rokus started life in 1974 playing symphonic rock similar to Genesis, Emerson Lake and Palmer and Yes. After four years, and two not-so-well received albums, Krokus (1975) and To You All (1977), featuring Henry Friez (vocals), Chris Von Rohr (bass/vocals), Fernando Von Arb (guitar/bass), Juerg Naegelli (keyboards/vocals), Tommy Kiefer (guitar/vocals) and Freddy Steady (drums) they switched to a more AC/DC style for the Painkiller (1978) release. Their music consisted largely of basic formulas of simple riffs and repeated lyrics. Von Rohr took over vocals when Friez left but his vocals lacked the range needed for their new style, so he stepped down to take the bass spot, with "Maltezer" Marc (Real Name: Marc Storace; ex-Tea) replacing him. Naegelli occasionally played keyboards and would eventually take over the technical side of the band's operations after the forthcoming Hardware album. Pay It In Metal (1979) didn't offer much but more attempts at their new style.
Metal Rendezvous (1980) fell right in line with the resurgence of British heavy metal by being heavier then any of their past works; it proved to be a turning point for the band. The following two follow-up albums, Hardware (1981) and One Vice At A Time (1982), followed the same path, but were slightly more radio friendly, making 44 and 28 respectively in the UK charts. Membership changes were in the works: Mark Kohler, an ex-roadie, took over from Kiefer, while Steve Pace took over on drums. Kiefer wouldn't be gone long and came back to replace Rohr.
The Headhunter (1983) release made it to Billboard 25 with its fast paced and high speed feel; it also broke well in the UK charts making it their most successful. During the tour the line-up featured Von Arb, Storace, Klavin plus Andy Tamas (ex-Black Oak Arkansas; replaced Koehler on bass when he reverted to guitar). After the release, more line-up changes commenced, with the temporary addition of Tommy Kessler on bass (taking over from Tamas) and Steve Pace to replace Steady, and the exit of Pace again for Jeff Klaven. These changes delayed the release of The Blitz (1984), which made it to US 31, but mostly due to the efforts of its predecessors and not so much on their cover track of Sweet's Ballroom Blitz, despite it being the best track offered. Change Of Address (1985) came and went without notice. It's only newsworthy event being Tommy Kessler leaving the bass spot when Van Rohr returned, as did Alive And Screamin' (1986).
In 1986 Kiefer committed suicide and their fortunes went downhill from there. Several more membership changes plagued the Heart Attack (1987; including the drum position now being occupied by Dani Crivelli and Mark Kohler returning on guitar), the "best of..." compilation Stayed Awake All Night (82-86) (1989), and Stampede (1991) albums including Manny Maurer replacing Von Arb on guitar and Peter Tanner replacing Storace on vocals (who would subsequently return after the Stampede album). The line-up changes were so much so that by 1990 most of the operation had been completely replaced several times over. More membership changes came shortly later with Peter Haas assuming the drums and Carl Sentence on vocals. They were thought dead, but after the "best of..." The Dirty Dozen (80-83) (1993) a set of new albums, To rock Or Not To Be (1995) and Round 13 (1999) came shortly later with the "best of..." compilation The Definitive Collection (2000) and Rock The Block (2003) following up the rear.
On November 18, 2007, the line up of Chris von Rohr, Fernando von Arb, Freddy Steady and Marc Storace reunited to play a medley of songs Tokyo Nights, Bedside Radio and Heatstrokes during the Swiss TV show, Die grössten Schweizer Hits. Soon after the permanent reunion formed with a concert on August 2, 2008, featuring the addition of Mark Kohler. Hoodoo, including a cover version of Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild and ten other songs, was released in regular and limited edition versions, the latter containing a DVD featuring concert footage.
2012 would see guitarist Mandy Meyer was rejoining the band after having filled in for an ailing Fernando von Arb at the Loud Park Festival in Japan the previous October. Dirty Dynamite (2013) then followed.
On April 21, 2013, it was announced that former drummer/percussionist Dani Crivelli, who had played on the 1988 Heart Attack album, had died from a accidental fall from a bridge, Flavio Mezzodi replaced him.
Big Rocks (2017) would follow.
September 2018 would see Krokus announce their retirement. Their farewell tour would occur in 2019.
On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Krokus among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal Studio fire.
Footnote: The band name Krokus comes from the German word for "crocus", a type of flower common throughout Europe. In the spring of 1975, Chris von Rohr saw a field of these flowers while traveling by train, returning from L'Ecole des Chefs in France; he was returning after an aborted study of the culinary arts. This trip occurred shortly before the idea of forming a band came to him. When it was eventually proposed to the other band members, they liked it because it had "rok" within it.
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