Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
In 1990, LOVEWAR, an unknown trio from Indiana – Tim Bushong (lead vocals, guitar), Greg Purlee (drums, backing vocals), and Rick Armstrong (bass, backing vocals) – decided to share a demo that the band had recorded.
The demo’s solid, heavy-edged rock songs would quickly find their way to the mega-producing duo of siblings Dino and John Elefante. The latter of the two, John, was no stranger to recognizing potential nor talent, having been the singer and keyboardist for iconic rock band Kansas from 1981 to 1984. There, he was a major songwriting contributor and played on two of the band’s most successful albums, ‘Vinyl Confessions’ (1982) and ‘Drastic Measures’ (1983), while branching over to producing in 1984.
By the time the Elefantes got wind of the LOVEWAR demo, they had several well-recognized production credits under their belts, had formed a heavy rock band together (Mastedon), and contributed a song to the soundtrack to the 1985 hit film, St. Elmo’s Fire, under the band name Elefante. The point being made is the Elefante’s knack for knowing a good thing when they heard it, so to speak. In this case, LOVEWAR was it and they were signed to the brothers’ label, Pakaderm Records.
The band flew to Los Angeles to record with the Elefantes at Pakaderm Studios and in 1993, LOVEWAR released their début album, ‘Soak Your Brain‘. The album was a moderate-heavy rock success, as it found favor with many music critics and was widely embraced by fans. LOVEWAR‘s progressive-tempered music was technical and upbeat, melding hints of funk with a jam-oriented styling, comparably similar to acts like Raging Slab, King’s X, Galactic Cowboys, or Animal Bag.
Eventually, ‘Soak Your Brain‘ would be named one of the top Christian Rock albums of all time by HM Magazine, placing it at #47 out of 100. Sometime around 1993, bassist Rick Armstrong began playing with the band Whitecross. When LOVEWAR began demoing new material in 1995, there was a new bass player in the band, Jon Hill. Despite the band having at least 12 songs ready for another record, a sophomore album from the band just wasn’t meant to be.
LOVEWAR‘s momentum was gradually ebbing and in 1997, Tim Bushong and the band morphed into the funk/ metal/ rap hybrid, The Channel Surfers… effectively putting LOVEWAR to rest. LOVEWAR would remain inactive for the next quarter of a century, fading into obscurity, while their one and only album, ‘Soak Your Brain‘, become somewhat of a cult record.
Until the end of 2018, when more or less completely out of the blue, LOVEWAR resurfaced with a Kickstarter campaign to release a second album. The three original members, Tim Bushong, Greg Purlee, and Rick Armstrong, were back and ready to pick up where the band had stalled out 25 years ago. Gathering at TBush Recording in Indiana, they recorded new versions of the unreleased songs, 11 in total.
That long-awaited sophomore studio album will now arrive on April 13th (Record Store Day 2019), as the self-titled ‘Lovewar’ from Roxx Records. The album details and a lyric video for the first single, “Candle“, are being shared at this time.
LOVEWAR‘s eponymous titled album will be released worldwide in digital format, along with a special limited edition CD that is sure to go fast… pre-order HERE.
01. Who I Am
02. Stand Under It
03. Upside Your Face
05. Grain Of Salt
06. Tuxedo Alligator
07. One-Trick Pony
08. House Of Cards
10. Up For A Fight