Henry Heston Biography

Vocals & Guitar: Henry Heston

Bands: Criminal Damage (1982) VIRUS (1986-1990) Savage Circle (1990) Hate Nation (1991)

Originally formed in late 1986 by Henry Heston (vocals/guitar) and Tez Kaylor (drums). The duo had played together in various punk bands from the age of fourteen, including Criminal Damage but had decided to move into hardcore punk/thrash metal. By the beginning of 1987 they were joined by John Hess (Bass) together they recorded and produced the debut album “Pray For War”.

A few months after the recording they were joined by Coke McFinlay on lead guitar and by October the album was released on the Metalworks label.

The October tour with Celtic Frost and Kreator took the band to Birmingham, Newcastle, Cardiff, Manchester and finally to the Hammersmith Odeon in London.

The new tracks they had been playing formed the basis for their next album, Force Recon. Over the next couple of months they wrote more material, rehearsed, recorded and came out to play two more gigs. The first was supporting Suicidal Tendencies & punk outfit Chelsea at Hammersmith Clarendon and was followed by the Christmas on Earth gig at Queens Hall, Leeds two days later.

Virus were to be the first band on stage followed by Laaz Rockitt, Voivod, Cro-Mags, Kreator, Overkill, Nuclear Assault and Megadeth (Voivod were billed, but they were held up by Belgian Customs and did not play the gig). Apart from Megadeth no-one got a sound check and the Virus set was effectively used to get the sound system up and running.

That gig did not do the band a great deal of good with the press. Certain journalists, despite many years in the business, apparently failed to notice the equipment problems and simply slagged the band off. Fortunately the audience turned out to be rather more aware and praised the band for attempting to continue in the face of overwhelming odds.

In December they headed to the recording studio to begin work on their second album, this was completed by the end of January in London.

Released three months later the album Force Recon proved a hit with both fans and press and it showed a maturity in both music and lyrics. One reviewer commented “A unique thing about this album is how much instrumental there is. McFinlay and Heston are quite apt with the guitar, talented indeed. The percussion and bass are capable too, extremely fast. The riffs and solos are top caliber”. The band themselves regarded said album as their true debut.

In July 1988 the band took the support slot on the Death Angel UK tour. This took in Brighton, Nottingham, Newcastle, Liverpool and Newport. At the end of the tour Virus headed back to London’s Maida Vale studios to record for the Friday Night Rock Show for BBC Radio 1. In the meantime Combat Records had released Force Recon in America and with minimal advertising the album sold in excess of 150,000 copies. Combat were also setting up a US tour with the band supporting Death and DBC. The tour, scheduled for October 1988 eventually fell apart and the band never made it to the US in that year.

Despite this disappointment, or perhaps because of it, the band returned to their rehearsal rooms and started to write material for a new album. The album, Lunacy, was recorded on SSL at Raezor Studios, London in May 1989 and was scheduled for release worldwide via MetalWorks/AVM in July. Unfortunately, due to distribution problems, the release was delayed until September causing the cancellation of the short tour that had been scheduled for July.

When released it received great reviews though not quite as revered as its predecessor, it remains a true great of the genre.

Towards the summer of 1990 Virus lost two members John Hess and Coke McFinlay due to personal differences within the band. Henry and Tez left England for the East Coast of America settling in New York, then Philadelphia, and proceeded to audition musicians there.

Eventually Virus USA took shape with musicians Benny Herb (vocals), Mark Baranowski (bass), and Syd Sholly (guitar). Demos were recorded and attracted considerable interest from the American press and various major labels. Unfortunately the world recession hit and the funding supporting Henry and Tez in the US dried up.

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Henry Heston Hollywood Allstars

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