Years: 1969 - 1982; 2000 - present
Styles: Blues Rock, Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Krautrock, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Jim McGillivray - Drums, Vocals (in band: 1969 - 1972; 1976 - 1977; 2000 - 2001)
Bernd Kolbe - Acoustic bass guitar, Bass Guitar, Mellotron, Vocals (in band: 1969 - 1977; 1981 - 1982; 2000 - present)
Cliff Jackson - 12 string guitar, Acoustic guitar , Guitar, Lead guitar, Mandolin, Vocals (in band: 1969 - 1982; 2000 - present)
Klaus Walz - Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1971 - 1977; 1981 - 1982)
Achim Wielert - Backing vocals, Drums, Percussion, Vocals (in band: 1972 - 1975; ; 2000 - present)
Michael Karch - Keyboards, Vocals (in band: 1977 - 1980)
Fritz Randow - Drums (in band: 1977 - 1981)
Harvey Janssen - Bass Guitar (in band: 1977 - 1981)
Heinz Glass - Acoustic guitar , Classical guitar or Spanish guitar, Guitar, Resonator Guitar [Dobro], Vocals (in band: 1977 - 1981; 2000 - present)
Norbert Lehmann - Drums, Vocals (in band: 1981 - 1982)
Epitaph were founded in Dortmund in 1969, consisting of Cliff Jackson (vocals, guitar), Bernd Kolbe (bass, mellotron, vocals) and Jim McGillivray (drums). The first sessions for their debut album, released 1971 on Polydor, were recorded in an Essex studio in England. For unknown reasons, it was however finished in Windrose Studios, Hamburg, where a fourth member was added to the group: Klaus Walz (guitar, vocals).
The five resulting tracks sounded similar to the earliest incarnation of Uriah Heep. Epitaph's Cliff Jackson didn't attempt to copy Byron's operatic vocal style, though. Their repertoire at that time consisted of both fast rock'n'roll numbers and slow ballads with mellotron textures, usually in the 'heavy progressive standard song length' - from 5 to 7 minutes.
In 1972, Epitaph recorded their second album, "Stop, Look And Listen" in Audio Tonstudio, Berlin. This album also contained five tracks, stylistically similar to their first offering. Both albums are recommended for fans of the heavy progressive genre. In early 1973, Epitaph released two non-LP singles on the Polydor subsidiary Zebra: "Autumn '71" coupled with "Are You Ready" and "We Love You Alice" coupled with "Paradise For Sale".
After this promising start, it seems as if the band was promised a bright future by the newly founded American record company Billingsgate, that they eventually signed to. The band invested much time and money into their third album, "Outside The Law" (1974), and aimed at an international break-through. On this album, McGillivray was replaced with Achim Wielert who later went on to marry a French lass and become Achim Poret (drums, percussion). The music sounded more polished this time, as the band abandoned progressive elements for a more straight forward heavy rock style. Sadly all their dreams of success were brutally shattered, as Billingsgate soon went bankrupt and all their money was lost. Epitaph had laid out on an extensive (and expensive) USA promotional tour in October 1974 - on their return they had to sell their gear to survive! Their new album was part of the bankrupt estate of Billingsgate, and Epitaph were forced to disband in 1975. The band secretly reformed later the same year, but didn't record any further albums until 1979.
Epitaph went through major changes during 1977, and only Cliff Jackson remained from the original group. His new crew consisted of Heinz Glass (guitar), Harvey Janssen (bass), Michael Karch (keyboards) and Fritz Randow (drums). They backed Omega on a Europe tour in the Autumn of 1977. The band finally signed a new recording deal with Brain, resulting in the mediocre "Return To Reality" (1979). The band now performed a melodic boogie hard rock - of no particular distinction or interest. "See You In Alaska" (1980) was a similar effort. Karch quit after this, leaving the four other to record a live album. In 1981 the new Epitaph disbanded. Surprisingly enough, the original Epitaph (Jackson, Walz, Kolbe, and ex- Lehmann) soon attempted a short re-union. "Danger Man" (1982) was perhaps better than the Brain albums, but not able to recapture the spirit of the past times.
In 1982 Epitaph appeared at the Pfingst Festival in Wurzburg and Munich, on the bill that featured ZZ Top, Saxon, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Extrabreit, Saga and Spliff. In 1982 they disbanded, but briefly returned in 1986 to support Grobschnitt at their 15th anniversary concert at the Stadthalle Hagen. This resulted in the birth of the band Kingdom (led by Kolbe and Jackson) which then changed its name to Domain, and released three studio albums. Randow joined Victory, then Sinner and later Saxon.
In 1999 guitarist Heinz Glass invited members of Epitaph to take part in a concert in Kaiserslautern venue Kammgarn, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his professional career. This led (apparently at the instigation of Rudolf Schenker) to Epitaph's reunion concert in January 2000 at the Lindenbrauerei in Unna. Featuring Cliff Jackson, Heinz Glass, Bernd Kolbe and Achim Wielert in the line-up, it was documented on DVD as "Live at the Brewery" and later released on CD as "Resurrection", by Hurricane Records. In 2007 the band (Jackson, Kolbe, Heinz Glass and Achim Poret) released their seventh studio album "Remember the Daze" to be followed by "Dancing with Ghost" (2009), "The Acoustic Sessions" (2014) on in-akustik label, and "Fire From The Soul" (2016).
© Boar 2011 - 2017