From The Beginning: The History Of A Swiss Rock Giant


In the beginning...

Phonogram LP 6326928
The so-called “Ice Breaker ” …the first steps for the founding members. Cover drawing by Polo Hofer, a Swiss multi-platinum artist in his own right.
Line-up: Chris Von Rohr - Tommy Kiefer - Remo Spadino - Hansi Droz


Phonogram LP 6326934/MC7160933
Joint venture with the band members of “Montezuma” (Von Arb-Naegeli-Steady). The first real hard rock sounds were heard in these beginning years.
They also created the “Krokus” logo, which remained as their trademark to this day.
Line-up: Fernando Von Arb - Jürg Naegeli - Freddy Steady - Chris Von Rohr - Tommy Kiefer


Phonogram LP 6326800/MC7159800
A record of substantially better quality. Recording and mixing were done in England, in just six days! Also released under the title “PAY IT IN METAL”.
Same album appeared in five different cover designs.
Line-up: Fernando Von Arb - Jürg Naegeli - Freddy Steady - Chris Von Rohr - Tommy Kiefer

The breakthrough...


Ariola CD.259048/LP 201199/MC 401199
The first big success! Triple Platinum... selling 150,000 copies in Switzerland alone.
With Marc Storace as their new lead singer, this recording was pivotal in establishing an International identity for the band and instant recognition with the powerful vocals of Marc “the voice” Storace. Three Rock Classics were born ( “Bedside Radio”, “Heatstrokes” and “Tokyo Nights”) and caught the attention of the British and American public and press. In fact, “Heatstrokes” shot up to first place in the British Heavy Metal charts.
Line-Up: Marc Storace - Fernando Von Arb – Chris Von Rohr – Freddy Steady – Tommy Kiefer

1980 EARLY DAYS 75 – 78

Phonogram LP 6326801/MC 7159801
Released following the success of “Metal Rendezvous”.
Sampler of the first three albums.

Ariola CD 253322/LP 203322/ MC 403322
Straight to GOLD in Switzerland !
Contains the big hits “Winning Man”, “Celebration” and the ultimate anthem for their hard rocking fans, “Easy Rocker”, all remain regular staples in their live set-list to this day.
Line-Up: Marc Storace - Fernando Von Arb – Chris Von Rohr – Freddy Steady – Tommy Kiefer


Arista CD 254400/LP 204400/MC 404400
The band shifts to American management and secures a new record deal in the USA . Produced by Tony Platt ,“One Vice” contains the hits “Long Stick Goes Boom!”, “Down The Drain”, “Playin’ The Outlaw” and the song that opened the doors to Canada : “American Woman”. Another GOLD Award.
Line-Up: Marc Storace - Fernando Von Arb – Chris Von Rohr – Freddy Steady – Mark Kohler

Arista CD 25525/LP 205255/MC 405255
The songs for this album were written in the USA and recorded in Florida. It earned Platinum status in America (over one million copies sold), gold awards in Switzerland and Canada respectively! “Screaming In The Night” became their biggest hit so far, and still can be found today on radio play lists all around the world as a timeless classic rock ballad. Other songs like “Eat The Rich”, “Stayed Awake All Night” or the title track “Headhunter” are steadily requested by live audiences and the band obliges!
Line-Up: Marc Storace - Fernando Von Arb – Chris Von Rohr – Steve Pace – Mark Kohler


Arista CD 610198/LP 206494/MC 406494
Yet again the band did their song writing in the USA, which by now was practically their second home. They wrote the hits “Midnite Maniac”, “Out Of Control” and the ballad that won young ladies’ hearts, “Our Love”! The rocked up version of “Ballroom Blitz” served not only for the album title but led to a sought after VHS/LaserDisc bit called “The Video Blitz”. The recordings were made in Canada by none other than Bob Rock, assisted by Mike Frazer (producers/engineers to Bon Jovi, Metallica, Aerosmith, AC/DC & others) and produced by the late, great Bruce Fairbairn. May he rest in peace.
Line-Up: Marc Storace - Fernando Von Arb – Jeff Klaven – Mark Kohler (bassplayer Tommy Keiser will join Krokus for The Blitz Tour).


Arista CD 257647/LP 207647/MC 407647
Pressure from the record company for an immediate follow-up resulted in the longest stretch for releasing the next album in the band’s musical history. This ‘softer production’ sadly left hardened Krokus fans and the band themselves ‘out in the cold’! Ironically, this album contains some interesting songs, such as “Now (All Through The Night)”, “Long Way From Home” and the video tracks “Burning Up The Night” and “School’s Out”, the latter an Alice Cooper Classic. “World On Fire” still holds its own today!
Line-Up: Marc Storace - Fernando Von Arb – Jeff Klaven – Mark Kohler - Tommy Keiser

Arista CD 258025/LP 208025/MC 408025
For a long time THE `One and Only` Official-LIVE-KROKUS album. Recorded during their 1986 American and Canadian tours. Included live versions of “Long Stick Goes Boom”, “Eat The Rich”, “Screaming In The Night”, “Midnite Maniac”, “Bedside Radio”, “Stayed Awake All Night” and “Headhunter”.
Line-Up: Marc Storace - Fernando Von Arb – Jeff Klaven – Mark Kohler - Tommy Keiser


Arista CD 885529
Sampler of previously released material.

MCA CD 255 388-2/MCAD 4207
The only album on the MCA label and the last transatlantic concert tour for a long time.
“Heart Attack” was an attempt to steer Krokus back onto their original track. Musically, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Tonight” showed great live potential but promoting it on the radio waves brought its challenges due to changing music trends! Years of writing, recording and touring endlessly drained the band’s energy ...disheartened and burnt out they did what so many other bands in the eighties did as well: they went on a hiatus “until further notice”.
Line-Up: Marc Storace - Fernando Von Arb – Chris Von Rohr – Dani Crivelli – Mark Kohler

Phonag CD P81060/LP P1060/MCAD 42087
Original band member Fernando Von Arb brings new band members together, under the Krokus name. They produce a more technical and solid album.
Line-Up: Fernando Von Arb – Peter Tanner – Tony Castell – Manny Maurer - Peter Haas

Ariola CD 74321134712
Another sampler is released in Europe.

Phonag CD Maxi-Single P84567
An almost original Krokus line-up reunites to do the “Living Legend Tour” in spring ‘94. They warm-up with a club gig at the band’s birthplace in Solothurn/Switzerland. Two live tracks from that same night are included on this CD.

Phonag CD P81100/MCP41100
KROKUS is back in the game.
The power and energy emanating from this CD is felt in their live concerts. This self produced album with an abundance of remarkable tracks such as “Lion Heart”, “Natural Blonde” and the single “Flying Through The Night” achieves GOLD award status in Switzerland and these songs are still in their live repertoire today. A masterpiece in true Krokus style. They even ventured to shoot the video clip to the single themselves. In spite of the reformed band’s exhilarating victory on home turf, the future did not look so bright for rock music outside of Switzerland.  The originally rekindled positive spirit weakened slowly but surely and for what really seemed to be the last time, they called it a day.
Line-Up: Marc Storace - Fernando Von Arb – Mark Kohler – Freddy Steady – Manny Maurer

1999 ROUND 13
Phonag CD P / MC P & Angel Air CD SJPCD031
The only recording since “Metal Rendevous”, and besides the “Stampede”album, that did not feature Marc “The Voice” Storace. Fernando recruited British singer Carl Sentance and for most Krokus fans that was just not “the real deal”.
Line-Up: Carl Sentance - Fernando Von Arb – Manny Maurer - Peter Haas

Arista CD P/CD031
This American compilation album from Arista was like a beckoning for KROKUS to return to the USA, but the time was not yet ripe!

A new beginning…

Towards the end of this year Marc proposed a reunion to Fernando.

Fernando and Marc re-joined forces... Patrick Aeby on drums and Dominique Favez on rhythm guitar joined bass player Tony Castell, who played in the 1999 line-up. The new band line-up enthusiastically started working on a pre-production for a new album. They only left the recording studio briefly to rock a few Swiss Festivals that in turn helped to reestablish that gritty "live" feeling to their new songs!

WEA CD 092 749735 2
The new studio album “Rock The Block” was released in Switzerland January of 2003, with all international territories following in spring. Backed by a new recording contract with Warner, new management and a team of highly motivated and talented musicians, KROKUS`s brand new CD soared straight to No.1 in the Swiss charts, and reached Platinum status within a few weeks. Sheer proof that Hard Rock in Switzerland was surely back on the rise! The album was recorded and produced by the band members themselves in Lausanne/Switzerland, next to the legendary music Mecca of Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva. And yes, there was “smoke on the water”! It has been heralded as `one of the best` KROKUS albums, worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as “Metal Rendezvous”, “One Vice At A Time”, “Headhunter” and “The Blitz”! The tour that followed in support of the CD release took the lads on Krokus`s longest European stretch since 1988, covering Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Holland and for the first time rocking Sweden!
Line-Up: Marc Storace - Fernando Von Arb – Tony Castell – Dominique Favez – Patrick Aeby

WEA CD 5050467068827
The warm welcome for the band from their Scandinavian (and other) rock fans at the “Swedenrock Festival 2003” was immortalized on Krokus`s "LIVE" Double CD released early this year. The rest of the songs, containing 20 of Krokus`s Greatest Hits, stem from a turbulent but successful career spanning three decades and were recorded at various sold-out Swiss venues earlier that year.
A bonus DVD, containing the band’s vibrant performance to an appreciative Montreux Festival audience, is included in the European version of the package.
Line-Up: Marc Storace - Fernando Von Arb – Tony Castell – Dominique Favez – Patrick Aeby
The Krokus Tour of 2004 was unfortunately cut very short when Fernando`s left hand suffered under the strain. He underwent a minor operation and all plans for the coming US Tour had to be postponed. The band used the temporary setback positively and concentrated on song writing instead.

Reluctant to block the band from pursuing their goals, Fernando heroically decided to call it a day. The band and his fans are forever thankful for the spirit and great music he contributed over the years, and wish him the best on his life’s journey. Timing is everything! Fortunately for Krokus, well respected guitar slinger Mandy Meyer who toured with Marc and Krokus back in 1981 extensively and then moved on to showcase his talent worldwide with bands like Cobra, Katmandu, Asia and recently with well known Swiss band Gotthard, answered Marc’s invitation to rejoin Krokus. This was not just an opportunity for Mandy to perform again the classic hits of the eighties but also to contribute with new songs to the success of the band. A match made in (rock) heaven!
Following some European concerts, Krokus came back to the country where they sold the majority of their albums and CD’s in the eighties. An American tour that started in New York and brought them across the country to the West coast confirmed how many Krokus fans stateside were waiting for their heroes to perform in concert again. And can’t wait for them to return.
Internationally they have been positioning themselves for a huge 2006 comeback.  September/October in the USA, followed by 2 concerts in Russia last November, and finishing off their live appearances with a performance at the Swedenrock Festival 2006 Kick-Off Party in December.    

Starting out strong in the new year, Krokus introduce German drummer Stefan Schwarzmann to the then current line-up. The soundtrack to the European film "Handy Man" is released, featuring a new Krokus song called "Hellraiser". Recording for the follow-up album of "Rock The Block" starts under the watchful eye of American born producer Dennis Ward in southern Germany and their 15th studio album called "Hellraiser" is slated to be released worldwide by new record label AFM Records between middle of September and latter part of October. Krokus also compose a theme song for the technically leading Online-Middle-Age-Strategy-Game "Knightsdivine". Sweden becoming a stronghold for Krokus, invites Krokus back to Swedenrock 2006 and fans witness first hand why Krokus is a force to be reckoned with and in the current line-up the strongest power-rock band since the eighties. The creation of the "Globe Club", led by longtime friend Peter Waelti, broadens the communication with our fan base and offers regular news updates. Krokus will tour mainly Europe and Marc's original homeland of Malta in the last quarter of 2006 in support of the new album "Hellraiser" and it's single "Angel of my dreams".
Line-Up: Marc Storace - Mandy Meyer – Tony Castell – Dominique Favez – Stefan Schwarzmann

Continuing the long running "Hellraiser Tour", KROKUS play middle of January for the first time a couple of concerts in Greece. Then they embark in the second half of January and February as "Special Guests" of the Swedish band "Hammerfall" on an extensive European tour that will have them rock 31 cities in 16 different countries. For the first time in a long time they return to the United Kingdom as well. March and April they headline concerts mainly in Switzerland including a performance at the "Alpenrock House" in Zurich on April 11th, where US Manager and Globe Club President Peter Waelti with the help of 5 fans (our "angels") present the musicians each a Gold Record Award for the "Hellraiser" release. After all, without the support of our fans this award would not have been possible. During the summer months KROKUS play many big festivals in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. And touring in support of "Hellraiser" continues until the end of the year. The 2006/2007 "Hellraiser Tour" proved to be the most extensive European Tour KROKUS ever played in the bands 30+ year history.

The Swiss TV show "Die Grössten Schweizer Hits" ("Greatest Swiss Hits Of All Times") ran a six-part series, each broadcasting on Sunday evenings with different topics. On November 18th KROKUS performes for the first time in 23 years in the classic line-up (minus Tommy Kiefer RIP), featuring Marc Storace on vocals, Chris Von Rohr on bass, Fernando Von Arb on guitar and Freddy Steady on drums. The medley consists of the songs “Tokyo Nights”, “Bedside Radio” and “Heatstrokes”, all originally released on KROKUS’s first album featuring “the voice” Marc Storace. That album (“Metal Rendez-Vous”) put KROKUS on the map Internationally. During the Swiss TV Show the musicians, much to their surprise, were presented by BMG (record label) with the “Diamond Record Award” for overall record sales in Switzerland during their tenure with the label (mainly in the 80’s). This is an extremely rare award to be handed out. To put this into perspective, the “Diamond Record Award” equals receiving 40 “Gold Record Awards” or 20 “Platinum Record Awards” in comparison. “Bedside Radio”, originally released in November of 1979 as a single in Switzerland, is back in the “Swiss Hitparade Charts” (equivalent to the US “Billboard Charts”). It shot from zero to #58 immediately in it’s first week after the broadcast.

February 2nd Marc, Mandy, Dominique, Tony and Stefan play the last concert of the "Hellraiser Tour" at the City Square in Nadur on the island of Gozo, a neighboring island to Malta.

February 5th the band announces on their web site that they will take an artistic break.

Long anticipated and in April officially confirmed: KROKUS is back in its original formation. Marc Storace, Chris Von Rohr, Fernando Von Arb, Mark "Koki" Kohler and Freddy Steady are rocking together again. The band’s greatest success Internationally happened in the early 80’s with this line-up. Up to today KROKUS is still the biggest rock export Switzerland ever had.

August 2nd, the "originals" play the only concert planned for 2008 in their native Switzerland at the "Stade De Suisse" football stadium in Bern. A truly "magical" moment in KROKUS history.

Shortly thereafter the band starts working on their comeback album, slated to be released in spring of 2010. The anticipation will be as big as the one for their first concert.

KROKUS work quietly but feverishly on composing, recording and mixing their first cd after over 25 years with this line-up.

April 24th, the band performs the official song of the “Hockey World Championship 2009" called "Live For The Action", which they specifically record for this occasion. This song can be found on the sampler "Rhythm Of Ice Hockey". The IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) printed 2009 copies of this cd and it is bound to be a rarity very soon for KROKUS fans.

In celebration of Switzerland's Independence Day, Swiss TV broadcasts live from the "Tell Open Air" stage in Interlaken. As part of this program called "Tell And Other Heroes" KROKUS play a medley of 3 songs from the "Metal Rendez-Vous" era. 

As a welcome change of pace, the band headlines August 5th the "Magic Night Festival" in Zofingen, the only concert played live this year. Says Chris Von Rohr: “It’s always good to stop working in the studio for a moment and lose some sweat on stage. We will play one or two new songs “live” and compare how they stand up against the best we already have from our back catalogue. The fans reaction at the concert will tell us. We call that the “Platinum-Stage-Test-Son-Of-A-Gun”.

Band and a huge crowd makes the event "explosive". With the band’s show KROKUS proves that regardless of the long hiatus of the originals neither professionalism nor musicianship suffered and they neatlessly continued as if time stood still between now and their most successful times in the eighties.

And Marc Storace adds: “We perform on the eve of a full moon summer sky, when the spirit is naturally high. Open-air festivals are very special because they vibrate warm human feelings combined with a mystical touch. The promoters did well to call it the *Magic Night*."
The playfulness of the band sparked over to the crowd and if this vibe is any indication of the quality of the forthcoming new CD, the rock nations of the world will witness a hot spring this coming year (when the new CD is released)!

The new, long anticipated cd "Hoodoo" is released February 26th with the original line-up. Besides 10 new songs, penned by the band, the cd also includes Steppenwolf's cover "Born To Be Wild". Produced by Chris Von Rohr.

Today they are back in their classic line-up plus Mandy Meyer and are stronger than ever on their new album "DIRTY DYNAMITE". The band spent a whole two years working on the new album under the watchful eye of bassist and original founder Chris Von Rohr. "We didn't spend all that time on golf courses or tennis courts. No, we just wanted to make the best album yet, the magnum opus of the new KROKUS era" says the hit producer. Guitarist Mark Kohler has this to add: "This is not just another KROKUS" album. I think we have definitely passed another rock milestone with this record".

To reach this goal, no expense was spared. The band booked into the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London. KROKUS went back to their roots, back to where it all began with the Stones, the Beatles, the Free, the Who and the Bluesbreakers. Back to where the band headlined concerts in the Hammersmith Odeon, celebrating their first international success. "The atmosphere there is very special and we wanted to make the most of that", says vocalist Marc Storace. Guitarist Fernando Von Arb is quick to add: "With DIRTY DYNAMITE we have recorded the urgently needed dirty kind of rock that no one plays in our country".

And as we speak, history is in the making...... (to be continued)

Subscribe to the "Globe Club" and find out when we will be rocking on a stage nearby your town.

The stage is set! As Marc’s T-shirt during a radio live performance at a classic rock station in Denver/Colorado rightfully read: “THE PAST IS BACK TO KICK YOUR ASS”

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