Last updated: 03/10/2008 12:00:00 PM
American Impellitteri is basically a musical outlet for skilled guitarist Chris Impellitteri with the assistance of a fairly fluctuating line-up, and the band has had its share of ups and down but has also earned itself a well-deserved name on the neo-classical metal scene.
In 1987, the three musicians recorded the Mike Davis-produced mcd Impellitteri, with Chris Impellitteri taking care of the bass as well. The music consisted of formularized neo-classical heavy metal and suffered from a mediocre production. This effort gained only very little success but the band nevertheless carried on with bassist Ted Days in order to perform at concerts. However within short notice, this line-up fell apart.
In 1988, Chris Impellitteri founded a second version of Impellitteri with the English singer Graham Bonnet, bassist Chuck Wright, keyboarder Phil Wolfe, and drummer Pat Torpey. Later that year, the band achieved a major breakthrough in Japan with the Cliff Cultreri-produced Stand in Line, which featured a guest appearance from bassist Randy Rand. This release focused on the English hard-rock of the 1970s. Wright and Torpey immediately left Impellitteri, for what reason the band continued with bassist Dave Spitz and drummer Stet Howland. In 1990, Bonnet and Wolfe defected, and Impellitteri thus employed singer Mark Weitz and the French keyboarder Claude Schnell. The band cut some tracks collectively known as Holy Grail, but these efforts were shelved, and Impellitteri subsequently disbanded.
In 1992, Rob Rock, Chris Impellitteri and Chuck Wright ressurected Impellitteri with drummer Ken Mary, whereupon the musicians recorded Grin and Bear It, which featured a guest appearance from the backing vocalists Michael Shotton and Mike Smith. This record flopped musically since the band experimented with too many loose ends and ideas from contemporary heavy-rock. Wright and Mary immediately left Impellitteri, which continued with bassist James Amelio Pulli and drummer Mark Bistany. In 1994, the band recorded the Mike Tacci-produced mcd Victim of the System, which featured a guest appearance from keyboarder Claude Schnell, drummer Ken Mary, and the backing vocalist Ken Tamplin. The music had now found its own identity and sounded like a better version of the debut mcd, and this effort sold quite well in the Southeast Asia and Japan. In 1995, Bistany had to give way to the returning Ken Mary, after which Impellitteri recorded Answer to the Master, which featured a guest appearance from bassist Chuck Wright, keyboarder Mike Smith, and the backing vocalist James Christian. The album became an immediate success in Japan. Impellitteri was then expanded with keyboarder Edward Harris Roth (ex Nydia Caro/Planet 10/Cryer/Royal Court of China/Rave Up/Maltese/Brian Tarquinn) and drummer Glen Sobel. Bistany later joined Cellophane. In 1996, Mary returned as the studio drummer on Screaming Symphony, while Glen Sobel functioned as a live drummer. In 1997, Impellitteri recorded Eye of the Hurricane with help from Ken Mary instead of Sobel even though Sobel was once again a part of the following tour. The record was the strongest release to date and finally gave the band attention on the European continent. In 1999, Glen Sobel became a permanent member of Impellitteri, while Mary formed Shock Rock Remedy. In 2000, Impellitteri recorded Crunch, which experimented with progressive, groovy guitar sounds, samples, and drum loops, while the tempo in general was increased in velocity. Rock however left Impellitteri long time before the release of the record, while Graham Bonnet returned as a singer, and for the same reason the following tour was cancelled. Moreover, the album failed to sell. In 2001/2002, the band recorded System X that showed a characteristic return to the previous style, though with an evident absence of neo-classical elements. The album was met with positive response from the press and sold much better than its predecessor. However, Bonnet defected as soon as the album was finished. In 2003, the band employed vocalist Curtis Skelton (ex Fear No Evil).
Curtis Skelton – vocals
Chris Impellitteri – guitars
James Amelio Pulli – bass
Edward Harris Roth – keyboards
Glen Sobel – drums
Impellitteri (mcd) (Polytour) (1987)
Stand in Line (Relativity) (1988)
Grin and Bear It (JVC Victor) (1992)
Victim of the System (mcd) (JVC Victor) (1994)
Answer to the Master (JVC Victor) (1995)
Screaming Symphony (JVC Victor) (1996)
Fuel for the Fire (mcd) (JVC Victor) (1997) Eye of the Hurricane (JVC Victor) (1997)
Crunch (JVC Victor) (2000)