Ruffians was born out of friendship and the mutual musical interests of its founding members Craig Behrhorst (Guitar/Background Vocals), Luke Bowman (Drums) and Chris Atchison (Guitar/Background Vocals).
The band debuted at the famed San Francisco punk rock venue the Mabuhay Gardens in December ’83. Soon after, the band changed their line-up and recruited long time friend Dan Moura on bass. It then became evident that the group was in need of a stronger front man who would be able to take them to the next level. That vocalist came to be vocalist extraordinaire Carl Albert.
The band was then scheduled to play a gig in less than 2 weeks opening up for Alcatrazz at the Kabuki Theatre in San Francisco.
With the dual guitar sound of Craig and Chris along with Luke’s powerhouse drumming, Carl’s powerful and melodic vocals had given the band the sound they had been looking for. Ruffians then hit the Bay Area club circuit with a bang! Ruffians played many shows throughout 1984 and were definitely on their way, securing support slots for bands such as Loudness, Y&T, Dokken, U.F.O., Saxon, and Savatage. The band began to headline shows throughout the Bay Area, as well as co-headline shows with their hometown friends Exodus, Death Angel, and Vicious Rumors.
In 1984 Ruffians recorded a 4-track demo, which was well received in the States and abroad by Fans and the Metal Press. However, Ruffians were neither a “big hair” band nor were they thrash metal. They were a difficult act to sell to the major label executives at the time. This was the early days of heavy metal, prior to the genre becoming part of the mainstream as it is today.
Ruffians’ management then decided to take matters into their own hands by forming it’s own label, Victory Records, to release the band’s debut album. In January 1985 Ruffians entered Studio D in Sausalito, California to lay down tracks for the six-track Mini-LP. Released in May, the EP was quickly picked up by over 200 College radio stations in the United States as well as charting in Europe and Japan. The EP received great reviews from the international and domestic press, and the band’s fan base grew much larger.
Sublicensed to SPV/Steamhammer in Germany and FEMS in Japan, the album was released in vinyl format and later on Compact Disc. These have become highly collectable items over the years. “Run For Cover” was released on a Restless Record’s Compilation, “Eastern Front-Live at Ruthie’s Inn;” and “Wasteland” was featured in a major motion picture, American Ninja II, a cable TV classic still to this day.
Despite all this, Carl felt the need to move back home and join Villian at the close of 1985. Villian was a band made up of his long-time boyhood friends
With Carl’s departure, Ruffians were faced again with finding a front man to take the helm. After auditioning over 50 vocalists they found the perfect match in Alaska native Rich Wilde who joined the band in early 1986.
Rich’s powerful voice and solid song writing skills assisted Ruffians in their efforts to maintain momentum. In 1987 the band went back into the studio with Rich on vocals and the result was a new 4-Track demo featuring the tracks “Do or Die,” “Unchained,” “Through Your Eyes,” and “Only The Strong Survive”. The demo was circulated throughout the underground metal scene, but none of the songs were ever officially released until 2004. Touring throughout the West Coast the band continued playing live and adding to their worldwide fan-base.
In early 1989 the band split up, but the fans and supporters remained to this day, making a Ruffians reunion a reality when the band was invited to play Germany’s legendary Bang Your Head Festival in June of 2004. In conjunction with the Festival and the bands first European shows Hellion Records released “ ’85 & Live” on CD along with a Collectors Vinyl that includes unreleased material throughout Europe. Both the live shows and releases were well received with rave reviews and Ruffians had realized that their cult status in Europe was still alive and well 15 years later!
A double disc titled “There & Back” which chronicles the bands 20 year legacy was released in 2005 on OSM Records and the band hit Europe Fall of that year playing 8 shows in 5 countries, with the last show of the tour being Germany’s Keep It True Festival. The tour was a success and the band proved to be one of the highlights of the Festival.
Ruffians long awaited studio release “Desert of Tears” was released throughout Europe on Metal Heaven Records in October 2006 & in the US on OSM Records January 2007. This would be the bands first studio release in 20 years! “Desert of Tears” received great reviews and charted on many playlists worldwide. The band assaulted Europe once again along with US dates in support of this release.
Catch Ruffians on tour and look for an upcoming release in the future!