TRAUMA was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1980 as one of the first of the New Wave Of Bay Area metal bands. The group's original lineup included Michael Overton on guitar, George Lady on guitar, Dennis Shafer on drums, Cliff Burton (METALLICA) on bass, and Donny Hillier on vocals.
TRAUMA quickly became well known throughout the California Bay Area and beyond, playing legendary venues like The Stone, Bill Graham's Wolfgang's, Whisky A Go Go, and The Troubadour. The first track TRAUMA ever recorded, "Such a Shame", was included on Metal Blade Records' "Metal Massacre II" compilation in 1982.
After Burton's departure to join METALLICA, the band changed personnel and musicians Kris Gustofson (drums), Ross Alexander Merson (guitar) and Lucas Advincula (bass) joined Michael Overton and Donny Hillier in their new lineup. In 1984, TRAUMA recorded the "Scratch And Scream" album for Shrapnel Records. The LP received many excellent reviews from primarily American and European heavy metal magazines such as Kerrang!, Circus and Metal Forces, to name a few.
The "Scratch And Scream" album, unavailable before on a legitimate CD issue, has long been considered a hard-to-obtain, classic heavy metal record.
Due on October 22, the "Scratch And Scream" reissue was remastered from the original master tapes and includes bonus tracks that feature the gone-but-never-forgotten bassist.
Earlier this year, the album received a retro recommendation by About.com/Metal.
After a lengthy hiatus, TRAUMA recently reformed. Donny Hillier, Kris Gustofson and Lucas Advincula have been joined by guitarist Kurt Fry, a veteran songwriter and recording/touring artist.
TRAUMA has played recent shows in San Francisco and Oakland and is planning to tour.
The band is currently in the studio, putting the finishing touches on its new album. The sound is unmistakably hard and heavy.
"Scratch And Scream" reissue track listing:
01. The Day All Hell Broke Loose
02. Bringin' The House Down
03. I Kill For Less
04. Scratch And Scream
05. The Warlock
06. Lay Low
07. In The End
08. We Are Watching You
09. The Flight Of The Raven
10. Such A Shame
11. We're Going Off
12. Woman Be Gone
A special event for Burton was held on February 10 — on what would have been Cliff's 51st birthday — at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco, California. For the first time in decades, TRAUMA actually performed never-heard-before songs written by Cliff himself. Also appearing on the bill were HELLFIRE and DAMAGE INC.
Video footage of TRAUMA's concert can be seen below (courtesy of Capital Chaos TV). Also available is an interview with the band.
TRAUMA's music was comparable to that of IRON MAIDEN and MONTROSE with faster tempos, which can be heard in the tracks "The Day All Hell Broke Loose" and "Lay Low" from their debut album.
TRAUMA drummer Kris Gustofson went on to play in numerous other bands, most notably ST. ELMO'S FIRE.
TRAUMA guitarist Michael Overton was interviewed for the 2009 book "To Live Is To Die: The Life And Death Of Metallica's Cliff Burton", written by U.K.-based author Joel McIver and published by Jawbone Press.
Burton, best known as a heavy metal bass player who made use of distortion and special effects, was killed in an accident on September 27, 1986 at the age of 24, four years after joining METALLICA. It was Burton's early influence that helped create METALLICA's unique musical style for which the band has become famous.