STEELHEART

Country USA

Style Hard Rock
PhotobucketA melodic Hard Rock band, Connecticut’s STEELHEART, fronted by Croatian born Miljenko ‘Michael’ Matijevic, initially featured former members of the Christian Metal band Rage Of Angels.

Steelheart started off as a rock band called Red Alert whose members included James Ward (bass), Chris Risola (guitars), Jack Wilkenson (drums) and after auditioning, Miljenko Matijevic on vocals. Frank DiCostanzo joined as a second guitarist and John Fowler replaced Jack Wilkenson on drums, after leaving the band Rage of Angels. Recording a four-track demo tape, Matijevic managed to meet artist manager Stan Poses. Poses wasn’t interested but the next day, after hearing the demo tape, called confirming that “Red Alert” had just been given a contract with MCA records. Realizing that the Red Alert name was already taken, the band settled on Steelheart allegedly because of their attitude after trying to get a record deal for so long.

Steelheart released their self-titled debut album in 1990. It sold 33,000 albums on its first day in Japan alone, and quickly hit platinum status. The ballad “She’s Gone” which showcased Matijevic’s wide vocal range hit #1 on the International Charts, staying there for 17 weeks.[ The ballad maintains its popularity in East Asian region through to today. It has been played by most of the cover bands those performing in the nightclubs in this region almost every night. The second single “I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)” reached #14 on the billboard charts, and was MTV’s 2nd most requested video.[ The album reached #40 on the billboard charts. “Everybody Loves Eileen” and its accompanying video also garnered much success. The song “Can’t Stop Me Lovin’ You” further showcased Matijevic’s vocal range, but this time, lead guitarist Risola’s guitar skills were also noticed. The accompanying video was another of the band’s hits.
PhotobucketSteelheart’s second album, “Tangled In Reins” with many songs containing sounds more like Guns N’ Roses than its debut. The song “Steelheart” featured Matijevic hitting his highest note of all the three albums. Since grunge invasion was taking force, the album only reached #144 on the billboard charts. However the ballad “Mama Don’t You Cry” charted #1 in many East Asian Countries,[ including Hong Kong, prompting their Asian tour in September, 1992. The MTV unplugged version in Hong Kong was a success, attracting an audience of over 10,000. After weeks of touring in Asia, Steelheart was later asked by the heavy metal band, Slaughter, to go on tour with them. Nearing the end of the tour, Slaughter asked Steelheart to perform one last show which would occur in Denver, Colorado. The show took place on Halloween night. While performing, “Dancing in the Fire”, a hit from the “Tangled in Reins” album, Matijevic decided to climb a lighting truss, which was improperly secured. Matijevic tried to dodge the massive rig, but without success. The 1000 pound truss hit Matijevic on the back of the head and he fell face first onto the stage, breaking his nose, cheekbone, and jaw, and twisting his spine. Matijevic managed to walk off the stage and he was immediately taken to a hospital. “Steelheart” ended that night.

Four years later, Matijevic formed a new version of Steelheart with Kenny Kanowski (guitars), Vincent Mele (bass) and Alex Makarovich (drums) to record and release the album “Wait”. The album was very different from the previous two albums. The single “Wait” went #1 in many Asian countries, however that was the main area of the album’s success, the grunge invasion causing the American European markets to be near closed to straight-ahead hard rock. Original member James Ward joined Steelheart on the tour supporting the album. Also on the “Wait” album, “We All Die Young”, the first track, was in the motion picture, “Rock Star,” starring Mark Wahlberg. Matijevic stated that “Wait” was the choice of the title because it took a long time to gain freedom from the record company and his greedy manager, who was taking more than what was his.

In 2001, Matijevic provided some of the vocals for Mark Wahlberg’s character in the movie, Rock Star, a story about a music fan who gets to become the singer for his favorite band. The band itself was made up of Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne’s former guitarist and frontman of Black Label Society), Jeff Pilson (Dokken) and Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. The film also featured a re-recording of the song “We All Die Young”, from the Steelheart’s third album Wait. Kenny Kanowski went on to record his new CD with Vincent Mele on bass, and various musicians from Los Angeles. His newest CD is entitled Yabble Diddy Woop Woop which has gotten rave reviews.

During 2001 Ex-Steelheart vocalist Michael Matijevic cut a version of the KANE ROBERTS song ‘Twisted’ from the muscle-bound guitarist’s ‘Saints And Sinners’ album for inclusion on the ‘Rock Star’ movie soundtrack. Indeed, it would transpire that Matijevic’s role in the movie behind the scenes was far greater, the singer’s vocals being used throughout the entirety of the film for leading actor Mark Wahlberg’s stage voice. Indeed, the track ‘We All Die Young’ was culled from Steelheart’s third album. As such, he is in fact the voice of STEEL DRAGON.

In January 2003 it was learned that Mike Matijevic had auditioned for the frontman role with the high profile new band unit being assembled by former GUNS N’ ROSES triumvirate of guitarist Slash, bassist DUFF McKAGAN and drummer Matt Sorum. In mid 2004 Matijevic announced the sad news of the death of his father. In his honour, the singer reverted back to his birth name of Miljenko Matijevic.
Photobucket Steelheart set about new album recordings in 2006. Mike Humbert contributed drums whilst POWERMAN 5000’s Sigve Sjursen put down bass tracks and Uros Rasovski donated guitar parts. By November Steelheart was back on the road, conducting nationwide US dates counting a line-up of Michael Matijevic, guitarist Chris Risola, Swedish guitarist T-Bone Andersson, bassist Myron Dove with Mike Humbert on drums. A three track EP, entitled ‘Just A Taste’, was issued to coincide.

In July 2007 the band appeared at a once in a lifetime gathering of 80s Rock acts dubbed ‘Rocklahoma’, a three-day outdoor festival held in Pryor, Oklahoma, sharing the billing with RATT, VINCE NEIL, WARRANT, SLAUGHTER, QUIET RIOT, WINGER, DOKKEN, JACKYL, FASTER PUSSYCAT, ENUFF Z’NUFF, POISON, 36 INCHES, Y&T, FIREHOUSE, BULLETBOYS, BANG TANGO and GREAT WHITE.

2008 found the band with a new album where the new sound is modern and edgy while still retaining overtones of Miijenko Matijevic’s roots. Meanwhile, former drummer for Steelheart, John Fowler, was working on two new projects- the Voodoo Jets and Smoke before his death. He died on 3/21/08 after falling into a coma from suffering a brain aneurysm on 3/17/08. Chris Risola has a guitar studio and rejoined Steelheart for the Just a Taste tour and the touring circle for the album Good 2b Alive. Instrumental guitarist Bill Lonero joined SteelHeart for the Rocklahoma festival on July 13, 2008. He was replaced after Lonero left to pursue his band LoNero full-time. Uros Raskovski rejoined the band in early 2009. Uros worked with Miljenko on the new album Good 2B Alive. In 2010, Uros Raskovski left Steelheart once again and the band decided to continue on as a four piece. Frank DiCostanzo currently plays guitar and vocals in a band called Pimpinella.

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– Steelheart [1990]
– Tangled In Reins [1992]
– Wait [1996]
– Good 2B Alive [2008]

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Rating: 9.3/10 (9 votes cast)
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STEELHEART, 9.3 out of 10 based on 9 ratings