Prizoner was formed in 1980 by Tim Keyes, Paul Hoffman, Chuck Campbell, and Bill Parsons in a garage in northeastern suburbs of Cincinnati. Shortly thereafter Paul was replaced by Billy’s friend Scott McCroby. Tim got an offer and left to join the regionally successful “Powerplay” where he met drummer Stephen Schwarz. Scott and Bill recruited Kurt Dobkins on vocals (who later joined Spike) and Russell Jinkens (CJSS) on vocals and guitar. Between 1981 and 1988 there were many lineupRead More
Prizoner was formed in 1980 by Tim Keyes, Paul Hoffman, Chuck Campbell, and Bill Parsons in a garage in northeastern suburbs of Cincinnati. Shortly thereafter Paul was replaced by Billy’s friend Scott McCroby. Tim got an offer and left to join the regionally successful “Powerplay” where he met drummer Stephen Schwarz. Scott and Bill recruited Kurt Dobkins on vocals (who later joined Spike) and Russell Jinkens (CJSS) on vocals and guitar. Between 1981 and 1988 there were many lineup changes which included Tim coming back to the group after a year with Powerplay, Paul “Jake” Jacobson taking over on the vocals, Bob Hellmann coming in on drums, Pat O’Brien (Lethal, Cannibal Corpse) joining on guitar, Stephen Schwarz taking over for Bob, Darrell Roberts (WASP, Five Finger Death Punch) taking over for Pat, and so on….and so on! They brought in record crowds up and down the coast warming up for bands like Quiet Riot, Anthrax and The Ramones.
1984 saw the emergence of a “one of a kind vocalist” Greg Anderson. Greg had the range and style the band had been looking for. Stephen would take a break after the relentless road schedule and the band recruited Michael Scott (New York, Viper) to play drums. They slowed down their local and road schedule and started writing. Soon they were picked up by Umbrella Artist Management and quickly booked time in Ligosa Studios to record their first CD “Young And Rejected.” Prizoner received airplay in the south with earlier demos of “Ole King Cold” (written about their notorious booking agent Steve Cole) and “Eyes Of A Prizoner” but weren’t ready for the outpouring of support of their first real recording project. Every major label was looking at the band but waiting for them to write that one big hit that would break them across the states. The band got the message and knew they had to keep writing.
They rented a small block building in Silverton, Ohio right down the street from a local club (Never On Sunday) named it “Disgraceland” and got busy. Six months and about 40 songs later they were ready for the studio but decided to record and produce themselves. They begged, borrowed, and stole as much gear as possible and recorded “Voodoo” in about 3 months. Voodoo was received well by the public but the times had changed and the Seattle movement was well in gear. The metal of the 80′s was slowly fading away and their management didn’t push the new recordings as they had with Young And Rejected. Greg and Tim formed the band Swag and Prizoner was pretty much history until March of 1998 when they did a reunion show at Cincinnati’s Bluenote. The crowd was unbelievable and the band knew they had to get this thing going again. But this time if was to go out and keep good hard rock alive in Cincy. They got Stephen back on drums and proceeded to rock their way to a Cammy Award in 2003 for “Best Hard Rock Band.”
In 2008 due to health issues Stephen had to retire his sticks but Johnny Harmon was ready and willing to take the gig. Johnny played his ass off with the band through 2008.2009 Chris Collins was recruited to fill the postion behind the drum kit and it’s a position he still holds today. Chris has brought a new dimension to Prizoner and from the first day has driven the band with his heavy kick and monster chops. Prizoner is still committed to bringing you their brand of mayhem when ever and where ever they can. So be on the lookout. Prizoner will be coming to a dive near you soon!