Vanadium were one of the rising and founding forces of the West Australian original heavy metal music scene in the 1990’s. They formed in 1993 in Perth, Western Australia. Based in Fremantle in Perth’s South, they set about on a relentless writing and gigging schedule playing headline shows and supports where no venue was too big or too small to bring their original Australian Thrash, influenced by many styles of heavy music. This style of theirs took the form as their own “Pure Australian Metal”. In 1996 the band buried themselves.
The Vanadium BC Story
In early 1993 vocalist Kris Falconer (K-bone W Rokker) answered an advert in a local magazine placed by Guitarist Brad Spinks who was looking for a singer to form a new Heavy Metal band. Kris had just previously left his 1st band and was writing lyrics and wanted to pursue his love of music. He had a very small amount of experience playing some shows but wanted to learn more and get more experience. Brad already had a drummer and bass player so Kris went for a jam with Brad and his Rhythm section. The jam comprised of jamming some covers from the likes of Slayer, Metallica, AC/DC and more and it was decided they would form a new band but in first conversations they already had the same plan, to write original music. At the time Kris had just turned 20 and Brad was 17 and still in High School. The name VANADIUM was decided without any arguments and so it was to be. With their influences ranging from Metallica, Slayer, AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Anthrax, W.A.S.P, Exodus and many more they had a vision to write their own songs incorporating their many influences.
Over the next 6 months or so the band jammed on some covers and also began writing the songs which would be recorded later for the “Children of the Flame” demo cassette.
VANADIUM played their first show on Thursday October 21 in 1993 at The Grosvenor Hotel in Perth. Directly after this VANADIUM hit the gigs hard scoring gigs with Mortification (VIC), Allegiance, SFD, Downer, Epitaph and many more Perth bands.
Soon after they started playing live there was a tension between Kris and Brad and their Rhythm section. Brad and Kris had already decided in their minds it was not working out but decided to keep it going for the time being. The band also recorded their demo cassette “Children of the Flame”.
On a night out one night in Fremantle at a local bar, Kris started chatting with a couple of local metal heads, one of whom was a local thrash drummer Marko Radovic. Kris explained the current VANADIUM situation to him and the process started to have a jam with Kris and Brad. Marko also bought along his friend Johnny who was a young metal guitarist. The vibe was great and Marko and Johnny had already learned some VANADIUM tunes from the newly recorded demo cassette and they also jammed on some thrash metal covers. The bass player spot needed to be filled and Marko had a young bass player called Herman in mind and they organised a jam. In the meantime, Marko had also bumped into another established Fremantle bass player Petar Farcic from Fremantle band Injustice and it was also organised for Petar to have a jam. The jam with Herman was great but the jam with Petar was beyond this. Petar bought a huge “beast like” presence not just in sound but also his pure metal energy when playing. It was decided that Petar was in.
While all this was happening Brad and Kris still had gigs with their 1st line-up. The demo cassette had just received “Demo of the Month” in Hot Metal, Australia’s biggest heavy music magazine, which was a big thing for a young band at the time, as it had a huge amount of demo’s from all over Australia and New Zealand every month. As things started to intensify between Brad and their Rhythm section and them also jamming with the newly formed line-up, it was time for the crossover to happen. At this time, the previous Rhythm section still did not know what was going on, until Brad and Kris informed them in early 1994 it was over.
Soon after Saturday March 12 in 1994, the band played their debut gig at a big band competition at The Sundowner Hotel called “Judgement Day”. VANADIUM took out 4th spot in the competition and commenced a rigorous gigging and jamming schedule directly. After a couple of shows it was decided that Johnny was not working out and they parted ways on good terms and he remained a mutual friend. The band would be a 4 piece with Brad, Kris, Petar & Marko.
During 1994 the band played at the local infamous Fremantle venue called the Seaview. The owner liked the band so much that so began an ongoing Saturday night residency for sometime. The band also started a Thursday night residency during the year at The Beaconsfield Tavern (now Moondyne Joes), but this was short lived as some members of the band decided to let off a number of boat flares after a gig and caused quite a scene.
In the meantime the band was heavily writing tunes which they recorded in July and August in 1994 at Revolver Studios with Ben Glatzer. It was decided that their debut album would be called “The Damage Done” after their song of the same title.
Around the same time there was some conflict with another band in Australia in the Eastern States called VANADIUM and a short legal process ensued by Brad and the outcome was that the band over East would change their name. At this point there was no idea from the band that there was quite a big Italian band as well called VANADIUM.
The band played many shows with Australia’s number one metal band at the time Allegiance and popular heavy rock band Rawkus. The band continued with their Seaview residency into 1995 and also played many other shows in between with local bands and local festival bills.
With their debut album mixed and mastered the band decided to release this as a CD. It was decided when and where this would be. The local venue launch would be at The Orient Hotel in Fremantle on March 4 1995. The band also decided to book an all ages launch at a local hall, but when booking, their manager at the time told the caretaker it was for a 21st Birthday Party. The Orient launch was a huge success and a capacity crowd. In the meantime of all this, some flyers of the all ages launch party for the Sunday March 5 had circulated around and were also copied. A huge turnout ensued for the night in the hundreds outside and the small hall was at capacity. With some riotous behaviour outside which the band was not associated with a huge amount of police cars and wagons arrived and were met with a not so welcome reception outside the hall. Bottles were thrown, some incidents occurred and after numerous attempts of shutting down the PA by the police (which kept getting turned back on!), VANADIUM were finally shut down before they could finish their set. The gig made all Western Australian news stations, major newspapers and was also the main topic on Western Australia’s Number 1 talk back radio show with famous announcer Howard Sattler. Also soon after this VANADIUM was featured in a half page article in Hot Metal, which was a big thing for a young band.
Soon after the launch there was an increased tension between certain band members and their current manager. The manager was fired.
After the launch the band continued a heavy schedule of gigging all over Perth to great response and also played the showcase of the top West Australian music acts in May for the WAMI (West Australian Music Industry) Awards in 1995.
Soon after a few more shows after the WAMI Awards, Guitarist Brad decided to leave the band to pursue other musical projects. This was a huge blow to the band as Brad was one of the main songwriters and also the band was in a situation where they would also be without a key element of their sound with Brads distinctive style. The band decided they would continue. After an audition process of many guitarists, they decided on a young heavy metal guitarist Dylan Galant. The band picked their core songs from “The Brad Time” for Dylan to learn and then began writing some new songs for the new line-up.
The band played their 1st show with the new line-up on March 23 1996 at The Shenton Park Hotel in Western Australia.
They recorded 3 songs (1 of which was a Brad song never recorded called “Crucified”).
One of their songs called Earth was chosen for the “Twisted Exports” West Australian music compilation which was taken all the way to the USA for the Foundations Forum Musicfest in Los Angeles for WA music representation at the music event. A WAM project, it was presented at the forum by Pete Dunstan (R.I.P.) aka The Black Captain from RTRFM’s popular music show Behind the Mirror.
The compilation album was released with a live launch on Saturday September 28 in 1996 at The White Sands with Allegiance and other WA acts.
In the meantime of this happening, Kris, Petar and Dylan had plans to follow a new heavy music direction that was more different than VANADIUM. After the compilation launch VANADIUM was no more. They decided it was time to end what they had and move to something new. That was it. VANADIUM was buried.
In 2017, more than 20 years later, Vocalist Kris and Bass Player Petar decided to start a Facebook page after hearing of VANADIUM merchandise being printed in various countries and copies of “The Damage Done” being
bought by collectors for huge amounts.
A process then started for Kris and Petar to have a jam on the songs that they had not played since 1996. Sadly drummer Marko Radovic had passed away some years earlier. The last VANADIUM Guitarist Dylan was contacted but he could not commit due to other projects. Original Guitarist Brad was not contactable so a family member was tracked down to get a message to Brad but it became obvious after a while after no return contact that he was not going to be part of it. Kris then contacted his old friends, Drummer Dave and Guitarist Eric from veteran Perth metal band Dethlahem to see if they would be interested in a jam. It was all positive and Eric and Dave were on board.
Kris and Petar had a plan to use 2 Guitarists this time around so they did a post on their page to their friends if any lead guitarists were interested in a jam. Very soon after an old friend Mick Lawson contacted Kris to come on board. Mick played in Edicius who became Moth in the 1990’s with whom VANADIUM had played many shows together from 1994 to 1996 (even including the Judgement Day band competition in 1994 which they won as Edicius) so Kris instantly told Mick he was in. At this stage it was late 2017 and steps were being made for the 1st jam with the new crew on board.
After a bit of stirring on the internet, this led to the Promoters of the newly revamped SLAYFEST Festival contacting Kris in December 2017 for VANADIUM to play a set at the Festival in March 2018. At this point, the band had not even had their 1st jam. With some back and forward messaging and to work out if they could do it the band threw themself in the deep end and accepted the gig. With members working away and others on different work shifts, a juggled schedule was made to get in some jams so they could play SLAYFEST. The jams came together quickly and the band prepared a set of their favourite tunes from “The Damage Done” album.
At SLAYFEST more than 22 years later after their demise, VANADIUM took to the stage again to a thunderous response and crowd.
Now with their debut albums 1st pressing of “The Damage Done” from 1995 selling for over $1,000AUD online, the band continued playing a few select shows in Western Australia but now chose the new moniker VANADIUM B.C. so as to reinvent themselves for the new lineup.
The band was approached by a label in the USA to re-release “The Damage Done” worldwide on CD. After careful consideration, Kris and Petar declined the offer and decided to keep the status associated with the original pressing for the time being.
With “The Damage Done” being sold for huge amounts around the world, the band was approached by local collector and distribution label respectdarock to release the album on vinyl. This is something that interested Kris and Petar as to put it out on a different format. With some planning and a lot of work it has been decided that “The Damage Done” will be released on vinyl so as to coincide for the 25th year anniversary of the album in 2020.
VANADIUM B.C. has also been approached by a local film maker to make a short documentary on the band, which will also commence in 2020 for the 25th anniversary of “The Damage Done”.
The band has now started writing new songs for the 1st time since 1996 and plan to revamp some unreleased songs from around that time. VANADIUM B.C. was also chosen to play with the legendary USA Death Metal band OBITUARY in Perth on January 15 in 2020.
And so it began again, almost 22 years between shows and what they thought as a band was long buried. Sometimes dead things rise…