STYLE: Hard Rock
PhotobucketChild’s Play is a hard rock band from East Baltimore, Maryland. The group was formed in 1983 in with Larry Hinshaw (lead vocals), Brian Jack (guitar), Phil Wiser (bass), Jimmy Shafer (guitar), and Steve Albinak (drums). The group quickly evolved with the addition of John Allen on drums and Nicky Kay on lead guitar. This lineup solidified and formed the basis of a surge in popularity through the Mid-Atlantic region during the mid-eighties, with constant touring and the release of their first EP, Ruff House, in 1986. The band was particularly popular in Baltimore rock venues such as Seagull Inn, Hammerjacks, and the Capricorn.

The band’s lineup began to change when Phil Wiser left in 1987, resulting in the addition of Idzi on bass. Larry Hinshaw later left the band with Brian Jack stepping up to lead vocals. They recorded demos with Kim Fowley and Paul Lani before signing with Chrysalis Records in 1989. Their major label debut album, Rat Race, produced by Howard Benson, was released the following year. Also in 1990, they toured the United States, opening for Cold Sweat.

In 1991, Jack left the band for a solo career and was replaced by Tommy McRae. The band released their second album, Long Way, in 1993. Because Jack had been a fan favorite, there was much speculation as to how well the band would be received with McRae as the new singer. All concerns were quelled when the title track from Long Way was released to radio and quickly became the number one requested song in the Baltimore area.

In addition to Long Way, three other singles from the album also received significant radio airplay:Foolish Pride, I Can’t Believe, and a live version of Wind — a single from the band’s first album. Each of these became a number one requested song as well. The band toured extensively, but despite enormous regional success, national success proved elusive.

Tommy McRae left the band in 1995 and moved to Nashville. He resumed a solo career as well as a career as a songwriter and producer. John Allen went on to join the band SR-71 with fellow Baltimore area rocker Mitch Allan. Later, Allen and Nicky Kay regrouped in “Charm City Devils,” who are signed by Nikki Sixx to Eleven Seven Records. Their first release, Let’s Rock-n-Roll, on this label has a 1980s rock/metal flavor. Brian Jack sometimes performs as a solo act and with a band in the Baltimore area. Phil Wiserbecame a become a successful digital media entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. Larry Hinshaw is the finance director for one of the largest auto dealers in Maryland. Idzi, after being on tour with Atlantic recording artist Dirty Looks, and working with Creed/Downstem, started his own band, Slurp, where he dropped the bass and took over as lead guitarist and lead vocals, and released a CD.

Brian Jack died April 17, 2012.

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– Ruff House [1986]
– Rat Race [1990]
– Long Way [1993]

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CHILD'S PLAY, 9.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings