Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
During the 1980s, the previous decades’ birth of glam rock sort of came full circle with the meteoric ascent of glam-encased sleaze rock. Today’s Oldschool Sunday is going to take a look at the short-lived, one album wonder that is San Francisco’s Sea Hags.
The band itself came to be in 1985 when aspiring musicians, front-man / guitarist Ron Yocom and bassist Chris Schlosshardt, were working multiple jobs just to keep their dream alive. They eventually enlisted the skills of drummer Greg Langston and Sea Hags were on their way.
Playing a raunchy style of bluesy, risqué rock and roll, Sea Hags went straight away to work on their public presence on the live gigging set. Despite their somewhat lighter fare, Sea Hags were soon sharing stages with acts from various stylistic backgrounds, including Dead Kennedys, Motörhead, Ramones, and The Cramps.
Mostly established on the strength of their live shows, Sea Hags would eventually sign with Chrysalis Records in 1987. Things would soon get interesting when the guys went to work on recording some demos though. Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammet co-produced the band’s first demos along with Sylvia Massey, who would later go on to produce two releases by the progressive rock band TOOL.
In fact, several big names would display interest in providing services to Sea Hags, ones like The Cult’s Ian Astbury, who seemed determined to produce the band’s debut. It was not meant to be though as the group soon enlisted none other than Mike Clink, the man responsible for the then-recent production of Guns & Roses’ ‘Appetite For Destruction’.
But before that introductory album would materialize, Sea Hags would undergo some membership alterations. In November 1988, guitarist Frank Wilsey had just exited Head On and joined as the band was preparing to record their eponymous debut for Chrysalis with Clink.
Drummer Greg Langston also gave way during this period, his replacement being Adam Maples. Also, Kevin Russell, a musician who had performed on Ted Nugent’s ‘Penetrator’ album, contributed additional guitar to the recording. During these recording sessions, Sea Hags wrote a song titled “Under The Night Stars” that was specifically intended for use on a cinematic soundtrack. That movie was the campy horror classic A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.
The self-titled ‘Sea Hags’ album was released in early 1989 but stories go that the recording processes themselves were fraught with conflict between the band and the Chrysalis label execs. After the album was released, the band went on a European tour opening for The Georgia Satellites and undertook a short headline stint of their own while in the UK.
In October 1989, guitarist Frank Wilsey quit the group and by February 1990, the Sea Hags had promptly broken up. The split has been widely attributed to rampant drug abuse within the band and poor management. After the dissolution, Adam Maples became the drummer for Guns N’ Roses for a short period in 1990 before Matt Sorum took over the slot.
There were thoughts about reforming Sea Hags around 1991 but before anything came together, bassist and founding member Chris Schlosshardt died of pneumonia that same year.
Frank Wilsey would change his name to Wilcox (and then Wilsex) and join Arcade, a band started by Ratt vocalist Stephen Pearcy. He also played with Pearcy’s band Nitronic. Ron Yocom became homeless for a period of time, then went on to team up with industrial goth rocker Sarine Voltage, forming The Power Of 3, a “Now Wave” project that he currently co-fronts.
The Sea Hags re-existed for a very brief time in 2007 under the management of Wendee Key with Ron Yocom as the front-man. The band rapidly decayed due to unexplained issues between management and band members. They have remained inactive since.