 attacks.
American Head Charge, commencing a live schedule in support of their major label debut, began their professional touring experience on Ozzy Osbourne's 2001 Ozzfest, playing 3rd on the "Second Stage" for the entire tour. They then got a slot on the "Pledge of Allegiance" festival tour, headlined by Slipknot, Mudvayne, Rammstein and System of a Down. Guitarist Dave Rogers marked their concluding show of this tour in New Jersey by wholly playing the concert performance naked; this led to his subsequent arrest after the performance. In December 2001, the band co-supported Slayer alongside Ohio metalcore band Chimaira for the first two months of the American "God Hates Us All" tour. Following shows were headlined by Kittie, hardcore punk band Biohazard, and Texan stoner rockers Speedealer, preceding a four month Scandinavian/European/UK/Japanese tour headlined by Slipknot. Other bands they have toured with include Coal Chamber, Ministry, Gravity Kills, Hatebreed, Static-X, Mudvayne and Otep.
Guitarist Wayne Kile departed from the industrial outfit in early April 2002, paving the way for former Black Flood Diesel guitarist Bryan Ottoson. Just 24 hours after getting the offer to join the band, Ottoson flew to Los Angeles and marked his inclusion to the band participating in the filming of the music video "Just So You Know".
After a two year hiatus, drugs had taken control of much of the band. According to their MySpace page, three members of the band had become chemically dependent, with two of them going back into rehab. Guitarist Bryan Ottoson even stated that the band looked so doomed that he was almost checked into a mental institution for fear of suicide. The hollow shell of the band, with a couple new faces, pulled together and started writing and recording.
During the demo process, The War of Art producer Rick Rubin became increasingly elusive, and the band subsequently asked to be let out of their recording contract. Rubin respected their request without any legal squabbles. The band's producer on The Feeding was The War of Art's engineer Greg Fidelman. American Head Charge recorded for four months, feeling this was by far their most disciplined record to date. The Feeding was released on February 15, 2005. The Feeding spawned one radio single "Loyalty". They also recorded a music video for the song "Cowards", featuring former UFC fighter Chuck Lidell.
Death of guitarist Bryan Ottoson
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Guitarist Bryan Ottoson: 1978–2005
Guitarist Bryan Ottoson died at the age of 27 in the middle of an early 2005 tour conducted with the bands Mudvayne, Life of Agony, and Bloodsimple. The musician's body was found lying on a sleeping bunk on the band's tour bus in North Charleston, South Carolina, where the group was scheduled to perform at the Plex club. According to North Charleston police documents, scene investigators concluded the guitarist's death was the result of an accidental prescription drug overdose. Police discovered a pill bottle of "numerous amounts of prescription medicine" in Ottoson's bunk. Ottoson had been battling severe strep throat with prescribed penicillin, and he was also given an unnamed pain medication.
Band members informed police they last saw Ottoson alive around 4 a.m. on April 18, 2005, as they went to sleep before leaving Jessup, Maryland. Ottoson had consumed "a large amount of alcohol at a bar" in Jessup that evening, according to police documents. This statement is reported as inaccurate by bassist/co-founder Chad Hanks: "Bryan, myself, and our tech D-Rock walked to the bar just before last call, and we were stone cold sober. We all had two shots of vodka and one beer each. No more. No less. If 3 drinks is a 'large amount of alcohol', then apparently my mother is a raging alcoholic." Police were called to the scene around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, and Ottoson was deceased by this time. Hanks and Cheema remarked to police that "Ottoson was a heavy sleeper, and it was not uncommon for him to sleep late before a concert."
Can't Stop The Machine
On April 3, 2007, American Head Charge released their first DVD Can't Stop the Machine, through Nitrus Records. Along with it came a 10 track CD with live and unreleased songs, including a remix of The War of Art single, "Just So You Know". They supported the release with a two month U.S. tour that began on May 5 with their ninth sold-out First Avenue show. They played an "encore performance" of the tour's final sold-out show at The Rock in Maplewood, Minnesota on September 14, 2007. This would be their last live show together.
On August 11, 2009, the band issued a press release, stating the band had disbanded.> The press release cited singer Cameron Heacock’s “inability to continue on a musical career path.” “This is not the kind of news I enjoy being the bearer of, but we’ve been ready and waiting for input from Cameron for almost two years; we’ve written and recorded two albums worth of material in that time.” said co-founder and bassist Chad Hanks. “At this point, he no longer gives being in this band any sort of top priority, which is so sad seeing as how he has such an amazing and unique voice; I couldn’t wait to hear it on these songs. “However, we’re looking forward to some new blood; a young, hungry soul that doesn’t sound like anyone else and is ready to work his ass off. We’re more than eager to get back to the mines. This is what we do.”
On January 18, 2011, American Head Charge's long dormant Myspace page showed a new status update, "Stranger things have happened...", grouped with a new background and a new icon showing a disembodied hand breaking out of the ground. The name on the page was changed from "RIP American Head Charge: 1998–2009" to "American Head Charge". However, since April 17, 2011, the name on the page again showed as "RIP American Head Charge: 1998–2009", refuting the possibility of a reunion for the time being. In the following months, bassist Chad Hanks made posts on his Twitter page, saying that the band is back together with guitarist Karma Cheema, drummer Chris Emery, vocalist Cameron Heacock, keyboardist Justin Fowler and himself. "Rehearsals are tentatively scheduled for July/August" posted Hanks on his Twitter page.
On June 30, 2011, bassist Chad Hanks made another post to his Twitter page saying, "If you're interested AHC is now officially on FB as "American Head Charge (Official)". The gears are starting to groan." Also on his Twitter page prior, a follower of Hanks tweeted via @chadhanks saying "is American Head Charge in fact planning on rehearsing again and making more music?" and Chad responded saying "Indeed. Go join American Head Charge (Official) on FB." On July 1, 2011, "And while we figured it was obvious enough, apparently many don't quite understand. YES, WE ARE BACK TOGETHER." and "This is the part where we start asking you guys to spread the word. " was posted to the American Head Charge (official) Facebook page.
On September 2, 2011, the band posted 10 tour dates on their Facebook page. On October 6, 2011, the band posted on their Official Facebook page that Sin Quirin, former guitarist of Ministry, Revolting Cocks, and Society 1 will be featured on the "tourette" as a second guitarist. In October 2011, American Head Charge embarked on their "tourette" with supporting acts Wrecking Day, Gabriel and the Apocalypse, and Dead Horse Trauma. It was announced on 2/29 that American Head Charge would participate in the Head2Hed 3 tour supporting Mushroomhead and (Hed) PE.
According to the band's Facebook, they are recording an EP called Interstice (which later became Shoot). The EP's first single called "Sugars of Someday", was released on iTunes May 9, 2012. The band has said that proceeds will go towards funding the next album.
The five-song Shoot EP was self-released July 23, 2013 with a national tour starting two weeks after. Part 2 of the Shoot tour will hit the UK and include a second leg tour of the US.
The track listing includes the previously released single, "Sugars of Someday," three new songs: "Writhe", "Set Yourself on Fire", and "Sand", as well as a cover of the Patti Smith song "Rock N Roll Nigger".
Cameron Heacock – vocals (1996–2009, 2011–present)
Chad Hanks (Banks) – bass (1996–2009, 2011–present)
Chris Emery – drums (2000–2006, 2011–present), keyboards (1997–2000)
Justin Fowler – keyboards, backing vocals (2000–2009, 2011–present)
Karma Singh Cheema – guitar (2004–2005, 2007–2009, 2011–present)
Ted Hallows – guitar (2013–present)
Jamie White – keyboards, back-up vocals (1996; never recorded with AHC, but played live)
Peter Harmon – drums (1997–2000)
Wayne Kile – guitar (mid/late 1999 – April 2002)
Aaron Zilch – electronics (mid/late 1999 – January 2003)
Dave Rogers – guitar (1996–2003)
Bryan Ottoson – guitar (April 2002 – April 19, 2005) (Deceased)
Nick Quijano – guitar (2006 European Occupation Tour)
Anthony Burke – guitar (fill-in 2006,2012)
Benji Helberg – guitar (2005–2009)
Dane Tuders – drums (February 2006–2009)
Sin Quirin – guitar (2011–2012)
Krister Pihl - guitar (fill-in 2012)
Trepanation (July 18, 1999) Independent
The War of Art (August 21, 2001) American Recordings
The Feeding (February 15, 2005) DRT Entertainment/Nitrus
Shoot (July 23, 2013) Independent
Can't Stop the Machine (DVD/CD) (April 3, 2007) Nitrus
Year Song UK
2002 "Just So You Know" 52 The War of Art
"All Wrapped Up" —
2005 "Loyalty" — The Feeding
2012 "Sugars of Someday" — Shoot
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.
Song Director Album Label Additional Information
"Just So You Know" Kevin Kerslake The War of Art American Recordings American Head Charge's first official music video.
"All Wrapped Up" Tomas Migone Banned due to visceral images within video.
"Loyalty" Mike Sloat The Feeding DRT Entertainment/Nitrus First official music video release taken from The Feeding.
"Cowards" First UNOFFICIAL music video release taken from The Feeding. Features UFC fighter Chuck Liddell.
Date of Release Title Album Label Additional Information
January 25, 2000 "Filth Pig" Devilswork: A Tribute to Ministry Dwell Records Ministry cover
June 6, 2000 "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" Anthems of Rust and Decay: A Tribute to Marilyn Manson Dwell Records Marilyn Manson cover
March 26, 2002 "Seamless" (Live) Pledge of Allegiance Tour: Live Concert Recording Columbia Records
August 25, 2002 "Reach and Touch" (Live) Ozzfest 2001: The Second Millennium Sony Records
August 24, 2004 "Cowards" UFC: Ultimate Beatdowns, Vol. 1 DRT Entertainment First taste of The Feeding. Different than album version mix.