By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Bay Area thrash metal community has a long history of banding together to help their own in times of need. Back in 2001, the historic Thrash of the Titans benefit for Testament singer Chuck Billy and Death founder Chuck Schuldiner as both men were undergoing cancer treatment convened a who’s who of thrash metal greats from the Bay Area and elsewhere for a full day of music. The concert served as a catalyst for the reunion of then-defunct thrash greats including Exodus, Death Angel, Heathen, and Vio-Lence among others.
Back in 2014, Machine Head guitarist Robb Flynn (who had also been a member of second-wave thrash bands Forbidden and Vio-Lence) spearheaded a benefit for friend and longtime local scene figure Nikki Davis, putting together a night of Black Sabbath songs that featured members of the above mentioned bands as well as players from Metallica and Slayer.
Saturday night, an all-star group of musicians from a host of Bay Area thrash and punk bands will join forces for Killian On Command: An Evening of Vio-Lence, a benefit to raise funds for founding Vio-Lence member and singer Sean Killian. The band’s frontman has been diagnosed with fourth-stage cirrhosis of the liver and is in need of an organ transplant.
From the mid-1980s through to their dissolution in 1993, Vio-Lence was one of the Bay Area’s new standard bearers for thrash metal. Over the course of two albums and an EP issued on MCA metal subsidiary Mechanix and Megaforce Records, the group rose to international fame until infighting led to the departure of Flynn in 1992 and a split the following year. Vio-Lence would return to activity after Thrash of the Titans for two years, reissuing two of it’s albums and releasing a limited edition 7-inch single featuring early demos.
Killian’s health issues led to a charity golf tournament last fall that raised some money towards his treatment (a GoFundMe page has also collected just under its $20,000 goal), but last November the plan for a one-time benefit concert with members from Vio-Lence, Testament, Exodus, Forbidden, Death Angel, Annihilation, Sacrilege BC as well as punk groups Fang, Attitude Adjustment, D.R.I. and more playing the music of Vio-Lence.
Ticket sales in response to the announcement were so great that the event had to be moved from the Oakland Metro Operahouse to the Midway in San Francisco to accommodate the larger crowd. In addition to the main event, reunited genre-busting Bay Area thrash-metal band Mordred (one of the first heavy groups to incorporate a DJ in their line-up) and Dress the Dead, the new band of Forbidden guitarist and founder Craig Locicero that just announced the addition of Witch Mountain singer Kayla Dixon.
The event will be MC’d by Los Angeles radio station KNAC’s DJ Will with Hirax singer Katon De Pena spinning thrash classics throughout the evening. Those who are unable to attend the once in a lifetime concert will be able to watch a livestream on YouTube starting at 8:30 p.m. PST. For more information and tickets, visit the Midway website.
Killian On Command: An Evening of Vio-Lence
Saturday, January 20, 7 p.m. $30