24-7 Spyz are a band from the South Bronx, New York, formed in 1986. The band is best known for mixing soul, funk, reggae, and R&B with heavy metal and punk music. They are pioneers in the fusion of these particular music styles, influencing many bands and a monumentally large cult following that spans the globe. Founding members Jimi Hazel (guitar & vocals) and Rick Skatore (bass & vocals) reformed the band adding drummer Tobias Ralph to the line up and have finally released new music after a looooooooog hiatus! BUT WAIT! Let's take a step back and start from the beginning........
Harder Than You: 1989
In 1989, In-Effect Records, a subsidiary of Relativity, released their debut album, the genre-hopping Harder Than You, produced by Bob Musso and Jimi Hazel. The line up is Jimi Hazel (guitar & vocals), Rick Skatore (bass & vocals), Anthony Johnson (drums) & P. Fluid (vocals). The first single was a cover of the Kool & The Gang song "Jungle Boogie." Critics and fans took notice of the band's left-wing political stance and the unique and original sound of their tight-knit, high-energy music. The album sold 300,000+ units due to non-stop touring worldwide and became an underground hit. It remains a pioneering classic in the rock/funk/hip hop genre made popular by such bands as 311, Limp Bizkit, and Kid Rock. The video for "Jungle Boogie" holds the dubious distinction of being the first video on MTV to air on the specialty shows 120 Minutes, Yo! MTV Raps, Hard 60, and Headbanger's Ball.
Gumbo Millennium: 1990
The band's second album, 1990's Gumbo Millennium, produced by Jimi Hazel and Tom Soares, was once again released through In-Effect Records. The album was much softer than the previous effort, focusing mostly on clean guitar and lush R&B harmonies and grooves although it still contained elements of thrash metal and punk. The album sold just under 400,000 units due to massive amounts of touring and proved to be an underground success. It soon brought the attention of several major labels. The band were soon opening for Jane's Addiction on the Ritual De Lo Habitual tour. The tour brought the band to a new audience but their growing success could not stop the turmoil that festered within the band and after the Jane's Addiction tour, Johnson & Fluid quit, leaving Hazel & Skatore to soldier on.
This Is....24-7 Spyz!: 1991
Rick Skatore and Jimi Hazel kept things moving, adding drummer Joel Maitoza and vocalist Jeff Brodnax to the band. The new lineup received rave reviews and the band was soon signed to EastWest America records, a division of Atlantic Records headed by Sylvia Rhone. The company tested the marketability of the new Spyz by releasing a five-song EP entitled This is...24-7 Spyz!, produced by Jimi Hazel and Bruce Calder in 1991.
Strength In Numbers: 1992
The band received their largest commercial exposure by appearing in a Budweiser television commercial that aired for the first five months of the year. Soon after, the hour-long Strength In Numbers album, produced by Terry Date and Jimi Hazel, was released and proved to be the band's most critically acclaimed release to date. The album saw the band depart from its New York hardcore roots to concentrate more on heavy metal and soul. Unfortunately, at the time, popular music was shifting away from musical dexterity and towards the simplicity of grunge music. The album's single, "Break The Chains," received minor radio airplay and MTV exposure but Sylvia Rhone, president of EastWest America, pulled the label's support before dropping the band in the midst of what many feel was their creative peak. To add insult to injury, the label only pressed 18,000 pieces and allotted 2,000 for press purposes, thus making the disc widely unavailable almost immediately.
Pissed beyond pissed, and dazed & confused by the shitty treatment over at East West/Atlantic, the band ends. The band members began working on other musical projects. Hazel and Skatore looked to form a new band, Black Angus, with Follow for Now drummer Bernard "Enrique" Coley. The Black Angus sessions were eventually recorded with drummer and longtime friend Carlton Smith of the Royal Crescent Mob. Maitoza formed Shockhead with vocalist Joseph McCraw and Nixons bassist Ricky Wolking, recording one disc, entitled "Television", which was produced by Jimi Hazel. Brodnax concentrated on his band, Egypt. But just two years later, something strange happened........
Temporarily Disconnected: 1994
The original band reformed and Jimi & Rick learned that you can't always go home and some things are better left alone! And with that, something wonderful happened.....
6: 1995 and Heavy Metal Soul By The Pound: 1996
Alternate versions of the next studio album were released in 1995 & 1996. 6, produced by Jimi Hazel, was released exclusively in Europe through the Enemy label. The album contained covers of The Association's "Along Comes Mary" and Love's "7 and 7 Is." The album was titled 6 due to it being the sixth release by the band.
In 1996, What Are Records released Heavy Metal Soul by the Pound, the American version of 6. The track listing would remain almost identical to 6 with the exception of the removal of "Along Comes Mary" and "7 and 7 Is" and the additions of "Earth And Sky" and "Save The World" as replacements.
Both versions of the album saw the band returning as a trio with Jimi Hazel on guitar and lead vocals, Rick Skatore on bass and Joel Maitoza returning to the drums for the first time in four years. Two tracks recorded before Maitoza's return featured guest drummer Carlton Smith of Royal Crescent Mob. Additional vocals were contributed by Doug Pinnick of King's X for the songs "Love And Peace" and "Yeah X 3".
The next release was the If I Could EP, available exclusively through their fan club and featuring remixes and live performances of several songs. In 1998, a disagreement between Hazel and Skatore led to the dissolution of 24-7 Spyz.
Solo albums and Reformation
In 2000, Rick Skatore was hospitalized with a collapsed lung. Despite prior disagreements, Hazel came to the aid of his friend by performing together as 24-7 Spyz for a benefit concert at New York City's CBGB's. Proceeds from the show went towards Skatore's medical bills.
In 2002, Hazel released his first solo CD, 21stCenturySouthBronxRockStar on his own label, The Gumbo Recording Company and in 2003, Hazel and Skatore reunited for a second CBGB's performance with Tony Lewis on drums. In 2005, Hazel and Skatore would announce the official re-formation of 24-7 Spyz and shortly after, released a DVD titled HMS4L: The Many Lives of Walter Rattamus, named after the band's logo. The DVD tells the history of the band through the various incarnations and also includes commentary from Jimi Hazel and Rick Skatore.
Face the Day: 2006
In 2006, with new drummer Tobias Ralph, the band is fully energized and head in to record Face The Day. The disc was produced by Jimi Hazel and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (of Guns N' Roses) and featured appearances by dUg Pinnick (King's X), The Trackaddicts & Bumblefoot. After seeking a deal for the disc and not finding one, it was released through Jimi's label, The Gumbo Recording Company in 2007. Surprisingly, the band didn't tour but that didn't stop legions of Spyz fans worldwide from buying the disc via the band's website. The disc sold an astonishing 10,000 copies without any promotion, press or hype! DIY LIVES!!!!! By 2008, with all the cd copies gone and the disc only available as a digital download via iTunes, people began emailing and requesting the disc be made available again! Well, we listened and listening has finally lead to.......
FACE THE DAY: REMASTERED & RE RELEASED FOR 2009!
DAMN! The disc sounds better than ever! Remastered by Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, the disc is a new baby waiting to scream in your ear! And we're happy to say that Spyz has been playing random dates all over the place! That means keep your eyes & ears open because you'll never know when we'll show up in your town! We promise to keep and uphold the legacy of Spyz and will continue to make music forever!
In the meantime:
1) GET Face The Day!
2) PLAY Face The Day!
3) LOVE Face The Day!
4) BE Face The Day!
PLAY IT LOUD and ENJOY!!!! HEAVYMETALSOUL4LIFE!