16 Songs


About Tubalcain

When the Philadelphia-based industrial combo Executive Slacks broke up in 1991, it wasn't long before most of its ex-members joined a new band called Tubalcain. Formed in 1992, the short-lived Tubalcain consisted of Athan Maroulis on lead vocals, Robb Jordan on guitar and keyboards, Stephen Lentz on bass, Harry Lewis on drums and percussion, and John Young on keyboards. Most of them had been with Executive Slacks, including the eclectic Maroulis (born September 22, 1964, Brooklyn, NY), Jordan, Lewis, and Young (who should not be confused with the Chicago-based jazz pianist of the same name). Over the years, Philadelphians who closely follow the city's rock scene have commented that Executive Slacks and Tubalcain are essentially the same band; nonetheless, Tubalcain had an energy of its own. Favoring an aggressive yet darkly melodic approach to alternative rock, Tubalcain's sound was indebted to industrial as well as metal and goth rock. The goth influence came naturally to Maroulis; before he moved from New York to Philly to join Executive Slacks in 1987, Maroulis had been the lead vocalist for Fahrenheit 451 (a Bauhaus-influenced goth band that was named after the famous Ray Bradbury novel). In 1992, Tubalcain released its debut album, 25 Assorted Needles, on its own Verdugo label. The CD wasn't a big seller, but that didn't prevent Tubalcain from playing its share of East Coast club gigs, not only in Philly, but also in New York and Washington, D.C. Maroulis was still a member of Tubalcain when he moved to Los Angeles and became a member of Spahn Ranch, a Southern California industrial band that eventually became better known than Fahrenheit 451, Executive Slacks, or Tubalcain. For awhile, Maroulis tried to be bi-coastal and divide his time between Spahn Ranch in L.A. and Tubalcain in Philly; Maroulis was a member of Spahn Ranch when Tubalcain's EP Left, was released by the Brooklyn, NY, based Funky Mushroom Records in 1994. But by the end of the year, Tubalcain's members had decided to split up. In December 1994, the band played a final gig at a Philly club called Silk City; by the time 1995 arrived, Tubalcain was history. No longer commuting between L.A. and Philly, Maroulis concentrated on Spahn Ranch and in 1995, took an entry level "day gig" at the Cleopatra Label Group (which Spahn Ranch had been signed to since 1992). Eventually, he worked his way up that company's ladder and got heavily into A&R, promotions and publicity. As the '90s progressed, Maroulis became increasingly busy; Spahn Ranch became better known than any of his three previous bands and his responsibilities at Cleopatra increased. In 2000, Maroulis and L.A.-based producer Skip Heller (who, coincidentally, had also lived in Philly) formed Blue Dahlia, which was a radical departure from anything Maroulis had done in the past. Those who knew the singer for goth rock, industrial, and alternative rock were surprised to learn that Blue Dahlia favored a '40s-like approach to jazz and traditional pre-rock pop. Instead of being influenced by Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, or the Sisters of Mercy, Blue Dahlia emphasized standards and was a throwback to vocalists like Billy Eckstine, Mel Tormé, and a young, Columbia-era Frank Sinatra. Lewis, meanwhile, also ended up leaving Philly and moving to L.A., where the drummer joined Maroulis in Spahn Ranch in the '90s. ~ Alex Henderson

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