Steelheart is a musical group fronted by Croatian-American musician Miljenko "Mili" Matijevic. The outfit has gone through many line-up shifts since it got started in 1990, yet Mili's powerful voice and multi-octave range has remained the heart and soul of the band.
The group's debut album, titled simply 'Steelheart', brought the group strong commercial success yet had them pegged, somewhat unfairly, to the glam metal movement. Since then, Mili and his band-mates have showcased just how broad their influences are and the raw strength of Mili's vocals have been noticed by many critics.
Formation and early acclaim (1990-2000)Steelheart had the line-up of Matijevic (vocals), Chris Risola (guitar), Frank DiCostanzo (guitar), James Ward (bass), and John Fowler (drums) when the band's self-titled debut album came out in 1990.
Musically, their work featured a style similar to hard rock and pop metal acts of the day, examples being Ratt and Whitesnake, yet the guys scored a coup in working with seminal producer Mark Opitz, who had worked on iconic rock releases such as AC/DC's 'Powerage'.
The guys found themselves hitting the big time as the album reached #40 on the Billboard 200 chart, the band's fan-base growing around the world.'Steelheart' sold 33,000 albums on its first day in Japan alone.
Before too long, the album even hit platinum status. In terms of specific songs, the power ballad "She's Gone" showcased Matijevic's incredible vocal range and hit #1 on several international charts. Second single "I'll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)" reached #14 in the U.
S. while its related music video soon became MTV's 2nd most requested clip. "Everybody Loves Eileen" and "Can't Stop Me Lovin' You", the latter tune further showing off Matijevic's vocal range yet also giving lead guitarist Risola time to shine, had accompanying music videos created for them as well.
Steelheart's next effort, "Tangled In Reins" was a much more mixed combination than the debut, with sleaze glam songs like "Sticky Side Up" to smooth ballads such as "Mama Don't You Cry". Also, the song, "Steelheart", featured Matijevic hitting his highest note of the three albums.
The album wasn't as much a commercial success, reaching only #144 on the billboard charts, a sign that the grunge invasion was taking force. Steelheart was later asked by the heavy metal band, Slaughter, to go on tour with them.
Nearing the end of the tour, Slaughter asked Steelheart to perform one last show which would occur in Denver, Colorado. The show took place on Halloween night, a night which will forever be remembered by Steelheart fans.
While performing, "Dancing in the Fire", a hit from the "Tangled in Reins" album, Matijevic decided to climb a lighting truss, which was inproperly secured. Matijevic tried to dodge the massive rig, but without success.
The 1000 pound truss hit Matijevic on the back of the head, driving one of the greatest vocalists of all time, face first into the stage, breaking his nose, cheekbone, jaw and twisting his spine. Matijevic miraculously found the strength to walk off the stage and he was immediately taken to a hospital.
"Steelheart" ended that night, at least for a while, after a very impressive career.Four years later, Matijevic formed a new version of Steelheart with Kenny Kanowski (guitars), Vincent Mele (bass) and Alex Makarovich (drums) to record and release the album "Wait".
The album was very different to the previous two albums. The single "Wait" went #1 in many Asian countries, however that was the main area of the album's success, the grunge invasion causing the American European markets to be near closed to classic rock.
Original member James Ward joined Steelheart on the tour supporting the album. Also on the "Wait" album, "We All Die Young", the first track, was in the motion picture, "Rock Star," starring Mark Wahlberg.
Matijevic stated that "Wait" was the choice of the title because it took a long time to gain freedom from the record company and his greedy manager, who was taking more than what was his.Recent work and major events (2000-2015)The band's website made available "LOL (Laughing Out Loud)", "Twisted Future", and "Buried Unkind", as well as the previously released track "We All Die Young", from Steelheart's album Wait.
Steelheart's new sound is modern and edgy while still retaining overtones of Miijenko Matijevic's roots. The live Steelheart DVD is also available online. Meanwhile, former drummer for Steelheart, John Fowler, is working on two new projects- the Voodoo Jets and Smoke, Chris Risola has a guitar studio and joined Steelheart for the Just A Taste tour.
The group's two most recent albums are 2006's Just a Taste and 2008's Good 2B Alive.Website: http://www.steelheart.com
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