KIX

Country USA

Style Hard Rock

kix 1980s

Kix was formed by Ronnie Younkins, Brian Forsythe and Donnie Purnell in December 1977 in Frederick, Maryland. In 1981, they released their self-titled debut album, Kix, featuring “Atomic Bombs”, “Heartache”, “Contrary Mary”, “The Itch”, and “The Kid”. “Love at First Sight” instantly became a concert favorite. “Kix Are for Kids” creatively merged the name of the band with two popular cereals of the 1960s and 1970s, Kix (that featured an atomic bomb commercial) and the Trix Rabbit (“Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!”). “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” became the band’s most popular concert song, always with a unique ad-lib performance by lead vocalist Steve Whiteman, of Piedmont, WV. With this album, the tongue-in-cheek rock & roll style of Kix was established.

Originally calling themselves Shooze and eventually changing their name to the Generators and ultimately, Kix, Baltimore’s favorite hard rock band garnered quite a reputation for themselves as one of Maryland’s most exciting live cover bands prior to signing to Atlantic Records in 1981. Led by frontman Steve Whiteman and creative mastermind/bassist Donnie Purnell, the band is rounded out by drummer Jimmy Chalfant and guitarists Ronnie Younkins (nicknamed 10/10) and Brian Jay Forsythe. Hitting the club circuit six nights a week for three straight years resulted in the band cultivating a huge local fan base and led to a contract with the Time Warner affiliate. Releasing their self-titled debut in 1981, Kix featured live favorites like “Atomic Bombs,” “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” and “The Kid.” To support the release, the quintet set out to hit every club up and down the East Coast. Their 1983 follow-up, Cool Kids, showcased a slightly more commercial side of the band.

Spearheaded by the single “Body Talk,” rumors ran rampant that the song was written to appease the band’s label, who, eager to capture some steam at radio, also forced the band into shooting a blatantly commercial video for the song which featured the band in full-on workout mode. Other songs like “Restless Blood” and “Mighty Mouth” fared a little better. Eager to get back in the studio, Kix partnered up with Ratt and future Warrant producer Beau Hill and released Midnite Dynamite—their “self-proclaimed favorite record ever.” The album spawned two singles: “Midnite Dynamite” reached #18, followed by “Cold Shower,” which reached #23, both on the Hot Mainstream Rock chart. Other notable cuts are “Sex” and “Bang Bang (Balls of Fire).”

In 1982, guitarist Ronnie “10/10” Younkins was fired and replaced by Brad Divens (Souls at Zero/Wrathchild America), Their 1983 followup, Cool Kids, showcased a markedly more commercial side of the band, featuring the title song, and the single “Body Talk”. During this period, Kix played a concert at Magic Elm Skateland in Hanover, Pennsylvania. In 1983, having been gone for slightly less than a year, Ronnie “10/10” Younkins returned to Kix, reuniting the “classic” lineup.

Kix then partnered up with Ratt, Warrant and Winger producer, Beau Hill, and in 1985, released the album Midnite Dynamite, featuring a hard rock single by the same name and funk rock songs “Cold Shower” and “Sex”. The album also included the song “Bang Bang (Balls of Fire)”, which was co-written by Purnell and Kip Winger. Outside players such as session drummer Anton Fig who played on two tracks,as well as Mike Slamer (Streets/City Boy/Warrant) who receives credit for additional guitars helped redefine the band’s sound.

Kix

With this new sound Kix would now be at the forefront of the Hair Metal genre alongside contemporaries Warrant,Poison and Winger. Kix went back into the studio to record more of Donnie Purnell’s songs. In 1988, they released Blow My Fuse, and finally achieved fame as it went platinum. The slow ballad “Don’t Close Your Eyes”—containing anti-suicide lyrics—led the way (peaking at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100) and other popular cuts followed. The album featured the popular singles “Cold Blood” and “Blow My Fuse”, along with popular videos showing the band in concert at Hammerjack’s. In 1989, the band released Blow My Fuse: The Videos, with their now-popular videos and behind-the-scenes footage. As Kix finally graduated to arenas, they opened for such popular artists as RATT.

The album Hot Wire arrived in 1991, with the single “Girl Money”. In 1992, guitarist Jimi K. Bones replaced Brian “Damage” Forsythe. While on tour in 1992, they made a live album, titled Live at the University of Maryland, College Park. This album, internally referred to as Contractual Obligation Live, was released in 1993. In 1994 Atlantic dropped the band from that label. In 1995, the band released their final album, Show Business, on CMC International.

In 1996, Steve Whiteman formed a band called Funny Money In 1998, Brian “Damage” Forsythe teamed up with ex-White Sister and Tattoo Rodeo drummer Rich Wright, and erstwhile Rhino Bucket members rhythm guitarist/lead vocalist Georg Dolivo (George Dolivo) and bassist Reeve Downes to forge Deep Six Holiday. Ronnie “10/10” Younkins relocated to Baltimore City, and would be located in rock ‘n’ roll act Jeremy and the Suicides. In 2001, guitarist Brian “Damage” Forsythe joined Rhino Bucket, being announced as so in early 2002.

Jimmy “Chocolate” Chalfant joined Funny Money as their drummer in 2003. Ronnie “10/10” Younkins moved to L.A., then wrote, recorded, and released the album The Slimmer Twins: Lack of Luxury, as a collaboration with vocalist Jeremy L. White in 2000. Back on the East Coast, he founded the Blues Vultures in 2002, maturing into the lead vocalist and primary songwriter, and in 2005, released the album The Blues Vultures: Cheap Guitars & Honky Tonk Bars. Brian “Damage” Forsythe is now with Rhino Bucket, joining the band in 2001. Brian performs lead guitar on Rhino Bucket’s 2005 release And Then It Got Ugly.

A new version Kix reformed in late 2003 sans songwriter and band leader Purnell. Kix then lined-up shows for September 2004, the lineup consisting of Steve Whiteman (lead vocals), Ronnie “10/10” Younkins (guitars), Brian “Damage” Forsythe (guitars), Jimmy “Chocolate” Chalfant (drums, backing vocals), and Funny Money bassist Mark Schenker (bass, backing vocals) in place of Donnie Purnell. On August 7, 2012, Frontiers Records announced that it had signed Kix; the band subsequently released a live CD/DVD, titled Live in Baltimore, in September, with a new studio album to follow.

On April 16, 2014, it was announced that the band had signed with Loud & Proud Records, and are scheduling the release of their new album for July 22, 2014, making it the first studio album the band released in 19 years. On June 18, 2014, it was announced that the band would release their seventh studio album, titled Rock Your Face Off, on August 5th, produced by Taylor Rhodes (Aerosmith,Ozzy Osbourne). A new dawn commenced as they simultaneously harnessed their classic spirit.

KIX_ST KIX_CK KIX_MD KIX_BMF KIX_HW KIX_SB KIX_RYFO

– Kix [1981]
– Cool Kids [1983]
– Midnite Dynamite [1985]
– Blow My Fuse [1988]
– Hot Wire [1991]
– Show Business [1995]
– Rock Your Face Off [2014]

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KIX, 9.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings