1978 - Painkiller
1978 / 1979
Chris Von Rohr - Vocals
Tommy Kiefer - Lead Guitar
Fernando Von Arb - Rhythm Guitar
Juerg Naegeli - Bass
Freddy Steady - Drums
Henry Friez - Vocals (in 1979 only "live")
In 1978 the band releases the "Painkiller" album with the same line-up as 1977's "To You All". This is a record of substantially better quality. Recording and mixing are done at the Manor Studios in Oxford/England in just six days! The album is produced by Harry Sprenger (their manager) and distributed once again by Phonogram. "Painkiller" is also released under the title “PAY IT IN METAL” in several European countries. The "Painkiller" album appears in five different cover designs.
In support of the just released album KROKUS embark on a tour through Switzerland as well as Spain and Germany. Video clips of "Rock Me, Rock You" and "Bye Bye Baby" are produced and the bands popularity grows rapidly. In Switzerland, the readers of the leading music magazine POP vote them as "#1 Most Popular Band" and Chris Von Rohr as "#1 Vocalist Of The Year".
In October 1978 KROKUS support once again the Scorpions in concert.
Chris Von Rohr, always focused on improving KROKUS as a whole, and wanting to create a sound more like riff focused AC/DC, realizes his vocal limitations and searches for a new vocalist. Their new frontman is Henry Friez and Chris Von Rohr switches to bass, while former bass player Juerg Naegeli concentrates on live mix and the technical improvements of the band.
With new found vocalist Henry Friez the band records some new demos fo the upcoming next album. They also tour as support of Hungarian band "Omega" all across Germany, Austria and Hungary. They also open for "Mother's Finest" in Hamburg/Germany.
Henry Friez leaves the band in 1979 to pursue a solo career. An Italian label signs him and he moves south of the border.
His replacement is no other than Maltese born vocalist Marc Storace, who recorded with Swiss rock band TEA (who were the #1 rock band in Switzerland prior to KROKUS) 3 albums between 1971 and 1974 and after the split of TEA moved to London to front his band "Eazy Money" (the song "Telephone Man" turns up on the "Metal For Muthas - Volume 2" compilation album). It is not easy to convince Storace to join KROKUS and only because of Chris Von Rohr's persistence does he finally give it a try. With Storace as their new vocalist, they tour Germany in late 1979. Highlight of that tour are two concerts at the legendary "Star-Club" in Hamburg.
The KROKUS cast of Marc Storace, guitarist Mandy Meyer (who will play on the 1981 Hardware Tour in replacement of Tommy Kiefer), bassist Tommy Keiser (who will play "live" in support of the album "Alive And Screaming" and on the 1986 release Change Of Address) and drummer Freddy Steady also appear on the 1979 "Paganini" single "Weapon Of Love".