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Flotsam and Jetsam

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Biography

Flotsam and Jetsam initially showed a lot of promise within thrash metal circles and, though they've continued to record over the decades, their talent and professionalism never quite translated into significant sales or mainstream recognition. Formed in Arizona by vocalist Eric A. K., guitarists Michael Gilbert and Edward Carlson, bassist Jason Newsted, and drummer Kelly David-Smith, Flotsam and Jetsam were part of the second wave of thrash bands. After signing with Metal Blade Records, they recorded their rough, but ambitious 1986 debut, Doomsday for the Deceiver, which betrayed a huge Metallica influence. Ironically, the metal giants would soon recruit Newsted to replace bassist Cliff Burton, who had recently died in a tragic tour bus crash. In another strange twist, Flotsam and Jetsam then signed with Metallica's label Elektra, for whom they recorded their second album, 1988's No Place for Disgrace, with new bassist Troy Gregory. Despite losing their principal lyricist and an important songwriter in Newsted (who was kind enough to leave a few contributions behind), the album managed to improve slightly upon their first and featured an interesting cover of Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting." Though the band supported the record by touring relentlessly, all their efforts barely made a dent in the now crowded thrash scene. Switching to MCA, the band issued three more albums (1990's When the Storm Comes Down, 1992's Cuatro, and 1995's Drift) which sold progressively less and added little to their original thrash metal recipe. Bassist Gregory departed to join Prong after the first of these and was replaced by Jason Ward. Finding themselves back on Metal Blade, the band finally broke the mold and recorded their most original album in 1997's High, the last to feature Gilbert and Kelly David-Smith. 1999's Unnatural Selection featured their replacements, guitarist Mark Simpson and drummer Craig Nelson, but by the time 2001's well-received My God was released, the band had effectively gone on hiatus. They re-assembled in 2004 for a series of sold out shows in Japan with Overkill and Death Angel, and the following year they issued Dreams of Death, their ninth studio long player. 2006's concert DVD, Live in Japan, captured the group's 2004 performance at the Citta Club in Tokyo, and in 2010 they released a brand new studio album, The Cold. 2012's Ugly Noise saw the band utilize the crowd-funding site PledgeMusic. It would also be the first Flotsam and Jetsam release since 1997 to feature original members Michael Gilbert (guitar) and Kelly David Smith (drums) -- Jason Newsted, though he did not appear on the LP, co-wrote some of the songs. In 2016 the band issued their eponymous 12th studio album. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

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Formed:

1985 in Phoenix, AZ

Genre
Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Influencers

Contemporaries