Q5

Country USA

Style Hard Rock
PhotobucketThis US group was formed in Seatle, Washinghton, in 1983 by the innovative guitarist Floyd Rose and vocalist Jonathan Scott Palmerton. Rose is otherwise best known for being the inventor of the locking tremelo system, the now indispensable device that ensures the guitar stays in tune even after the heaviest of tremelo use.

It all started back in 1982 when Floyd Rose and Jonathan K. were in a group called “The Core”. The band was one of the few in Seattle playing original music nightly in clubs, when the rest was playing cover tunes. Floyd and Jonathan decided to break away from “The Core” and formed what at first was to be just a recording project they were soon joined by Rick Pierce on guitar, Evan Sheeley on bass and drummer Gary Thompson, all of whom had deserted fellow Seattle band “TKO” to complete the line up. Jonathan had done a recording project a couple of years earlier with Gary Thompson. He thought Gary was one of the best drummers he had ever heard. Evan Sheeley was on the list simply because even then his playing ability was monstrous. Floyd and Jonathan couldn’t decide if they wanted another guitar or keyboard or both so they left it at that, while Rick Pierce was tentatively approached but declined to be involved in the first phase of the project.

Q5 recorded a three song demo tape at The Music Source, a well known studio in Seattle. It was owned by Jim Wolfe, music maker in the 60’s and 70’s. The studio was comfortable and boasted cutting edge equipment and Jim’s knowledge of recording was to be helpful to the band for several years. Ken Kinnear was manager of Heart, one of the biggest rock bands in the world. He also had managed a few other bands, including for a time TKO. Evan and Floyd took the Q5 demo to Kinnear. Within a week Q5 was managed by Kinnear. The band began to rehearse in an old club. During the summer of 1983 Q5 wrote songs and played them live to audiences two nights a week. Word began to spread about a new band that played hard and fast. After a couple of weeks the club was full whenever Q5 played. It was time to record again. This time for an album. The band was still writing searching for that one final song that would cap the album.
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Q5 flew to Los Angeles and began recording their first album. The band spent three weeks at Cherokee Studios re-recording some of the songs from their demo as well as some new songs. They then returned to The Music Source in Seattle and recorded some more songs including a new one. The title track ” Steel The Light”. Signing to the small independent label Albatross Records, the group finally released their debut, “Steel The Light”, in 1984. It was later released in Europe on the Roadrunner Records label in 1985.

The album was typically Americanized melodic hard rock and, in a glut of similar releases. Floyd Rose built his own recording studio at his home which the group then used for the recording of a second album. With virtually unlimited studio time available, When The Mirror Cracks was released on the Music For Nations label in 1986. Full of strong, melodic compositions, it did, however, tend to sound slightly over-produced, but this failed to live up to the expectations generated by its predecessor.  

The group contracted with major label Polydor Records and secured the Q Prime organisation, who also handled bands like Queensrÿche, Def Leppard and Metallica, to manage their business affairs. A year was spent writing and rehearsing material for a proposed third album but Polydor rejected it.

The group fell apart in 1987, and Floyd Rose will be remembered more for his contribution to guitar technology than his recordings with Q5. Pierce surprisingly teamed up with his former TKO employer, frontman Brad Sinsel, in a one off project dubbed SUICIDE SQUAD.

On 2001 the German metal band “Powergod” would cover the song “Steel The Light”, while in 2008 the Finnish metal band “Burning Point” featured vocalist Jonathan K. cover the song “Let Go”.

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– Steel The Light [1985]
– When The Mirror Cracks [1986]

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Q5, 9.4 out of 10 based on 18 ratings