Oldschool Sunday: PIST.ON

PIST.ON Then (Circa 1996)
Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway

Brooklyn, New York’s Pist.On were a metal band that, despite their possessing immense promise and potential, would be relegated to a rather short existence.

The band would be plagued by constant issues connected to labels for the duration of their original stint of activity. However, the styling of Pist.On was a blend of heavy alt. rock, nu-metal, and elements of gothic rock, which resulted in an aggressive, unique sound.

Pist.On first formed around the core duo of Henry Font (vocals, guitars) and Val.Ium (bass, backing vocals) in the early Nineties. The band released two demos during those early years, the second of which, ‘Urine The Money’ (1993), was produced by Josh Silver of Type O Negative.

Those demos gained the band immediate traction with fans, fueling explosive interest in Pist.On. In 1996, with the band now rounded out with lead guitarist Paul Poulos and drummer Danny Jam Kavadlo, they recorded their first album, ‘Number One’, under the auspice of Silver once again. It was released by Fierce Recordings / Futurist Label Group that same year.

By this time, Pist.On were ablaze with popularity with music fans and the attention the band was gaining sparked major label interest from Atlantic Records, who subsequently secured a deal for the worldwide release of ‘Number One’.

However, the relationship with Atlantic was short-lived, as the album’s sales were approaching gold status, Pist.On came under pressure from the label to make a number of changes. These included cosmetic changes to the band’s name and logo (from Pist.On to Piston) which the band was unhappy with, as a result, the band made the decision to leave Atlantic.

They returned to Fierce/Mayhem Records where the experiences with their recent label, along with opinionated factions within the band’s fan base, were channeled into their sophomore record, ‘$ell.Out’. It was recorded with a different guitarist and drummer, and also producer, then the preceding album: Burton Gans, Jeff McManus, and Daniel Rey, respectively.

Unlike the first album, 1999’s ‘$ell.Out’ album was not as well-received for the band, but despite that they landed support slots on many big name tours. During this time, they were sharing stages all over with the likes of Type O Negative, Marilyn Mason, Korn, Clutch, Fu Manchu, Misfits, and others. The tours solidified the band’s presence, building a healthy following on both sides of the Atlantic.

After the sophomore album’s release, drummer Jeff McManus departed from the band, returning briefly to record a three-song independent EP, ‘Saves’, in the spring of 2001. Despite the optimism brought on by ‘Saves’, the core duo of Pist.On broke apart in late August 2001, when bassist Val.Ium also decided to leave the band.

Though they never officially broke up, Pist.On has not released any new material as a band since that EP and has remained inactive since 2001… until now.

PIST.ON Now (2018)

In 2015, Pist.On announced they were reforming and working on new material. Although the new music has yet to surface, this past week, Pist.On revealed plans to play the bands’ first show in more than 15 years! The core of the Brooklyn-based outfit remains in place with Henry Font (Vocals / Guitar), Burton Gans (Guitar), and Jeff McManus (Drums), now joined by new bass guitarist Jack Hanley (ex-The Deadlyz).

The upcoming show celebrates the 25th anniversary of Pist.On and will take place at Saint Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NY on March 8th, with support provided by Netherlands and Wrench. The show kicks off a busy year for the band, with a UK tour already confirmed for June and more dates to follow.

Pist.On June UK Tour:
06/23 – BIRMINGHAM – O2 Academy3
06/24 – GLASGOW – O2 ABC2
06/25 – NEWCASTLE – O2 Academy2
06/26 – MANCHESTER – Rebellion
06/27 – SHEFFIELD – O2 Academy2
06/28 – SOUTHAMPTON – The Brook
06/29 – LONDON – O2 Academy Islington

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