80's Rock: Saigon Kick

saigon_kickSaigon Kick was an American rock band from Miami, Florida that formed in 1988.

Saigon Kick was formed by lead vocalist Matt Kramer and guitarist Jason Bieler along with bassist Tom Defile, and drummer Phil Varone. They gained a huge following on the local club scene and generated enough of a buzz to be signed to Third Stone records in 1990 and release their first album in 1991. They toured non stop but the album only made a marginal national showing.

They went immediately back into the studio to record their second album, The Lizard which was released in 1992. The album spawned the bands biggest hit single, "Love Is on the Way", which reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and received a gold record, and whose video was in the top 10 MTV countdown for many weeks. Just before touring for the album commenced, bassist Tom DeFile was fired. He was replaced by ex-Cold Sweat bassist Chris McLernon. They toured from summer 1992 to spring 1993, enjoying gold status sales for The Lizard.

The band then headed to Sweden to record their third album Water. During recording, Matt Kramer became disillusioned with the direction that the band was heading both musically and style wise. Bieler decided to take over all of the vocal duties as well as playing guitar on the album. The basic tracks were recorded with finishing touches added at sessions in Tampa, Florida.

saigon_kick_1Former Cryer guitarist Pete Dembrowski joined the band for their fall 1993 tour and performed on the band's fourth album, Devil in the Details, released in 1995. The band toured to large success globally in 1994, 1995 and 1996, but Saigon Kick never managed to build on the success of The Lizard in the USA.

In July 1997, the band, with Kramer back in the fold but Varone replaced by former Cryer and future Super TransAtlantic drummer Ricky Sanders, tried an ill-advised reunion and imploded after two shows.

Bieler, Dembrowski, and Sanders would record the final Saigon Kick album, Bastards for release in the Far East before changing their name and starting anew as Super TransAtlantic.

In 2000, Kramer, Varone, and DeFile resurrected the Saigon Kick name for a short tour. Bieler, being involved with Super TransAtlantic and wanting no part of a reunion, was replaced by former Left For Dead and current Slaughter guitarist Jeff Blando. After the tour, the members scattered, and it was thought that Saigon Kick was done for good.

Recently however, news has surfaced of an upcoming reunion show to take place during the "Rock Gone Wild" show on August 20-23, 2009 on the Freedom Park festival grounds, located at 2507- 160th Avenue in Algona, Iowa. It has been confirmed, however, that Jason Bieler and Tom Defile will not be in attendance. From the original lineup, Phil Varone has not been confirmed.

Matt Kramer and Jason Bieler both later released solo albums.

Matt Kramer released his debut book of poetry, An American Profit, on October 31, 2007 through Lascivious Books.

Bieler, Dembrowski, and Sanders along with bassist Pat Badger of Extreme formed Super TransAtlantic' and released the album Shuttlecock in 2000. They also appeared on the American Pie soundtrack with the song "Super Down".

Phil Varone joined Skid Row, and also played in the band Prunella Scales with Skid Row bassist Rachel Bolan. Phil left Skid Row, citing his ongoing battle with cocaine addiction and his need to turn his life around. Afterwards, he began promoting his movie Waking up Dead in which a film crew followed him around for several years to document the life of a rock star and the ups and downs that come with it. Varone is now clean and sober. His focus is no longer music, rather he is booking and hosting standup comedy shows in Los Angeles.

Tom Defile is now a massage therapist and living in South Florida.

Chris McLernon and Ricky Sanders teamed up to form Two Heads Music working in television, film and advertising music production.

Jason Bieler and his brother Aaron now own a music studio and record label in South Florida called Bieliar Bros. Records.

Ricky Sanders is currently the touring drummer for former Bad Company lead singer Brian Howe.

Courtesy of wikipedia.org and Hair Band Rock - 80's Rock

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