After a successful performance at Sweden Rock Festival two weeks ago, '80s U.K. melodic rock/NWOBHM band LIONHEART will release its second album, "Second Nature", in Europe on August 25 via AOR Heaven.
LIONHEART was formed in late 1980 by Dennis Stratton (lead guitar/backing vocals, ex-IRON MAIDEN), Jess Cox (lead vocals, ex-TYGERS OF PAN TANG), Steve Mann (lead guitar/backing vocals, ex-LIAR), Rocky Newton (bass guitar/backing vocals, ex-WILDFIRE) and Frank Noon (drums, ex-DEF LEPPARD). The band began playing gigs, including regular shows at London's Marquee Club, but had problems maintaining a consistent lineup. The core personnel of Dennis, Steve and Rocky remained but various singers passed through the band, including Rueben Archer, John Farlham and Bob Hawthorn. They eventually settled as a four-piece, with Dennis and Rocky sharing lead-vocal duties. The drummer's stool was variously occupied by Les Binks (ex-JUDAS PRIEST), Nicko McBrain (ex-TRUST and subsequently IRON MAIDEN) and Clive Edwards (ex-WILD HORSES).
Between 1981 and 1984, LIONHEART played regular live shows and filled the support slot for tours by both DEF LEPPARD and WHITESNAKE. In between gigs, they spent many hours writing and recording demos of new songs while searching for a record deal. It wasn't until 1984 that CBS in the USA offered them a contract, by which time they had recruited Chad Brown on lead vocals. They flew over to Los Angeles in March 1984 to record their debut album, "Hot Tonight", with Kevin Beamish in the production chair and session man Bob Jenkins, who had previously worked with Leo Sayer and Kiki Dee, on drums. The album was recorded at the legendary Sound City Studios in Van Nuys and mixed at Kendun Recorders.
Upon their return to the England, LIONHEART recorded a high-budget video for the single "Die For Love". The late comic genius Rik Mayall played the part of the mad professor, which in later years achieved cult status on YouTube due in part to the wonderfully wooden acting of the band! Unfortunately, planned U.K. tours as support to KANSAS and FOREIGNER were canceled at the last moment. Promotion of the album suffered and LIONHEART found themselves in limbo. Chad Brown left the band in 1985 to be replaced by Keith Murrell, with Toby Sadler coming in on keyboards. More demos were recorded with the new lineup, but, unfortunately, the momentum had been lost and the band eventually broke up. Rocky went on to record backing vocals on two DEF LEPPARD albums and join Michael Schenker with Steve, while Dennis spent 15 years with PRAYING MANTIS.
In 2016, Dave Herron, promoter of the Rockingham festival in Nottingham, asked LIONHEART to reunite for one performance and all original members, apart from Chad Brown, did so. The reunion created quite a stir, not least within the band itself, and it was decided to carry on with the subsequent recording of a new album followed by an acclaimed appearance at Sweden Rock.
The new record, "Second Nature", was created between November 2016 and May 2017 and was produced, engineered and mastered by Steve Mann in his own studio in Hannover. A mini tour of Japan with PRAYING MANTIS was scheduled for June/July, with further U.K. shows with AIRRACE in November/December.
Lee Small (lead vocals)
Dennis Stratton (lead guitar / backing vocals)
Steve Mann (lead guitar / backing vocals)
Rocky Newton (bass guitar / backing vocals)
Clive Edwards (drums)