TSOL: Wikis


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Origin Long Beach, California, United States
Genres Horror punk, punk rock, deathrock, glam metal (mid period)
Years active 1979–Present
Labels Posh Boy Records
Frontier Records
Alternative Tentacles
Enigma Records
Rhino Records
Restless Records
Nitro Records
DC-Jam Records
Jack Grisham
Ron Emory
Mike Roche
Tiny Bubz
Greg Kuehn
Former members
Todd Barnes (deceased)
Joe Wood
Mitch Dean
Marshall Rohner (deceased)
Jay O'Brien
Travis Johnson
Billy Blaze
Frank Agnew
Jay Bentley

TSOL are an American punk band which formed in 1979 in Long Beach, California. TSOL is short for True Sounds of Liberty[1] although they are rarely referred to by their full name.

Although most commonly associated with hardcore punk, TSOL's music varies on each release. They have also released music in the styles of deathrock, art punk, horror punk, and the plethora of other punk music labels.



Formed in 1979 and hailing from Long Beach, California, TSOL originated as a hardcore punk band, developing from earlier bands Johnny Coathanger and the Abortions and Vicious Circle.

Featuring the lineup of vocalist Jack Grisham (who has been credited as Jack Greggors, Alex Morgan, Jack Ladoga, Jim Woo and James DeLauge), guitarist Ron Emory, bassist Mike Roche, and drummer Todd Barnes, the band's first release was a harshly political eponymous EP featuring tracks such as "Superficial Love," "World War III" and "Abolish Government."


Evolved sound

After their debut EP, they released Dance With Me, their first full-length record. A departure from the entirely political nature of the previous release, "Dance With Me" was far darker and more macabre, featuring such themes as necrophilia, and the song "Silent Scream," which is made up entirely of horror movie clichés. Their most popular release, both then and to this day, the album earned them the title of the "West Coast Misfits" (a reference to Glenn Danzig's band on the East Coast), and has made the band a favorite amongst horror punk fans.

TSOL was linked in the minds of many OC hardcore fans to the Cuckoo's Nest, a nightclub in Costa Mesa that shared a parking lot with an "urban cowboy" club during that feather-hat cowboy pop culture craze with other punk bands like Social Distortion and the Vandals.

They later signed to independent label Alternative Tentacles, for which they released the "Weathered Statues" 7" extended play and the Beneath the Shadows album which featured, for the first time, keyboard player Greg Kuehn who added a new dimension to the band. Around this period their style had switched further, moving towards a highly experimental and varied one which featured art punk and psychedelic leanings, as well as their customary horror themes. Fans of the time backlashed tremendously against this change, and when on tour, the band was harshly heckled for their change in music. Today Beneath the Shadows is acclaimed by fans and critics as an achievement in art punk and new wave experimentation, and while Dance With Me remains the favorite release for most people, it is Beneath the Shadows which makes TSOL more than just another hardcore band.[citation needed]

Amid personal turmoil, Jack Grisham and Todd Barnes left the band and were replaced by singer Joe Wood (who was Grisham's brother-in-law) and drummer Mitch Dean. This new line-up released the album named Change Today? in 1984 on Enigma Records. Grisham has gone on separately to a lengthy recording career.

Metal experimentation

The band became friends with Guns N' Roses and TSOL t-shirts can be seen in the GNR video for "Sweet Child o' Mine". They followed up with an album in a similar style, titled Hit and Run. Before it was released, original guitarist Ron Emory quit the band, leaving Mike Roche as the sole original member.

TSOL were joined briefly by guitarist Scotty Phillips, who quit before the band started recording the follow-up to Hit and Run, they eventually hired guitar player and actor Marshall Rohner. They released a blues-metal album titled Strange Love in 1990. Mike Roche quit shortly before the album release, leaving no original member in the band. A compilation album entitled Hell and Back Together 1984–1990 was issued in 1992 with an emphasis on their metal era. Murphy Karges, later of Sugar Ray, briefly replaced Roche on bass as did Dave Mello.

This late-eighties lineup was popular enough to invite bookings in Brazil and Argentina, where the Grisham-led band hold no legal rights to prevent Wood from gigging as TSOL. Since 1996, Wood has been joined by guitarists including Mike Martt and Drac Conley, drummers Steve "Sully" O’Sullivan and Mitch Dean and bassist Dave Mello, who joined the band near the end of its Enigma years run. Additionally, Wood has pursued musical work in Joe Wood and the Lonely Ones and Cisco Poison.

Original TSOL reform

Meanwhile, the original members had started playing shows featuring the band's early material under the name TSOL, often playing the same cities, the same nights as the other TSOL. Since Joe Wood and Mitch Dean now owned the rights to the name TSOL, they threatened to sue the original members, who released a live album of their early material under the name "Grisham, Roche, Emory and Barnes" but stopped playing together soon after because of drug problems.

In 1996, most of the original members settled down and realized that they still had a passion for their music and that fans wanted them to reunite. In 1999, they fought with Wood for rights to the name and won before joining the Vans Warped Tour, playing for the first time in years under the name TSOL.

Todd Barnes had died on December 6, 1999 of a brain aneurysm at the age of 34. The remaining members recruited drummer Jay O'Brien and released the "Anticop" single and the Disappear and Divided We Stand albums on Nitro Records, the latter of which featured Greg Kuehn back on keyboards. The Original TSOL recorded two more full length albums. In September 2007, Cider City Records released the posthumous live album 'Live From Long Beach,' recorded in November 2006 on the weekend of the band's two "farewell" performances.

Their departure was short-lived, however, with a couple of local shows in late 2007. They also headlined the "Fuck the Whales, Save a Chckn" benefit in Feb. 2008, held to help with cancer treatment bills for guitarist Craig "Chckn" Jewett of D.I.

They are an independent band under the Nitro Records banner, which was started by Offspring vocalist Dexter Holland, for whom TSOL is cited as an influence.

In December 2008, the band, in cooperation with Hurley, entered the studio to record Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Free Downloads which was, as the title suggests, made available as a free download through Hurley's website on January 8, 2009.[2]


Their music is featured in the 1984 movie Suburbia, the 1985 version of popular horror movie Return of the Living Dead and Dangerously Close in 1986. They were also mentioned in the documentary, Punk's Not Dead.


  • Jack Grisham - vocals
  • Ron Emory - guitar
  • Mike Roche - bass
  • Tiny Bubz - Drums
  • Greg Kuehn - piano, synthesizers

Former members


Studio albums


  • T.S.O.L. EP (1981)
  • Weathered Statues (1982)


  • Rat Music for Rat People (1982)
  • American Youth Report (1982)
  • Thoughts of Yesterday 1981–1982 (1988)
  • Weathered Statues (1997)
  • Who's Screwin' Who? (2005)
  • F#*k You Tough Guy: The Collection (2008)

Live albums

  • Live (1988)
  • Live 91 (1991)
  • Live From Long Beach (Live) (2007)


  • "Wash Away" / "Darker My Love" - [Suburbia - Original Soundtrack Recording - Restless - 1984]


  • 1980 Demo (1980) [3]
  • Numerous TSOL shows are known to have been recorded and released on tape by underground labels.


  • "Colors" (1986)
  • "Man & Machine / Peace Through Power" (1990)
  • "Anticop" (2001)


  • Suburbia (1984)
  • Live In OC (2001)
  • Live In Hawaii (2004)
  • The Early Years (2008)


  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography, Canongate Books, page 663. ISBN 0 86241 913 1.
  2. ^ http://www.hurley.com/tsol/
  3. ^ The Original TSOL: Discography

External links


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