Christian metal pioneers Bloodgood first stormed onto the heavy metal music scene in the mid 1980’s. Over a period of nine years, the Seattle-based band released five studio albums plus two live records and an “official bootleg.” The group disbanded in 1994, but now Bloodgood is poised to return stronger than ever this year with a new album and a lineup that includes familiar faces from the band’s past, as well as the addition of Stryper guitarist Oz Fox.
Bloodgood formed in 1985 with a lineup that include lead vocalist Les Carlsen, bassist Michael Bloodgood, guitarist David Zaffiro and drummer J.T. Taylor. Their sound was heavy and intense, in the tradition of many British metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Dio and Judas Priest. The band recorded a demo tape, titled Metal Missionaries. Producer and Christian music veteran Darrell Mansfield brought the group to the attention of Frontline Records.
Frontline signed the group, and Mansfield produced Bloodgood’s self-titled debut album, which was released in early 1986. Over the next year, J.T. Taylor left the band, and Mark Welling stepped in as Bloodgood’s new drummer. Their 1987 follow-up, Detonation, was the band’s greatest commercial success. Detonation contained the same heavy, intense sound as its predecessor, but with better production.
The members of Bloodgood then hit the road to begin their first major tour. The tour, which threatened to be a great disaster, eventually brought the members closer to the Lord, and to each other as a band. Many of the dates on the tour were very badly promoted, and in some case, the band would arrive in a city to discover that the venue they were scheduled didn’t even exist. In most cases, they were asked to accept less money than had originally been agreed upon, which created a financial struggle for the band just to make it from one city to the next. In spite all of the discouragements, the band was also encouraged as they began to see their ministry bear fruit as they saw many young metalheads give their hearts to the Lord.
After the end of the Detonation tour, the members of Bloodgood returned home to Seattle to begin writing for the group’s third album. They went into the studio with producer Terry Shelton to begin recording Rock in a Hard Place, a record that represented a new musical direction. Released in the spring of 1988, Rock in a Hard Place covered a broad range from metal to arena rock and even some experimental material.
Following the Rock in a Hard Place tour, Mark Welling left the band, and David Zaffiro also departed to spend more time with his two children, and to work as a producer. Zaffiro has also recorded several solo albums. Kevin Whistler took over the drum kit, and Paul Jackson became Bloodgood’s new guitarist as the band went to work on Out of the Darkness, which was released in 1989. This album marked a return to a heavier sound, departing from the commercial sounds of Rock in a Hard Place.
During the tour for Out of the Darkness, the band recorded and film two shows in their hometown of Seattle, resulting in the live albums Alive in America: Live Volume One and Shakin’ the World: Live Volume Two, with video companions of the same titles on VHS. These albums and videos captured the live energy and ministerial heart of a Bloodgood concert. Actors and dancers were used to add a theatrical element to the shows, including mini-rock opera version of the Passion Play with the songs “Awake,” “Crucify” and “The Messiah.” The live albums and videos were released in the spring of 1990.
At the beginning of the 1990’s, Bloodgood signed with a new record company as they released All Stand Together with Broken Records in 1991. Kevin Whistler had left the band. David Huff played drums on the new album, and Paul Roraback joined the group as their new drummer during the All Stand Together tour. During this tour, the band played in Russia and Germany. The German leg of the tour produced an “official bootleg,” To Germany, with Love, which the band has adopted as their third live album. Bloodgood continued to tour until 1993, and the disbanded the following year.
Bloodgood reunited in late 2006 as Michael Bloodgood and Les Carlsen joined forces once again. Drummer Mark Welling and guitarist Paul Jackson also rejoined the band. In December 2006, the band announced the addition of Stryper guitarist Oz Fox, making Bloodgood a five-piece band. Fox will pull double duty, playing in both Stryper and Bloodgood. The group is currently writing material for a new album, which they plan to release later this year on the band’s own label, B. Goode Records.