Veil of Ashes – Remembering

I love this group.  This album was from 1992 and may sound dated to some, but pretty timeless to these ears!  

Veil – Queen For A Day

Veil – The Hunger (Heroin)

Veil of Ashes was an alternative band from Oakland, California that was a favorite in the San Francisco club scene. Though Christians, they felt that they wouldn’t and shouldn’t be confined to the church circuit, making them one of the first Christian bands to play a constant string of secular clubs and to appear with some of the major secular artists of the day. They helped pave the road for many of the Christian bands that are in the secular arena now. Headlining such bay area clubs as The Omni, the Stone, Bottom of the Hill, the Berkley Square and Madame Wongs in Southern California. Their very first show was at the legendary Mabuhay Gardens (the Dead Kennedy’s, Iggy Pop, the Ramones, Devo). Veil of Ashes also had the opportunity to play Cornerstone Festival twice, Great America, Waterworld, and Knott’s Berry Farm. They also were asked to perform at Colleges like Pepperdine University and San Jose State. Veil of Ashes performed live on several secular radio stations in the Bay Area. They received national college radio attention with their songs reaching as high as the number one slot on many.

Hipness credentials were incredibly high: the late Gene Eugene of Adam Again and the Lost Dogs produced the Frontline album Pain that included background vocals by the Choir’s Steve Hindalong and Derri Daugherty. Their song from this album “the Cross Was His Own” was featured on a compilation album entitled Frontline Classics. They appeared with bands like The Choir, The 77’s, Undercover, the Violet Burning, Tonio K., Mad at the World, the Altar Boys, Dead Artist Syndrome, Chris Isaak, Social Distortion, the Mighty Lemon Drops, the Psychedelic Furs, the Call, the Ocean Blue, 4 Non Blondes, the Graces (3 members of the Go-Go’s), Grapes of Wrath and many others.

Charlotte Caffey (guitarist of the Go-Go’s) commented that the lead singer Sean Doty had one of the best voices she had ever heard. Gene Simmons of KISS was quoted as saying, “they would be a great band if they left the ‘Jesus stuff’ out”. The band “LIVE” was heard to say that Veil of Ashes was an early favorite on Christian radio during their high school church years. And Peter Murphy is a facebook fan of the band.

The first album, PAIN, yielded a top ten Christian Rock single “Without Eyes”, beating out Petra that month. Pulse magazine named Pain as one of the top ten Christian albums of the year. The band changed it’s name to Veil for their second album, Mr. Sunshine on the Eden record label, that yielded a hit single “Queen For A Day”. The song was eventually banned by several Christian radio stations because it was a subtle yet distinguishable tribute to Freddie Mercury and the group Queen. The album itself was banned by several Christian bookstores because of the joker face on the cover. Interestingly enough after all that banning, the song, “Stygian Shore” was used in an Easter musical performed in churches throughout the world. Veil of Ashes built a cult following sufficient to justify a compilation album on Michael Knott’s Blonde Vinyl label entitled The Young and the Reckless (the Regression of Veil of Ashes) that pulled most of it’s material from their independent releases, Prayers for the World and Negro (not a racist term but the word for Black in Spanish).

Musically, according to reviewers, the band had a sound that sometimes recalled the Doors and U2, though critics would also notice touches of more obscure bands like The Cult, the Cure, and Gene Loves Jezebel.

~ by castleqwayr on September 14, 2010.

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