Credit: Mark Weiss
KIX was founded in 1978 in Hagerstown, Maryland as The Shooze, then changed its name to The Generators before eventually settling on KIX. They were considered one of Maryland's top cover bands prior to their signing with Atlantic Records in 1981. Though often lumped in with bands that many consider to be glam metal or hair metal, the bands popmetal stylings on the first KIX record drew inspiration from bubblegum pop and new wave as well as hard rock.
In 1981, they debuted with a self-titled album “KIX,” featuring "Atomic Bombs," "Heartache," "Contrary Mary","The Itch," "The Kid." "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" instantly became a concert favorite. "KIX Are for Kids" creatively merged the name of the band with two popular cereals of the 1960s and 1970s, KIX (that featured an atomic bomb commercial) and the Trix Rabbit (i.e., "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!"). "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" became the band’s most popular concert song, always
with a unique ad-lib performance by Whiteman. With this album, the tongue-in-cheek rock & roll style of KIX was established.
Their 1983 follow-up, “Cool Kids” showcased a slightly more commercial side of the band featuring the title song and the single "Body Talk.” Somewhat overlooked but a favorite with female fans was the ballad "For Shame." “Cool Kids” later was lampooned in good spirit on the popular MTV show “Beavis and Butthead.”
KIX then partnered up with Ratt and future Warrant producer Beau Hill and, in 1985, released the hard rock power house album “Midnite Dynamite,” featuring a hard rock single by the same name and the funkier rock songs “Cold Shower" and "Sex." The music video for “Cold Shower” quickly gained popularity and was put into regular rotation on MTV. The band headed west to continue to make a name for themselves in such places as the Sunset Strip, where Mötley Crüe and other glam metal bands rose to stardom. KIX was quickly becoming a formidable live band like no other.
KIX went back to the studio to write more songs. In 1988, they released “Blow My Fuse,” and finally achieved fame as it went platinum. The slow ballad "Don't Close Your Eyes" -- containing anti-suicide lyrics -- led the way and other popular cuts followed. The album featured popular singles "Cold Blood" and "Blow My Fuse" with popular MTV videos showing the band in concert at the now legendary Hammerjack’s Concert Hall, and as a result Whiteman and Forsythe were asked to host a memorable edition of the popular MTV show Headbanger’s Ball. In 1989, the band released “KIX, Blow My Fuse, the Videos” with their now popular music videos and behind-the-scenes footage. As KIX finally graduated to arenas, they regularly opened for such popular artists as Aerosmith and KISS and were on successful tours with Whitesnake, Ratt and Tesla.
The album “Hot Wire” finally arrived in 1991 with the single, “Girl Money". While on tour in 1992, they made a live album, titled “KIX Live” recorded at the University of Maryland, College Park. This album was released in 1993 largely as a contractual obligation to Atlantic Records. With the arrival of the Seattle grunge scene, as Whiteman so often says “they were having a party and KIX was no longer welcome...” in 1995, the band released their final album “Show Business,” on CMC records. KIX broke up in 1995, and Hammerjack’s Concert Hall was torn down in June 1996 to make way for a parking lot for the Baltimore Ravens' stadium.
Steve Whiteman would re-emerge as the singer for local Baltimore band Funny Money, with whom he continues to work. Mark Schenker and Jimmy Chalfant have also joined Funny Money as bass player and drummer. Funny Money has released several albums, notably one entitled “Stick It!” which was mixed by KIX Midnite Dynamite producer Beau Hill. Funny Money continues to gig regularly when KIX is not performing. Steve also teaches voice at The Musician's Institute in Baltimore, while Mark is also a music teacher at Bach To Rock in McLean VA teaching guitar, bass, songwriting and recording arts. Ronnie Younkins moved to L.A. for a short time and wrote, recorded and released the album The Slimmer Twins - Lack of Luxury in collaboration with singer Jeremy L. White in 2000. In 2002 he founded The Blues Vultures back home in MD, maturing into the lead singer and main songwriter position and followed in 2005 with the album The Blues
Vultures - Cheap Guitars & Honky Tonk Bars. Brian Forsythe plays in Rhino Bucket when KIX isn’t touring and has recorded several albums with Rhino Bucket. Brian can be heard on the last three Rhino Bucket releases.
Marking the re-emergence of KIX in early-2000’s, Steve Whiteman, Jimmy Chalfant, Ronnie Younkins, and Brian Forsythe had teamed up a few times a year (with Mark Schenker on bass) to test the waters with KIX reunion shows in the Maryland/Pennsylvania which were very well received.
Then in the summer of 2008 KIX performed outside the mid-atlantic for the first time in 13 years at two of the biggest rock festivals in the US. Rocklahoma in Pryor, Oklahoma and Rock the Bayou in Houston, TX. KIX was hailed by many music websites and attendees as “Best Performance” at both festivals. These were both massive rock festival where KIX played alongside acts such as Sammy Hagar, Alice Cooper, Telsa, Queesryche, Ratt, Lita Ford, Warrant and more.
Since then KIX has been performing more and more shows at festivals, casinos and biker rallys across the country, impressing promoters and fellow musicians with their top notch and highly entertaining performances while driving home their status as one of rocks truly legendary live acts. KIX has also been in the top billing the last two years on the wildly popular Monsters of Rock Cruise. KIX has a massive cult following of fans that seem to turn up in big numbers to see
them everywhere they play.
In the interim - a first-ever for KIX - a long-awaited live DVD and CD is out on Frontiers called “Live In Baltimore” showcasing the bands legendary live performance. It is packed with fan favorites and a choice catalog of great hard rock KIX songs recorded live in Baltimore MD. KIX fans everywhere have rejoiced! The DVD and CD has received 5-star reviews from almost every single music web site and publication that has written about it including 5 stars from all fan
reviews on Amazon and iTunes. As the demand from the fans for new KIX music has never subsided and in fact has only increased over the last few years, band members have decided that they can no longer ignore the overtures from the fans and are writing new KIX songs for a new album due out on Frontiers Records in 2013.
In April of 2013, KIX has been invited to appear on the 12th season of VH1’s hugely popular That Metal Show television program hosted by Eddie Trunk, Jim Florentine and Don Jameson.
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