he initial line-up featured Graham Bonnet (vocals; ex-Rainbow), Yngwie J. Malmsteen (guitar; ex-Steeler (Germany)), Clive Burr (drums; ex-Iron Maiden), along with Gary Shea (bass) and Jimmy Waldo (keyboard/piano) both ex-New England. Burr, however, was only in the band for a week, and left when he found out the proposed new band was going to be based in the United States, as opposed to his native England; he would be replaced by former Iron Butterfly drummer Jan Uvena, who had freshly left Alice Cooper's backing band. Shea was the person who named the group "Alcatrazz".
For the debut album, No Parole from rock 'n' Roll (1983), the bulk of the material was written by Bonnet and Malmsteen, with Waldo contributing to several tracks. Rotation was given by MTV to the lead single's video, Island in the Sun, a track that showed a heavy Rainbow influences. It received little radio play, however, but nonetheless boasted 18 weeks on the Billboard charts, peaking at 128.
Live Sentence (1984), a live concert recording featuring songs from two concerts of the tour of Japan at the Nakano Sun Plaza in Tokyo on January 28, 1984 was released. The album also featured Rainbow cover tracks, of note Since You Been Gone; it would ultimately receive a 133 in the US.
Malmsteen left Alcatrazz soon later due to an altercation at the Oklahoma show in 1984 whereby an argument ensured between himself and Bonnet. A microphone was used as a stomach poker, accusations of sabotaged amplifiers and a full out shouting match over nothing more than artistic jealousy ensued. Malmsteen would go on to form his own Rising Force soon after. Despite resistance from Bonnet, Waldo replaced Malmsteen with former Frank Zappa guitarist Steve Vai.
Alkatrazz then signed with 'Capitol Records' after 'Rocshire', the now-previous label, was shut down when the owners were arrested for the embezzlement of millions of dollars.
Getting at US 135, Disturbing the Peace (1985), unlike its predecessor, got barely any play on MTV.
Steve Vai left amicably to join David Lee Roth's (ex-Van Halen) solo band in 1986. He was replaced by guitarist Danny Johnson (ex-Axis/ex-Rod Stewart/ex-Alice Cooper). Johnson would assist in he recording what became Alcatrazz's last studio album, Dangerous Games (1986), an album that featured covers of the Animals' It's My Life and Marbles' Only One Woman; Bonnet had been a member of Marbles in the late 1960s when they had this hit in the UK. The album failed to chart and shortly afterward, Johnson also quit to join Private Life. The lack of sales forced the band to split in 1987.
In 1998, 'Renaissance Records' released The Best of Alcatrazz, a retrospective of the band's career.
Bonnet reformed his version of the band featuring guitarist Howie Simon (of Jeff Scott Soto Band, Talisman), drummer Glen Sobel (of Impellitteri, Beautiful Creatures, Tony MacAlpine), and bassist Tim Luce to tour Japan and eastern Europe in 2007; sharing the headline with ex-Rainbow vocalist, Joe Lynn Turner. After many live shows there-after, but no recordings, the act split again in 2014.
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|City||Los Angeles, California|
|Active Years||1983-1987, 2006-2014|
|RRCA File Code||N/A|