Cleveland metal legends BREAKER reunited with original vocalist Jim Hamar when they supported ANVIL on November 5 at the West Side Masonic Temple in Cleveland, Ohio. Hamar performed a surprise and unannounced full set with the band for the first time in 10 years.
"There was no official announcement about the reunion," says Bill Peters, the president of BREAKER's record label, Auburn Records. "We wanted to keep the pressure off and the show low key since this was Jim's first time back singing live in a very long time. Jim has also had a lot of personal family issues to deal with concerning his mom's health. It has been a very stressful time for him. Very few people knew he would be performing. In fact, my Team Auburn crew who worked the show did not even know until the band hit the stage. They were just as surprised as the fans. A person from my video crew did not recognize Jim and asked me who the new singer was? He said he really liked him and that he sounded a lot like the original guy!"
BREAKER formed in 1982 and, along with DESTRUCTOR and SHOK PARIS, has been an anchor of the Auburn Records label roster. Hamar appeared on the band's "Blood Money" single (1983) and "Get Tough!" album (1987), both highly regarded and valuable collectables to '80s underground heavy metal fans, as well as several compilation, live and EP releases. The band performed at the 2000 Wacken Open Air festival in Germany with Hamar. Greg Wagner (H.A.T.E.) had been the band's singer since Hamar's departure in 2001.
BREAKER was scheduled to reunite in 2008 for an appearance at the Bang Your Head!!! festival in Balingen, Germany, but Hamar suddenly and unexpectedly developed voice problems during band rehearsals and was forced to cancel. BREAKER ended up performing at the festival with Wagner on vocals.
In a statement shortly following the Cleveland reunion show, Hamar had this to say: "Greetings to everyone that was caught by surprise! Saturday, November 5, 2011 was a huge day for me, as it was the first time I was able to share the stage with my brothers in metal, BREAKER, since my voice problems that led to surgery in April of 2008. It was huge because of the hurdles presented to me both physically and mentally. My procedure did not restore my voice to what it once was, and this led to nearly three years of depression and self-doubt about ever being able to perform with them or anyone, for that matter, at an acceptable level again. I literally disappeared from the scene that entire time, losing contact with many wonderful people I've met along the way.
"There are so many people to thank for their encouragement. The guys in the band, the amazing band, for giving me this opportunity yet again, my family and many friends who kept asking 'When?' along with writers and fans too, but the two that need special mention are Auburn Records' Bill Peters, who is our biggest believer, and always has been! Through thick and thin he has carried the torch and is owed a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. Also, my girlfriend Vicki, who is my world. When I was ready to turn down the opportunity, she sat me down and more or less told me, 'You can do this! It's what you do!' I simply could not let either of them down.
"All in all, the band was great, and my performance wasn't. Far from it, in fact. I flubbed lyrics I had been singing for 25 years due to nerves, but the roar of the music behind me took over and things seemed right. A good starting point I'll call it. None of us know what the future holds for BREAKER, but hell, it's great to be back!"
Adds drummer Mark Klein: "It's great to be reunited with Jim and things within the band feel better than they have for a long, long time. Even with some pretty daunting personal circumstances to deal with, Jim stepped in and took charge on stage like he'd never been gone. It was an amazing return and it energized us all! The feedback after the show has been overwhelmingly positive and I'm looking forward to what the future brings to BREAKER."
BREAKER's setlist for the November 5 concert was as follows:
01. Get Tough
03. Blood Money
04. 10 Seconds In
05. Black Light Ark
06. Luck And Gasoline
07. Still Life
Don Depew - Guitar
Mark Klein - Drums
Jim Hamar - Vocals
Brook Hodges - Bass
Michael Klein - Guitar
Shaun Vanek - Guitar