Velociraptor Rex

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Velociraptor Rex
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1975 publicity photo of Velociraptor Rex, L-R: Steven Lindelof; Franco Wagner; Ian McAndrews; Gene David; JR Petroli;
Background information
Also known as The Terriers (1971 - 1972)
Origin Hannibal, Fantana, Nouvel Ecosse
Genres Hard rock, heavy metal, progressive rock, psychedelic rock
Years active 1971–present
(The Terriers to Velociraptor Rex)
Labels Blue Osyter Records
Website VRex.co.ast
Members
Steven Lindelof
Franco Wagner
Ian McAndrews
Gene David
JR Petroli

Velociraptor Rex (often abbreviated to VRex) is an Ecossian Rock Band from Hannibal, Fantana, Nouvel Ecosse, best known for such hard rock and heavy metal songs as "Respectable Psychopath", "Nine Rivers" and "I'm Steve". Since their release of their first album "Employee of the Month" in 1973 the band has sold over 24 million albums worldwide, including 14 million in Nouvel Ecosse alone. Nowadays, the Band's singles continue to be played on radios, film and television around their home country, and their albums continue to record big sales.

Amazingly, Velociraptor Rex retains its original line-up. This is Steven Lindelof (Backing Vocals & Lead Bass Guitar), Franco Wagner (Backing Vocals & Lead Guitar), Ian McAndrews (Lead Vocal & Guitar), Gene David (Guitar & Percussion) and JR Petroli (Drums & Percussion).

History

Formation as The Terriers (1971 - 1972)

In 1971, three school friends, a cousin and a neighbour decided to form a band during the Summer months. Ian McAndrews, Franco Wagner and Gene David were all pupils at Lakkvarv High School, and about to enter their final year of schooling, Wagner's cousin, Steven Lindelof, was vacationing at Wagner's home and Petroli, the next-door neighbour of David was recruited because the band was in desperate need of a drummer. Initially, the band were called The Terriers, and sang pop songs, a popular hit amongst the girls at their school and in the local area. Although they were referred to as "excellent" by a music critic for the local newspaper, they were neither original nor special, and failed to attract any real coverage or following outside of those they knew. The band struggled to attract new fans, and once school returned the band dejectedly disbanded, with Lindelof returning to his home in Des Moines.

It was the following summer, when the band decided to reform, that they really hit it off. In the past year, Wagner had become a massive fan of Black Sabbath, and inspired had decided to attempt to convert the band to a heavy metal sound. No longer content with the wishy-washy, easy-going pop that had given them some success the year before, Wagner penned the song "Locked in Translation" which would later appear in their first album. With this song in their belts, along with a few others that would later fail to make the cut, they began searching and applying for gigs around the City of Hannibal. They would perform their set first at the local pub where they had performed the year before, and after their old fans left in droves the band was left with no audience. The critic that had referred them before as "excellent" would this time refer to them as "dire, without either skill or rhythm".

Undeterred, yet knowing the effects of a bad review, the band decided to change their name. After much discussion, Velociraptor Rex was born, and the band would earn a gig at "The Albion & The Wanderer". By coincidence, local indie music producer Rodriguez Santini was present at the gig, and after hearing the band live he became hooked. The Ecossian music scene was crying out for a heavy metal band, and Santini knew he had found it. As he would tell Ecossian music magazine EMN in 1994 "They were new, they were original, there was nothing like them in the whole of Nouvel Ecosse. They were the question and answer." He contacted Ian McAndrews after the gig, and history was born. Santini's label, Blue Oyster Records, offered the band a one album deal.

Employee of the Month (1973 - 1976)

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"Employee of the Month" Original Album Cover.

Employee of the Month was released in 1973 to much acclaim from both the music industry and critics alike. Combining blistering guitar solos with inspired lyrics, unique percussion riffs and drum fills that had never been glimpsed before, the album was immensely popular, reaching Number Three in the music charts for Nouvel Ecosse, an impressive feat. The surprise hit from the single was "Respectable Psychopath", which would become an anthem of the seventies for many, and which would eventually reach number two in the charts, although when re-released in 2008 it would become the band's first and only number one.

Following the release of Employee of the Month, the band would also begin its first tour of the country, visiting among other places Edinburgh, Endeavour and Martell. The Tour was a commercial success, with the band selling out venues, including the National Football Stadium in Edinburgh. Velociraptor Rex were now one of the biggest bands in Nouvel Ecosse, with a fan base of thousands. And the stress wasn't showing on the band. Following the success of their first album, Blue Oyster Records offered them a further three album deal.

Blood Trail (1977 - 1979)

The follow up album to Employee of the Month, Blood Trail, was a commercial hit, notching up sales not only in Nouvel Ecosse but in other countries as well, most notably Neu Engollon, where the song Burgunden B*astard was a hit. "Blood Trail", "Nine Rivers" and "Eli Acerdonno" were also big sellers, with "Nine Rivers" reaching Number Three in the NE Singles Charts. The follow-up tour to Blood Trail, the "Bloody Astyrian Tour", saw the band leave Nouvel Ecosse and tour the region of Astyria, where they were warmly received by foreign audiences.

After returning from their tour, the band decided to take a year long break from the music industry, pursuing brief interests elsewhere. It is widely speculated that there had been a bust-up between JR Petroli and Franco Wagner on the return leg to Nouvel Ecosse, though both involved as well as the other members in the band have long rubbished this. In his autobiography, "Marathon Runner", JR Petroli admitted that of all the members of the band, he and Wagner got on the least, but that this never came to head. "Sure, we weren't the best of friends, and I never approved of his attitude to women, but I never physically attacked him. We had one or two disputes, but nothing that threatened the band's existence."'

Marathon Runner (1980 - 1986)

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"Marathon Runner" Original Album Cover.

The Band returned to record Marathon Runner in the winter of 1979, and although sales on release were less than expected many critics hold this as the pinnacle of their work. EMN described it as "A Massive Get Away to the the Establishment, a record which captivated the mood of the public", and ranked it as Number 15 in their 100 Best Ecossian Records of the 20th Century. The song "This is Ecosse" was controversially banned from the radio for being described as "immoral" by a Government minister. It called upon revolutionaries to execute the upper class, although the band later conceded that it was blown way out of proportion. "We were just spraffing lyrics in the studio. We never thought that the Government would get involved." was how Lindelof described it in an interview after the song was banned.

Velociraptor Rex then ran their third Nouvel Ecosse Tour, the "Revolutionary Tour", where they combined Laser Lights with their music and hired modern artists to work on a set for their gig. Featuring guillotines and hanged mannequins, the show was widely condemned by the mainstream media, but fans of the band reacted positively.

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Velociraptor Rex Live at "Kronk" in Endeavour

In 1984, the band released "Locked In Translation: The Best of Velociraptor Rex Live", which would letter be re-released with additional material in 2006.

Extinction (1986 - 1990)

Extinction, and the resulting tour, were seen as major hits, although the band was beginning to lose some of the appeal and ideologies which had enthused their previous albums. "Beard on a Communist" would later be used by the Nouvel Ecosse Communist Party, of whom Gene David would become a prolific member after the group disbanded. The tour, which was limited to that of only a few low profile venues around Nouvel Ecosse and likewise in fellow Astyrian nations, was seen as a return to their roots, and music critics were sceptical if this would be a success. Although many were happy with the tour, many were left disappointed at missing out on limited tickets, and the band were criticised after some tickets were touted at up to NSD 800$ a pop. "There was nothing we could really do to stop the touting of the tickets. We tried to warn people it wasn't worth it but they didn't listen" claimed McAndrews before the release of T-Rex Can't Clap.

T-Rex Can't Clap & Disband (1991 - 1993)

By 1991, it was generally acknowledged that the band had lost a lot of the punch and flavour that had made them so popular in the seventies and eighties. Their last album, "T-Rex Can't Clap", was seen as a last ditch grab at a return to those days, but many critics gave it mediocre reviews. The singles "I'm Steve" and "A Damned Loch" sold well, but many of the others failed to catch on, and in 1992, the band announced that their "A Homage To Dave" Tour would be their last. Their farewell tour echoed that of their first, with all the venues revisited. Their last gig before splitting was to a packed Johannsen Arena in Hannibal, their home city, a fitting tribute to the group.

The Band's members went on into different areas. Gene David pursued a career as a politician, joining the Communist Party in 1996 and successfully running for election as an MG for Fantana in 1998. He would be re-elected a further three times, and was seen as a vital force in many key acts, most notably in the 2004 Welfare Reforms, where he successfully lead an attack on the proposed cuts. Steven Lindelof pursued a career in writing, his autobiography and two crime novels becoming bestsellers. He also wrote the premise for the TV Show "Digital Blades", which was a hit in the early noughties. Franco Wagner pursued a career as a solo musician, releasing the critically acclaimed Albums "Demonised", "Traitor to the Cause" and "Butter". Ian McAndrews simply "retired" moving to the north where he spent much of his time fishing and rearing animals on his farm. Finally, JR Petroli abandoned the rockstar lifestyle in place of the Hochlands, where he began to shepherd goats and sheep for a living.

Comeback (2013 - Present)

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The Group pose in the usual order before their 2014 comeback tour.

During the early noughties, Blue Oyster Records re-released many of the Bands original records, as well as "This is Ecosse: The Best of Velociraptor Rex" and "Hannibal: The Studio Years". These proved more popular than expected, with a new generation of teenagers exposed to the music of their rebellious parents. Velociraptor Rex underwent a revival, with new fans calling for their reunion. In the Autumn of 2013, Blue Oyster Records finally persuaded all of the original members of the group to attend a meeting in Hannibal. Here, it was decided that the Band would reunite for one worldwide tour and two new albums, before once again disbanding.

The hotly anticipated Comeback Tour was announced on the 17th of November 2013, and dates were soon announced not only in Nouvel Ecosse but also fellow Astyrian nations such as Neu Engollon, Trellin and the Blackhelm Confederacy, as well as international venues such as Anollasia. In addition, the band announced the release of "A Panther Mauled My Orphan", which was released at the beginning of their tour in 2014. One Critic described it as "An immense return to form", whilst another added that "The Velociraptor Rex that we remember and love has returned".

It is thought that the band name was inspired by the writings of Hannibal poet Tam Shand, a crazed man of thirty at the time who could often be found in the local pub. One poem of his, "Dinosaur", features the line "A Velociraptor and a Rex; More blood is expected Next." It would be more than a coincidence for the two to not be related, although Tam Shand has never been formally credited. The Band's signature masthead was created by Hannibal artist Guy Leithten, a widely acclaimed graphics designer.

Legacy and influence

Velociraptor Rex were the pioneers of their style of music in Nouvel Ecosse, and lead a revolution both culturally and in the music industry. The music scene diversified into a whole load of different branches, with VRex and Blue Oyster Records at the very heart of it. Their influence is wide-spread, with many modern-day artists citing the band as major influences.

Dave McDonald

The Dave McDonald series of songs, featuring on four of the band's studio albums, have caused many questions to be asked as to who exactly is Dave McDonald. The name has become synonymous with the Nouvel Ecosse music industry, featuring in songs by many other artists, all inspired by Velociraptor Rex, including those of Operation Kino, of whom Dave McDonald makes an appearance in every album as of today. The Velociraptor Rex story tells us of a man who is constantly at odds with himself, and it is believed that he commits suicide during the final appearance, "Dave McDonald Versus the Universe". However, Franco Wagner told ENM magazine that "Dave McDonald versus Existence" is to feature on their next album.

Discography

Velociraptor Rex has released six studio albums, alongside two Greatest Hits compilations, three live studio albums and a best of recordings album.

Studio Albums

  • Employee Of The Month (1973)
  • Blood Trail (1977)
  • Marathon Runner (1980)
  • Extinction (1986)
  • T-Rex Can't Clap (1991)
  • A Panther Mauled My Orphan (2014)

Compilations

  • Locked In Translation: The Best of Velociraptor Rex Live (1984)
  • Velociraptor Rex: Live At Kronk (1987)
  • From Abroad: Velociraptor Rex Live in Astyria (1996)
  • This is Ecosse: The Best of Velociraptor Rex (2003)
  • "Hannibal: The Studio Years" (2006)
  • Velociraptor Rex: Greatest Hits (2013)