Thor (1976-1986, 1997-present): a Power Metal band from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
ormer Mr. Teenage America, Mr. Canada and Mr. North America body builder turned singer, Jon-Mikl Thor (1953-), took his stage name from a Marvel Comics character. Thor started out as a concept band in 1973 called Centaur, with the membership using the names "Thor", "Centaur" and "Mikl Body Rock". In every show Jon Mikl Thor would appear as "Thor The Rock Warrior". Mikl Body Rock a.k.a. "Thor" toured throughout North America seeking fame in an effort to garnish enough attention to secure a record deal. The press dubbed them "Kings of Muscle Rock" or "Warriors of Gladiator Rock".
In 1976, Jon Mikl met guitarist Frank Soda while touring Canada. Soda joined Thor who also became known as Thor and The Imps. The band toured constantly throughout the Eastern USA and Canada. The first album was recorded in Toronto, Ontario, Canada under the name Thor to be titled Muscle Rock, and released by the independent label 'God Of Thunder Records'.
Jon Mikl Thor was offered a deal to star in a production at the Aladdin Resort & Casino in Las Vegas called Red Hot and Blue, but Frank Soda wanted to keep touring with the band. The result was a split with Frank Soda leaving to form his own Frank Soda and the Imps. Jon Mikl Thor went off to Las Vegas where he was discovered by Merv Griffin, who had Thor perform live on his Merv Griffin Show from Caesars Palace on national television. The performance impressed the labels with 'RCA' winning the ballot in late 1976.
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The revised/reformed band band consisted of his wife and former model Pantera (Real Name: Rusty Hamilton; vocals), Steve Price (guitar), Keith Zazzi (bass) and Mike Favata (drums). Keep The Dogs Away, their 1978 debut, appeared courtesy of 'Cleopatra Records'. The album was nothing more than a basic hard rock and a lame heavy metal affair, which sounded dated even before it hit the street. Lacking Thor's super powers of machismo, or simply wanting a more musical outlook, Steve Price hit the road at this point and was replaced by Karl Cochran.
Unchained EP, the second effort, came after a long break, emerging in 1984. But it was the follow-up, Only The Strong, released by 'Roadrunner' in 1985 that proved to be their most successful. With the claim of, "let's see Michael Jackson do this", Thor's live performance featured him blowing into (and subsequently bursting) a rubber hot water bottle [mere mortals can only do this with balloons after all], breaking bricks over his chest and head, bending steel bars and microphone stands, not to mention staging fights between various Norse gods with Thor himself clad in spiked body amour wielding a bearded axe or plastic broadsword! (All this conducted under the shroud of seriousness too!)
After membership shifts, 1985 would end off being a very productive year for Thor and his lot, for two singles based on the success of Only The Strong were released titled Let The Blood Run Red, and Thunder On The Tundra. The live album, Live In Detroit (1985), would also appear the same year of his silver screen debut by both writing the soundtrack and appearing in the movie Recruits. Part of that soundtrack would appear on his next and final album Recruits: Wild In The Streets (1986) before the act split. Jon Mikl Thor would then appear alongside actor Adam West in the movie Zombie Nightmare shortly later. The music industry has never heard from him again; perhaps he sauntered off to Valhalla....
The compilation Ride of the Chariots (An-Thor-Logy) would arrive in 1997 to announce the return of the band.
Under the membership of Thor (vocals), Keith Zazzi (bass), Mike Favata (drums), Steve Price (guitars) and Cherry Bomb (aka Pantera; Real Name: Rusty Hamilton; backing vocals), Thunderstruck - Tales from the Equinox would arrive in 1998.
That line-up would change to himself with Gabor Zsa (Real Name: Gabor Kanyok; guitars), Martian (Real Name: Martin Van Keith; bass), Paron (Real Name: Dave Pare; drums), Electra (backing vocals) for the follow-up, Dogz II (2001).
Various line-up changes would commence during the release of Triumphant (2002), Thor Against the World (2005), Devastation of Musculation (2006), Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare (2006), Into the Noise (2007), Steam Clock (2009), Sign of the V (2009), The Guardian (2009), Zombie Nightmare Soundtrack (2009), King of Muscle Rock (2011), Energy (EP; 2013), Metal Avenger (2015), Beyond the Pain Barrier (2017), Electric Eyes (2017), Christmas in Valhalla (2018), Hammer of Justice (2019) and Rising (2020).
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Canadian heavy metal band Thor. Left-right: John Liebel, John Mikl Thor, and Ted Andre Jedlicki.
Photo by: Kyle Cassidy
(CC BY-SA 4.0)
Dashboard for Thor
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