The Quakes are a psychobilly band from Buffalo, NY. They were formed in 1986. When the band began in the late 1980s, there was no scene to speak of in the United States. The Quakes moved to London to try to find an audience.
The Quakes were started by Paul Roman (guitar, vocals), Rob Peltier (upright slap bass), and Dave "The Ace" Hoy (drums) in the fall of 1986. After visiting London twice in failed attempts to start a band, Roman began a band with Hoy called the Quiffs. Peltier later saw the band playing at a party, and once he joined, the band's name was changed to the Quakes. At first, they did not plan on keeping Dave Hoy in the band due to his young age (Hoy was 15, while Roman and Peltier were 19 and 17), but eventually allowed him to stay.
The band originally played modern rockabilly, but found it tough to book shows with Buffalo's teenage music scene being dominated by punk rock. Out of sheer frustration the band began playing faster and dressing in ripped jeans and combat boots instead of their usual peg pants. While they did gain a following, it was small compared to the attention European psychobilly bands were getting. The band sent demos to Nervous Records, an influential psychobilly label, but were rejected. In the fall of 1987, the Quakes decided to move to London in order to become part of the European scene.
Once in London, they again tried their luck with Nervous Records. They were told another band, the Rattlers, had cancelled out of a psychobilly fest in Weize, Belgium, and they could have the slot. The band was able to play for an audience of 4000 for their very first European gig. Upon returning to England, the band was stopped at the border and deported because they did not have work permits. The Quakes returned to gigging in the United States, but were again discouraged by a lack of interest. However, they were soon able to return to Europe when they were offered a slot as an opening band for the Coffin Nails on a tour of Belgium and Germany. Before the tour, Rob Peltier quit the band, and was replaced with Chris VanCleve, who had played drums in the Quiffs. VanCleve was put on drums, and Dave Hoy was switched to bass.
After the tour, the band was finally signed by Nervous Records to record the first album. Peltier was convinced by the record deal to rejoin. Peltier moved to London, and the band was living in a squat. The Quakes began playing around London, and made their debut at legendary psychobilly club, the Klubfoot, on June 5, 1988. The last half of 1988 saw the release of their self-titled debut, The Quakes, still their most successful album to date. For the recording Roy Williams of Nervous Records teamed the band with producer Paul "Doc" Stewart who chose to record and mix the tracks at Opaz Studio in Hackney, in East London. Stewart also co-engineered the album and shot the cover pictures using the nom de plume of Stewart Barker for the photo credit. The album and the tracks from it have been released in multiple territories and have received much critical acclaim. Being otherwise jobless, and still living in a squat, Peltier and Hoy ended up quitting and returning to Buffalo after a planned tour of Europe went bust. Roman stayed in London and began a new band, Paul Roman and the Prowlers, with the Rattlers' bassist Nick Peck. Shortly after returning to Buffalo, Dave Hoy was struck by a car while crossing the highway and killed.
The Prowlers played a few shows in London and a small psychobilly festival in Belgium. Upon returning to London, Paul Roman was deported to the US for the second time. As soon as Paul Roman returned to Buffalo, the Quakes were put back together for a few gigs just for fun with Rob Peltier on upright bass, Chris VanCleve on rhythm guitar, and one of Peltier's friends on drums. Paul Roman returned to England, this time with a work permit, but found that his plans with a record label had fallen through to record a solo record.By chance Paul met Ant Thomas, a member of English psychobilly band Demented Are Go, in a laundromat and learned they lived in the same neighbourhood. Demented Are Go's guitarist, Lex, had just quit the band, and Paul Roman joined to fill in on Demented Are Go's already booked tour of England.
In the fall of 1989, Paul Roman moved back to Buffalo, deciding that he preferred to write his own songs than play for another band. He rented an apartment with Peltier, and they decided to reform the Quakes again. At first, Chris VanCleve was invited back on drums, but he was soon replaced with Brian Doran, one of Peltier's friends from high school. The Quakes celebrated their newest reformation by playing the first and second Big Rumble, a renowned England-based psychobilly festival, and doing a few small tours of Europe.
On January 1, 1992, the Quakes released their second record, Voice of America engineered by Robbie Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls. In the spring of 1991, the Quakes planned to appear at a large festival in Germany and go on tour, but Brian Doran was unable to go, resulting in Chris VanCleve returning to the band. In the next few months, the Quakes went on tour in Japan based on their strong record sales for an independent band. First, the Quakes recorded a live album from Tokyo with Planet Records, then were signed by the Japanese division of Sony Records with plans for a new album and a large Japanese tour.
New Generation, the band's next album, was recorded in 1992 and released in the spring of 1993.The album featured some production by Tim Polecat. It was followed with a 13 stop tour of Japan and strong Japanese record sales. However, New Generation was closer to a pop-rockabilly sound than a psychobilly sound, and was poorly received by the band's European fans. Chris VanCleve quit the band again after the Japanese tour.
The band released their fourth album, Quiff Rock, in 1996. This album marked a return to a psychobilly sound and minimalistic production. They played a few festivals, but still could not find a permanent drummer. Paul Roman moved to Phoenix, AZ and Rob Peltier joined a new band, the Irving Klaws. In 1998, the Quakes decided to reform, but only play one or two festivals a year rather than touring and recording extensively. This lineup worked out for a while, until Chris VanCleve quit the band yet again, ten days before a festival in Finland. Richie from The Nitros filled in.
In the summer of 2000, Rob Peltier quit. Mark Burke, from the Phantom Rockers, was recruited to do the American Rumble festival in New Jersey on Halloween. In July 2001, the Quakes released a new full-length, Last of the Human Beings. This marked their first release on their own record label, Orrexx Records. They spent 2002 and 2003 doing a series of shows and festivals around the US, Germany, Spain, and Finland. In December 2003.
In February 2004, Paul Roman moved to Helsinki, Finland. He began doing solo shows as The Paul Roman 3. This band mostly plays Quakes songs. They did a 25 show European tour in the summer of 2004. In October 2004, the Quakes headlined the Wreckers' Ball 2 in Pomona California. Roman returned to Finland in November, and put together the new Paul Roman 3, which featured Aki Savolainen on bass and Tommi Hanninen on drums. The band had a successful tour of the Ukraine in January 2005.
In April 2005, the Quakes toured France, Belgium, and Germany. In June 2005,The Quakes toured the southwest United States and Japan in September 2005. In December 2005, The Quakes released the album "Psyops" on Orrexx records. The album combined psychobilly with new wave and was recorded in Finland, Las Vegas and Phoenix. In 2006, the Quakes celebrated their 20 year anniversary. They did a 34 show tour of the USA and then 23 more shows all across Europe and Russia. In 2007, Orrexx records re-released the album Quiff Rock after obtaining the rights back from Tombstone records. The re-release added eight extra songs, seven of which had been unreleased. The Quakes added Kenny Hill on slap bass. The band did a short tour of the southwest in September and then a 28 show tour all over Europe.
In 2008, The Quakes added drummer Juan Carlos who also plays in The Limit Club. The band headlined the Psychomania festival in Potsdam Germany on May 10. The Quakes have an new album out now titled "Negative Charge" and have completed two U.S. tours and one European tour in support of the album. In 2009, The Quakes embarked on a 20 show west coast tour starting with a sold out show in Hollywood at The Fonda theater. The "Negative Charge" East coast tour was to follow. In 2010, starting in the late mid October, the 21 gig "Negative Charge" European tour began, ending on the beginning of November.
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