Damn Yankees Biography

Formed in 1989, the Damn Yankees were one of several supergroups, including Bad English, to emerge in the USA towards the end of the decade. ex-Styx guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw had already been writing with the larger-than-life guitarist and solo artist Ted Nugent and they were soon joined by Jack Blades on bass and vocals (from the recently demised Night Ranger) and Michael Cartellone, a previously unknown drummer. Warner Brothers beat Geffen Records in the race to sign the band, and their self-titled debut album was released in 1990. The music was hard-edged melodic rock, much heavier than the work of Styx and Night Ranger, with Shaw and Blades handling the bulk of the vocal duties, although Nugent contributed lead vocals to the outrageous ‘Piledriver’. The album reached number 13 in the US Billboard charts with the help of a Top 5 single - the power ballad ‘High Enough’, which reached number 3 in September 1990. Damn Yankees, however, were not simply a record company creation. They could also produce sparkling live performances, gaining a glowing reputation for their shows. These included tantalizing snippets from the respective back catalogues of Styx, Night Ranger and Ted Nugent’s solo work. The melodic influence of Shaw and Blades, combined with the melodramatic antics of Nugent, created a highly successful unit in terms of both critical acclaim and commercial success. A second album, Don’t Tread, climbed to number 22 in August 1992, but the following year the band called it a day. Cartellone went on to play with the re-formed Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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