Epitaph Biography

USA band Epitaph’s career comprises two distinct phases, linked together by founder member and guitarist/vocalist Cliff Jackson (1 August 1943, England; guitar/vocals) and Jim McGillivray (drums). Originally, they were formed in Dortmund as Fagan’s Epitaph with Bernd Kolbe (b. 10 October 1951, Germany; bass). The first two albums had little to do with their later hard rock style and featured a jazz-tinged AOR flavour. The band disintegrated in 1975, but Jackson resurrected Epitaph in 1979 with Heinz Glass (guitar), Harvey Janssen (bass), Michael Karch (keyboards) and Fritz Randow (drums). Return From Reality adopted an aggressive approach, characterized by the heavy-duty guitar work of Glass. Karch was fired after the album was released, and See You In Alaska, which followed, was surprisingly lightweight compared to its predecessor. Live redressed the balance and saw the band in good shape once more. However, internal disputes resulted in the departure of Glass, Randow and Janssen soon after the album’s release. Klaus Walz, Norbert Lehmann and Bernie Kolbe were drafted in as replacements on guitar, drums and vocals, respectively, to record Danger Man in 1982. Unable to generate renewed interest, the band folded in 1983. Kolbe and Jackson went on to Kingdom (later renamed Domain), while Randow joined Victory.

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

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