AMBUSH

Country USA

Style Hard Rock/Heavy Metal

1929432_73689002999_6260411_nIn the early 1980’s a young Drummer Sal Flamma met an inspiring guitarist and wanna be singer Steve Russo in a High School art class in Vineland, A small town in Southern New Jersey. Both were painting a picture of their favorite member of the band KISS on the opposite sides of art class. After a few talks and calls they got together and jammed in Sal’s basement, playing Cheap Trick, KISS and Cars Tunes. But as fate would have it, nothing else would happen until 1984 when after playing with a few different people, Steve hooked up with a girl singer who was trying to put a band together for an outdoor Labor Day concert and they needed a drummer. That’s when the call was made and Sal and long time friend and Bass player Gabe Guaciaro joined Steve and Local Singer Gina Warzbok and Local Guitarist Clint Rhuebar for what would later become, AMBUSH. The show was a success but this band would end soon after. Clint was soon replaced by another local guitarist Bill Jerrell and Gina was asked to leave shortly after that. Sal and Gabe felt that Steve should be the singer. “I had no choice in the matter, we didn’t have one and I agreed to do it until we found someone else” Steve said. Little did I know that I would still be there 16 years later! The band booked their first show in January 1985 at a small club in South Jersey called the Brownstone. We didn’t have a name for the band and the club owner needed a name for the news paper ad, So I told him, “Call us back in 15 minutes and I’ll let you know” Steve Said. I had a list of 12 names and no one could agree on any of them. Ambush was the last one on the page and it was the only one they didn’t have a problem with. The show went well, considering the P.A. blew up half way through the show and it snowed, but we played our asses off for the 50 people who came and it was the birth of the band. We played Schools, Campgrounds, Parties, anywhere they would let us play. “We were a cover band and a bad one at that” Steve said! When we played a song, It didn’t sound anything like the original. And that’s why we decided to do our own music. If we were going to play songs bad, they might as well be our own! In the spring of 1986, Bill Jerrell left the band. We wanted a permanent member that had the same vision we did. The word and ads went out, and the only person that called was a young guitarist named Robby “Sassa” Millard from Millville New Jersey. “He was young but he had his shit together”, Steve said. The kid could Rip, but he also had a good sense of melody and that’s what counts! It turns out that Robby had also been at that same Labor day concert the year before and seen the band play and he said at the audition, “I always knew that I would be in this band”! After writing 10 songs the band started playing the local club scene, which was any place that would let you play your own music and that was about 2 clubs! We played our first show at our old High School for about 75 people and it went great! After seven months of playing, the band parted ways with original Bass player Gabe Guaciaro. In January of 1987 Robby suggested bringing in a hot new Bass player he discovered, which happened to be his younger brother Billy! It turns out that Billy was learning all the songs and show moves just incase anything ever happened to Gabe.

1929432_73689027999_2433966_nSo by early February, Billy was ready to go, and that’s when things took off! We landed a gig right away at a club in Somerdale N.J. called the Galaxy opening for a band that would later go on to hit it big…Cinderella. It was a great place to play and we opened for some great bands like Teeze, Britney Fox and Tangier to name a few, Steve said. We started playing bigger clubs up and down the east coast and even flying out to the clubs on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood like the Roxy and Gazzarri’s. On top of that, our 4 song demo was getting airplay on radio stations on the east and west coast. It was a great time for the band! Then in early 1989, with a Loan from Long time friend and band manager Frank Bruno and from Robby and Billy’s Aunt and Uncle, the band released their first album, AMBUSH on their own label. Family and Friends were our biggest support team, without their help, who knows what might have happened! Every label you could think of rejected us, But the band had the final laugh. It went on to sell 19,000 copies! The best part of all of this was, we had 2 songs that were added to a few Top 40 stations play list. On Your Knees and Still In Love With You were in the top 10 most requested songs on 3 radio stations at the same time. “We would be in a store shopping and suddenly you would hear a song being played on the radio that you wrote in your bedroom at 3 in the morning and talk about weird! Steve said. It was Very Cool, but weird!

47076_465196967999_1067512_nWe continued to play every club we could for the next two years. In that time, the band signed with a Management company in Los Angeles and they felt it was better for the band to move to L.A. But, Billy felt that it was better for the band to go on with out him. He felt that he had enough and didn’t want to do it any longer. “That was a very sad time for us, We had been through a lot together”, He was like a brother. After a few calls, Steve was introduced to Blake Edwards, A Bass player from a local band called Jinxx. We had a few things in comon with him, The local club scene, Grew up on KISS, And I had even dated the same girl he did, Steve said. After playing shows for 8 months together, the Band moved to Los Angeles in August of 1992. Two weeks after moving to L.A., Blake and the band parted ways. “It just didn’t work”, Steve said. He had different ideas then we did. And it sucked, that we discovered this after we moved 3000 miles away. But life goes on! And after auditions with a few local L.A. Bass players, More calls were made back to New Jersey, And Sal located an old friend that knew named Billy Adams who had played in a few local N.J. bands. Billy came out to audition the following weekend and he never went back! Two months later the band played their first gig in Los Angeles and over the next year, the band began to build a large following. After playing a sold out show at the Roxy with the L.A. Band “Pretty Boy Floyd” near the end of 1993, It would be the last show Robby would play with the band and it would be the first of several painful blows the band would experience in the next two years. First came the Northridge Earthquake that brought severe damage to the house the band was living and rehearsing in. The band was forced to look for new places to live and rehearse. At that time Robby felt he had enough of L.A. and decided to move back to New Jersey, which the band took hard. We hated to see him leave, Sal said, We had been through so much together, But it wasn’t time to quit! . We found a new rehearsal place and started running adds for a new guitarist. No sooner then the band moved into their new rehearsal hall, someone broke in and stole everything. “It was a hard time for us but life goes on and so do we”, Steve said. The band auditioned several guitarist in 1995 and came across a talented young man named Jeff “Spike” Wong, who came from the same musical back ground as Steve and Sal. He also grew up listening to KISS and Van Halen and AC/DC. At this point, with a new guitarist and a heavier sound the band decided to change their look also. Sal had a great idea to wear mask and go for a more futuristic look, like we were from space. We could say, The band got a makeover! We always hated bands that looked like they just finished working on their car. We wanted to stand out. The more Bizarre the better!! The band released their second album in 1996 called “King Of The Dogs.” We went back to our roots on this one”, Steve said. It’s much heavier and darker! We had been through a lot in those two years since Robby had left and the music reflected that. The band received lots of press in America and European Magazines. Including Kerrang, Hit Parader, The L.A. Times, RIP, Music Connection and many more T.V. and Radio Shows.

54120_10150102881478000_1664702_oAfter 2 years with the band, Jeff and the band parted ways. “He was a great guy but he wanted to go in a different direction”, Steve said. There is nothing worst than replacing people every few years, But if you belive in something you stick with it, No matter what! Once again, calls were made and in November of 1997 the band brought in a guitarist from the L.A. club scene…Tony Rodd. He had made a name for himself playing with a band called Blood and Bullets and we had played a show with them the year before. “I remember telling Billy and Sal, That guy (Tony) kicks major ass! After playing the clubs for the next two years, the band released it’s third CD, Infestation. I think it was the best music we ever put out, Steve said. It has a hard edge but with extremely catchy hooks. We’ve always put out music that we like and never gave a shit what anyone else thought! And sometimes that’s all that matters. The band continued to play packed shows at the L.A. clubs including the Roxy, Billboard Live and The Whisky, along with other clubs in the L.A. area. After 16 years, the band decided to take a break in 2000, To work on other projects. “We had worked together 7 Days a week for 16 years straight, and I think we needed some time to chill out, “Steve said”. We all thought that we had enough. We were burnt out! So could this be the end of the band that had been through so much? ” I don’t think so”, Steve said! This band is like a cat, we have nine lives and we haven’t used all of them up yet! Then, On May the 8th 2004, The original members of AMBUSH, Steve Russo, Sal Flamma, Robby and Billy Millard reunited for the first time in 12 years at the Bonnie’s Roxx Reunion show in Pennsauken N.J. to a sold out crowd of 1100 people! And in late 2005, AMBUSH released their Fourth CD called “Out Of The Black” ! The Band Reformed In 2008 and Played 15 Shows Throughout 2009, Ending With A Show At The World Famous Whisky A Go-Go To A Packed Crowd! Ambush Starting Work On Their 5th CD and Plans To Be Doing Shows In The Very Near Future! So After 26 Years….

amb AMBUSH_KOTD AMBUSH_I 151377

– Ambush [1989]
– King of the Dogs [1996]
– Infestation [1999]
– Out of the Black [2006]

Notes from the band

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AMBUSH, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating