John Connelly (musician)

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John Connelly
Birth nameJohn Connelly
Born(1962-07-28) July 28, 1962 (age 51)
GenresHeavy metal
Thrash metal
OccupationsMusician
Songwriter
InstrumentsLead guitar, Vocals
Years active1980−present
Associated actsAnthrax
Nuclear Assault
Websitewww.nuclearassault.us/
 
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John Connelly
Birth nameJohn Connelly
Born(1962-07-28) July 28, 1962 (age 51)
GenresHeavy metal
Thrash metal
OccupationsMusician
Songwriter
InstrumentsLead guitar, Vocals
Years active1980−present
Associated actsAnthrax
Nuclear Assault
Websitewww.nuclearassault.us/

John Connelly is the front man, guitarist and principal composer of Nuclear Assault, a thrash metal band from New York. His voice is known for being aggressive but with high notes.

Anthrax 1981[edit]

Connelly was a former roadie of the thrash metal band Anthrax. He was a close friend of Anthrax bassist Danny Lilker. He jammed with the band a few times but never actually joined as he was not a qualified enough singer at the time. He formed the band Nuclear Assault in 1983, and Danny Lilker joined him soon after.[1]

Nuclear Assault 1983-86[edit]

Nuclear Assault were formed originally as a side project of John Connelly and Danny Lilker, after leaving Anthrax.[citation needed] While Nuclear Assault never received the recognition of the big four (Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica), they were one of the first to successfully fuse speed metal with hardcore, long before it was popular to do so. Glen Evans was formerly of TT Quick.

Nuclear Assault were among thrash metal's most socially aware groups, making room for serious subject matter (and occasional goofs) in their careening speed metal riffing. They also remained closer to the world of hardcore than most of their peers, and at their late-'80s peak released some of the most uncompromising thrash metal offerings of the time. After performing on Anthrax' 1984 debut Fistful of Metal, bass player Danny Lilker was fired by Scott Ian Rosenfeld who was one of his best friends. It was a terrible conflict of interest for Scott because he still wanted their friendship to be the same, but Dan Lilker was not pulling his weight in Anthrax anymore.[citation needed] He was late or didn't pay rehearsal rent, was shabbily dressed, played sloppily, and would show up to video shoots wearing a gas station attendants jumpsuit like in the Satan's Wheels video in 1982 for Unique Cable TV with Liz Derringer.[citation needed] Dan took 30 takes to record I'm Eighteen on Bass Guitar (2 days of studio time) on Fistful Of Metal.[citation needed] One of the reasons there was not enough time to properly get a good mix of the album according to Pyramid Studios.[citation needed] Scott and Danny remained friends and formed together the crossover band S.O.D. in 1985. After being fired, Lilker formed Nuclear Assault with vocalist and guitarist John Connelly in 1985. Guitarist Mike Bogush and drummer Scott Duboys only lasted a few months before being replaced by guitarist Anthony Bramante and ex-T.T. Quick powerhouse drummer Glenn Evans. One of the Big Apple's few challengers (along with Anthrax and Overkill) to the Bay Area dominance of all things thrash metal, Nuclear Assault became immediate contenders due to the cumulative sum of its parts — not to mention, their extreme nature and their ability to back it up with solid musicianship. Produced by metal stalwart Alex Perialas, their first album, 1986's Game Over, was regarded as a breath of fresh air with its potent speed metal tinged with hardcore overtones. In the process, fans and critics alike instantly accepted it and the band was quickly off to the races.

Ludichrist 1986[edit]

In 1986, he was a special vocal guest on the first album of the NYHC hardcore band Ludichrist, called Immaculate Deception and again on a track called "Goodbye Freedom, Hello Mom" from their album Here Comes Trouble, after they changed their name to Scatterbrain in 1989.

Nuclear Assault II 1986-1993[edit]

The following year The Plague E.P. was an even more intense aural experience, but also managed to introduce Nuclear Assault's dark sense of humor with an ode to Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil (fresh off his vehicular manslaughter rap) on "Butt Fuck" (later retitled "You Figure It Out"). With constant touring making up for their obvious commercial limitations, the band continued to hone their craft in the studio, beginning with 1988's greatly improved Survive, considered a crossover thrash classic, and culminating in 1989 the Handle With Care. In the late 1980s John received his most media attention as Nuclear Assault became one of the most popular Thrash Metal bands of the 80s. The album "Handle with Care" released by Nuclear Assault in 1989 is a highly regarded Thrash Metal release. The latter proved that the group could refine their political speed metal and songwriting without ditching their punk roots, and was supported by successful Euro tours with thrash titans Exodus, and later U.S. jaunts with Testament and Savatage. 1990s Live at Hammersmith Odeon video celebrated this great phase, and the band came off the road having won a healthy dose of new believers.

Split & John Connelly Theory 1991[edit]

Around 1991, John Connelly saw fit to take a break from Nuclear Assault and release a low profile solo record under the name John Connelly Theory. Although Connelly surrounded himself with three different musicians, the tendency to sound a bit like his main band was unavoidable, particularly since he has one of those singing voices that is quite unmistakable.[citation needed] However, the differences between his solo project and Nuclear Assault was mostly found in the more rock oriented song structures, timid adventurism (the band sounds like they want to really go into left field but never make it past the short stop), and occasional humor.[citation needed] Nuclear Assault would split up in 1993, John released his solo project called John Connelly's Theory.

Nuclear Theory 1996 - 1997[edit]

John found himself in New London, Connecticut at this time after the release and tour supporting Nuclear's album "Something Wicked". He formed a new solo project combining the names of his previous solo project and Nuclear Assault, with the premise being that the band would concentrate on work from both as well as work on new material. Local musicians Pat Vitagliano, lead guitar, Tony O'Brien, bass and Tom Maynard drummer from Senslis Killin' were recruited to perform gigs and support new material. The direction for the new material did not take any particular direction other than heavy guitar oriented music combining elements of punk, thrash, and speed metal with some blues thrown in occasionally. The setlist typically contained the songs "L. H. A", "Aggressive", "7/8 Solution" from "John Connelly Theory" and "Another Violent End", "Behind Glass Walls" and "Hang The Pope" from Nuclear's catalog. In September 1996, Pat left to concentrate on his sound and lighting company. Tom Maynard recruited another local musician, Chris Boix to take over lead guitar duties. Nuclear Theory opened for Brutal Truth in December 1996, with Dan Lilker joining in for "Hang the Pope". About this time the band relocated to Pawcatuck, CT. On May 14, 1997 John reunited with Glenn Evans, Dan Lilker and Anthony Bramante for one Nuclear Assault show at the Colosseum in Manchester, NH. Also in early 1997, Nuclear Theory played at the Living Room in Providence, RI. Both of these shows were made possible with the help of Eric Paone of Candy Striper Death Orgy. This was the last gig for the band as Nuclear Theory. Soon afterward Tom and Chris lost interest in the band due to lack of direction and each decided to devote more time to their new families.

Rite Bastards 2000 - 2002[edit]

He formed a 3 piece line up called Rite Bastards. The line up consisted of John on guitar and lead vocals. Bass player Tony O'Brian sang back up vocals and Tom Maynard played drums. Tom left the band and was replaced by Jim Villano. During this time they recorded a demo CD with songs titled, "Carmen", "Oh Why", "Other Man's Song" and 3 others. They played in Boston at a club with Overkill. John had played a reunion show with Nuclear and when he came back to Rite Bastards he asked the band if we would like to be the new Nuclear Assault. Tony and Jim declined. Shortly after this John reformed Nuclear Assault.

Nuclear Assault III 2002-07[edit]

In early 2002 the band was approached by a mutual friend to reform for a couple of shows. Their first reunion show was the Metal Meltdown in April and there they found out that there was a demand for the band to continue. They played the classic NYC venue CBGB in May along with a show in Massachusetts that was recorded for a live album to be released on Screaming Ferret Wreckords in early 2003. After a triumphant performance at the infamous Wacken Open Air festival in Germany in August, original guitarist Anthony Bramante left the band due to commitments at home and was replaced by Erik Burke. In September 2002 the band returned to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where they had played back in 1989 with the then fledgling Sepultura opening.

Since then the band has released a live album Alive Again in 2003 & a new studio album Third World Genocide in 2005. Third World Genocide was well received because the band lost none of the rawness of their sound from the early records. Lyrical themes included broad criticisms of holy war, and the song "Price of Freedom" is specifically about the response of the United States after 9/11. It is not known if John Connelly will produce another album with Nuclear Assault.

Municipal Waste 2012[edit]

In 2012 Municipal Waste released a track called 'The Fatal Feast'. It features John Connelly on guest vocals. He can be heard singing the chorus.

References[edit]